Your Four-Week End of Financial Year Checklist

To keep tax time low-stress

Week 1: First things first

Talk to your accountant or bookkeeper.

They’ll tell you what you need to do before 31 March including what you can claim for and what you can’t. Remember, tax time is busy for them too, so the more prepared you are, the smoother the process, and the better the result.

File your return on time.

Don’t waste your hard-earned cash on unnecessary interest and penalties. Get your accounts up to date, tidy up loose ends and file on time.

Week 2: Your assets and stock

Review your inventory.

The value of your stock affects your business’s taxable profit. Do a meticulous stocktake before year-end. Get rid of any out-of-date or damaged items and write them off.

Extra assets on board?

Year-end is the time to ditch surplus assets. If you can sell them, great, otherwise write them off.

Week 3: Your spending

Sooner rather than later.

If you’re planning to buy any new equipment or assets, do it on or before 31 March (rather than 1 April) to reduce your taxable income and gain a full month’s depreciation.

Got invoices and receipts for your expenses?

It can be tricky to keep track of everything so if you’re not already, go digital. Scanning receipts and saving electronic invoices in the cloud saves time and space.

Week 4: Your staff

Payroll up to date?

Now’s the time to check your payroll system only includes current staff and that all their details are correct. Ensure former staff don’t have access to company systems.

Remember tax on bonuses:

Special bonuses this time of year can be a great way to reward and motivate staff, just remember to get the tax right on any lump sums made. Also, keep in mind any bonuses for the current year, and holiday pay or long service leave paid out within 63 days after 31 March can be deducted against your current year income.

Remember – we are just a phone call away. Give us a call on (06) 878 8824 if you would like any advice on preparing for the end of financial year.

Staying Afloat and Thriving through a Downturn

When the future looks uncertain, what can you do to prepare and strengthen your business?

Recent times have certainly shown us that the future path of your business can change in an instant – usually, due to influences that are far beyond our own control. The Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing global economic recession have both had a negative economic impact on the business world – so, when a downturn strikes, you need to be ready.

The key is to be prepared, to have a ‘Plan B’ and to react in a proactive way to the uncertainty. But what elements of your business should you focus on to get your downturn plan ready?

How to keep your business from sinking

To keep your business afloat, you’ll need to be agile, innovative and resourceful. And being flexible in the face of adversity is also likely to play a big part in your survival

No business owner has all the answers, and there are some important steps to take if you’re going to overcome the challenges of a downturn and stop the business from sinking.

Proactive steps to take will include:

  • Enhancing your business knowledge – knowledge is power, and being in control of your business data gives you that knowledge. The latest cloud reporting tools, like Fathom and Futrli, help you to understand the financial numbers and forecast the future path of the business, allowing you to make truly informed decisions.
  • Improving your cashflow – during a downturn, money will be tight and your cashflow position is likely to be poor. To improve this, you need to be proactive about reducing overheads, billing promptly, following up on overdue invoices and making sure that the minimum amount of cash flows out of the business, and the maximum flows in.
  • Negotiate with your suppliers – if you can wrangle a better deal from your suppliers, that goes a long way to enhancing your cashflow position. Negotiate with your suppliers to agree on better terms, or cheaper prices, and talk to your landlord about a reduction in rent – or even a rent holiday if the situation is extremely dire.
  • Accessing additional funding – when your cash reserves get tight, there may be a need to look for additional funding. This could mean asking your bank manager for an extended overdraft, approaching business lenders for a loan, or even looking at attracting private investors or private equity firms that may want to pump money into the business – although you’ll need a strong business plan for investors to be willing.
  • Evaluating your market offering – to generate enough revenues to survive, you need your products and/or services to be selling. To that end, it’s worth evaluating your market offering and making some changes. Do some products deliver a much higher return than others? If so, you could make more money by focusing purely on these products and having a tighter and more profitable product range.
  • Evolving your marketing and sales – communication with your customers during a downturn is vital. Keep them in the loop and let them know that your products/services are still there for them. And reevaluate your marketing channels to make sure you’re hitting the right audience. Is your online presence as good as it could be? Are you providing enough information on your website and social channels to help solve your customers problem? If not, what else could you do to bring in more enquiries and sales.
  • Learning to pivot and diversify – some sectors may tank completely during a downturn – for example, the travel and hospitality sectors were badly hit by Covid. If this happens, you may need to pivot into a new niche or sector to find a new audience and more revenue streams. You can also diversify your product range to meet the needs of a wider range of customers, bringing in more revenue streams and bumping up your cash position as a business.

It’s all about having that Plan B in place. When (and if) a downturn hits, you’re then primed and ready to respond.

Talk to us about getting the specific business advice you need

The better prepared you are, and the faster you react, the more likely it is that you’ll ride out a downturn successfully. If you’re looking to improve your business planning, upgrade your disaster management plan, or improve your financial model, do come and talk to us.

