Sick leave changes

Sick leave changes

When: From 24 July 2021

What: The number of sick leave days employees are entitled to will increase from five to 10. Employees will get the extra five days when they reach their next entitlement date – either after being employed in a job for six months or on their sick leave entitlement anniversary (12 months after they were last entitled to sick leave).

Employees who already get 10 or more sick days a year will not be affected by this change.

Why: To ensure that employees have enough time to recover from sickness or injury, making the workplace healthier and more productive.

What you need to do:  After an employee has been working for you for six months, or when an employee reaches their next entitlement date after 24 July 2021, they will be entitled to an extra five days paid sick leave a year.

This means everything else remains consistent but there are slight variations to what you need to do.

You must:

  • Allow for employees to accumulate up to 20 days of sick leave. This means employees can carry over 10 days of unused sick leave into the next year.
  • Ensure that payroll systems have been updated to reflect the increase in sick leave.
  • Update employment agreements to align with employee’s new sick leave entitlements where necessary. The new minimum entitlements will apply whether or not an employment agreement is updated, but updating the agreement is best practice.
  • Be aware of the changes and communicate with employees.
  • Allow employees to use sick leave to care for a sick or injured spouse, partner, dependent child or any other dependent individual.
  • Pay a sick employee what they’d get if they’d worked a normal day, including bonuses, overtime, etc.

You can:

  • Let employees who’ve worked for you for less than six months take sick leave in advance.
  • Choose to let employees carry over extra sick leave, beyond the 20 day requirement from year to year.
  • Offer more than 10 days sick leave a year.

This also applies to casual workers if, after six months, they have worked

  • an average of at least 10 hours a week and
  • at least one hour a week or 40 hours a month.­­

Minimum sick leave increase(external link) — Employment New Zealand

Sick leave entitlements(external link) — Employment New Zealand

P is for purpose, not profit

P is for purpose, not profit

Why does your business exist?

Your purpose is three to seven words explaining why your business exists for your customers; it should be about them, not you. It is a small statement with immense power – your reason for being.

EXAMPLES:
Tesla: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
Netflix: To entertain the world.
Zoom: To make video communications frictionless and secure.

These may be big company examples, but a clear purpose statement is just as important for small and medium sized business.

A well-defined purpose statement is an antidote to narcissistic by-lines of the past… because we know that consumers are wired to take a self-interest and therefore will engage your business if your ‘why’ resonates with them. Thereafter, your purpose will drive the alignment of values and loyalty.

If you don’t focus on purpose, you’re likely to focus on profit.

Guess what? Your customers aren’t interested in you making a profit. They’re too worried about their own profit. They are more than happy for you to make a profit – provided you meet their needs first.

The correlation between a business’s ability to serve a higher purpose and stronger financial performance has been proven. So, defining your purpose is a smart business strategy.

It comes down to engagement with your team and your customers.

Numerous studies have told us that a strong sense of purpose drives team satisfaction, which will help to improve customer loyalty.

Articulating your business’s purpose to your team allows them to see that they’re contributing to something bigger than themselves. Linking your purpose to their tasks and responsibilities allows them to see their connection to the outcome; how their role is contributing to the overall vision of the business and how they’re impacting your customers’ lives.

If we focus on meeting (and exceeding) customer needs, better profitability will be a by-product.

Getting clear on your purpose will transform your marketing. Being able to clearly articulate why you exist for your customers will tie them to your brand and make them more inclined to refer you to others. When that new customer does their due diligence, i.e. they stalk your website and social media, it’s more likely they’ll develop an emotional connection to your business and buy from you.

Your purpose must first be defined by the leaders.

Only when your purpose is crystal clear can you articulate it to your team and then your customers and target audience.

Having a clear purpose is also about sustainability. There is mounting evidence that in these times of change and disruption, having a clear purpose will improve a business’s ability to transform and adapt.

So, what’s your purpose? Need help defining it? We can help.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek

6 things you should know before filing your EOY tax – post COVID-19

6 things you should know before filing your EOY tax – post COVID-19

Ticking items off your end-of-year tax checklist this month?

Make sure you consider the business support and tax relief measures introduced because of COVID-19 so you can sail as smoothly as possible into the new financial year.

