Showing posts from 2015

Technology and your accountant could be the difference between success and failure

Want to succeed as a small business owner? Have a mentor or an accountant. 

Xero's recent Make or Break? report shows that asking for help from mentors and advisors, and having a good relationship with your accountant, means you have a leg up. The research was timed to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week which kicks-off today.

Surveying 2,000 small business owners across the US and the UK, we found that those owners who collaborate with an accountant or bookkeeper, 42% of survivors describe that relationship as "excellent," compared to 27% of those whose company failed.

This statistic shows just how important accountants are to the ongoing success of the small businesses they serve.

Those who succeed also invest in technology for increased productivity in finance. It was also found that they dedicate funds to marketing and customer service. Nearly six in 10 survivors (58%) use software to manage their finances vs. a marginal 14% of failures. Plus just shy of a thi…

Fringe benefit tax: Private use of vehicles

Is your employee about to use a work vehicle for their Christmas holiday road trip? Such a perk is known as a fringe benefit – and is taxed.

Businesses often provide perks for employees in addition to their salary or wages. One example is having a vehicle available for private use by employees.

The most important point to remember is you’ll have to pay FBT, whether or not your employees actually use the vehicle. Just having the vehicle available for their private use makes it a fringe benefit. You will need to register with Inland Revenue for FBT and file FBT returns.
What is ‘private use’? Private use includes travel by an employee from or to their home, and any other travel that involves a personal or domestic element.

If you’re a sole trader or partner in a partnership and you use a business vehicle privately, you don’t have to pay FBT. But you will need to account for the private use by making an adjustment in your income tax and GST returns. Use a logbook to keep track of your bu…

Holiday pay and entitlements: How to calculate

The holiday season is a chance to relax with family and friends. Take the time to calculate and pay your staff what they’re entitled to, and everyone will have a merry Christmas.

Public holidays, annual closedowns, different pay rates – there are many considerations in the run-up to Christmas apart from buying presents.

Employees are entitled to a paid day off on a public holiday if it would otherwise be a working day.
Many businesses have an annual closedown over the Christmas period, when staff have to take time off, even if they don’t have any annual leave.

If public holidays fall inside your annual closedown period, you must pay employees for them if they're on days they’d usually work.

This Christmas season two public holidays – Boxing Day and January 2 – fall on a Saturday, so this has implications for employees.

For staff who don’t work weekends, the first workday after these dates will be treated as their public holidays – so they won’t have to work on Monday 28 December 2…

Tax on Christmas parties and presents

It’s coming up to that time of year when you might be planning a staff Christmas party. It's great for morale and a chance to mark the end of the year. But what are the tax considerations?

You may be able to claim as business expenses events such as Christmas functions or giving gifts to employees.

However, you may not be able to claim all of the costs, and they may also be subject to fringe benefit tax (FBT). FBT is a tax paid on benefits that workers receive as a result of their employment.

You may be able to claim 50% of your party expenses in your GST and income tax returns if the expenses are related to your business. But there’s also a significant private element.
Party expenses you can claim 50% of can include:
venue hirefood and drinkentertainment You can generally claim 100% of the cost of gifts, such as food baskets or event tickets, as a business expense. But you may need to pay FBT on such gifts.

If you provide other types of goodies, like accommodation in a holiday hom…

More detail in NZ Companies Office annual returns

From 1 July, annual returns to the Companies Office must include extra information about company directors.

Filing an annual return will remain a quick and easy process, but you will need to take the time to gather the following details:
Date and place of birth for each director of the company you’re filing the annual return for (don’t worry – this information will not be publicly available).
Details of an ultimate holding company, if applicable, including where the holding company is registered. (If you’re unsure what an ultimate holding company is, check the shares and shareholders section of the Companies Office website.) If this information is missing, the annual return will not be accepted and the company may be removed from the register.

Remember, by 28 October 2015, all New Zealand incorporated companies must have at least one director who lives in New Zealand, or a director who lives in Australia and who is also a director of an Australian incorporated company.

