Hot off the press - the first issue of LexisNexis' Australian Banking and Finance Law Bulletin in 2015 has just been released. Read my General Editor's note for a taste of what's covered.
A number of new legislation will take effect in 2015. To begin our new year, from 1 January 2015, the current Franchising Code of Conduct will be repealed, and a new Franchising Code of Conduct will replace it. The new Code is the outcome of an extensive review, and the Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) has worked collaboratively with both the previous and current Governments during the lengthy consultation process. The FCA has welcomed the upcoming release of the new Code, stating that it was pleased to see that much of the contribution made by its members had been taken into account.
The ACCC continues to be the regulator responsible for this mandatory industry code that applies to the parties to a franchise agreement. According to the ACCC, the new Franchising Code of Conduct will:
The ACCC’s website provides some very useful information for franchisors and franchisees alike, including access to the updated Franchisor Compliance Manual and the Franchisee Manual. These ACCC manuals are compulsory reading for parties to any franchise agreement as they cover, among other things, the rights, responsibilities and obligations of the parties, and how to resolve disputes under the Code.
We can help you understand, apply and implement new legislation in 2015 and beyond - just contact us for assistance.
The latest issue of LexisNexis' Australian Banking and Finance Law Bulletin has just been released. This is the final issue of the bulletin for 2014. This is a bumper issue - read my General Editor's note to find out more.
It is hard to believe the year is already drawing to a close. This year, I am delighted to have increased the number of articles appearing in each issue from three to five in 2013 to up to eight in 2014. I sincerely hope that our readers have found the bulletin to be a useful and valuable resource. A big thank you to all our contributing practitioners, industry leaders and academics who have so generously shared their expertise and experience to help us stay current with developments and changes in our practice area in 2014.
If you want to write for the bulletin in 2015, please feel free to contact me to discuss.
Thank you to our legal experts for another informative issue of the Australian Banking and Finance Law Bulletin. Read my General Editor's note to find out what we have lined up for our readers in another excellent ensemble of comprehensive commentary on the hot topics and latest developments in banking and finance law and practice. It is hard to believe that this, the November edition, is our second-last issue for 2014. Stay put for our December edition. It will be a compelling read!
A new approach to working with commercial information - learn from this year's winner of the LawTech award for best practice knowledge management
"Best Practice in Knowledge Management" is the award category at the annual LawTech Summit that recognises outstanding achievement in the process of collating, organising, sharing and analysing knowledge.
This year, law firm HWL Ebsworth took home the award. HWL Ebsworth was recognised for its innovation in response to the significant legislative change brought about by the new Personal Property Securities (PPS) regime, which has direct implications for many of its clients.
Thank you again to Peter Frankl of Legal Practice Intelligence for his report titled "HWL Ebsworth LawTech award for best practice knowledge management reflects changing attitude to information in law firms", which includes my comments relating commercial information management.
Peter Frankl reported that HWL Ebsworth uses a new cloud based visual information management platform called Encompass, which has enabled the firm to improve the efficiency and accuracy of its commercial search and review, particularly when it comes to PPS related information. It has also enabled the firm to finalise due diligence quickly, provide prompt advice and minimise risk. I wrote about visual information management in two earlier blogs, which you can revisit here and here.
If you need assistance with commercial information management, such as a visual information management solution, just contact us for assistance.
The latest issue of LexisNexis' Australian Banking and Finance Law Bulletin has just been released. We have another amazing line up of experienced practitioners covering recent case law as well as current hot topics. Read my General Editor's note to get a taste of what's covered.
What is Ripple? Have you heard of Ethereum? What about Auroracoin?
The answer – these are cryptocurrencies.
The Oxford Dictionary defines “cryptocurrency” as “a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank”. Perhaps the most famous cryptocurrency is the first cryptocurrency - created only 5 years ago - Bitcoin.
There are many definitions of Bitcoin, but basically, Bitcoin is a payment system. Other cryptocurrencies that have the same characteristics as Bitcoin are payment systems as well. On 20 August 2014, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) released guidance on the tax treatment of cryptocurrencies in Australia, specifically regarding Bitcoin. You can read the ATO’s guidance here.
According to the ATO, transacting with Bitcoin is akin to a barter arrangement, with similar tax consequences. The ATO specified that its view is that Bitcoin is neither money nor a foreign currency, and the supply of Bitcoin is not a financial supply for GST purposes, but Bitcoin is treated as an asset for capital gains tax purposes.
In the 21st century, we can use Bitcoin (or Ripple, Ethereum, Auroracoin plus many more other cryptocurrencies) to pay for personal or business transactions. Do you know Bitcoin can even be used to paying salary or wages? What you also may not know is that the ATO has a number of other resources relevant to the tax treatment of cryptocurrencies in Australia. These include Taxation Ruling No. IT 2668 on barter transactions, and Draft GST Determination GSTR 2014/D3 on the GST implications of transactions involving Bitcoin. You can access these resources here.