Is your Trust relevant and compliant?

With between 300,000 and 500,000 Trusts in New Zealand, they’re clearly a popular way to protect assets.

However, the Trusts Act 2019 came into force on 30 January 2021, bringing key changes to the way Trusts are run and imparts stronger duties upon Trustees.

If you have a Trust, you’ll need to weigh up the benefits of continuing with your Trust against the increased compliance costs.

So, why did you set up your Trust? Are those reasons still relevant? Here are some of the most common reasons for forming a Trust:

Asset protection: Trusts can protect personal assets from creditors in the event of personal bankruptcy or the insolvency of a company (if the donor was solvent when the assets were transferred into the Trust), and from any personal liability as a company director.

Continuity: Trusts can continue to operate after the death of the Settlor without any immediate need to sell assets to distribute among beneficiaries. This means assets can be progressively distributed to beneficiaries and distribution to vulnerable beneficiaries can be delayed. Trusts can now continue for up to 125 years (previously they were limited to 80 years).

Government claw-back: Previously, a key benefit of transferring assets into a Trust was to enable the Settlor/s to access residential care subsidies. However, new rules make this almost impossible to claim now if you have assets in a Trust.

Property (Relationships) Act: A Trust can be used to prevent family assets from becoming inter-mingled property and therefore exposed to relationship property claims in the event of a relationship break up.

Family Protection Act: A Trust can protect assets from family protection claims by disgruntled family members who disagree with the provisions of a deceased person’s Will.

Protection in old age: Trusts can be structured to reduce the risk that an elderly person will lose family assets through a relationship breakdown, undue influence of other family members, or poor financial decision making.

Income spreading: Income earned by the Trust may be spread among one or more beneficiaries to take advantage of their lower tax rates.

Is a Trust still your best method of asset protection? If you haven’t reviewed your Trust for a while, now is the time to do so. New legislation means new obligations and increased administration costs. Your Trust must now be compliant with the new legislation. Make sure your Trust is up to date, compliant, and relevant for your current circumstances.

This article is of a general nature only and is not intended to constitute specific advice. Need help to determine if your Trust is relevant and compliant? Call us on (06) 878 8824 for more information about our Trust Review service.

Planning for Seasonal Dips in Income

Seasonal dips in income can be highly challenging when you’re a small business. But there are proactive ways to predict, plan for and overcome these dips in revenue.

The key to dealing with seasonal dips is to know when they’re most likely to occur, and to have measures in place to spread your income and revenue pipeline over the course of the year.

Understanding seasonality in your sector

If your business is seasonal such as pool supplies, or a ski gear specialist, you’ll be used to the peaks and troughs, but many ‘non-seasonal’ businesses experience times during the financial year where sales and revenue peak – and, on the flipside, where sales and revenue experience a pronounced dip.

When income is low at certain times of the year, it makes for challenging times.

So, what are the key ways to plan for this kind of seasonality?

  • Forecast your seasonality – it’s vital to know WHEN you’re most likely to experience any seasonal dips. Looking at benchmarking reports for your industry is one way to predict the seasonality in your niche or sector. But you can also use your own accounting data to great effect. Look back through your profit & loss reports and spot where the peaks and troughs have occurred over preceding years.
  • Charge a premium in peak time – one straightforward approach is to apply premium pricing for your products/services during the busy season. By increasing your pricing, you boost your overall revenue, giving you more working capital to see you through the leaner months when sales and income are at their lowest.
  • Offer additional peak-time services – offering added extras and other additional service lines during peak time is another way to maximise the season. In the months where customers are most engaged, look to upsell these premium services and offer more value. Satisfied clients will be more inclined to pay for added extras, giving you an increased revenue stream from the same number of customers.
  • Target other markets – exploring other related markets is another useful tactic. When you’re experiencing downtime, look for other ways to monetise your existing assets, products or services. For example, if you’re a hotel where sales peak in summertime, offer discounted conference space in the winter months to boost revenue.
  • Diversify your products/services – if one product/service has a known seasonal dip, look at adding an additional product or service to offset this downtime. For example, a a ski resort could promote bike-riding or hiking breaks during the warmer summer months to keep revenue constant. Likewise a pool maintenance firm could establish an outdoor fireplace business for the colder months.
  • Have a regional e-commerce strategy – If you’re dependent on a small local market, broadening your marketing and e-commerce strategies can help to attract a wider customer base – and bolster sales. Paid advertising through Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter can easily target new geographical markets, bringing in new customers and giving your revenue a much-needed uplift during seasonal troughs.

Talk to us about planning for seasonality

If your business is struggling with seasonal dips, and the resulting impact on cashflow, come and talk to us. We’ll help you identify the timing of your seasonal downtime, and come up with a clear strategy for stabilising your income across the year.

