Why Closing the Gender Pay Gap is Good for Business

While the gender pay gap is smaller than a decade ago, a collection of top New Zealand business people are working hard to reduce it further.

CEOs and Chairs from companies such as IBM, Saatchi and Saatchi and Vector have joined Champions for Change. Together, they’re advocating for greater inclusion and diversity within their own organisation, sector, and the wider public arena. Why? Because creating gender balanced workplaces is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.

What are the business benefits of closing the pay gap?

  • Good for your bottom line. Research shows the most gender-diverse companies are 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability.
  • Good for your brand. People will be attracted to buy from you and work for you, if you’re committed to equal pay and a diverse and inclusive workplace.
  • Great for brain power. A gender balance ensures multiple perspectives, which sparks creativity and innovation.
  • Great for sales. A diverse workforce better represents your customers, which means you’ll communicate with them more effectively.

So, does your business have a gender pay gap?

Look at your people data: how many men and women work for you? Are there more men at senior levels or in roles that lead to senior positions? What’s the difference in pay between all men and all women? Once you know where your problems lie, you can start fixing them.

Four smart ways to address the pay gap

  • Lead from the top: Everything you say, do, measure, and prioritise impacts your business’s culture. Treat gender diversity as a business priority. Help build a respectful, accepting workplace where everyone feels safe and supported.
  • Make a plan to make a difference: Carry out a pay equity audit, set yourself a target, then put aside money to review and address the issues. Look at all levels of your business, from the way you advertise jobs to professional development opportunities.
  • Be aware of bias: Around 80% of the gender pay gap is driven by hard-to–measure factors, including bias, which often creep in when making recruitment, performance and pay decisions. Make decisions based on transparent, performance-related criteria, have group sign off, and use gender-neutral language in job descriptions.
  • Get flexible: Tap into a bigger talent pool by showing you support employees on, and returning from parental leave. Consider ways people can work from home, condensed hours, flexi-time and job share.

‘For me, unconscious bias is the main challenge – addressing it starts with looking in the mirror and realising that you have it whether you are aware of it or not.’

Simon Mackenzie, CEO of Vector.

Work. Sleep. Eat. Repeat?

Find a better balance with these helpful hacks.

Working harder is not always smarter. Burnout is common among business owners and staff who are pushed to the limits.

Acuity Magazine recently published this ‘burnout checklist’ to help you recognise when you’re heading for burnout:

The burnout checklist

  • Do you feel exhausted all the time?
  • Are you finding it hard to remember things?
  • Do you have problems concentrating or making decisions?
  • Have you started to feel emotionally detached from others?
  • Does your work seem pointless?
  • Are you experiencing depression?
  • Is your sleep disturbed?
  • Are you experiencing headaches, nausea, changes in appetite, decreases in immunity?

If you this checklist has you nodding in agreement, it’s time to take action.

We know it’s not good for business or your personal life to be burning the candle at both ends. But how on earth are you expected to fit it all in?!

Here are some useful ways to create a crystal clear line between work and the rest of your life, and help avoid burnout.

  • Draw the line: Switching off at the end of the day requires discipline. When you get home, turn off your notifications (Slack, Facetime, everything!) and make a point of saying to yourself: ‘I’m going home and I’m going to be me.’
  • Prioritise: Write down what you do each day, week, month and how long it takes you. You’d be surprised how many opportunities you’ll find to manage your time better.
  • Set ground rules: It’s way too easy to ditch the gym/friends/family to finish off that ‘last thing’ at work. Make a list of unacceptable personal actions and check it often to make sure you’re respecting your own boundaries.
  • Get your ‘om’ on. Meditating, or stopping to take five deep breaths does wonders for your stress levels. Next time you’re waiting for something (traffic, coffee, a creative idea to emerge), just breathe.
  • Delegate at work AND at home: The more time you spend working ‘on’ your business, the better – so delegate the repetitive, time consuming jobs or the admin/accounts work to other staff members or outsource. Are you spending precious weekend hours doing things you don’t enjoy? Could you hire someone else to take them off your hands?
  • Schedule breaks: Personal life suffers if you don’t make time for it. Schedule in your exercise/relaxation/downtime as if it were another work responsibility. Soon enough it’ll be your favourite ‘appointment’ of the day.
  • Lead by example: Striking the right balance between your work and personal life will inspire your staff. And, research says employees with a good work/life balance are more motivated, productive and satisfied. Win-win!