Cryptocurrencies are gaining traction not only globally but also locally, with an estimate of 50,000 users in Australia, as reported by the ABC on 22 August 2014. You can read the report here. This interesting piece of news item also reported that, while ATMs that accept and exchange Bitcoin already exist, a first-of-its-kind-in-Australia ATM has just opened in Canberra. This new ATM trades three major cryptocurrencies - Bitcoin, Dogecoin and Litecoin.
It is indeed time for all of us to learn more about cryptocurrencies.
This post first appeared on CPD Interactive's "Legal Natter's Blog".
The modern day law practice has entered into a new age and applies equally to practitioners working in-house to those in private practice. Thriving and surviving in today's legal landscape is determined by our ability to utilise and manage data and information as well as embrace and adopt technology.
This has led to the emergence of commercial knowledge management as a new discipline.
What exactly is commercial information management? Commercial information management refers to methodologies or software platforms that help an organisation or firm search, review and manage commercial information they use in the process of delivering their core services (such as the provision of legal advice). Commercial information is all around us – information derived from data from the ASIC registers, the PPS Register, AFSA’s National Personal Insolvency Index and Land Titles searches are all examples of commercial information.
Data is just facts and figures. Information is data with relevance and purpose. What we really want is information, not just data. Information, especially commercial information, that is well managed is useful, and can convey a trend, indicate a pattern, or tell a story. Better still, we can derive knowledge that germinates from interpreted data and information. And knowledge is the ultimate competitive advantage.
Three things you should know about commercial information management:
1. Conversion from data to information to knowledge is key. Data needs to be converted, first into information and subsequently into knowledge, otherwise its use is limited. Commercial information management aids this conversion and deliver a real and measurable return on information.
2. Commercial information management is data agnostic. Data agnosticism refers to the ability of data to work with various systems. The message here is that commercial information management does not need to be customised for a single system only. In fact, it can be quite flexible.
3. Commercial information management is linked to competitive advantage. The ability to generate useful commercial information (which impacts on the ability to create new knowledge), and properly manage that process is at the heart of an organisation’s competitive advantage.If we can have the ability to extract and analyse data which can potentially be converted into insights, and then present this knowledge in a format that enables decision makers within the our organisation or firm to act, and we can do this better than others in the market. This presents a real competitive advantage.
Four benefits commercial information management can deliver to a law practice:
1. Improved Discovery and Access. How? By providing lawyers with easy and transparent access to accurate and timely data and information. Data and information that is easily discoverable can be shared and utilised for a variety of purposes, from conducting due diligence that involves multiple practice groups in a firm, to providing legal opinions in cross-border transactions involving legal teams working in different jurisdictions.
2. Improved Integration and Accuracy. How? By collecting data once, ensuring its integrity and quality. This is an incredibly powerful tool for risk management, as commercial information management helps to ensure a legal practice can confidently rely on any reports and advices it produces based on data gathered and information derived.
3. Improved Decision-making. How? By providing better information to support analysis, decision-making and risk identification. The best decisions are made when people understand the full picture. In a legal practice, professionals bring years of experience and intuition to the decision making process, drawing information from various sources, considering the context and extracting insights to make informed decisions. Commercial Information Management increases the quality of the information ‘input’, requiring less effort to process and organise complex information to draw meaningful conclusions more efficiently.
4. Decreased Costs. How? By all of the above! Decreased costs is a direct outcome of improved efficiency by improved management while eliminating risk and waste.
(These four benefits have been derived based on Griffith University’s Information Management Framework.)
Human intellectual capital + innovative technology = achieve your goals. It is worth mentioning here that there is an aspect of commercial information management that relates to human judgement as well as an aspect that relates to technology and science. Both the use of judgement and technology and science provide and add value. Embrace commercial information management and contribute strategically to your legal practice’s ultimate goals.
This post first appeared on the ALPMA blog "A Survival Guide for Legal Practice Managers".
If you are interested in learning more about commercial information management, you can watch my free on-demand webinar "Emerging Discipline of Commercial Information Management", now available from the ALPMA On-Demand Learning Centre.
Each year, organisations and firms spend thousands of dollars purchasing commercial information from brokers and regulatory sources like ASIC and PPSR in the process of delivering their core services. Commercial Information Management (CIM) is an emerging discipline being implemented by these organisations and firms seeking to leverage and maximise the value of this information.
In an on-demand webinar provided exclusively to ALPMA members (by Encompass Corporation, ALPMA's Summit 2014 Live and On Demand Partner), I outline the principals of CIM and the 4-stage process of CIM. I also look at the benefits of CIM and how to maximise your return on information.
Get ahead of the pack. Learn about CIM.
The latest issue of LexisNexis' Australian Banking and Finance Law Bulletin has just been released. We have an amazing line up of authors contributing 7 quality articles. Read my General Editor's note to get a taste of what's covered.
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