A great source of business news

If you’re looking for information about about law changes, setting up a business, places to get help and so much more then you should check out www.business.govt.nz/news

This is a government run site that highlights all the information business owners need.

We recommend subscribing to the regular e-newsletter.

Covid-19 Short-Term Absence Payment

Financial support for businesses to pay people in situations where they cannot work from home and need to stay at home while waiting for a COVID-19 test result.

What is it?

The Payment is a one-off amount of $350 for each eligible worker (full or part time) that is unable to work from home while they are staying home waiting for Covid-19 test results.

Who is it for?

  • For a person, employee or self-employed, that is staying home while waiting for their own Covid-19 test result.
  • Can also be for a parent or caregiver of a dependant that needs to stay home while waiting for a Covid-19 test result
  • A household member or secondary contact of someone who is a close contact to a person with Covid-19, and the worker has been advised to stay home while waiting for the close contact’s test results

Criteria

Test must have been taken on or after 9 February 2021. The payment can be applied for up to 8 weeks after the test, but not retrospectively if the test was taken before 9 February 2021.

Payment cannot be paid for workers who:

  • Doesn’t have Covid-19 symptoms and involved in routine testing or not been notified through contact tracing to stay home
  • Are returning international air crew
  • Are currently overseas
  • Are staying in managed isolation facilities
  • Are an employee of a State Sector organisation or SOE

Business can’t apply if receiving other Covid -19 wage subsidy or leave support scheme payment for the same worker.

Applications

Application must be completed by the business, not the worker. The self-employed or contractors can apply directly.

Payment can be applied for once in a 30 day period (for each eligible worker)

Apply online using MSD online form https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/covid-19/short-term-absence-payment/how-to-apply.html#null

Xero Starter Plan update

Did you know Xero have recently made some big changes to their starter plan*?

No business is too small for this Xero Starter plan, whether you work alone or employ a whole team you can spend less time working in spreadsheets and more time working on projects.

What’s changed?

  • Unlimited bank reconciliations

Xero has removed the limit on bank reconciliations so you can keep a close eye on money coming in and going out

  • Send 20 invoices a month

Xero have increased the invoice limit to 20. That is roughly one invoice for each business day in a month

Xero’s Starter Plan has all the tools needed to keep track of your accounts no matter how small your business, including:

Online invoicing and quotes made easy

  • Send up to 20 personalised, professional invoices and quotes each month. Plus, set up automated invoice reminders and spend less time chasing payments.

Paying bills is painless

  • Enter five bills each month, see when upcoming payments are due, schedule payments and batch pay multiple suppliers in one go.

Simple bank reconciliation

  • Keep track of cash flow effortlessly with bank reconciliation in Xero. Save time on admin and get daily updates on your business.

Capture bills and receipts with Hubdoc

  • Automate manual bookkeeping tasks like entering bills and receipts. Hubdoc extracts key information from each bill or receipt so it’s ready to copy into Xero.

If you are thinking about making the move to Xero, give us a call or email and we will be happy to assist 😊

Contact Ellie Harris for software support and training, she can tell you about all the options you have.

*Note that all other starter plan inclusions and limits remain the same.

Xero – Saving Files in Xero

Did you know that Xero has an inbuilt online file management system? With Xero file library you can keep all your files (i.e. receipts, bills, images) organised in Xero.

The file library is located under your organisation name on the left-hand side of your blue taskbar.

Your Xero file library contains an Inbox and Contracts folder, and you can add any additional folders you need.

Using the Xero file library is easy, either:

  • upload files to the file library (left-hand option) or
  • email files directly to the Inbox folder (right-hand option, using your unique Xero inbox email address)

Whenever you see the attachment icon in Xero, you can then attach these files to individual transactions, items, and emails.

Follow this link for more information on how to use files in Xero: https://central.xero.com/s/topic/0TO1N0000017kqDWAQ/files-in-xero#business

Our In-House Software Training and Support Specialist

Ellie Harris – B.Com
Software Support & Training – ellie@savage.co.nz

Ellie Harris has been working for us for a number of years and as a recent B.Com graduate, with experience managing our tax system and working with clients on various compliance matters, she has now become our in-house software specialist.