The Busy Person’s Guide to Stress-free Performance Reviews

How well are your staff performing? Do they love their job?

Performance reviews, an open two-way conversation held once or twice a year, are a great way to find out. While you’re not legally bound to do appraisals, they’re a great tool to keep your business running smoothly.

1. Open communication lines early

Whether you have five or 50 staff, communication is key when it comes to performance reviews. Let your staff know early (ideally during induction) what goals and objectives they need to meet and give them a chance to voice their ideas. By reviewing and updating these at each review, it will be easier to explain why they’ve received a less-than-perfect appraisal if their performance wanes.

2. Address challenges ASAP

If an employee is under-performing, there are a range of things you can do to help. Just make sure you do it sooner rather than later. Try observing them and gently offering constructive advice to help them do their job better. You could offer extra training to improve their skills if necessary. Consider any challenges they’re facing outside of work – flexible working conditions may be a positive solution for both of you.

3. Preparation is key

Give your employee at least a couple of weeks’ notice so you both have time to prepare for the appraisal. Look at your employee’s job description, notes from previous reviews and performance indicators in advance. Send your staff member a list of questions to review ahead of time, in relation to areas such as job satisfaction, responsibilities, and work/life balance. If your employee is a star-player, get feedback from other employees or key customers to support that view.

4. Keep it formal but friendly

A performance appraisal isn’t Dragons’ Den or a casual chat over coffee, it’s somewhere in between. It’s a chance for both of you to honestly discuss the role, whether goals have been met, what’s good or bad about the job, and if their pay will increase and why or why not.

5. Write everything down

Take notes at each review and share a written summary with your employee afterwards to ensure you agree it’s a true reflection of what was discussed. This is key if a staff member isn’t performing because if you have to let them go, you’ll have proof of warnings and the steps you took to try to help them improve their work.

6. Book in regular catch ups

Keep employees engaged and avoid potential issues by setting up informal chats once or twice a month. You don’t have to wait for the full performance review to give staff feedback or get feedback from them.

Join The Epplett & Co. Team

We have an exciting opportunity to join the Epplett & Co. team:

SENIOR MANAGER – ACCOUNTANT

The function of this role is assist with supervision and development of the team.

You will be responsible for:

  • Checking and reviewing work
  • Assisting Directors with Business Advisory Services including providing strategic advice, budgets and cashflows, restructuring advice and advice on IT solutions
  • Working with our clients to help them achieve their goals

Does this sound like you?

  • Accounting degree or related degree with a major in accounting
  • 3 or more years experience
  • Chartered Accountant (CA) qualification (desirable)
  • Knowledge of Reckon APS and/or Xero software
  • Farming/agriculture advisory/accounting experience would be an advantage
  • Works well with varied and changeable environment
  • Builds staff and clients trust and respect

We pride ourselves on being a family environment. All of the Epplett & Co team benefit from:

  • Flexibility and work-life balance
  • Weekly team meetings with choccy bickies
  • Free car parking
  • A paid day off work on your birthday!
  • Rewards for productivity and meeting targets
  • Continuing education opportunities
  • Open door policy and continued support
  • Air-conditioning in each office

If you tick most of the boxes above, we would love to hear from you!

For more information, view the Job Description.

Contact us now, in complete confidence, to discuss your future at Epplett & Co.

Business Health Check – August 2019

We are now well in to Q3 for 2019 and it’s time to take a moment to review your business health with your August Business Health Check.

