Business Assist and Mentoring

Some of you may not be aware of a service that supports businesses in the area and is subsidised by  councils. Nelson Tasman Business Trust (Business Assist) is exactly what it says – they exist to help businesses, small and large.

You simply make contact through their website . You will be offered a free consultation and they will outline how they can help. They hold workshops on subjects such ass Digital Marketing, Wellness, Leadership and Succession planning on a regular basis. There are many more subjects covered besides. Most of these training sessions are either free or have a small cover charge.

Business Assist also have a Networking morning tea every month. So you can meet other business owners and share any wins, problems, or successes. Meeting other business owners makes you much less isolated.

NZ Business Mentoring

If you need more personalized help they can offer business Mentoring in conjunction with Business Mentors NZ. Call Business Assist or register at online for a mentor. Gina will assess your needs and find a match of skills that you are missing. Sometimes it is easier to work with someone who is less emotionally involved with your business and give you good practical help.  “The experienced and independent viewpoint of a Mentor is invaluable”.

It may be that you need to grow your business and need direction as to how; or you may be a newbie to Digital Marketing and need some help with that; you may need help with a specific project.

“Having a Mentor inspires confidence and gives clarity on the direction of the business.”

Having been in business myself and used the services of a Mentor, I can highly recommend them.

Just remember you are not alone in this journey, use the services of lawyers, accountants and places like Business Assist to help you along in business.


There has been a lot of noise made by the government lately about E-Invoicing. There seems to be a lot of confusion and people think that if they are already sending their invoices by e-mail they are e-invoicing, so what is the big deal? Actually E-Invoicing is a little different. And it is not an advantage for everyone….

E-Invoicing explained.

E-Invoicing goes one step further than sending invoices by email. Xero, MYOB and a few other accounting packages now have the ability to send the invoices directly into your accounting software. So there’s no need to print or manually key incoming invoices into your software package. They simply show up in your “Draft” Bills to pay in Xero for example. From there you allocate them to the correct code “Cost of goods sold” for example and approve them if you agree. This follows on from our last post explaining that physical copies of many invoices will no longer be required by IRD from next year.

What is the advantage?

The main advantage for our clients, is that for your regular suppliers, you will no longer need to print off or key in creditor invoices from registered suppliers. You just approve them. No more losing invoices to junk mail, no more endless hours of keying bills, no more clogged up inboxes.

What do you need to do?

Here is the catch, and this depends on your own business and how many suppliers you have.

  1. Enter your own NZBN into your own software (For Xero – Settings/Organisation Settings). Do this once only
  2. Sign up to e-invoicing (for Xero we can do this for you or talk you through this, it takes about 5 minutes. Please note the Xero online instructions available are not yet applicable). Again, you only need to do this once.
  3. Find out if your bigger suppliers have signed up too. There is a handy little Excel spreadsheet of those already signed up on the link at the bottom of the page
  4. Enter your suppliers NZBN number in your contacts (it is on that spreadsheet mentioned above). This will take the longest, so I would recommend doing just one or two first, and see how you like it.
  5.  Send your supplier an email letting them know your NZBN number and that you would like to receive e-invoices. Job done!!!

Your invoicing

You can also send your invoices via the same route, but if your customers are mostly non business people, there is a lot of work for not much advantage.

If you invoice regularly to other businesses, you may get requests to sign up.

Regardless of what you decide to do, e-invoicing is here to stay, and it would be prudent (and time saving for the future) if you were to include a businesses NZBN number into every new contact you enter into your software. The link below also tells you which software companies have the capacity to e-invoice. They are using a global company PEPPOL. You can continue to use Hubdoc (provided free by Xero) if you are using this currently – this is also a good option, but to use this you forward on emailed invoices to Hubdoc and then insert them into Xero. The advantage of this is that if you go to look at a supplier invoice that was entered via Hubdoc, you can see the original invoice emailed to you in Xero.

We can explain more in detail if you are interested.


Covid-19 Update – 30.03.20

We certainly hope you are all well and sticking to the rules, everyone doing the right thing now will help businesses get up and running again. Having said that we are expecting the current four week lock down to be extended, to possibly eight weeks, and then restrictions to come off slowly I.E. – reverting back to level three restrictions for a few weeks then back to level two.

We have no definitive evidence of this but looking at what’s happening overseas this is what we expect. The real message here is we are in this very unusual and curious situation for many weeks to come and we need to be prepared for it.

