The Friday SMB wrap-up

It’s been a busy week in the small business world, with Qantas revealing its new Dreamliner fleet, designed to make business travel more comfortable, AccountsTeam launched the first full cloud outsourced accounting department for SMEs as well as the ACCC releasing a carbon price guide. Miss anything? Here’s the weeks headlines wrapped up for you.

Business insolvencies spike, as creditors get aggressive

There’s been a strong rise in the number of businesses entering external administration (EXAD) for the three months to September, as poor sales and increased creditor activity takes its toll.

Data released by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) showed that each month of the quarter saw a consistently high number of EXAD appointments, resulting in a higher quarterly total compared with both the June 2011 quarter and the same period last year.

OHS harmonisation laws making more work for employers

New consultation requirements under the OHS harmonisation laws mean employers must improve their communication with employees, creating more leg-work for bosses.

The laws, due to take effect on 1 January 2012, mean employers have an obligation to consult workers and other duty holders on potential OHS issues in the workplace.

Cloud outsourced accounting has arrived

The first full cloud outsourced accounting department for SMEs has officially launched, with AccountsTeam giving small businesses access to services and experience traditionally only available to large corporations.

The service provides an integrated resource for clients’ accounting, compliance and business advisory needs via an online portal and cloud computing. This removes the need for SMEs to purchase accounting software, work with a bookkeeper and accountant, or have an accounts team.

Other services provided by AccountsTeam include virtual CFO, bookkeeping, financial reporting, payroll, inventory and point of sale services.

Telstra details iPad 2 plans

Good news for businesses has been spelled out by news that Telstra now offers all models of the iPad 2 on a range of two-year plans or pre-paid data plans.

Telstra is now selling the iPad 2 for $0 upfront on its 24-month $49, $59, $69 and $99 Data+ Tablet Plans, which includes device repayments.

Telstra is also offering the 16GB iPad 2 for $720 on a pre-paid account.

Plan for business emergencies with new iPad app

The federal government launched its first iPad app for businesses, designed to give SMB owners access to emergency planning information anytime, anywhere.

The interactive MyBizShield app allows small businesses to create an emergency plan tailored to their business.

“MyBizShield makes it easier for small business owners to protect their livelihood from any emergency,” Minister for Small Business Senator Nick Sherry said.

Motorola tablet sees price cut for Christmas

The Motorola Xoom tablet has had its price slashed in the lead up to Christmas, making now the ideal time for business owners to invest in the technology.

The Xoom Wi-Fi now costs $399, delivering a saving of 39 percent. It features a dual core processor, 1GB ram, up to 64GB storage, front and rear- facing cameras, multi-tasking functionality and Android 3.1 software on a 10.1-inch widescreen HD display.

Businesses taking two months to pay bills

Businesses are almost two months late in paying their bills, with the national tardiness rate blowing out to an average 53 days.

Two-thirds of businesses took longer than the standard 30 day period to settle their accounts, according to figures released today from the Dun & Bradstreet’s Trade Payments Analysis, which examines the ability of firms to pay their bills, and pay them on time.

ACCC releases carbon price guide for business

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released a guide to assist businesses in understanding their rights and obligations when making claims about the impact of the carbon price.

According to chairman Rod Sims, the ACCC will play a significant role in policing claims attributing price rises to the carbon tax, and businesses need to know what their responsibilities are.

The Carbon Price Claims guide can be downloaded here.

Qantas unveils Dreamliner, promising to improve traveller comfort

The first in a new fleet of Qantas planes, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, flew into Sydney yesterday, promising to deliver greater comfort for both domestic and international travellers.

According to the Australian Business Traveller, Boeing has introduced new technologies into the aircraft, designed to improve the experience for travellers and lessen the fatigue associated with air travel.

One such feature is setting the cabin pressure at 6,000 feet instead of the usual 7,500 to 8,000 feet above sea level, which the company said will put an end to many in-flight ills including headaches, muscle aches, fatigue and nausea.

iiNet founder named Entrepreneur of the Year

Michael Malone took out the Australian Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award at a gala dinner in Melbourne on Thursday night.

The founder and CEO of the country’s second largest DSL internet service provider iiNet, beat 31 other national finalists to take out the top award.

Employees motivated by career progression, not money

Professionals seeking new employment value career progression over the dollars in their bank account, according to a new survey.

It found 42 percent of professionals seeking a new career were motivated by career progression, followed by pay rise, work/life balance and job security, all equal at 16 percent.

Bunnings leading home improvement satisfaction stakes

Bunnings Warehouse is leading its competitors Thrifty Link, Mitre 10 and Home Hardware when it comes to customer satisfaction, value and range of products, according to a new Canstar Blue survey.

Bunnings is leading the local $40 billion home hardware market, though one-fifth of consumers say they regret taking on jobs too big for them when renovating.

Google turns up volume on music service

Google has switched on its long-anticipated online music service in the US, as it begins the battle against Apple’s dominance of the digital music market.

The Google Music store, accessible only through the Android Market, offers 13 million tracks for download from artists with Universal Music, Sony Music, EMI as well as over 1,000 independent labels.

Google Australia has yet to confirm when the service will become available in Australia.

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