Xero and Multi-factor Authentication

Xero is making Multi-factor authentication (MFA) mandatory for New Zealand customers in 2021

As more people around the world embrace digital technologies, the number of cyber-attacks continues to increase. One of the most common types of cybercrime is phishing, designed to access your online accounts and steal your personal and business information. Xero are custodians of your data and take that responsibility very seriously. To continue to keep your Xero account secure, Xero are making Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) mandatory for all Xero customers globally in the year ahead.

What is MFA?

MFA is a log in verification process that goes beyond typing in your username and password. It gives you access to your account using something you know (your username and password) and something you have (your mobile device or computer). Think of it like putting an additional bolt on the door. It’s a small but important thing that significantly reduces the risk of unauthorised access to your account, because it’s much harder to steal something you know and something you have. In fact, research shows that MFA can prevent up to 80% of data breaches. The beauty of using your phone as an authentication method is that it’s always with you, which means you can still access your Xero account anywhere, at any time.

How do I use MFA?

To give you fast, easy, and secure access to your Xero account using MFA, Xero have created their own authenticator app called Xero Verify. Xero Verify is now available free of charge in the Apple and Google app stores. It only takes a few minutes to set up and sends a push notification to your phone when you log in, so you can just tap and go.

Where can I find more information?

For more information about the Xero Verify app you check out the details here:

https://apps.apple.com/app/id1510862201

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.xero.authenticator&hl=en_NZ&gl=US

For more information about MFA click here:

https://central.xero.com/s/article/Multi-factor-authentication-explained

COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment now available

Following the latest Covid-19 outbreak in Auckland, and the Government’s rapid response, today we received the following information from IRD about this wage subsidy.

On 8 February 2020 the Government announced a new COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment (STAP) to support employers and self-employed workers.

The STAP is available from 9 February 2020, through Work and Income, to employers for employees, and self-employed workers, who:
• need to miss work to stay at home while waiting on a COVID-19 test result, and
• cannot work from home.

The STAP is a one-off payment of $350.

GST is not payable on the STAP.

For self-employed workers the STAP is considered income, so must be included on their Individual income tax return – IR3.

For employers, any amount passed on to the employee is “excluded income”, so is not included as income or claimable as a deduction on their income tax return. The employee pays tax on the amount they receive. Any excess amount not passed on to an employee is taxable and must be included on the employer’s income tax return.

The STAP is paid on top of an employee’s normal salary or wage for the pay period it is received in, with PAYE and their other normal deductions (such as student loans and KiwiSaver) being made from the total payment.

For more information visit:
Beehive.govt.nz – New COVID-19 Payment Supports Businesses
Work and Income – COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment
IRD.govt.nz – COVID-19 financial support for businesses

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.

Residential Tenancies Amendments Act 2020

If you own a residential rental property you should be aware of the significant changes enacted last year, but here is a summary of the major changes and dates.

NOTE: – These are different to the Healthy Homes requirements that are covered under different legislation

Landlords and tenants need to understand the recent changes to tenancy law and how this will affect them.

All landlords, including boarding house landlords, must comply with various legal obligations as governed by the Residential Tenancies Act (the Act). Starting from August 2020, parts of the Act are being changed by the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill.

The changes are taking effect at three key dates:

Phase 1: 12 August 2020

Phase 2: 11 February 2021

Phase 3: By 11 August 2021

Phase 1: Law changes take effect 12 August 2020

Transitional and emergency housing exempt from the Act

From 12 August 2020, transitional and emergency housing will be exempt from the Residential Tenancies Act where the housing is:

  • funded (wholly or partly) by a government department, or
  • provided under the Special Needs Grants

This exemption is applicable for all people (new and existing clients) in transitional and emergency housing that meets the criteria above.

Providers of transitional and emergency housing will still be able to opt into parts of the RTA if they wish, by agreeing in writing with the client which parts will apply.

Rent can only be increased every 12 months

From 12 August 2020, rent increases are limited to once every 12 months. This is a change from once every 180 days (six months). Any rent increase notices given to tenants from 12 August 2020 must comply with the new 12-month rule. If a notice was given before 12 August 2020, it is still within the 180-day rule.

Phase 2: Law changes take effect 11 February 2021

Changes to multiple parts of tenancy law

From 11 February 2021, multiple changes to tenancy legislation will take effect. More details will be available closer to the time. The changes will cover:

Security of rental tenure

Landlords will not be able to end a periodic tenancy without cause by providing 90 days’ notice. New termination grounds will be available to landlords under a periodic tenancy and the required notice periods will change.