Call us on (06) 878 8824 to discuss a plan for your seasonal dips.

Tenancy Laws are changing in NZ

Tenancy laws are changing in New Zealand.

If you own or rent, make sure you understand how these changes will impact you.

Below are some of the changes:

Increasing rent – From 12 August 2020, rent increases are limited to once every 12 months. This is a change from once every 180 days (six months).

Required notice periods are changing – If the landlord or a family member is moving in, the notice period is 63 days notice and if the property is being sold, landlords must give 90 days.

Ending periodic tenancies – Under the new law landlords cannot evict a tenant, without specific reasons. The following document by The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development shows a summary of changes: Residential Tenancies Act Reform – Summary of Changes.

Fixed-term tenancy agreements convert to periodic tenancies – when a fixed-term tenancy agreement expires, agreements must become periodic unless justified reasons apply or both parties agree to end the tenancy.

Assignment of tenancies – All requests to assign a tenancy must be considered. Landlords cannot decline unreasonably.

Making minor changes – Tenants can ask to make changes to the property and landlords must not decline if the change is minor.

No rental bidding – Properties must be listed with the rental price and landlords cannot invite or ask for offers to pay more than the advertised rent amount. Although tenants are still allowed to offer to pay more for a property if they want

Find out more on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s tenancy services website.

Cashflow Tips for the Holiday Period

Depending on your industry, the holiday period can be a slow time of year for business. Despite a dip in cashflow you still need to meet your expenses.

Ensure your bases are covered before you clock off for the year.

1. Plan ahead

Update (or create) a budget to figure out how just much you are going to need to cover your expenses. This is especially important if it’s going to be several weeks before you are generating income again. Maybe businesses close down for weeks over the holiday period. If this is your business, planning ahead is essential.

A budget or a cashflow forecast will help you identify any issues before they become problems.

2. Increase your cashflow where possible

Look for opportunities to increase your cashflow in advance of the holiday break. Ways to do this include:

  • Prioritising jobs you can complete quickly so you can invoice clients straightaway.
  • Incentivising early payment for completed work by offering a discount.
  • Chasing all outstanding invoices.
  • Seeing if you can re-negotiate payment terms with suppliers.
  • Reducing unnecessary spending.

3. Don’t forget taxes

IRD expects GST and Provisional Tax payments to be made on 15 January 2020. Interest and late payment penalties can apply if you don’t.

If paying both GST and Provisional Tax is going to hurt the bank account, prioritise paying the GST. You can utilise the services of an IRD-approved tax pooling provider such as Tax Management NZ to pay the provisional tax later. They reduce IRD interest by up to 30% and eliminate late payment penalties.

As always, we’re happy to work with you so you have nothing to worry about while you enjoy your summer break. Feel free to give us a call on (06) 878 8824.

A Guide to Claiming Festive Functions, Events and Entertainment

How to enjoy all the bells and whistles without the tax headache

Parties are part of the festive fun but they can cost a small fortune.

Here’s a list of the rules around entertainment expenses so you know what’s deductible and non-deductible before you fork out for your staff, clients and customers:

Entertainment

When you’re entertaining clients or colleagues, some entertainment expenses are tax deductible while others aren’t. It can be tricky working out what’s deductible as a business expense and what isn’t.

The basic idea is that an expense is business-related if you spend the money to help your business earn income. Most business-related expenses are fully deductible. If the expense doesn’t help your business earn gross income, it’s private and you can’t claim it as a tax deduction.

It becomes a little trickier when there’s an element of private enjoyment. You might think that the firm’s Christmas party for clients is a business related expense and should be fully deductible because it’s promoting your business, products or services. However:

  • if your clients or employees have a greater opportunity to enjoy the entertainment than the general public, you can only deduct 50% of the costs
  • if anyone associated with the business has a greater opportunity to enjoy the entertainment than the general public, you can only deduct 50% of the costs

Generally speaking, if there’s an element of private enjoyment, the expenses (in addition to the food and drink) associated with events where you entertain clients and/or staff will only be 50% deductible. For instance, this would include the hire of crockery, glasses, waiting staff and music.

There are exceptions. Entertainment supplied for charity is 100% deductible. For instance if you throw a Christmas party for the children’s ward at the local hospital, this is fully deductible. Entertainment enjoyed outside New Zealand is 100% deductible. If you take the team to the Gold Coast for Christmas (lucky them) it will be fully deductible. However, if they contribute towards the cost of their airfares (or anything else), you will need to reduce your expense claim by the amount of the contribution.

Functions and events

Some entertainment expenses are fully deductible but some are not. Use these examples as a guide.