Ellie has a number of Xero certifications, has experience working with MYOB products and has been developing her knowledge on all payroll matters – from employer payroll obligations to implementing payroll systems most suitable for your business.

Ellie can help you migrate from one accounting system to another, set up your new accounting software systems for you, advise on a range of solutions that will help you run your business accounting needs easily and efficiently and will be running training sessions for our clients in small groups so you get lots of one-on-one assistance with using your accounting software. She is also available for individual training in our offices or can even visit you at your workplace. Some of this is free to clients so if you need help or advice contact Ellie to arrange a time to meet with her.

Watch this space for upcoming free training courses.

ACC Annual Invoicing & Estimations

ACC will start sending out annual invoices in October (usually these are sent in July but were delayed due to Covid-19 and lockdown).

If you think that the liable payroll for your business has been impacted by Covid-19 and your wages and salaries paid for the 20/21 year therefore will be less than for 19/20, then we are able to estimate the wages payable for the 20/21 year so that the ACC provisional levy invoice reflects this.

So that ACC can use the estimated payroll for the provisional levy invoice, it is recommended to provide them with an estimate before the end of September.

If the actual performance turns out to be different to the estimate, it will be reflected in next year’s invoice.

We can help estimate your payroll and provide the information to ACC. Alternatively, if you are an employer with staff and have an MyACC for Business account set up, you can log in to your account to provide ACC with a payroll estimate, if you receive an end of year shareholder salary, you need to email business@acc.co.nz .

Please note, this does not impact on self-employed as they are no longer required to pay provisional ACC levies.

Feel free to get in touch if you have any queries or if you would like some help to estimate your payroll.

Beyond Covid-19

Well it has certainly been an interesting seven weeks; dealing with level 4 lockdown conditions and then easing into level 3 before finally getting back to a level of normal activity under level 2 conditions. Obviously things will never go back to business-as-usual as it was before Covid-19 raised its ugly head but we are able to get back to business and work on rebuilding our businesses.

Then we had the 2020 Government Budget announcements, a budget designed to make sure as many businesses as possible survive and are able to rebuild in a new economic environment.

Some businesses will never be the same, some will close and others will adapt and grow, taking advantage of the opportunity to revisit how they do business.

We reopen our office on Monday 18th May

with some Covid-19 restrictions in place.

While the office will be open please note Sari will still be working from home for a few more weeks. She is available for Zoom video conference meetings, on her mobile (021-548-489) or by email (sari@savage.co.nz)

Visiting our office

For us our focus will be on helping you as it always has been, the success of our clients is really important to us and to help you we need to make sure we have a workplace that is safe for you and our staff. This means if you do need to come to our office you will notice a few small changes that are designed to meet government requirements for operating under level 2 conditions.

We will have social distancing practices in place, there will be a table at reception for you to leave packages, there will be hand sanitiser readily available, there will be single-use facemasks available for you to use if you are meeting with a staff member and you will be required to register as a visitor to our office for contact tracing purposes whenever you visit, no matter how briefly.

Contact Tracing

We will be using the “I’m Here” contact tracing system, you will need to use your phone to scan a code when you arrive and depart. We have chosen this because it is a simple solution to use, however, our staff will be able to assist if you have any issues using it. There will also be a form to fill in if you don’t have a mobile phone. You can check out the system at www.imhere.nz so you know what to expect when you do visit us.

The Budget

The one Budget item that will have the most impact immediately for many businesses is the announcement of an extension to the Wage Subsidy Scheme.

If your business has suffered a 50% or greater decline in turnover for a two month period then you are able to apply for a subsidy to help you pay staff wages for another eight weeks.

Small Business Loans via IRD

Announced before the budget but included in the overall Covid-19 response package is a loan scheme for SMEs. The scheme (https://media.ird.govt.nz/articles/government-boosts-cashflow-support-for-small-businesses/) for SME’s is to be administered by IRD. This will be interest free for 12 months or low interest for up to five years with no repayments for the first two years if you take the low interest option. It will be administered through IRD and provides for loans of $10,000 per business plus $1800 per employee up to a maximum of $100,000.