We have put together a quick list of four items to consider this month to ensure your business stays in tip top condition:

  1. Do you have an Environmental Plan for your business? The national goal is for every farm to have one by 2025. Now is the time to plan how you’re going to introduce and maintain more sustainable practices.
  2. Search for networking or training events in your industry over the next six months and book yourself in.
  3. Check your farm’s health and safety practices against the free WorkSafe self-assessment table online.
  4. Interested in being more sustainable at work? Be inspired by the Ballance Farm Environment Award winners.

If you would like to discuss any of these points, we are simply a phone call away: (06) 878 8824.

Take Stock and Thrive

Top tips for working ON your business in 2019

When you’re head down in the day-to-day running of your business, it’s hard to know what needs to be done behind the scenes to ensure future success.

You don’t have to set aside an entire day to get all your planning, accounting and networking done. Do it in small intervals throughout the year. Choose a time when you know you’re not going to be knee deep in calving or picking and make it a priority. Working ON your business is just as important as working IN it.

Whether you want to expand, develop or maintain your current activity, consider the following advice.

Bring in the experts.

Having a fresh pair of eyes is crucial when you’re busy doing the do. Think of trusted, knowledgeable professionals who can help or give advice on monitoring your business plan, your finances, employment, environmental management, funding and networking. Getting a rural business mentor is a great place to start.

Connect to other farmers.

Working in a silo can be lonely and overwhelming so link up with others who share the same challenges. In the dairy industry, you can sign up to a free service called Dairy Connect, which puts you in touch with a support farmer happy to help. Look to your industry groups for networking opportunities and events.

Know your numbers.

Big, small, milk or fruit – when you rely on living produce it makes accounting more complex. Record your stock numbers and any land use changes, understand depreciation of machinery and equipment, stay up to date with Government subsidies, and use cloud apps for accounting, resources and bank accounts.

Talk it up.

Sharing key information about your business with everyone in your farm team will ensure no surprises, prevent conflict, lower potential issues, reduce wastage and give everyone a sense of ownership so they work harder, and smarter, together. Diarise regular meetings or phone calls to talk about cash management, budgets and production reports.

Make the most of your accountant.

To get your business and cash flow in the best position, talk to us, your accountant, about tax planning, accounting software, and discuss your plans for 2020 to see how the numbers stack up and what you need to do to achieve your goals. Call us on (06) 878 8824.

Health and Safety: Say it Loud and Proud to Lower the Risk

A ‘she’ll be right’ attitude towards health and safety won’t cut it. You’ve got to make a conscious decision to be safe and get everyone in your team thinking about health and safety every step of the way. Here are a few ways to do this effectively:

  • Get real. Sit down as a team (including family) and answer these three questions and then pin them where everyone can see them.
    • “Why do we want a safe and healthy farm?”
    • “What will we do to be a safe and healthy farm?”
    • “How will we make sure everyone who comes to our farm is safe and healthy?”
  • Prioritise it. When you meet with your team, put health and safety at the top of the agenda. Even just spend five minutes discussing any incidents, injuries or near misses, and see if anyone has any suggestions about new or upcoming seasonal risks, or new ways of doing things.
  • Keep it simple. When you’re planning the day’s or season’s work, take a moment to ask “What do we have to look out for?” It doesn’t need to be a formal briefing, just a conscious moment to think about any risks or maintenance issues.
  • Paperwork isn’t enough. Reducing health and safety mishaps isn’t about documents and manuals – it’s about thinking and talking about risks and doing what needs to be done to stay healthy and safe.
  • Be vigilant. Make sure everyone on the farm knows how the risks can change with the time of day, the season, or a person’s emotional or physical state.

If you would like to chat to the Epplett and Co. team about health and safety concerns in your workplace call us on (06) 878 8824.