50% deductible

  • Christmas drinks for team members or clients in the office
  • Christmas drinks for team members or clients in the pub
  • Hire of a launch to entertain clients
  • Restaurants providing food and drinks to team members at a social function in their restaurant
  • Staff Christmas party on or off the business premises
  • Function hosted in a marquee at the races or in a corporate box at the rugby (includes the cost of tickets and any food and drink provided.)
  • A weekend away for the team at holiday accommodation in New Zealand (includes any food and drink provided.)

100% deductible

  • Donating food to a Christmas party in a children’s hospital
  • Providing morning and afternoon tea for your team
  • Providing entertainment, including food and drink at your promotional stand for the Cracker Christmas Festival
  • Holding the Christmas party in Fiji (woo-hoo!)

0% deductible

  • Taking your family (who don’t work with you in your business) out for dinner to thank them for being patient while you worked long hours and paying for this using the business credit card

 

REMEMBER: to keep your invoices and receipts for business entertainment expenses.

 

GST

If that’s not enough to think about, you will need to make a GST adjustment for entertainment expenses which are 50% deductible. This adjustment will be required to be made at the time your income tax return is filed. Of course, we can help and advise you on this.

Click here to download a printable PDF guide to claiming Christmas functions, entertainment and gifts.

If you’d like to chat with us about how these rules apply to your circumstances, call us on (06) 878 8824

Getting Holiday Pay Right

Do you have staff taking leave over Christmas? Are systems in place to make sure everyone gets what they’re entitled to?

Even if someone else handles your payroll, you are responsible for making sure holiday pay and leave payments are handled correctly.

Remember:

  • Whether your staff work full-time, part-time, casual, on-call, or shift work, they’re entitled to any benefits that come from working on public holidays.
  • If your employee agrees to work on a public holiday that falls on a day they would normally work, they will need to be paid time and a half PLUS receive another paid day off later, otherwise known as a day in lieu. If an employee works on a public holiday, and it is not a day they would usually work, the employee is only entitled to the time and a half. The entitlement to time and a half has to be included in employment agreements.
  • Employees can choose to take their day in lieu:
    • on a mutually agreeable date that is not a public holiday
    • on another day on which they would normally be working
    • for a whole working day, regardless of how much of the public holiday they actually worked.
  • If your business is having a closedown period, employees are entitled to a paid public holiday if they would ordinarily work on the day of the public holiday.
  • Make sure your payroll system:
    • is flexible enough to handle different working arrangements (eg, changing employee work schedules)
    • records all relevant time worked and payments made
    • has accurate and up-to-date information.
  • If you realise an employee hasn’t been paid the right amount, be up front and correct the mistake immediately.

As always, if you have any questions give us a call on (06) 878 8824.

A Guide to Gifts for your Clients and Employees

The rule of thumb with gifts is that if they consist of food or drink, you can only claim 50% of the expense as a tax deduction.

If you are giving out gift baskets or hampers and some of the contents are food or drink, but not all, the food or drink items are 50% deductible but the other gift items are 100% deductible.

When you come to claim the tax deduction, you will need to apportion the expense between the 100% deductible items and the 50% deductible items.

Gifts to Clients

If your Christmas giving includes gifts to clients, remember that some gifts will be fully deductible while others will be only 50% deductible. Use these examples as a guide.

50% deductible

  • Bottle of wine or six pack of beer
  • Meal voucher
  • Basket of gourmet food
  • Box of chocolates/biscuits
  • Christmas ham

100% deductible

  • Calendar
  • Book or gift voucher
  • Tickets to a rugby game (but not corporate box entertaining)
  • Movie tickets
  • Presents (not food or drink)

Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) on Gifts

If you are giving gifts to your team you may also be liable for fringe benefits tax. There’s a $300 exemption from paying FBT per employee per quarter so if the value of the gift is less than $300 you may be exempt. However, if the value of total benefits for an employee goes over $300 for the quarter year (and provided the total value of all benefits doesn’t exceed $22,500 for the year), the full value of the benefits is subject to FBT.

Top Tip:

If you run out of time to organise Christmas gifts for customers, why not surprise them with a ‘Welcome back to work’ prezzie in the New Year?

Remember to keep your invoices and receipts for business entertainment expenses. If you have any questions about what’s deductible and non-deductible, give us a call on (06) 878 8824.

Understanding your Duties as a Trustee

If you’re a Trustee, it’s essential you get up to speed with your duties under the new Trusts Act 2019. While most of these duties were already considered best practice and some were mandated by common law, they’re now codified in law and must be adhered to.

There are four key changes (or clarifications) to your duties as a trustee.

There are new mandatory duties and default duties, as well as a raft of expectations around record-keeping and supplying beneficiaries with basic Trust information.

Firstly, mandatory duties apply regardless of what the Trust Deed says, these are:

  1. Know the terms of the Trust.
  2. Act in accordance with the terms of the Trust.
  3. Act honestly and in good faith.
  4. Act for the benefit of beneficiaries or to further the permitted purpose of the Trust.
  5. Exercise powers for proper purpose.