While we can’t make the application for you we will give any of our clients up to an hour free time to help you with your application, just email Sari, Anna or Libby to arrange a time to talk.

We hope you are all staying safe and we’re looking forward to talking with you sometime soon.

Covid-19 update – Level 2 & Open for Business

It has been a couple of weeks since we sent you an update and a number of things have happened in that time, prime among the the announcement of the rules that will apply when we head into the Covid-19 Level 2 environment. All businesses will need to alter how they work and it’s important the changes are well thought through as these restrictions are likely to be with us in one form or another for many months to come.

Our offices will be open for business again when Level 2 restrictions come into place.

We are excited to be able to have everyone back at work, albeit with restrictions and changes to how we operate.

Because Sari has an autoimmune condition she won’t be back in the office for a few weeks yet but will still be working from home by email, mobile phone and Zoom video conferencing.

We are currently working on a Covid-19 plan for the office and the biggest impact on you will be when you visit our office, we will have social distancing rules in place you will need to observe. Because a lot of our communication with you is via phone and email our main focus is going to be on ensuring the safety of our staff when we do return.

Government announcements and support

The business environment for the foreseeable future is going to be quite different to what it was before Covid-19 raised its head, every business is going to face challenges and will have to review what it does and how it goes about its business.

The government has acknowledged there will be very challenging times ahead with much higher unemployment (especially from the hospitality and tourism sectors) and it appears to be offering assistance to SME’s (Small to Medium Enterprises) that make up a huge proportion of businesses in this country.

Small businesses that provide services and products to local regions are going to be vital to New Zealand’s economic recovery as we will be less reliant on tourism until our international borders reopen, this could be a number of years away.

Along with various tax changes and the significant wage subsidy the government recently announced a loan scheme (https://media.ird.govt.nz/articles/government-boosts-cashflow-support-for-small-businesses/) for SME’s. This will be interest free for 12 months or low interest for up to five years with no repayments for the first two years if you take the low interest option. It will be administered through IRD and provides for loans of $10,000 per business plus $1800 per employee up to a maximum of $100,000.

This is in addition to various loan guarantee schemes put in place earlier with the banks.

Looking ahead

While we may appear to be over the very worst of the Covid-19 outbreak there is every possibility it could re-emerge as a significant health threat during the winter months so it is important we all do our bit to avoid having to go back into a Level 4 lockdown situation again.

So for the next two years let’s have local and New Zealand holidays and visit places you haven’t been before, you may be surprised at what New Zealand has to offer. And of course shop local, support those businesses that have supported our community for many years and help them stay in business so they can be part of our future too.

In the next week we will be sending an update on what you will need to do if you visit our offices.

Take care and continue to do your bit to keep everyone in our community safe.

Covid-19 Weekly Update 20.04.20

As these unusual times continue there are a few things to remember – stay safe and shop local, shop local, shop local!

While we are in this lock down situation together we need to remember to help one another come out of it in as best shape as possible. The best way to do that is support every local business you can.

Various restrictions under Level 3 Lockdown may make it seem like Level 3.75 but at midnight on Monday 27th April some businesses will be able to start operating again, mainly without any public contact but with online or phone orders, contactless payment and similar things only.

Also if you are currently working from home you must continue to do so if it is at all possible. With that in mind we will NOT be reopening our office under Level 3 restrictions.

However Sari and our senior staff will continue to work from home. So far this has been a little frustrating at times but we are getting everything done you need us to do. We are also set up to use Zoom video conferencing so if you want to have some more personal contact then email us to make an appointment for a Zoom meeting. Anna and Libby are available Monday to Friday 9am ‘til 5pm while Neil and Sari are available seven days a week, including evenings if required.

Here’s a link from business.govt.nz for an explanation of various alert levels and operating guidelines for businesses

If you can’t find an answer to your questions here then just email or phone us, we are here to help our clients through the challenging times ahead of us as we work on re-establishing our businesses again.