NZ says Goodbye to Millions of Single-use Plastic Bags

It’s taken 17 years to follow in the footsteps of Bangladesh, the first country to ban single-use plastic bags, but we’re finally there! From 1 July, single-use plastic bags can’t be sold or given away in New Zealand. It’s all part of the Government’s programme to reduce waste and build the foundations for our transition to a ‘circular economy’ where eventually waste will be designed out of the system.

So, what IS a single-use plastic shopping bag?

They’re the plastic bags with handles (made of plastic up to 70 microns in thickness) found at supermarkets, takeaways, and other retailers.

The phase out also applies to heavier boutique-style shopping bags and the ‘emergency’ bags currently offered by some supermarkets as an alternative to a free single-use bag. It includes bags made of degradable plastic (ie, biodegradable, compostable and oxy-degradable) regardless of whether the plastic material is sourced from fossil-fuel, synthetic compounds or from biological sources such as plants.

Which plastic bags are still allowed?

Bin liners, bags for collecting pet waste and barrier bags used when buying meat, fruit and vegetables (unless they have handles).

What can we expect at the checkout?

Manufacturers and retailers have until 1 July to phase out single-use plastic bags completely, or face six-figure fines. Retailers are offering reusable bags, paper shopping bags or even cardboard boxes to help customers adjust. The Government is encouraging shops to move away from any single-use option, including paper.

What can people use instead?

There are loads of different reusable bags on the market, including bags made from heavier-duty plastic, hessian, lightweight nylon, cotton, recycled fabric or jute. Shoppers can also use wheeled trolley bags, backpacks and home-made bags. The trick is remembering them!

Building a Productive Nation

Innovation is seen as the key to assist New Zealand industries in the transition to an economy high in productivity but low in emissions. The challenge is for businesses to be more innovative and New Zealanders to adapt to changing job markets.

The R&D legislation born out of last year’s budget has passed and it’s up to Kiwi businesses to take up opportunities there. The Budget allocates $157m to support the “Commercialisation of Innovation” package of initiatives to invest in research and science. An “Innovative Partnerships Programme” seeks to attract globally leading firms and innovators. “Business Connect” establishes a cross-agency digital platform of business-focused services.

New start-up businesses have been spotlighted as likely to run with some of these initiatives, the Minister for Research, Science and Innovation calling them “the ultimate champions of innovation that often introduce more radical, disruptive innovations than more established firms”.

But how does a start-up expand? The Budget establishes a $300m fund to support venture capital investments taking “mid-size” start-up businesses to the next level. This is designed to stimulate growth and help businesses remain onshore, reducing pressure on companies to sell prematurely to overseas buyers.

The initiatives also fund vocational education and training. These include reforms to boost apprenticeships and trade training, increased subsidies to Tertiary Education Organisations, wage subsidies, and funding for an “Industry 4.0” demonstration network to help businesses embrace smart technologies and data driven solutions.

Tax and the Budget 2019

Further developments with digital services tax and collection of the International Visitor Levy were announced and the Government remains committed to modernising and simplifying the tax system.

Pre-Budget

The major announcement pre-Budget was that Capital Gains Tax is now off the table and that has pretty much overshadowed any tax announcement since. The Government also announced two specific pre-Budget tax measures:

  • GST on telecommunications, and
  • repeal of racing totaliser duty

GST on telecommunications

The Government has announced a proposal to change the GST of telecommunications so that these would be aligned with the treatment of other remote services and based on the residency of the supplier. The main implication of this new proposal concerns roaming services provided by telecommunications providers in that:

  • outbound mobile roaming services to New Zealand residents overseas are proposed to be subject to GST (currently they are zero-rated), and
  • inbound mobile roaming services provided to non-residents in New Zealand would no longer be technically subject to GST.

Repeal of racing totaliser duty

The racing totaliser duty or betting levy will be phased out. It represents 4% of betting profits, amounting to $13.9 million in 2018. This sum will be redistributed to the racing codes and Sport New Zealand, with a proportion set aside to reduce gambling harm.