See Companies Ac…

Business.Govt.NZ - Compliance Matters

The website has now added a compliance section – Compliance Matters. The purpose is to have all the related information in one place easily accessible to businesses. You can search various topics (employment, business growth or closure, health and safety etc) and limit these to specific industries (e.g. construction, accommodation and food, manufacturing etc).

You can then select the items/topics that are applicable to you and make an "action list".

Payroll Legislation Financial year changes

Changes to payroll legislation happen every year that you need to be aware of.
Changes for the year ahead include:Increase in the maximum liable earnings from $118,191 to $120,070 for the purposes of calculating the ACC Earner levy.Minimum adult wage is increasing from $14.25 to $14.75 from 1 April 2015.The starting-out and training hourly minimum wages will increase from $11.40 to $11.80 an hour.Various amendments to the Employment Relations Act 2000 also came into force on 6 March 2015. Employers particularly need to be aware of the changes regarding Flexible Working Arrangements and Rest and meal breaks.

10 things you need to do before the Mondayised ANZAC Day

The Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day) Amendment Bill or, as it is more commonly known, the ‘Mondayisation Bill’, will have its first big impact on ANZAC Day.

Here are 10 simple things you can to do to make sure your business stays compliant:Know what’s new. The ‘Mondayisation Bill’ states that from now on, when Waitangi Day (6 February) or ANZAC Day (25 April) fall on a weekend, the public holiday must be treated as falling on the following Monday for employees who would not otherwise work on that Saturday or Sunday.Know what stays the same. For employees who would normally otherwise work on that Saturday or Sunday, the public holiday must still be treated as falling on that day. If you close for the holiday, you must pay these weekend workers their regular holiday pay. If your business remains open for the holiday, employees are entitled to at least time and a half pay and a whole day’s alternative holiday (day in lieu) at a later date.Get your ducks in a row.

More detail now needed on your company annual returns

New Zealand companies will need to provide additional information to the Companies Office as a result of changes introduced by the Companies Amendment Act 2014.

The changes have been brought in to prevent the misuse of the Companies Register, and to give the Registrar of Companies extra powers. They are designed to improve the quality and integrity of the information held by the Registrar about New Zealand companies, and to assist the Registrar in holding those who misuse the register to account. While some changes are already in place, others are being phased in throughout the year to give everyone enough time to prepare and meet their compliance obligations.

The main changesNew Zealand incorporated companies need to have a director who either lives in New Zealand or Australia, and if they live in Australia, that individual must be a director of a company incorporated in Australia.Directors must provide their date and place of birth to the Registrar - this information won’t be public…

NZ Minimum wage rise on April 1

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister recently announced that from April 1 2015:
the adult minimum wage will increase from $14.25 to $14.75 an hourthe starting-out and training hourly minimum wages will increase from $11.40 to $11.80 an hour. This is a good time to review your staff wages, budgets and payroll compliance.

5 key questions to ask yourself:
Have you updated your payroll systems and calculations to reflect the higher wage? You’ll need to start using the new minimum wages in calculations from 1 April, even if that is in the middle of a pay cycle.
Do you have employees on the starting-out wage who need to be moved to the adult minimum wage? If your young employees have been with you for six months or longer, or are involved in the training or supervision of other staff, you must pay them at least the adult minimum wage.
Are your employees who are receiving the training minimum wage still in training? If they are no longer in training, and have taken on a full work-load, you mus…

Why my small business switched to Xero

The post Why my small business switched to Xero appeared first on Xero Blog.
From guest author David Koch a small business and finance expert, and co-host of Australian TV show Sunrise.

I'm not a huge fan of the Super Bowl, but I love seeing the ads. They're always the highlight of the whole event for a lot of people. This year there was a great ad by BMW that showed a clip of two TODAY show hosts from 1994 who were reading an email address out loud. It was obviously the first time they'd done so. They didn't know how to pronounce an '@'. This led to the perplexed duo questioning "what is internet anyway?"

Today's rapid outpouring of technology and innovation often leaves business owners wondering "what is this?" and "do I really need it?" In a lot of cases, perhaps not. Small businesses have enough on their plate without trying to educate themselves on every single new 'life-changing' product or service. But when it come…