Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Employee Cost Calculator to give more confidence to small business owners looking to hire

Kiwi small businesses thinking of hiring new staff now have access to a new tool to calculate the cost of a new employee, giving them more clarity when making these important decisions.

A new Employee Cost Calculator launched today by Small Business Minister Craig Foss. Developed by at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), business owners can now quickly estimate the fixed and discretionary costs of a new employee.

Often when businesses are in growth mode, they're bringing on staff to drive demand and handle that growth. This can be dangerous when you don't have a good view of what your staff costs will look like a year on. And unfortunately I've worked with a few businesses who have got themselves into trouble by not anticipating exactly how expensive their staff costs might be. This tool will be immensely helpful to understand exactly how much it will cost and to grow with confidence.

Owners can select from various categories in the tool, such as salary or hourly rate, industry and role type to find out the real cost of employing someone and ultimately give them more confidence to take the next step.

The tool pulls data from government agencies and Trade Me Jobs so that business owners get a real picture of how much it cost to employ someone. In addition, owners can see what they will need to pay straight away, and get a breakdown of the compulsory costs like ACC levies, KiwiSaver contributions and Fringe Benefit Tax. It also includes the cost of of employing someone in the first year, and a monthly ballpark for better budget management.

Information generated from the calculator can be saved to compare different options such as hourly rate and to see what impact that has on the bigger picture.

The Employee Cost Calculator is part of a package of tools being developed by We would encourage any business owners to give it a go so you are confident and informed when it comes to the costs of employing someone.

Check out Xero's Small Business Guides – Hire the Right Employees or How to build your team for more great insights.

A variation of this post appeared first on Xero Blog.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

IRD payment options have changed

Limited services at Westpac

Westpac will continue to accept cash or eftpos payments over the counter after 1 October 2014 but they'll no longer accept any cheque payments, returns or other documents. (These will need to be either filed online or posted to Inland Revenue.)

Posted cheques must be received on time

From 1 October 2014, cheque payments posted to Inland Revenue must arrive on or before the due date to avoid late payment penalties and interest.

Direct Credit Refunds (in error)
If the IRD direct credits a refund to you in error (you may have wanted the refund transferred to another tax type), provided you return the credit within 20 working days to the them, the IRD will backdate the refund to the original date with no penalties or interest being charged. The repayment 
needs to be made to the same tax type as the original refund and you need to advise the IRD (phone or email) that you have returned the payment, so they can change the date in their system to the original date.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Tips from Xero for small businesses to manage their finances over summer

Money Week is here in NewCashflow-BlogZealand! With summer fast approaching it’s a timely reminder for small businesses to ensure their finances are in shape for the holiday season.
Trend analysis of Xero’s small business customers in New Zealand from 2011 to 2014 shows accounts receivable is on average more than 30 percent lower in January than the 12 month average. So businesses need to be prepared for that lower than normal cashflow.
If there’s one thing we know about small business finances, it’s that cashflow is king so preparing well in advance for that dip in January is crucial. Taking sensible, practical steps will help you control spending and manage your business finances during that holiday period.
Developing a clear financial plan to keep track of finances coming in and going out is key to keeping business in shape.
And, with only ten weeks until Christmas, now is a great time to take a few hours and plan all the really important things that need to happen before then.
Different plans work for different businesses, and owners should discuss this with their accountant to see what works best, but it’s important to be realistic and estimate how much you’ll sell and spend. Plug these numbers into your financial plan and see if the results work for your business.
Planning for an increase in spending over the holiday period, such as Christmas functions and gift buying, is vital. Then there are public holidays – knowing your obligations when it comes to paying staff and planning ahead can save a lot of trouble.
Prompt invoicing and cash collection ahead of the Christmas break will also help, ensuring your business has enough cash flowing to pay the bills come January.

Tips from Xero: Improving your cashflow

All small business owners experience the stress of managing cashflow, but life would be a lot less stressful if your customers paid you faster. Here are some tips to speed up the process and dramatically improve your small business finances for the holiday season.
  • Invoice immediately
  • Email your invoices
  • Write detailed descriptions on your invoices to avoid confusion
  • Set your own payment terms (such as days to pay)
  • Encourage direct payments to your bank account
  • Use your mobile phone to access your accounts and check-in during the day to keep on top of your cashflow
  • Have someone else call your debtors
  • Send statements
  • Use your Accounts Receivable reports to manage cashflow
For further information, check out the Money Week website.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Xero Small business day2day webinars – get up to speed...

When you’re running a small business, getting the most from your finance software is really going to help you drive the business forward. Xero understands the importance of training and education when your business first starts using cloud-based software for your accounting. That’s why they have created a series of ‘day2day webinars’ aimed specifically at small business owners.

Improving your day2day use of Xero

Getting into the detail and functionality of Xero is really going to help you get more from your numbers, reporting and day-to-day bookkeeping. So Xero's brilliant Education team are running a series of webinars where you can learn first-hand how to get more from your day2day accounting.
Basic bookkeeping - keep it simple
The webinars will run you through a variety of key features and functions to help you with your everyday accounting, from entering sales invoices, setting up payment services, using the bank reconciliation and understanding your numbers.

The first one in the series is ‘Basic bookkeeping’ which helps you get to grips with the basics of accounting so you can understand a little more about how your accounts are put together. 

The other two webinars are ‘Using Xero’, where they run you through the basic functionality of the Xero software, and ‘Reconciling and reporting’ which takes an in depth look at the bank reconciliation and also drills down into some of the reports that are vital for running your business.

You can register for the webinars here:

If you’re brand new to Xero, these webinars will really help you to hit the ground running, so please do sign up and start expanding your Xero experience.