Savage & Savage invoicing and payment

We will be emailing March invoices as usual in the next week, however these will not contain the same level of detail we normally include as we are working remotely and don’t have access to some of the information we use each month due to not being able to get in to our premises. If you require a fully detailed invoice we can send this to you when we are able to return to the office, but do note the totals won’t change.

We also understand it a difficult managing cashflow for many so with this in mind we will work with clients to make payment over time if required. We are in exactly the same position as many of our clients, we are a small business too and are subject to the same pressures of not being able to work at normal levels to generate income.

It is important we all pay our regular invoices on time so the economy keeps ticking over but as I said above, we are very happy to work with clients to arrange payment over a few months. Please just contact Neil and he can make suitable arrangements with you. His contact details are shown below.

Wage Subsidies

Many of you will have applied for and received the wage subsidy. You need to try your hardest to pay employees named in the application at least 80% of wages. If you want and are able to you could give employees the option to top it up to 100% using annual leave or sick leave. If it isn’t possible pay 80% you need to pay at least the subsidy rate. Employers are obliged to retain the employees for whom they receive the subsidy for 12 weeks.

Paying the subsidised wages

When processing the pays in payroll, work out what 80% of their normal hours would be and pay that as ordinary hours. By paying it as ordinary hours PAYE, Kiwisaver, holiday pay etc is calculated as it should. If the employees hours vary you will need to work out an average of the last 4 weeks hours. If the last 4 weeks are not an accurate picture of their usual fluctuations in hours you can average out over the last 12 months. If topping up pays with annual leave or sick leave, use appropriate pay code.

Please set up a spreadsheet or similar to keep track of how much of the subsidy is used each pay as any balance unused is earmarked for wages but can be used for other employees. If you use the full subsidy amount for each employee each pay period, then you wouldn’t need to track it.

Reconciling transactions

Sole trader

The subsidy payment received has no GST. Code to other/sundry income, change to no GST. It is taxable as it is received by the end user.

Companies that pay end of year Shareholder Salary – no other employees

The subsidy payment received has no GST. It is taxable to the shareholder when taken as drawings. As it will be used over a period of time and is a grant earmarked for wages, it should be coded to a liability account called Subsidy with Conditions.  We are more than happy to take care of coding if you’d like. We will then transfer the subsidy out of the liability account as it is used up and ensure correct coding and tax treatment.

Company or partnership with employees

The subsidy payment received has no GST. As it will be used over a period of time and is a grant earmarked for wages, it should be coded to a liability account called Subsidy with Conditions.  We are more than happy to take care of coding if you’d like. We will then transfer the subsidy out of the liability account as it is used up and ensure correct coding and tax treatment. Taxable to employees as wages.

For all employers (Sole traders excluded), the income is not taxable and it is not a deductible expense when paid, we will take care of coding and ensure correct treatment when we prepare your annual accounts.

Rent and Lease Obligations

The impact for this Covid-19 event is likely to be long and lingering,

With this in mind, we recommend you contact your landlord sooner rather than later to discuss your lease and rent situation. Many leases are based on the Auckland District Law Society form and depending on the version of the ADLS Lease form you have signed with your landlord (clause numbers may vary) you should be able to negotiate a reduction in rental to a ‘fair proportion’ of the rent and outgoings as provided under clause 27.5 (No Access in Emergency) of the lease agreement.

  • There exists an “emergency” that prevents the tenant from gaining access to the premises to fully conduct business from the premises because of reasons of safety of the public

27.5 (a)       Access is prohibited

27.5 (c)       Restriction on occupation of the premises is by a ‘competent authority’ (the government of New Zealand)

We believe that lease clause 27.5 can be relied on to enter into negotiations with your landlord.

We have seen a range of negotiated results and it is apparent landlords are prepared to share the pain everyone is experiencing, the question of what is a fair proportion of rent and outgoings is going to vary depending on your business and lease term and conditions but you should be talking with your landlords now.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Zoom Consulting

Business Systems Software Specialist and Consultant

Emily Thompson from Zoom Consulting

Emily Thompson is a business systems and software superstar. Using Xero accounting software and other add on software platforms, she can design a software solution for your business, implement the systems, then train you and your staff.

She supports businesses within the Nelson/Tasman region and throughout New Zealand with a vison of “to collaborate with my clients by finding them the best possible business system and software solutions for their needs.”

Emily supports her clients and their staff, enabling them to utilise the software and systems as much as possible.

“I provide my expertise and experience from day one and provide ongoing support wherever possible to help you implement systems that will streamline your business processes”.

Contact Emily at