Pulse Alert – News Pulse for September 3, 2019

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

Aussie start-up helps firms boost employee performance with electronic leader boards

Developing a platform that uses gamification techniques to motivate and reward sales teams has pushed a small Australian company from start-up to international success story in less than 12 months.

Canberra-based Spinify extracts data from a company’s existing software applications and uses it to generate competitive leader boards that are displayed on television screens around the office.

Grapple comes to grips with invoice financing sector

Marketplace invoice financing firm Grapple wants to put a dent in the burgeoning $60 billion industry, as local businesses continue to face a cashflow squeeze.

The peer-to-peer lending start-up — founded about two years ago — connects businesses seeking to finance invoices that are waiting to be paid with investors looking for returns. Grapple will partner Clearmatch, which makes the technology that underpins marketplace lender SocietyOne, to facilitate its process and allow investors to fund invoices or a finance facility and potentially bid down an interest rate in real time.

Government set to reform data-sharing policies

The Coalition is endeavouring to tackle a “labyrinth” of more than 500 separate privacy and secrecy provisions that have prevented it from sharing data between departments, as it tries to keep pace with international standards.

Government Services Minister Stuart Robert will announce the launch of a discussion paper on Tuesday, with the government seeking submissions from the community on how to streamline its data-sharing protocols while maintaining appropriate privacy and safety provisions.

MYOB CEO shrugs off BCA rumours and signs off with investment call

Outgoing MYOB chief executive officer Tim Reed has backed Treasurer Josh FrydenbergThe Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Federal Member for Kooyong Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia from 21.9.15’s call for Australian companies to be more adventurous in investing in innovation plans, but said there were no plans in place for him to take over as president of the Business Council of Australia later this year.

Speaking to The Australian Financial Review following his decision to step down as CEO of the accounting software firm after an eventful 12-year tenure, Mr Reed said he believed Australian investment in new products and ideas was not as low as official research and development figures suggested, but called on CEOs and boards to take a longer-term view on strategic planning.

ABA, COSBOA launch SME finance guide

A new website has been launched to provide a “step-by-step guide” to applying for small-business loans, developed by three associations representing small business, accountants and banks.

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) and the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA Council of Small Business Australia) have launched a website, providing a range of resources for aspiring small-business owners, including a step-by-step guide to applying for finance.

“I thought I needed to suck it up”: Community support crucial to help business owners manage mental health

With a recent joint study between MYOB and Beyond Blue indicating over half of all SME owners experience mental health issues, there is a push for more support from the community.

Of the 56% of business owners experiencing mental health issues, 48% of these respondents cite anxiety stemming from financial and cashflow problems.

Ombudsman backs mental health support for small business owners

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell has praised Beyond Blue for supporting the mental health of small business owners.

Beyond Blue has today released a free online guide that provides business advisers, such as accountants, bookkeepers and industry association representatives, with practical tips about how to support their clients and members.

SMEs will face massive shake-up in the next decade

The Australian small business sector is facing a major shake-up over the coming decade, with the highest proportion of small business owners aged between 45 and 59 years.

That’s according to the Small Business Counts report released at the COSBOA Council of Small Business Australia National Small Business Summit today by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell, which has revealed 61% of employing small business owners are approaching retirement age.

1 in 3 SME owners struggling with mental health

Beyond Blue has revealed that almost one in three small business owners are struggling with their mental health, while unveiling a new resource aimed at supporting self-employed Australians.

“Almost one-third of small business owners report having high levels of psychological distress, mainly due to long working hours, social isolation, customer demands, cash flow issues and conflicting demands between home and work,” said Georgie Harman, CEO of the not-for-profit Beyond Blue.

Tariff uncertainty weighs on small businesses

Higher tariffs on Chinese imports are adding costs and uncertainty for small businesses and dimming their outlook for the US economy.

Economic confidence among small firms fell in August to the lowest level since November 2012, according to a monthly survey of more than 670 small companies. The portion of respondents that expect the economy to worsen over the next 12 months rose to 40 per cent, compared with 29 per cent in July and 23 per cent a year ago.

ASIC puts liquidators on notice over illegal phoenixing

The corporate regulator has put company directors and the insolvency industry on notice that it intends to take full advantage of proposed new laws dealing with illegal phoenix activity.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASICAustralian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. asic.gov.au) commissioner John Price said current laws made it difficult to pursue directors who liquidated a company and then created ‘phoenix’ entities to avoid paying debts.

Tax Commissioner wants to turn black economy to ‘lighter shade of grey’

ATO Australian Taxation Office Commissioner Chris Jordan believes the agency’s local business visits are helping to change community behaviour, while reassuring small businesses that their tax performance fares well on an international scale

Seeking to provide some context over  the ATO Australian Taxation Office’s recently released tax gap findings , Commissioner Chris Jordan said that despite small business taxes paid coming in 12.5 per cent below what was owed — a higher percentage than either large corporations or individual taxpayers — the sector is doing well in terms of tax compliance

According to Mr Jordan, “the small business economy is paying about 95 per cent of the tax that it should” when you take out the black economy. That figure drops just below 90 per cent when black economy activity is included.

“We have to be better”: ATO overhauls culture to bolster business empathy

The tax office has formed a dedicated team to oversee complex cases where businesses are intentionally shirking their obligations, a bid to better distinguish between black economy bandits and well-intentioned companies.

Australian Taxation Office (ATO Australian Taxation Office) commissioner Chris Jordan says the tax office needs to be more empathetic to small businesses and will exercise more discretion in cases where firms have made mistakes or fallen behind, versus intentional lawbreaking.

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