Things to Remember

  • March PAYE payments were due today
  • GST returns for the periods ended 31 March are required by the 7th of May, however if you will have difficulty in making your GST payment please contact us and we will help you sort out a deferred payment arrangement with IRD. It’s important you put an arrangement in place rather than just not paying it.
  • If you have provisional tax (3rd payment for 2020 year) then this is also due to be paid. On 7th May As a result of recent government announcements about tax relief there has been some confusion around the need to pay this. If you have this due you must pay it as it is calculated on your year end 31 March 2020 figures, not current trading figures.

And of course remember to stay safe, don’t let your social distancing standards relax because we don’t want the community to be forced back into level 4 lockdown, and most of all be kind to each other.

Being kind includes supporting every local business we can so they are here for us to enjoy into the future, so look for local business offering deliveries from the 28th April, buy from them and use other local service providers – shop local!

Covid-19 update – 14.04.20

Well it continues to be an interesting time we are working our way through. The great news is that the Covid-19 lockdown appears to be having a positive effect by controlling the spread of this illness.

While all the signs are good we still have a long way to go, firstly to get through the immediate crisis and then a very long road to economic recovery. We are expecting some of the lockdown restrictions to be eased but not expecting them to be lifted totally for a few months yet.

Today’s Government Announcement re Level 3

The Government has announced general conditions for operating under Level 3 restrictions when they do drop the Covid Threat Level from Level 4 to Level 3.

It appears there will still be strict restrictions on who can open for business and how those businesses operate. The key point is the social distancing 2 meter ‘bubble’ must be retained. We’re uncertain how this will effect Savage & Savage and whether or not we are able to operate from our offices. We are expecting to not be able to operate from the office however we do want to get back as soon as we can and will be seeing if the detail in Level 3 lockdown rules allow us to. Watch this space.

Planning

With that in mind business owners need to start thinking about what their business is going to look like post Covid-19. Some of the things to consider are when will your business be able to be up and running again? Will your business clients still be in business? How will your general customer base have changed? What will your cash flow look like for the next two years? How many staff will you need? What is your tax liability for the next two years? And many other things.

There are many things to consider and every business owner is going to have to do some serious thinking and planning. We can help you with your cashflow forecasting for the next few years so we are happy to offer our clients an hour of time from either Anna or Libby, at no charge, to discuss what you need to think about when preparing a cashflow.  If you’d like us to prepare your cashflow for you we will give you an hours’ free time when preparing it.

Recent tax changes announced

The Government has announced some changes to various taxes and payments, in particular tax carry back changes (tax losses carried forward). When we get exact details about the implementation of these changes we will share those with you but in the meantime you will need to do some panning, both for your cashflow and future tax purposes.

So we can accurately estimate your future tax liabilities it’s important we have the most up-to-date information as possible so please don’t delay sending your annual accounts information to us. By having your tax position for 2020 established we can then look at forecasting 2021 for the loss carry back if you have one. The tax relief measures will be easier to use if books are up to date.

Attached is a factsheet from the Beehive – Supporting small and medium sized enterprises during the COVID-19 crisis. This is a summary of the latest support measures being rolled out by the government.

Annual Accounts

We operate on a first in – first out basis unless there are urgent business needs like refinancing business sale etc so the sooner you get your information to us the sooner we can get your annual accounts finished.

Tax payment relief

When it comes to IRD payment arrangements your tax position needs to be established first, this goes for all tax types. It’s better to get in contact with us to request an IRD payment arrangement rather than just not paying – even though IRD will be lenient and write off interest and penalties it is much better to have a formal arrangement in place.

Payment of our invoices

We understand these are difficult times financially for many businesses and we don’t want this to be a barrier to us doing work for you so if you would like to make an arrangement to pay your account with us over a period of time please contact Neil at neil@savage.co.nz . We want to make sure we help all of our clients as much as we can.

Please continue to think about your safety if you are out and about.

We’re working on how we will operate under Covid-19 Level 3 restrictions when they come into place, hopefully in the not too distant future.