These are the minimum standard for Trustee Duties and it’s likely that Trustees have already been acting in accordance with these duties. Remember, these can’t be modified or excluded by the Trust Deed; they apply to all Trustees, no matter what the Trust Deed says.

Secondly, default duties apply unless they’re modified or excluded by the Trust Deed. These include:

  1. General duty of care.
  2. Invest prudently.
  3. Not exercise power for own benefit.
  4. Consider exercise of power.
  5. Not to bind or commit Trustees to future exercise of discretion.
  6. Avoid conflict of interest.
  7. Act impartially.
  8. Not to profit.
  9. Act for no reward.
  10. Act unanimously.

Most of the default duties are best practice and are unlikely to be modified or excluded by the Trust Deed. However, the duty not to profit and to act for no reward may need to be modified if there are Trustees who are paid for their role, for example, if you use a Professional Trustee.

If your Trust modifies or excludes any of the default duties, you must update the Trust Deed to explicitly state these modifications or exclusions.

The Trusts Act 2019 also places a duty on Trustees to retain core documents, such as:

  • The Trust Deed plus any variations
  • Trust minutes
  • Accounts and other Trust documents

Finally, Trustees are now obligated to notify beneficiaries about ‘basic Trust information’.

This includes the fact that they are a beneficiary, details about the Trustees, and their right to request a copy of the Trust Deed.

Beneficiaries also have the right to request other Trust information. Not all requests must be granted, but a request must be considered by Trustees based on factors set out in the Act.

This article provides a brief overview of Trustee Duties for educational purposes and is of a general nature only. It doesn’t constitute legal or professional advice specific to your particular circumstances. As a Trustee, it’s imperative that you understand your duties and are willing and able to continue acting as a Trustee.

We can help you understand your obligations and the impact the Trusts Act might have on your Trust. The looming date for compliance with the new Trusts Act 2019 is 30th January 2021, so contact us today – call us on (06) 878 8824.

Thinking of Buying a Business?

Things to Consider

Buying an existing business can be a great way to get started as a business owner, or to expand operations if you are already running a business successfully.

Established businesses have already done the hard work of setting up a business, so you can get up and running on day one without a lengthy formation process.

Things You’ll Need

  • Why is the business for sale? – It’s important to understand the motivation for the sale, whether strategic or whether an emergency sale. There may also be hidden reasons for the sale which your research can uncover.
  • Research – Do more than you think you need to! Market research, investigation, learning and questioning about the potential business, the locale, the industry, the customers, the suppliers, the competitors, the market and the nature of the goods or services being sold will ensure you don’t rush into a decision just because it looks like a good deal.
  • Due diligence – You’ll need to see detailed financial records, contracts, licenses, supplier agreements, lists of equipment, assets and inventory, lists of liabilities, loans and debts, and all employee records before making your decision.
  • A good business plan – That covers one year, two to three years and possibly five years as well. This will help you to look at the longer term and big picture, assess the potential of the business and give a realistic picture of what you are committing to.
  • Independent advice – from your tax agent and other business advisors such as an industry expert, business broker or lawyer. You might think a business looks like a great potential, but objective observers may pick up issues or queries that you have not.
  • Finance – Whether it’s your own funds, a business loan or short term finance options, you will need to work with your advisors and refer to the business plan to assess how much you will really need for the initial purchase, transition period, and future investment.
  • Commitment to the work – Being prepared for responsibility required to run a business. Running a business does require certain skills, as well as time, energy and money. You need to be clear about your reasons for going into business and to be sure you are up for the challenge!

When considering a business, we can help you to analyse the financial reports, activity statements, tax returns and sales and purchases records to give you an independent overview of the financial performance and potential of the business.

We can assist in understanding the financial performance and benchmarks of a business you are considering buying so that you make the best decision possible! Call us on (06) 878 8824 today.

Digital Marketing on a Shoestring Budget

Promoting your goods and services to potential customers is at the heart of running any successful business. And to advertise your brand in the modern world means diving into the world of digital marketing – i.e. online promotion activity for your business.

87% of consumers begin their search for a product online, according to recent research. So having an ‘online presence’ is critical if you’re going to engage with prospective customers, create sales leads and generate enquiries for your team to follow up. That means investing in the right tools, training and marketing expertise, so you can start interacting with customers in the digital space – a move that can start to get expensive!

But what if money is tight at present, and staff resources are low? How can you create successful digital marketing on a shoestring budget?

Economical ways to drive your digital marketing

Digital marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. Yes, large businesses do spend millions on targeted digital campaigns, search engine optimisation (SEO) and above-the-line advertising. But you can also achieve great results without the big budgets.