Monday, 4 August 2014

When should you hire an accountant?

hire accountant
Research Xero did in the small business community showed that many small businesses are unsure about when to hire an accountant and about the value they can bring. Xero’s latest Small Business Guide ‘When to hire an accountant’ provides all the top tips you need to know.

If you’re a small business owner, the chances are pretty high that you didn’t start your own business to be swamped in the financials. This is where it makes sense to get a professional to take care of the numbers so you can focus on what you do best – running the business.

Growing small businesses need well-managed finances
Small business owners are always looking to save money, so an accountant can often be considered an unnecessary expense. But certain tasks (such as filing taxes) can be very time consuming for someone without experience  – and even then the tax return can be riddled with errors. The best accountants and bookkeepers will be looking for ways that your business can make money. They are coaches, always encouraging and training you for better results.

Add value to your business
With the help of a seasoned professional, small businesses can create more opportunities for themselves. Some of these include:
  • increasing revenue
  • reducing expenses
  • planning cashflow
  • growing the business
  • business planning
  • identifying new market opportunities.
If your small business uses a financial advisor they are also less likely to have compliance issues or errors in their data – which may cause major problems down the track. With the use of cloud software, an accountant doesn’t need be a full-time employee as there is so much flexibility to work remotely using the same data.

Make running your company easier
From helping with the legal structure of your company, applying for a business loan or overdraft, or helping with the finances, an accountant is there to make running a business easier. A common problem is engaging an accountant too late, when a business has a problem. 

Accountants can identify the root cause of business problems and help business owners correct the cause. It’s always best to have your financial advisor on board as part of the team before you need them, rather than afterwards.

Xero’s latest small business guideWhen you should hire an accountant’ highlights the stages where a professional will add the most value.

The post When should you hire an accountant? appeared first on Xero Blog.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Do you know about the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) and how it might help your business?

When meeting with a new client this week we discussed his risk relating to security over his stock.

He provides coffee vending machines on a lease basis. The machines belong to his company and the customer has full use and pays for the consumables without the capital outlay.

Sounds like a win win for all? It is, but my client is at risk...

The Risk: My client may loose his valuable coffee machines, if something happens to his customer, as his machines are on the customers' premises.

Solution: Register the coffee machines on the PPSR -

Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) Logo

The Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) is an electronic register that allows security interests in personal property to be registered and searched in accordance with the New Zealand Personal Property Securities Act 1999. The New Zealand PPSR is maintained by the New Zealand Companies Office, an agency of the Ministry of Economic Development.
Being on the PPSR you can take back any products for which you have not been paid and you 'rank' above unsecured creditors for payment if the need arises.

You do not need to register for every customer but assess your risk of how much 'loss' you can comfortably carry before it materially affects your business. The PPSR is used strongly in the building and the building supply industry.

Many small businesses do not know the PPSR exists and only find out when it is too late.

Other reasons to use the Personal Property Securities Register

  1. Check before property is offered as collateral.
    It's first in first served so make sure no one else already has an interest on the property.
  2. Check that no money is owed on a vehicle before you buy, otherwise you could land up paying the seller and the interested party.
  3. If security interests are recorded against you, keep your details up to date.

Searching the PPSR

There are many different reasons why you might want to search the PPSR.
If you want to conduct a search on the website, you will have to be a registered user.

A secured party is likely to search the PPSR as part of the process leading up to entering into a security agreement.

Consumers may search the PPSR before buying an item of personal property to check that there is no money owing.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

New minimum wage rates

New minimum wage rates take effect from 1 April 2014

The new adult minimum wage rates (before tax) that apply to employees aged 16 or over will be:

  • $14.25 per hour, which is
  • $114.00 for an 8-hour day,
  • $570.00 for a 40-hour week.

The Starting-out wage  rates and the training minimum wage rates (before tax) will increase to:

  • $11.40 an hour, which is
  • $91.20 for an 8-hour day or
  • $456.00 for a 40-hour week.

The Starting-out wage  applies to:

  • 16 and 17 year olds in their first six months of work with a new employer (or until they are training or supervising others)
  • 18 and 19 year olds who have been paid a benefit for six months or longer, and who have not completed six months of continuous work with any employer since starting on benefit (or until they are training or supervising others)
  • 16 to 19 year old workers in a recognised industry training course involving at least 40 credits a year.
The training minimum wage applies to employees aged 20 years or over who are doing recognised industry training involving at least 60 credits a year as part of their employment agreement, in order to become qualified.

For more information on minimum wage rates, go to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's website ( / Minimum Wage/) or call 0800 20 90 20.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Minimum Employment Rights and Obligations

If you're employer and looking to hire new staff, then it’s important you know your employment rights and obligations.

All employees have the same minimum employment rights no matter if they are working full-time, part-time or on a casual basis.

Employers have an obligation to ensure all their employees are receiving at least their minimum employment rights.

Minimum employment rights include:

  • Four weeks' paid annual holidays at the end of each year of employment.
  • One 10 minute paid rest break for every four hours worked plus one unpaid 30 minute meal break when working more than four hours. 
  • A signed employment agreement. 
  • Employees aged 16 years and over must be paid at least the adult minimum wage rate. 

Employers must:

  • Keep an accurate record of an employee’s time worked, payments, and holiday & leave entitlements 
  • Keep a signed copy of the employment agreement 
  • Pay employees their daily pay or average daily pay (if applicable) for public holidays
  • Ensure that the person they’re employing has the legal right to work in New Zealand 

More information

More information about minimum employment rights is available from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s labour website.