Pulse Alert – News Pulse for May 17, 2019

A daily download of SME, startup, fintech and tax news from around Australia.

Is your business ignoring ‘gig economy’ risks?

Hands up if you provide contractor or freelance services to clients. Now keep your hand up if your client checked if you were suitably qualified and met legal requirements for the work – and provided a detailed letter of engagement that spelt out each party’s obligations.

I am not talking about contract workers who secure work through an employment agency. Or builders or other sub-contractors who work on building sites and must comply with occupational health and safety rules and show they have paid insurance.

Regulators want more oversight of tech firms

The top global securities regulator, Ashley Alder, said technology companies may need bank-like oversight as they play a more prominent role providing services to banks and handling customer data.

Leading banking regulators from Germany and Canada told the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s annual forum they’re struggling to keep up with the rapid shifts in markets as tech players move in on banks, and their traditional “siloed” approach of focusing on particular products or specific licensed banks may no longer be sufficient.

Xero promises disciplined growth in its pursuit of new markets

Xero chief executive Steve Vamos says in as little as three years the accounting software provider will be a true multinational firm with a presence in at least one non-English speaking market, but promised investors the pursuit of growth would be disciplined.

Speaking to The Australian Financial Review following the release of Xero’s full-year results, Mr Vamos said even though the business was creeping towards profitability, reporting its first positive free cash flow in the 12 months ended March and a modest net profit in the second half, the cash would be re-invested to drive growth.

Xero’s first profit makes it an even bigger hero

A maiden profit and another strong set of numbers from Xero has underlined the tech company’s darling status.

It was a case of tick, tick, tick boom for accounting software provider and market darling Xero.

ASIC to strengthen complaints handling

ASICAustralian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. asic.gov.au has initiated public consultation on the creation of new standards for financial firms handling consumer and small business complaints.

The regulator is proposing standards that will include mandatory data reporting and make firms’ complaints handling performance transparent.

‘We are not dissuading Australians from using accountants’, says Labor as fight against fee cap heats up

In May 2017 , Bill ShortenHon Bill Shorten MP,  Federal Member for Maribyrnong Leader of the Opposition from 13.10.13’s Labor Party announced plans to cap the amount individuals can claim for management of their tax affairs at $3,000.

The proposal largely fell on deaf ears, despite calls to action  from associations like the Institute of Public Accountants, which has been lobbying for more deductions  for professional advice since 2015.

Prospa unveils prospectus ahead of second run at market

Online small business lender Prospa is on track to make its belated entry on the ASX in June, with co-founders Greg Moshal and Beau Bertoli confident that there will be no last minute hiccups this time around.

“We don’t expect any trouble, the regulatory side of things is settled and we have expanded the business and our relationships in the market,” Mr Moshal told The Australian.

Prospa’s small business interest rates fall ahead of $610m IPO

Small business lender Prospa has told potential investors the maximum interest rate it charges its customers has fallen to 26.5 per cent, as it prepares to debut on the sharemarket in June.

In its prospectus released on Thursday, Prospa said it is forecasting double digit growth in revenues and loan originations for 2019. The company’s shares are poised to commence trading on the ASX on June 11.  That will be just over over a year after regulatory concerns scuppered its previous attempt at an initial public offering (IPO) 15 minutes before the stock was due to commence trading.

Scott Morrison in the market for small business

The inner-western Sydney electorate of Reid has come to symbolise the anticipated closeness of this election, with Scott MorrisonThe Hon. Scott Morrison, Federal Member for Cook Treasurer from 21.9.15 and Bill ShortenHon Bill Shorten MP,  Federal Member for Maribyrnong Leader of the Opposition from 13.10.13 visiting a record five times during the 37-day campaign.

Under pressure to hold the seat after former Liberal MP and Turnbull loyalist Craig Laundy announced he would not contest the election, the Prime Minister toured the Sydney Markets at Flemington with candidate Fiona Martin early yesterday to refine his pitch to small-business owners.

‘Vacancy tax’: Calls to stop landlords from keeping shops empty

Australia’s shopping strips and centres are being crunched by sky-high rents and the nation’s small business commissioners want to penalise landlords for empty shopfronts.

State small business commissioners and small business and family enterprise ombudsman Kate Carnell met in Sydney on Thursday to discuss pain points affecting the nation’s smallest businesses and troubles in the retail sector were front of mind.

Growth the top priority as Xero heads for profit

Xero boss Steve Vamos has made continued customer growth the top priority for the cloud accountancy software business as it edges closer to delivering a profit.

“What’s most important for us is growth, so winning more customers is our No 1 priority,” he told The Australian .

Open banking “massive opportunity” for brokers

Despite the toll of recent industry events, one CEO feels that the ensuing reflection, regulatory change, and impending transition to open data have led this to the “best time to be in lending.”

“As brokers look beyond the royal commission, there’s recognition that there’s a need to diversify offerings, services, and advice offered,” said Stuart Stoyan, founder and CEO of MoneyPlace.

Tips, comments or suggestions? Let me know in the comments, send me an email or tweet me @simeonduncan.

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