Meanwhile, the tax policy work programme is still progressing and the next stages of Inland Revenue’s Business Transformation programme look at the administration of student loans, KiwiSaver and child support. We’ll keep you updated.

6 Ways the NZBN will save you Time and Money

Whatever the size or shape of your business, the New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) will make doing business easier, faster and more professional.

Here’s how:

  • Search the NZBN Register and you’ll have details for all the businesses you deal with at your fingertips.
  • Know your suppliers’ NZBNs and process and pay their accounts more quickly.
  • Using your NZBN means you won’t have to repeat your key details to customers and suppliers.
  • It pre-populates online forms with your information to save time.
  • Always deliver goods to the right place by getting alerts when your customers change their physical address.

More than 675,000 Kiwi businesses have their NZBN, do you? Head to the NZBN website.

Tax and Property – Ring-fencing Rental Losses

There’s been some confusion about proposed changes to the tax treatment of rental losses. Many taxpayers have been a bit panicky, under the impression that the changes are already in force.

While it seems to be fairly certain that these changes will come in, until the law passes they are not in operation. The legislation to make this happen is still in process. It is still being debated and may see further changes. We’ll keep you informed about developments.

The proposed new rules are expected to apply from 1 April 2019 for the 2019/20 and later income years. They will not apply to a deduction a person is allowed for a prior income year.

Rental losses can’t be offset against other income

The proposals mean that, for rental properties that make losses, owners will no longer be able to offset those losses against other sources of income such as salary or wages.

However, owners who incur losses on their rental property will be able to carry those forward and use them against future income or profits from that property. Owners with more than one property can also use those losses to offset income from other rental properties.

What property is subject to these rules?

The proposals apply to ‘residential rental property’:

  • land that has a dwelling on it
  • land on which the owner has arranged to build a dwelling, or
  • bare land that may be used to build a dwelling under the relevant operative district plan

What property is NOT subject to these rules?

The proposals do not apply to property that is:

  • used predominantly as business premises, or farmland
  • a person’s main home
  • land subject to the mixed-use assets rules (such as a bach that is sometimes used privately and sometimes rented out)
  • land owned by a widely-held company
  • accommodation provided to employees or other workers because of remote location or equivalent reason
  • land identified as taxable on sale (such as land held in dealing, development, subdivision, and building businesses, and land bought with the intention of resale), provided that:
    – the taxpayer notifies IRD of their rental income and expenditure on a property-by-property basis, or
    – the taxpayer notifies the IRD of their rental income and expenditure on a portfolio basis and all of the properties within the portfolio are on revenue account.

Offsetting rental losses within a portfolio

If you own more than one rental property, under the proposed new rules ring-fencing of deductions applies on a portfolio basis. Essentially that means you can offset deductions for a specific rental property against income from other rental properties in your portfolio. You can also offset losses against income from the sale of residential property if it is taxable (for example under the bright-line test) to the extent of bringing the gain down to zero. After a property is sold, any unused deductions would continue to be ring-fenced and carried forward to be used against future residential income or offset against other residential lands that are taxable. However, if all of the property within the portfolio is sold and was taxable on sale, any unused deductions at that point can be used to offset against other income (including wages or salary).

If you don’t want to proceed on a portfolio basis, you can elect to use a property-by-property basis.

Offsetting rental losses property-by-property

If you want to offset deductions for a specific property against future income or taxable gain from that same property, you must elect to do so. You do this by notifying the IRD in your income tax return that you are applying the ring-fencing rules on a property-by-property basis. The 2019/20 income year is the first year you will be able to do this. For any property acquired after that, the election to use the property-by-property basis must be made in the relevant tax return in the year the property is purchased.

If you use the property-by-property basis, you must set out income and deductions relating to each specific property in your returns to Inland Revenue. When the property is eventually sold, at that point any unused deductions can be used to offset other income (including salary or wages).