Changes for fixed-term tenancies

All fixed-term tenancy agreements will convert to periodic tenancies at the end of the fixed term unless the parties agree otherwise, the tenant gives a 28-day notice, or the landlord gives notice in accordance with the termination grounds for periodic tenancies.

Making minor changes

Tenants can ask to make changes to the property

and landlords must not decline if the change is minor. Landlords must respond to a tenant’s request to make a change within 21 days.

Prohibitions on rental bidding

Rental properties cannot be advertised without a rental price listed, and landlords cannot invite or encourage tenants to bid on the rental (pay more than the advertised rent amount).

Fibre broadband

Tenants can request to install fibre broadband, and landlords must agree if it can be installed at no cost to them, unless specific exemptions apply.

Privacy and access to justice

A suppression order can remove names and identifying details from published Tenancy Tribunal decisions if a party who has applied for a suppression order is wholly or substantially successful, or if this is in the interests of the parties and the public interest.

Assignment of tenancies

All requests to assign a tenancy must be considered. Landlords cannot decline unreasonably. If a residential tenancy agreement prohibits assignment, it is of no effect.

Landlord records

Not providing a tenancy agreement in writing will be an unlawful act and landlords will need to retain and provide new types of information.

Enforcement measures being strengthened The Regulator (the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) will have new measures to take action against parties who are not meeting their obligations.

Changes to Tenancy Tribunal jurisdiction

The Tenancy Tribunal can hear cases and make awards up to $100,000. This is a change from $50,000.

Phase 3: Law changes take effect by 11 August 2021

Tenancies can be terminated if family violence or landlord assault has occurred

The below provisions must come into effect by 11 August 2021, but may come in earlier if the Government agrees (using an Order in Council):

Family violence: tenants experiencing family violence will be able to terminate a tenancy without financial penalty.

Physical assault: a landlord will be able to issue a 14-day notice to terminate the tenancy if the tenant has assaulted the landlord, the owner, a member of their family, or the landlord’s agent, and the Police have laid a charge against the tenant in respect of the assault.

More information

Reform of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (Ministry of Housing and Urban Development) Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020 (New Zealand Legislation website)

Tenancy.govt.nz (MBIE/Tenancy Services have developed a factsheet that summarises the changes) Source: tenancy.govt.nz/law-changes

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

HARRY’S FISH SHOP

Howard (Harry) Morris has been a fixture in the Nelson restaurant and food scene for a couple of decades, initially as the chef at The Cut restaurant that he owned with Rob Fanselow then the two of them opened Harry’s in Hardy St before relocating to the top of Trafalgar St.

When Harry sold Harry’s Bar, he wanted to stay in the food industry but not be working the unsociable hours that running a bar and restaurant often involves. When he saw that the fresh fish business on the entrance to Marble Arch Arcade was for sale, Harry could see the opportunity to use his cooking skills to add value to a great little business.

Harry’s Fish Shop is the place you can buy fresh fish as well as beautifully crafted meals ready for you to buy for lunch or take home for dinner.

The fresh seafood comes from the local fisherman he bought the shop from, Andy and Simone Kenton. Harry says, “Andy bought a second boat and felt that looking after the fishing business was going to be enough and decided to sell the shop with an ongoing fish supply in place.

“Andy is one of the few independent local fishermen left in the region; his dad fished, so it’s in the blood and his focus had to be on fishing not running a retail business.”

The fish shop business was built on the quality fish that Andy’s boats catch along with a few other suppliers, including locally speared Butter Fish and Blue Cod from D’Urville Island. The supply of fish is always slightly varied with the weather playing a big part in when and how much fish is available.

“We have another couple of regular suppliers, Mt Cook Salmon and Donna Wells, owner of Finest Kind, and we get smoked fish products from Aqua Fresh who also do the smoking of the Mt Cook Salmon for the shop.”

Not your usual lunch, the house cured salmon with asparagus and potato salad sold at Harry’s. BRADEN FASTIER/STUFF

Harry also has an expanding variety of accompaniments for sale, from fish coatings to dressings and sauces. “This is another part of the business that will be expanding, in time, to offer an assortment of accompaniments to compliment the fresh fish.”

