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Microsoft, Commonwealth Bank, KPMG partner for Wiise joint venture

The three heavyweights have combined forces to launch an SME-focused standalone company called Wiise.

Microsoft, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), and KPMG Australia have announced partnering to deliver a new small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)-focused joint venture, Wiise.

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Wiise, a standalone company based out of Stone & Chalk's Sydney fintech hub, is touted by the heavyweights as providing SMEs with an "end-to-end, integrated, cloud-based business management solution".

It will start delivering services from July 2018.

"The idea for Wiise was sparked by our acquisition of Microsoft systems implementer, Hands-On Systems. It opened our eyes to a gap in the market between existing cloud accounting software providers to SMEs and enterprise-scale ERP solutions," KPMG Australia national managing partner of Markets & Growth James Hunter said.

The companies believe Wiise will help SMEs digitally manage their business through a cloud-based platform spanning accounting, payroll and banking, and operations including HR, inventory, and manufacturing.

In targeting the SME sector, the companies said 78 percent of Australian SMEs view their business and operations as having either medium or high complexity, citing the "technical nature" of the services they provide, and issues around compliance, tax, and employee payments as the key factors.

"As businesses mature, they experience the inevitable 'growing pains' and complexity that come with growth," Microsoft Australia MD Steven Worrall added.

"The technology solutions that served them well when they first started out are no longer fit for purpose and they just want a solution that makes their business simpler to run and faster to grow but without the complexity of deploying large, expensive ERP solutions."

Wiise will integrate with CBA's invoicing platform, CommBank Simplify, as well as banking data feeds to link customers' banking and accounting platforms. Users will also be able to enquire and in some cases apply for business banking products directly through the platform, CBA added.

Australia is a nation of small business operators -- defined by Kate Carnell, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, as a business employing less than 20 employees and by the Australian Taxation Office as businesses turning over below AU$10 million.

In Australia as of July last year, 97 percent of business consisted of small businesses employing less than 20 employees -- that is 2.1 million individuals employed by a small business.

Previously, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said that millions of SMEs in Australia need the federal government to help them stay safe in the digital world.

"They need [help] in the way that's simple enough for them to incorporate it into their business and that they can afford," Shorten said, addressing Parliament. "This means having the resources to design cyber defences for products, processes, and people."

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