Transfer between companies in a wholly-owned group
Where you own multiple companies, and those companies’ assets include residential property, it will be possible to transfer rental losses from one company to another. The deduction would only be able to be used by the transferee company with regard to residential rental income (or the sale of residential land that is taxable). Note that the companies must belong within a wholly owned group.

Interposed entities

Some businesses do run complex entity structures involving companies, trusts or partnerships alongside the actual people at the heart of the business.

The people drafting the ring-fencing proposals saw early on that some investors would try to be clever by separating losses and income into separate business entities.

For instance, where a person takes out a loan to buy shares in a company that then buys a residential property, in theory the person could claim deductions on the interest because the loan relates to investment in shares rather than buying a rental property. The person could then offset those deductions against other income (such as salary or wages).

This loophole for so-called ‘interposed entities’ has been closed with provisions for ‘residential land-rich entities’. The proposed rules for interposed entities apply not only to companies, but also to trusts, partnerships and look-through companies.

Our Recommendation

The proposed new rules are horribly complicated in the fine detail and have some way to go before they are actually law. We will stay in touch with you about it. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact us if you:

  • want to discuss likely scenarios for your current rental investments
  • are thinking about buying or selling rental property
  • will be arranging finance or refinancing your rental property

Call us on (06) 878 8824.

Facebook: Why your business needs it (and how to use it!)

Are your ideal customers adults? Then your business needs to be on Facebook because that’s where their eyeballs are.

Time-poor or don’t have a clue where to start? Get some answers with these six most frequently asked questions.

85% of Kiwi adults are on Facebook and using it for at least 30-minutes every day.

1. Why should my business be on Facebook?

Facebook is the most cost effective way to promote your small business right now. It’s basically ‘word of mouth’ on steroids. It’s your chance to tell more people about your services and how you can help them – bringing in more enquiries more often.

2. How much do I need to spend?

You can start small by spending $100 a month on Facebook advertising to boost the number of people who see your posts and set up targeted marketing campaigns. Or just post engaging content regularly, which doesn’t cost a thing.

3. Do I need a Facebook expert or can I do it in-house?

If you don’t have the budget to spare to pay someone to do it for you, do it in-house. Find someone within your business who wants to take ownership of it and get them trained in Facebook Ad Manager. Facebook content needs to come from the beating heart of the business so make sure the person looking after it knows the business, your voice and your customers. But remember, they’ll still need you to be involved to make it authentic. You, and your team, need to appear in the content and help create it.

“Just start posting.”

4. My budget is small, what’s something effective I can do myself?

“Just start posting. The secret to social media marketing is consistency,” says Auckland digital marketing coach Andrew Ferdinando. “If you’re consistently posting engaging content, your audience will grow. There are people who have created an audience from scratch, with zero advertising budget, because they create engaging content.”

5. But I’m not a writer!

You don’t have to be – try Facebook Live. The live video streaming means you can use your phone to record yourself discussing something related to your industry, products or services and you’re done. It’s a powerful medium that doesn’t have to be polished.

6. When will I start to see traction on Facebook?

Look at your Facebook results over a 12 month period – not per campaign or post. “It’s not like a print or magazine advert – the benefit comes from long term content,” says Andrew Ferdinando. “You can get fantastic value from Facebook if you post consistently good content throughout the year.”

If you would like to find out more about Facebook and social media training, contact Jodine McIntyre from Social Smarty: jodine@yoursocialsmarty.com

Today’s Apprentice is Tomorrow’s Foreman

Why apprenticeships work so well

With New Zealand’s construction industry going ballistic, a lot of construction companies are looking to hire new staff. Do they stick with their subbies, bring in qualified builders or take on an apprentice? Stefan Cammell, owner of Cammell Projects in Queenstown believes it’s an employer’s responsibility to upskill the next generation and take on apprentices.