There are some things you may not be used to thinking about when you prep for end of tax year:

  1. New rules to keep cash flowing – If money is a bit tight as the financial year draws to a close, here are four tax measures focused on providing and enabling cashflow that you might like to consider:
    • The tax loss carry-back rule, which means if you’re expecting a tax loss for the year ended 31 March 2021, you might be eligible for a refund of provisional tax previously paid for the 2020 year.
    • If your cashflow has been significantly impacted by the economic effects of COVID-19, you may be able to apply for relief from use of money interest and penalties, or enter into an instalment arrangement for payments due to Inland Revenue. Inland Revenue’s ability to remit use of money interest in such circumstances applies to tax payments due up until 25 March 2022.
    • Keeping an eye on tax losses, as the Government have announced plans to introduce a same or similar business test that allows tax losses to be carried forward. This will become useful if you’re wanting to raise capital for your business in the future.
    • Consider the Small Business Cashflow (Loan) Scheme being offered by the Government through Inland Revenue where certain conditions are met. This provides loans of up to $10,000 (dependent on the number of employees) with an interest rate of 3%, with no interest applying if the loan is repaid within 2 years.
  2. Asset threshold lowering – Put aside time to review your asset expenditure. Identify any assets (valued up to $5,000) that you need and buy them before 17 March 2021. This way, you’ll be able to claim an immediate deduction for these assets under the low-value asset write-off as the threshold drops from $5,000 to $1,000 on 17 March 2021. The temporary $5,000 threshold was a concession as a result of the COVID-19 relief measures introduced, and from the 17 March 2021 the $1,000 threshold is an increase from the $500 amount that was previously in place prior to 2020. It’s also a good time to ensure records are up to date on any commercial buildings as depreciation for tax purposes is available on commercial buildings for the year ended 31 March 2021.
  3. Earn over $180,000 a year? – If you’re one of the 75,000 Kiwis impacted by the new 39% tax rate, review your business and investment structure with us before 1 April 2021. The marginal tax change, rushed through last December to help pay for the COVID-19 recovery, applies to all employment income over $180,000 a year. It includes extra pay earned in the course of employment, such as bonuses, back pay, redundancy, and retirement payments. It is timely to consider such payments in relation to the 2021 year, as well as reviewing dividend payments.
  4. Keeping subsidy records crucial – While COVID-19 related wage and leave subsidies are non-taxable, keep accurate records of any subsidy you received and which staff member it was paid to, in case the Ministry of Social Development asks to review your records down the track.
  5. R&D loss tax credit – Start-up companies are able to cash-out their tax losses arising from eligible research and development (R&D) expenditure, and avoid carrying the losses through to the next income year. The credit can only be for:
    • eligible R&D business expenditure
    • up to 28% of your tax losses from R&D activity
    • companies that are tax residents in New Zealand
    • dates on or after 1 April 2015. The rules around R&D expenditure are detailed and eligible R&D expenditure will require approval from Inland Revenue. So if you’re looking to claim under these rules, you will need to start looking at this sooner rather than later, and keeping records of such expenditure as it occurs.
  6. Staff reimbursements and allowances – Make sure you have a good record of any reimbursements and allowances paid to employees for expenditures – generally and in account of new COVID-19 related Working from Home (WFM) tax changes. Remember:
    • For telecommunications devices and plans, staff reimbursements are tax exempt up to $5 per week. If reimbursement is above this amount, the exempt amount is 25% if the device or plan is used partly, 75% if used mainly, or 100% if used exclusively for employment purposes.
    • WFH payments claimed between 17 March and 17 September 2021 allow an additional $15 per week, per employee, to be exempt income for other WFH expenditure.
    • A tax-exempt payment for use of furniture or equipment when WFH to reimburse the depreciation of the item. The payment will typically be for the cost of the asset and the payment will still be deductible to the employer. Note the low-value asset threshold of $5,000 applying between 17 March 2020 to 17 March 2021 will apply here.

Dividends and paying yourself as a Director

Dividends and paying yourself as a Director

Want to achieve the best results from your earnings as a Director?
 
As the Director in a limited company, dividend payments are the usual way for you to take money out of the company – and see a financial return on your investment into the company.
 
Dividends are payments made to the company’s shareholders when the business has made a profit. What is not re-invested into the company can be paid out as dividend payments to your Shareholders, of which you are one. But what’s the most effective way to do this?

