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The Friday SMB wrap-up

Welcome to Friday, small business owners. Here’s your weekly wrap-up of the most important SMB headlines of the last 7 days. This week, the RBA cut the official cash rate by 0.5 percent, Microsoft was named Australia’s best employer, and business confidence fell – again.

ClubsNSW working to break the workplace bullying cycle

Some 2.5 million Australians have been impacted by workplace bullying at some point in their working lives, and now a major employer hopes that by conducting reference checks on potential young employees will break the cycle of bullying in the workplace.

Bullying in the workplace is costing businesses up to $36 billion a year, and the average cost of serious bullying is $20,000 per employee.  To combat these costs, ClubsNSW has implemented a new program called ‘BULLYcheck’, which is designed to protect registered clubs and businesses from hiring bullies and introducing them to the workplace.

Under the initiative, ClubsNSW employers will include a statement on employment application forms which ask applicants to consent to a school BULLYcheck. The hiring manager or employer then has permission to contact the applicant’s high school, if they’re under 22 years of age, to obtain a verbal reference.

SMEs using home loans to finance business, research finds

A large proportion of SMEs are doubly invested in today’s interest rate decision with many using their home loan to finance their businesses.

MYOB Business Monitor research found that 28 percent of business owners rely on this method to fund their business activities, and, as a result, the Reserve Bank’s official interest rate decision today will find many small to medium businesses tuning in.

MYOB CEO Tim Reed believes many of those using their home loans experienced a set back when lenders didn’t pass on the full cash rate cut last month.

SMBs prefer cleaning the office fridge to tax reporting

With June 30 closing in, experts warn thousands of business owners may miss out on tax concessions and run of the risk of paying too much tax as EOFY confusion continues to reign.

A new study by American Express has found the majority of businesses owners are confused as to what tax entitlements are relevant to them. Only 13 percent of participants admitted to being completely up to speed with existing small business tax breaks. The number was slightly higher for businesses who prepared with their tax returns without the help of an accountant, at 21 percent.

American Express head of small business services Jason Fryer said the survey shows many small businesses may be unknowingly missing out on concessions, which could assist their business in the next financial year.

Weak domestic growth sees RBA cut interest rates, again

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has cut the official cash rate by .25 basis points to 3.5 percent in its meeting on Tuesday, citing a slowdown in growth as a key driver behind its decision.

According to governor Glenn Stevens indicators suggest conditions in Europe are continuing to deteriorate, and growth in China and the US is moderating. On the domestic front, growth remains modest and significantly varied across sectors.

Conditions in other areas of Asia have begun to recover following the effects of natural disasters last year, but could begin to be impacted be slower growth in China.

Microsoft crowned as Australia’s best employer

Microsoft has been named the best employer in Australia and New Zealand in an annual index, thanks to its ongoing efforts to ensure employees feel valued.

The 2012 Aon Hewitt Best Employers index surveyed 74,000 employees from 165 companies, and looked at 102 businesses in Australia and New Zealand, 14 of which were named the best employers in the two countries.

Microsoft came in number one, and the remaining places in the top 14 were taken out by:

  • Chorus New Zealand
  • Express Data
  • FedEx Express Australia
  • FedEx Express New Zealand
  • Frucor Beverages Australia
  • Hilti Australia
  • Janssen Australia and New Zealand
  • Peoplebank Australia
  • SEEK
  • Shire Australia
  • Starlight Children’s Foundation
  • Trilby Misso Lawyers
  • Wood & Grieve Engineers

Business confidence slides further, but SMBs remain positive on outlook

Despite business confidence continuing to fall as a result of weak consumer spending, half of SMBs remain optimistic about their ability to ride out the tough times, a new report has found.

According to the Sensis Business Index for the June quarter, poor consumer spending means confidence is lower now than for the same time last year, but half of business owners surveyed feel confident about their business prospects for the next year.

Overall, five in 10 businesses are confident about their business prospects for the next 12 months, while three in 10 are worried.

Businesses urged to address male mental health in the workplace

Mental illness in young men is costing the Australian economy more than $3 billion per year, $237 million of which are direct costs to businesses, and experts are urging SMBs to get a handle on this growing issue or risk seeing a decline in productivity and the loss of key staff members.

According to a report by the Inspire Foundation and Ernst and Young, the Australian economy loses $387,000 per hour and over nine million working days annually as a result of the issue.

While the Federal Government bears 31 percent of the overall costs through payments for healthcare, welfare and unemployment benefits, the remainder of the cost is carried by companies, organisations and individuals.

Millions of LinkedIn passwords compromised

Over 6.4million LinkedIn members passwords have been leaked and an investigation into the suspected data breach is underway. Here’s how to tell if your account has been compromised, and what do do if it has.

LinkedIn engineer Vicente Silveira has confirmed the professional network is continuing to investigate this situation via his official LinkedIn blog.

Silveira says members affected by the breach can no longer enter the site unless they reset their invalid passwords.

Unemployment rises, but labour force participation continues to expand

The unemployment rate has risen by 0.2 percent, but labour force participation has reached new height, with more Australians in full-time work than ever before.

The seasonally adjusted rate of unemployment rose to 5.1 percent in May, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)figures.

However, this has been outweighed by a strong expansion in labour force participation, with 38,900 entering the workforce in May. The 0.3. percent increase has taken Australian labour force participation to a record high of 65.5 percent.


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Lorna Brett

Lorna Brett

Lorna was Dynamic Business’ Social Web Editor in 2011/12. She’s a social media obsessed journalist, who has a passion for small business. Outside the 9 to 5, you’re likely to find her trawling the web for online bargains, perfecting her amateur photography skills or enjoying one too many cappucinos. You can follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/dynamicbusiness">Twitter @DynamicBusiness</a>

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