“Taking on an apprentice is an investment in the future of your business and the construction industry”

“Taking on an apprentice is an investment in the future of your business and the construction industry,” says Stefan, who’s been building for 20 years. “It’s a win-win. You’re helping train someone young and motivated and they’re picking up how your business operates, the ethics of your company and your systems. When they become qualified they’re a huge asset to your business.”

What makes a good apprentice?

Cammell Projects’ most recent recruit is 26-year-old Heather Scott-Smith, who joined the crew in May 2018 after responding to a Facebook ad.

“I messaged Stef and said ‘I’m a chick, can I apply for the job?’ and he said ‘of course!’, which was awesome because I’ve had some people treat me differently because I’m female,” says Heather, who’s welcomed the move from her hometown of Dunedin to bustling Queenstown.

“Heather is an example of a great apprentice,” says Stefan, who’s brought on six apprentices over the past nine years. “She’s diligent, listens, takes on board information and works hard. That’s what you need to look for when bringing someone on.”

Two years into a four-year apprenticeship with BCITO (New Zealand’s largest provider of construction trade apprenticeships), Heather loves learning something new every day in a supportive working environment. The hardest part of the job?

“The frustrated look on Stef’s face when I don’t understand what he’s talking about!” she jokes. “It’s great to work for someone who wants to do big jobs not little patch ups. We’re both going in the same direction and I want to work for Stef for many years to come.”

Apprenticeships well worth the time and effort

Stefan says he gets a real kick out of watching his apprentices grow and become skilled but admits it’s more than just teaching the nuts and bolts of carpentry.

“A lot of apprentices are straight out of school so you’re teaching them life skills as much as how to be a builder. You’re teaching them how to turn up to work on time, interact with adults, look after themselves… so it’s a guidance role as well.”

A member of New Zealand Certified Builders, Stefan urges business owners to take the teaching role seriously.

“Apprentice training needs to be treated with respect.”

“Apprentice training needs to be treated with respect. Signing off training units when the apprentice isn’t up to standard isn’t helpful to the apprentice or the industry – it undermines the whole scheme. There’s an onus on the builder to make sure their apprentice is getting the training they need and achieving sign off once competent.”

If you are thinking of employing an apprentice and would this to discuss the impact it may have on your business, call us on (06) 878 8824.

What is your Business doing to attract the next Generation?

Gen Z (born after 1995) are tech-savvy, entrepreneurial, out-of-the-box thinkers – people you want on your team.

Here are four ways to attract and retain New Zealand’s next generation of workers.

1. Tinker with your tech

Gen Z live and breathe technology – they don’t know life without it. You’ll need to enable your people to collaborate and communicate in the cloud and on any device as well as provide video calling using FaceTime or Zoom.

2. Keep it simple when you hire

These digital natives suss everything on their smartphones, including jobs. Keep your job ad short and sweet, make it easy and fast for people to apply and include a short video of your office or a staff testimonial. Invite people to record a one-minute video to introduce themselves and add to their application.

3. Hone in on health

Health and wellness is a top priority but you don’t need a massive budget. From free gym passes, fruit baskets or a healthy lunch shout – staff wellness programmes come in all shapes and sizes.

4. Encourage their entrepreneurial spirit

Gen Z are more likely to look for a piece of the business pie. They understand business ownership and will want to know how their role impacts all facets of your company. Take this seriously and you could be on to a winner.

10 Smart Year-End Tax Tips

The end of the financial year is fast approaching.

Check out our 10 smart year-end tax tips to make sure you are ready come 31 March.