Ultimately, simple digital marketing requires three very basic things:

  1. A company website – whether it’s a full-blown WordPress website or a basic Facebook Business page, you need an online hub to act as your company’s shop window.
  2. Good SEO – if people are going to find your new product page, or read your company blog, you need good SEO to ensure you feature in the top search results.
  3. A social media presence – people buy from people and your company social media accounts are an amazing way to interact with prospects and generate followers.

For many small businesses, this is all you need to kickstart your digital marketing and to start tentatively reaching out into the online market. But with a little work and smart planning, you can expand on your digital activity without running up a huge marketing bill.

Here are some economical ways to improve the return on your digital marketing:

  • Review and improve your website – is your site easy to navigate? Does it provide visitors with the information they need? Is it clear what you want people to do on each page? This ‘call-to-action’ must be clear so people click through to your contact page, blog, shopping cart, or appointment booking page. The more effective you make your site, the greater the chances are that it will generate leads, followers and paying customers.
  • Think about SEO and keywords – it’s vital that you use keywords and search terms in your online content that match what your customers are searching for. If you’re selling premium running shoes, for example, the keyword ‘running shoes’ should appear in your blog titles, your page metadata (the text embedded in the page that you don’t see) and in the body text of your landing pages and home page etc.
  • Claim your Google listing – let’s be honest, most of us use Google as our search engine of choice. So, if you’re going to capitalise on this, you need to own your Google listing so prospective customers can find you and know the important details about the business. Make sure your opening hours and contact details are correct, turn on reviews and encourage happy customers to post one – nothing beats good feedback!
  • Feature in relevant directories and groups – Are there other consumer, trade or sector-specific directories you should be on? Often this is just a matter of making sure you’ve sent in the right information, so look for the most relevant directories and make sure you’re listed, with all the correct contact information and online links.
  • Get proactive with your social media – if your customers are on social media then make sure you’re on social platforms too. Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram are all free to set up and give you a platform for interacting with followers, sharing content and company news and generating interest in your brand and products/services. To learn how to make the most of your social media marketing, we recommend Jodine McIntyre from Social Smarty.
  • Post great content and advice – content marketing can be extremely powerful – and won’t cost you a fortune. Publishing blogs, newsletters, news articles and helpful advice through your website helps to position your brand in the market and generate interest. You don’t have to publish something every week, but do try to keep content regular, useful and engaging. Think about creating short guides that relate to the product or service you offer. If people find it valuable, it will do wonders for your ranking on Google!
  • Start making smart use of video – Video can be an amazing way to communicate with your audience, and all you need to get started is your smartphone. Most modern phones are capable of recording high-quality video and audio, so there’s nothing to stop you posting your own vlogs or creating a YouTube channel to share video tutorials, opinion pieces or product overviews. You could even try doing a Facebook live event and broadcasting live to your customer base to add something new and interesting to your marketing mix and campaign content.

The Obvious and Unexpected Benefits of having a Personal Budget

Having a personal budget is essential to gaining control of your personal finances.

Budgeting doesn’t necessarily mean restriction; it frees up your money, so you know exactly what’s available to spend.

The top 10 benefits of personal budgeting:

  1. Gives you control. Developing your personal budget gives you control over your money. You’ll know how much cash you’ll have coming in and can make a plan for how to spend it.
  2. Focuses you on your money goals. Everyone should have goals for their money. Whether this is paying off debt, increasing your savings, or freeing up more cash to invest in your business, a personal budget will keep you focused on achieving these goals.
  3. Creates awareness of where your money goes. Have you ever looked at your personal drawings from your business and thought ‘we can’t possibly have spent that much money last year!’? You’re not alone. So many people really have no idea what they spend their money on.
  4. Builds better money habits. Reviewing your actual results against your budget each month will encourage you to think about your spending before you spend.
  5. Helps manage debt levels. You’ll be able to plan for unexpected expenses instead of obtaining debt to pay for emergencies. You’ll also be able to allocate more money to debt repayments to become debt-free faster.
  6. Helps you achieve your wealth goals. Wealth goals are your long-term financial goals; saving for retirement or major life events. Because these are long-term, you need to start planning the steps to achieve your wealth goals now.
  7. Provides an early warning system. By regularly monitoring your spending, you’ll quickly identify upcoming costs and adjust your spending if required.
  8. Aids communication. Spending time developing your personal budget with your spouse will ensure you’re aligned with your spending plan.
  9. Provides you with more money. If you have a personal budget and stick to it, you’ll end up with more money at the end of the year than you would’ve had without a budget.
  10. Ultimately, it gives you a better life. Not only will you end up with more money, but you’ll also likely have less conflict and stress over money.

Personal budgeting doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process. Dedicating 1-2 hours a month to budgeting will result in a huge improvement; not only to your bank account but to your stress levels too.

“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” – Dave Ramsay

Dedicating 1-2 hours a month to budgeting will result in a huge improvement; not only to your bank account but to your stress levels too.

