It’s usually at this time of the year when we collectively sigh and ask “Where did that year go?” If life is what happens when you are busy making other plans, then you may have missed some critical happenings in 5 areas that could impact you in 2018. Let’s have a landscape big picture view of the year that was 2017.
2017 saw SSM, Section 44 of the Constitution being used and abused and more dramas in Parliament than a Netflix binge. The colour of the Government of the day often determines the type of legislation that gets passed. This year has seen moves to reduce the period of Bankruptcy from 3 years to 1 year, the Safe Harbour provisions for those Directors who sail into choppy waters, moves to crack down on Phoenix activity and the impending Mandatory director identification numbers.
Stand by for an active 2018 and even, just for a change, some new MP’s and even a new PM.
In 2017 the legal space has seen changes to:
A) The definition of PPS leases (they have been given a new lease of life, so to speak) has now been changed from a lease of one year to two years;
B) The Privacy Act has been amended so that business is about (from the 22nd of February 2018) to be subject to an obligation to notify Customers and the Regulator about any data breaches;
C) From the 1st of September 2017, all Australian businesses are banned from charging excessive surcharges for Eftpos and credit cards used to pay for purchases.
2017 has been the year that BIG DATA has made itself known. There have been many instances of data breaches which have led to the realisation that so much of our personal information is in the hands of others. Every time we sign up with a business (think Uber, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.) we share our identity and personal preferences. Social media has developed to the point where everyone can know a lot about anyone they choose. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning is being used on that data to build a profile of you, your personality, preferences, spending habits – the list is endless.
The scary thing is that the data can be analysed to know what you are really like and what you want – well before you know yourself.
Data has a big role to play in business practices and shaping our everyday interactions. In credit in particular, the smart use of data can assist in assessing credit, monitoring credit and collecting from those recalcitrant customers. 2017 has seen the ever-increasing use of online transactions and the acceptance of customers to transact online. Exhibitors and presenters at the AICM National Conference in Canberra this year stressed the changing nature of how credit information is obtained from customers by implementing online credit applications.
The process is relatively painless. The customer completes the application online and as the information is entered it is automatically and seamlessly verified, with relevant searches and credit reports being generated. At the end of the process you have properly identified the customer, the report will provide a credit rating/recommended approve or decline and the system can generate standard welcome aboard letters advising the customer of the outcome. The time saving is significant, and the process enhances productivity.
We have no doubt that in 2018 customers will be demanding the quickest and most effective way of applying for credit and the online credit application will make this process very easy.
The arrival of Amazon is the biggest disruptor to our day to day lives that we are likely to see in many years to come. It is far more than just cheap goods or books, it will change the way in which we live our lives. The disruption caused by Uber and Airbnb and other like companies will pale in comparison to Amazon. Why? Because its model has been wildly successful in other markets and there is no reason to believe the same will not happen in Australia. In the US, Amazon has now entered the food market and the impact it will have will continue to change our shopping habits.
There have also been studies done this year that show definite links between the use of social media and maintaining concentration (and even mental health). What does this mean for you? To stay on top of your game you must stay focussed, be organised and be prepared to get out of that comfort zone. The research shows that the constant interruptions we must contend with affect our ability to get anything achieved in a constructive manner. The first step is to recognise the issue and then take steps to deal with it.
2017 has been a year of change (and rapid change will continue as the years go by). This mini briefing will hopefully help you handle the challenges of 2018. The end of a year and the start of a new one is a wonderful opportunity to take time to just think about how next year can be your best yet.
Seasons Greetings, stay safe and well and, most of all, relax.
About the author
Ledlin Lawyers is a boutique legal firm of specialist credit, insolvency and business lawyers. For more information, go to www.ledlinlawyers.com.au