Dividends as a part of good wealth management

As a company Director, the company’s finances aren’t your only concern – you also have to make sure you’re managing your own personal finances in the best way possible.

Good wealth management is essential as a Director, and that means taking an informed, long-term look at the ways in which you are paid, the financial vehicles you are using and the tax planning you are carrying out across the year.

To make your personal finances work effectively:

  • Split your finances into business and personal wealth – it’s vital to create a clear divide between business cash (money in your limited company’s bank account) and your own personal cash (money in your personal current account and investments). Any profit you create is not ‘your money’ until it’s paid to you by the business.
  • Ensure you’re being tax efficient – Once a dividend is paid to you – and that money is now yours – you’ll be liable to pay income tax on that income. The rates of income tax in most territories will be higher than the rate of corporation tax. So it’s usually a good idea to keep your profits in the business for as long as possible, minimising the amount of income you’ll have to pay when you file your annual personal tax return.
  • Pay your dividends at the right time – the timing of WHEN you pay a dividend is important. If you pay a large dividend at the end of the tax year, it may take you over your tax allowance for the year. And if your total dividend income is too big, you could end up paying more higher-rate tax than you need to.
  • Look at other ways to be paid – dividends are not your only option when it comes to getting paid as a director. You could put yourself on the payroll and take a small ‘living wage’. Or you could have your profits paid out as pension contributions into a personal pension scheme. So it’s sensible to consider all the tax-efficient alternatives.

Planning your directors’ pay

If you want to get the most from directors’ pay, come and talk to us. As your trusted business advisor, we will work with you to maximise your earnings. This includes helping you forecast your earnings and profits, planning out your dividend payments from the company and setting up your finances so you are being as tax efficient as possible.

Get strategy at the heart of your successful business

Get strategy at the heart of your successful business

Putting strategy at the heart of your business activity should not only give your business greater direction and focus but lead to stimulating, profitable fee opportunities too.

Businesses that have clear objectives or goals, robust accountability and a shared sense of purpose should always outperform those that just show up and go through the motions.

Strategy lies at the heart of most successful businesses. To achieve this you need to resource and execute with purpose. Few businesses have a strategic plan or a robust planning process. Changing this situation should be a top priority! Here are two top tips for business owners.

1. Process Creates the Plan

Getting strategy at the heart of your success will require you to carve out some time, get a process started, and shake things up. There’s no better time to review and tweak your business model, future-proof compelling services, and to get your strategic building blocks in place.

Just as every good strategy has key elements, every good plan needs a step-by-step process. In fact, the process is often just as important as the plan itself. A strategic planning retreat with your core team is a great way to start the process – find a spot offsite to get the creative juices flowing such as a beach, a park, or vineyard, and set an agenda.

2. Key elements of an effective strategy

The key elements in a good strategy normally incorporate:

  • Vision – this is a statement that identifies what a company would like to achieve or accomplish.
  • Values – these are the fundamental beliefs upon which your business and its behaviour are based. They are the guiding principles that your business uses to manage its internal affairs as well as its relationship with customers.
  • Objectives – short term, long term. These should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound)
  • KPIs – stands for Key Performance Indicators. These are measurable values that demonstrate how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives.
  • Actions – what needs to be done to meet the objectives? Make this simple and clear.
  • Owners – delegating tasks to specific owners to ensure follow through and accountability.
  • Deadlines – when your actions will be complete to ensure you make progress.

It doesn’t need to be much more complicated than that, but do invest the time and effort in doing this right. A proactive, value-add strategic model will need fresh thinking, debate, research, and open conversations. Enjoy and embrace the process and you should end up with a good outcome.

Great planning requires a guide, facilitator, and/or professional expertise to be as robust as possible. We can help your business and guide you through the steps.

Putting strategy at the heart of your business activity should not only give your business greater direction and focus but lead to stimulating, profitable opportunities too. It’s time to get started!

GoFi8ure – Certified Spotlight Reporting Consultants

GoFi8ure – Certified Spotlight Reporting Consultants  

Did you know we have Certified Spotlight Reporting consultants ready to help you understand your numbers?