Contact us if you need help developing your personal budget – we have an easy to use template we can send you. Call us on (06) 878 8824.

Take Some Small Steps to Better Wellbeing

We are living in uncertain times right now. The situation changes daily with new challenges to overcome. We are all feeling the strain. So what can we do to manage the stress and regain some much-needed sense of wellbeing?

Research shows that doing something (no matter how small) is the best way to manage anxiety. There is a lot we can’t control right now but there are also things you can do, and simply taking action can help us feel in control and therefore happier.

Here are some ideas:

  • Connect with others – Helping others is good for you. Solving a challenge for a customer, colleague, or friend not only gives them much needed assistance but is also great for your own sense of wellbeing.
  • Achieve one thing on your to-do list – When you’ve ticked an item off your to-do list the satisfaction of achieving something is powerful. Sometimes the tasks that you put off aren’t so bad after you put your mind to it. Aim to achieve one thing each day to shorten that list and give you a sense of accomplishment.
  • Time out – Do something you enjoy, whether it’s a really great cup of coffee, spending time outdoors, talking to friends, engaging in something constructive – even a jigsaw puzzle! (unlike so much of our normal work activities, a jigsaw rewards you with something to show for your efforts). Give yourself time to switch off and re-energise.
  • Movement – Our bodies weren’t designed to sit at a desk all day. Being active for just 30 minutes a day improves your physical and mental health. Exercise not only gives you a welcome distraction from worries by forcing you to shift focus, but it also prompts your brain to release chemicals that improve your mood.
  • Routine helps – Our normal routines have changed and it’s easy to spend long hours at your desk working and missing out on usual breaks. Try to stick to a routine each day so you control your working hours. And get a good night’s sleep.
  • Reflect – Take time to reflect on your achievements during the day. Those little mindful moments can all add up to a great sense of peace and accomplishment. Something we could do with a bit more of when we’re feeling pressure or stress.

Anxiety and stress are a normal part of everyday life, but not when it takes over. If you’d like more resources for yourself or someone you know, there is lots of information on websites like Beyond BlueHealth Navigator, and Mind.

Wage Subsidy Extension and Resurgence Wage Subsidy

Applications have closed for the initial wage subsidy.

However, if you’re still significantly affected by COVID-19, you may qualify for a Wage Subsidy Extension. Applications opened 10 June 2020 and close at 11.59pm on 1 September 2020.

A 2-week COVID-19 Resurgence Wage Subsidy is available nationally for employers, including self-employed people, who are financially impacted by the resurgence of COVID-19 and changes to COVID Alert Levels. Applications for the Resurgence Wage Subsidy opened 21 August 2020 and close 3 September 2020.

No double-dipping

You can apply for the extension even if you didn’t apply for the original wage subsidy. However, you can’t receive more than one COVID-19 payment for the same employee at the same time. This includes the:

  • Wage Subsidy
  • Leave Support Scheme
  • Wage Subsidy Extension
  • Resurgence Wage Subsidy

You can’t apply for the wage subsidy extension for an employee until their 12-week wage subsidy has finished.

Main requirements

You are entitled to the Wage Subsidy Extension if:

  • your business has experienced a 40% drop in revenue because of COVID-19 for a continuous 30-day period. The 30 day period must be within the 40 days before you apply (and no earlier than 10 May 2020, and compared to the closest period in 2019). If you are a pre-revenue research and development start-up business, you can include a drop in projected capital income when determining the 40% decrease in revenue.

You are entitled to the Resurgence Wage Subsidy if:

  • your business has experienced, or you predict you will experience, a 40% drop in revenue in a two-week period between 12 August and 10 September, compared to a similar period in 2019 because of COVID-19.

For both subsidies, you will need to show that you have taken active steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on your business. This includes talking to your bank, drawing on cash reserves, making an insurance claim. You need to be able to provide evidence of the impact on your business and the steps you have taken.

And, as an employer, you:

  • must retain employees for the period of the subsidy
  • do your best to pay your employees 80% of their pre-COVID-19 income for the period of the subsidy. If this is not possible then you pass the entire wage subsidy on to employees. This applies to all employees, and they all must at least receive the full value of the subsidy. Where the ordinary wages or salary of an employee was lawfully below the amount of the subsidy before the impact of COVID-19, you can pay the employee that amount
  • can’t apply for a wage subsidy for employees if you’ve already made them redundant. If you want to apply for them, you must cancel their redundancy notice and re-hire them. You can then apply for that employee and you must retain them for the period of the wage subsidy.

Your declaration and obligations

When you apply for either the Wage Subsidy Extension or the Resurgence Wage Subsidy, you make a declaration about your business and how you will use the subsidy. You must meet your obligations as an employer and notify the Ministry of Social Development within 5 working days if anything changes.