  1. Fill your drawers: Can you stock up on stationery, postage and courier bags before 31 March? Claim now and save.
  2. Staff expenses: If you owe employees holiday pay, bonuses, long service leave or redundancy payments, you can claim for these now – as long as they are paid within 63 days of the balance date.
  3. Can you fix it? If you’ve got any significant maintenance or repairs on the cards, do it before year end and save on tax.
  4. Turn fun into savings: Do you know which entertainment expenses of which you can claim 100%? It’s worth finding out – ask us if you need clarification.
  5. Look at your fixed assets: Do you have any you’re no longer using or don’t plan to use in the future? If so, you may be able to write off the book value.
  6. While you’re at it, check your stock: Look at your stock as well, especially obsolete stock. There may be an opportunity to write some of this off as well – check with us on what could be done in this area.
  7. Income boost: Earned a lot more this year? Consider making a voluntary provisional tax payment.
  8. Logging car use? Remember to jot down your odometer reading at year end and if you’ve kept a logbook of business and personal use, mileage and costs, good work!
  9. Home office: It’s also a good time to review what home office expenses may be available for deduction, especially your home office. We can help with calculating this.
  10. Saving time saves money! Accountants are required to ask for information to comply with anti-money laundering obligations plus the IRD may ask you, via your Accountant, for extra information in relation to your end of year tax. Having your identification and tax documents collated and correct saves your accountant time, which saves you money, so get started this week.

If you have any questions as we approach the end of the financial year, call us anytime on (06) 878 8824.

What’s New in the World of Tax?

It’s important to stay on top of your tax obligations, especially if you don’t have a great team like Epplett & Co. helping you plan and manage your personal and business financial interests.

Here are the latest updates in the world of tax:

Payday filing

We have mentioned this in the past, but don’t forget payday filing for employers is compulsory from 1 April 2019. Please contact us if you need any help with complying with the new process and rules.

No more cheques for IRD

Do you send post-dated cheques for tax payments? It’s time to go digital!

From now on you’ll need to use online banking to make future-dated payments as the IRD no longer accepts post-dated cheques. Plus, if you’re one to put your tax payments in the Inland Revenue’s dropboxes, you’ll now have to head to an IRD office reception area during office hours to do so.

Writing off bad debt?

If you’re expecting a tax break from writing off bad debt, you may also expect to hear from the IRD asking you to prove the debt is, in fact, bad. A new ruling means the IRD could request evidence of any steps you took to recover the debt (before writing it off) and proof there is no reasonable likelihood the debt will be paid. So, get your paperwork in order!

If you have any questions about these updates or would like to discuss your own tax obligations, call us anytime on (06) 878 8824.

Minimum Wage Increase – 1 April 2019

More than 200,000 New Zealanders and their families will benefit from the New Zealand minimum wage increase to $17.70 an hour on 1 April 2019. This is an increase of $1.20.

The starting-out minimum wage and training minimum wage rates will increase from $13.20 to $14.16 per hour (remaining at 80% of the adult minimum wage).

The Government has also set indicative rates of $18.90 from 1 April 2020 and to $20 from 1 April 2021. These rates will be subject to each year’s annual review.

To find out more about the minimum wage increase, head to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website or call us anytime on (06) 878 8824.

It’s Time to Gear up for Payday Filing

Hundreds of Kiwi business owners are enjoying the benefits of payday filing – are you? If not, you’ll need to be by 1 April when payday filing becomes compulsory. Now’s the time to work out how you’re going to integrate it into your payroll processes and save time on your tax obligations.

Payday filing means you need to:

  • File employment information every payday instead of an Employer monthly schedule (IR348).
  • Provide new and departing employees’ address information, as well as their date of birth – if they have provided it to you.
  • File electronically (from payday compatible software or through myIR) if your annual PAYE/ESCT is $50,000 or more.

Remember, the due date for payment remains the same at the 20th of the month (or 5th and 20th of the month for twice-monthly filers).

How do I payday file?

There are three ways to file electronically – direct from payroll software, file upload from myIR or onscreen via myIR.

How do I shift over to payday filing?

  1. Review your payroll processes and plan and schedule when to shift.
  2. Ask your software provider when they’ll have payday filing compatible software (Xero and MYOB already do).
  3. If you’re using myIR to file, let the IRD know you’re switching to payday filing in myIR.

If you need clarification on payday filing, call us on (06) 878 8824.