At GoFi8ure we are experts in Spotlight Reporting and creating dashboards and reporting that gives you the real insight into your business and provides you with the facts and information to make more informed business decisions.

Curious to know what Spotlight can really do for your business? It provides:

Powerful Reporting
Easily create powerful and visual reports. Reveal key drivers that impact performance.

Forecasting & Budgets
Our Forecasting tool is an ‘all-in-one’ budget creator, full three-way forecasting and scenario builder.

Visual Dashboards
Dashboard provides an instant snapshot of business performance – enabling you to focus on what really matters.

Multi Entity
For franchises, not for profits and industry specialists: Multi allows you to aggregate, rank and benchmark.

Find out more about how we can help your business by sending us an email –

External Solutions for Inside Opportunities

External Solutions for Inside Opportunities

Outsourcing is where a business contracts out a business process to a third party. Often though, outsourcing is simply thought of as a way to save costs – that is, outsourcing allows us to produce a good or service cheaper than we can produce it ourselves. However, that is not the ONLY value, or opportunity you can tap into, that outsourcing provides.

Outsourcing is not a new solution, but it is one that is either not used due to fear the job will not be done right, or is used with overseas suppliers as they charge $2 an hour. However, higher outsourcing costs are still far cheaper than employee costs (which we will discuss in more detail later) and, you pay for what you get. So, make sure you research local New Zealand outsourcing providers first who, yes, do charge more than overseas suppliers, but will provide a much superior result – and to a standard which meets New Zealand laws and regulations.

At GoFi8ure, instead of offering “outsourcing”, we offer “External Solutions for Inside Opportunities”. Why? Because it really highlights the services and value that we can add for a business from the outside in “external solutions”, AND we work alongside our clients “inside” their business to drive best results and open the door to many new “opportunities” for their business.

When you and your current employees are unable to manage the day-to-day business of your company, whilst still working on building the business satisfactorily, it may be time to consider finding an external solution for your accounting functions. So, let’s look at the real benefits an external solution can provide.

The right company can offer you:

Expertise at your side. External solution providers give you full-time knowledge on your team without having to pay for a full-time employee.  By putting your books into the hands of highly-skilled external providers, who understand the best practices and how to properly staff for certain tasks, your job becomes a whole lot easier – and more effective.

Focus on your business. Delegating your business’s accounting functions frees up valuable time that can be put into building and bettering the company.  Back-end office functions can be a heavy distraction from the day-to-day running of things, and having your bookkeeping in-house can lead to a conflict of interests.  Hence, the time-wasters and distractions need to go – out of sight, out of mind.

Reduce the risk of fraud. Most external providers have two sets of eyes reviewing each step, with different levels of staff working on one account. There are steps taken for one employee to review the others work to ensure there are no discrepancies or errors. This also means proper internal controls are set-up to ensure that the flow of information into the accounting system is accurate, timely, classified correctly, and entered into the right accounting period. It also provides a series of checks and balances that help reduce the risk of getting ripped-off.

Quality and efficiency. Efficiency plays a key role in making a great impression towards your clients. Efficiency should be so sharp that your clients should never hesitate to assign major projects to you, as they know the project will be completed to the highest level, but also with a short turn-around. Remember, when it comes to getting an external solution provider on board it is important to remember that quality is always a winner; without quality, good accounting work is never possible.

Save money. The bottom line is that by delegating your accounting operations to a company that lives and breathes those services, you save money, as you are only paying for what you need and the company will not take a week to do the work like an employee might, simply because they are on the payroll and do not want to have nothing to do by having finished the task too quickly! Also, by not using an employee for the job, you will save on paying full-time or part-time wages, as well as save on the lost productivity costs that come along with hiring employees onto the payroll.

And last but not least… Save time! If you are thinking it is time to get an external provider to help with your accounts, it is fair to say accounting probably is not your business’s strength. Any time spent working out the finances could be better spent working on improving your products or services, and whatever it is that YOU do best. Good business people know that time is an asset, and it can be a scarce one for somebody trying to run a successful business. So, it is worth investing your time in doing the things you do well.

Making consistent improvements to make your business better is a conscious choice. Not only must you balance your time, but you must also choose the right area of business – the one which will make the biggest impact – to spend this time working on. If you would like GoFi8ure to help your business run more efficiently, send us an email or call us on 0800 463 488.