Give us a call if you would like to discuss your requirements and obligations – (06) 878 8824

Managing Debt

Running a small business requires taking some risks. Debt is one of those risks, but it is also a positive tool for small business that is usually necessary in order to fund your growth.

However, when circumstances change and your debt levels grow, it can keep you up at night.

It is important to act early and put a plan in place to manage it. We can help you assess the situation and create a payment plan. This will include your business priorities and your obligations such as payroll, suppliers, tax, insurance and other bills.

Start with the numbers

The more informed you are, the easier it will be to manage your outstanding debt and regular payments. Using your accounting software, you can get a clear picture of money coming in and going out and then you can make decisions based on this.

The strategies you put in place will depend on your business. They could include negotiating with lenders and suppliers; reducing costs through your business operations; increasing revenue via sales or other options, and seeking more funding.

Talk to us about your business and your debt repayment plan. We are here to help. Call us on (06) 878 8824.

Getting ready to exit your business?

You'll need a strategy.

If you are looking to exit your business or have a future plan to do so, you need a strategy.

When you sell up, you want your business to have as much inherent value as possible – so you get a good price, a great return on your investment and the best possible payout.

So, how do you take yourself ‘out of the business’ as the founder, add the best value and set up an effective and financially beneficial exit strategy?

Adding value to the company

The more attractive the business looks in the market, the better the price you’ll achieve, or the better the yield you’ll see on selling your company shares.

To drive that value:

  • Work on the business, not in it – so you’re no longer a fundamental part of the day-to-day operations, and can focus on the higher-level strategic elements. We can help you restructure the operations so that your business stands up to a potential buyer, when you are no longer in it.
  • Invest in adding value – keep profits in the business, reduce your personal drawings and plough that money back into growth and investment.
  • Improve your financial health – by taking control of your finances and building a strong balance sheet, positive cashflow and attractive profit forecasts. A buyer will want to see how your business has performed over the last two years.
  • Have a business manual – that describes the processes and tasks in your business so a new owner can hit the ground running.

Talk to us about exiting your business

If you’re looking to sell up, you need a plan. Come and talk to us about creating a workable exit strategy, with a clear focus on driving value and delivering a solid return on your investment.

Get in touch to build your exit strategy. Call us on (06) 878 8824

The difference between Restructuring and Redundancy

In the current economic climate, your business may be exploring cost-saving options, including reorganising or downsizing your workforce.

If you are looking at restructuring and the possibility of redundancies, you need to understand the difference between the two, as they often get mistaken for the same thing.

Getting either wrong could cause you issues, delays, or personal grievance claims and potential financial penalties.

Restructuring

Restructuring is a process. The aim is to get the right roles set up in the best way so your business can deliver its products or services more efficiently and effectively.

It can involve creating new roles, merging existing roles, disestablishing roles that aren’t needed, or a combination of these things.

Every restructure needs to be driven by a genuine commercial reason – e.g. a change in market demands, financial constraints, brand realignment, merging with another company – and this reason must be clearly communicated during the restructuring process.

Redundancy

Redundancy is an outcome, usually of the restructuring process. In the course of a restructure, roles that are identified as surplus to the company’s commercial needs become redundant (or are disestablished). So, a restructure can lead to a redundancy, but a redundancy cannot lead to a restructure.

It’s important to remember that restructures and redundancies centre on the roles (or teams) doing work not on the people doing the work. Also remember that a restructure is only a proposal that all affected employees have a right to give feedback on, and the business has to genuinely consider that feedback.

This article gives you a good overview of the differences between restructuring and redundancy and covers the procedures your business needs to go through in order to get them right.

Personal Grievances where Employment Relationship is Triangular

Recent Changes

A triangular employment relationship is when you are employed by one entity, but your work is actually under the control or direction of another entity. For example, under the labour for hire model or via a recruitment agency.

The changes: Up until mid-2020, employees could only bring a personal grievance against their employer (e.g. the labour-hire company), and the third party they worked for couldn’t be added to the claim. Now, under changes made by the Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Act 2019, the “controlling third party” can be added to the claim against the employer, and potentially be responsible for providing remedies to the employee.

If you contract labour through triangular employment relationships, be aware of the implications for your business and employment practices where you might have third party responsibilities.

Business Health Check

Having a hard time working through staff disputes? Employment NZ’s mediators offer a range of high-quality mediation and case management services to help work through disputes and employment relationship breakdowns.

Considering redundancies? Make sure you follow the workplace change process to reduce the risk of a personal grievance. Redundancy should only happen after all redeployment options have been exhausted. Head to Employment NZ or Wolters Kluwer HR resources for more information.

Workers on call? Remember zero-hour contracts no longer exist.

If you plan to have staff on call, you must:

  • give them at least some guaranteed hours of work
  • specify the notice period that applies to the cancellation of a shift, and
  • provide reasonable compensation for time on-call or when a shift is cancelled outside the notice period.