As to the future of the business, Harry says “it is a work in progress I don’t have a set outcome as to where it will end up, retail is very different to hospitality so I’m still learning as we go. There are a lot of options we can offer over time, and I am looking forward to seeing how it all grows. With the stop-start that this year has provided my plans for moving forward slowed a little, but since coming back after lockdown the changes are happening at a good pace.”

He has started preparing dishes available to buy and reheat at home. “There are a few regular items like smoked fish potato-topped pie and different flavoured quiches, some flavours are standard like the salmon and caper or the smoked fish and caramelised onion, but we also produce other flavours depending on our mood on the day.”

The chili salt squid salad has become a popular lunch option for many in Nelson’s CBD. BRADEN FASTIER/STUFF

Recently Harry’s Fish Shop has added a small lunch menu with both hot and cold options “Fish & Chips, Ceviche, Prawn Roll with cocktail sauce and Chili Salt Squid which is still as popular as it was on the menu at Harry’s. Having a blackboard menu enables changes to be made easily.”

Most of the lunch options are cooked and made to order, so there is still a bit of kitchen service happening. “We plan this to make sure we can operate quickly as the lunch break for most people is only 30 minutes and we are already getting pre-ordered lunches, making it easier for us and the customers.”

Harry’s Fish Shop crew Rachael Bastion-Holmes, left, Harry Morris, Nigel Fahey, and Rachel James at the premises in Montgomery Square, Nelson. BRADEN FASTIER/STUFF

Of course, you get great advice when you visit Harry’s Fish Shop, both of his staff have a background working in the hospitality sector, “Rachel spent five years working on fishing boats too so has fantastic fish knowledge while Rachael’s trade has been in hospitality, together they are both very customer focused.”

They are a small but talented team at Harry’s Fish Shop and together they provide great service and knowledge, as well as the high-quality food Harry has delivered in Nelson for many years, every time you visit them in the Marble Arch Arcade on Montgomery Square. www.harrysfish.nz

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 update – 26.04.20

This is just a quick update to recap on a few things we have put in this update email over the past few weeks.

Closed

Our office will remain closed during Level 3 restrictions.

Our senior staff are working from home so we can still provide essential support and, for those of you have already dropped your annual accounts in to us, we have logged your accounts into our workflow records and will prepare your annual accounts on a first-in, first-out basis. Unless of course you have an urgent need for financial information to give to your bank, in that case we will give you accounts priority.

Contact numbers

You can contact us as follows:

Sari Hodgson     7 days. sari@savage.co.nz 021-548-489

Neil Hodgson     7 days. neil@savage.co.nz 021-445-142

Anna Patchett   Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm anna@savage.co.nz 021-276-7393

Libby Gledhill     Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm libby@savage.co.nz 027-313-4382

Zoom

We are available for Zoom meetings (via internet). Just email the person you want to talk with and we will make a time to meet and send you a zoom link so we can chat online

Monthly Invoicing

Also as per last month, because we won’t be back in the office our monthly invoices for the end of April will be sent without the usual detail. If you require a detailed invoice please just contact us and we will send you one when we are able to operate from the office again.

And don’t forget, you are able to contact Neil to make arrangements to pay your account over time if your business and cashflow has been impacted by the lockdown.

We do understand these are challenging times for many people and businesses and we will support you in any way we can.

Free help

A reminder we are offering free help to all clients who need help putting together cash flows and other planning documents you may need during the recovery stage as we move out of lockdown. We are here to help and will give you an hour free time towards preparing these documents, pointing you in the right direction or reviewing various plans you have been working on.

Tell us what is happening

Let us know if you’re open for business so we can share the good news, we want to encourage everyone to do as much business locally as possible. This is our community and to make sure it remains a great place to live, work and play we need to make sure we support every business in the region.

Tell us about your business – are you open again? What changes have you made to be able to operate in Level 3? We want to share the good news so tell us and we will tell others.

Buy local

As above, we urge you all to buy local and support local, small businesses are really suffering in these most unusual, unexpected and unplanned for times so they need as much help as they can get, every $10 you spend locally makes a big difference to local businesses.

You don’t need to buy everything online or make every meal a delivered meal but maybe treat yourself once a week to something tasty for a great local food business.

Personally we have made a point of having things we normally buy delivered by local producers and retailers and have already ordered some meals for delivery for later in the week.

Watch this space for an email about local restaurants doing home delivery for the next few weeks.

Stay safe

Finally, we trust you have managed to stay well and have been keeping safe, don’t drop the safety standards just yet because we don’t want Covid-19 to tighten its grip again meaning we have to go back to Level 4 lockdown for another four weeks.