Our Christmas Holidays

Holidays are always a great time of year- especially in summer! We all love to celebrate in different ways.


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1 Peta Xmas Photo 04        Clayton Xmas Photo 01

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IMG_6341        Jaime Xmas Photo

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The Christmas period and paying your staff

We’re heading into the silly season again. It’s referred to as that for a reason. In NZ with our annual close down of business we seem to go flat out to squash a months of work into 3 weeks in December. Unless you’re in retail and selling things people want for Christmas, these are never usually profitable months.

For those of us that are employers it’s a particularly expensive time of year. There’s 6 statutory days between Christmas and Waitangi day. That’s 6 days you pay staff not to turn up and do any work. Or, if you’ve got a business that’s open on those days you have to pay more and give them a day in lieu. Then when people return it always seems to take a few weeks for everyone to rev up into full productivity again.

A quick reminder on the statutory day pay obligations:  If someone would normally work on the day the holiday falls you have to pay them for it. If your business is open on the statutory day and your employee works on that day you have to pay them time and a half and give them a day in lieu. This year Boxing day, January 2nd and Waitangi day all fall on a Saturday. So these are all carried over to the Monday – Yes Waitangi Day is now Mondayised and is a statutory day on Feb 8th. If you want help working out any of your holiday pay obligations give Nicole a call, she’s our head bookkeeper and comes across all of these situations.

For some employers, you pay all the staff their annual leave as you close down at Christmas. Then there’s the GST and provisional tax payments due in January to fund as well – so a tough time of year for business cash flow.

Do any of these come as a cash shock to you and your business? If the answer is yes, perhaps your new year’s resolution should be to talk to us about helping prepare a budget and cash flow forecast for next year so you can enjoy that well-earned break.

The other side of this is we all get a chance to spend time with family and put our feet up, rest and recover for the new year. I always come back invigorated and keen to get into a new year.

Interpreting your accounts – Part 2

In my last blog I talked about the benefit of understanding your accounts and having them prepared regularly.

Now I am going to explain this in more detail.

Following are two of the most common misunderstandings of business. Reviewing your management accounts regularly can help your business by understanding these two areas.

1. Profit is not Cash

It’s not uncommon for us to be going over annual accounts with a client, telling them the profit and they say “I don’t believe we made that profit – if we did, where is it? It’s certainly not in the bank.” Read More »

Health and Safety Reform – Are you prepared for the changes?

Following on from the blog I wrote in the middle of last year, the Health and Safety Reform bill has just passed through Parliament and will come into effect on 4 April 2016.

You will have all heard the outcry from opposition politicians about high risk industries such as worm farms and mini golf while sheep and dairy farming are considered low risk. This has distracted attention a bit from the real purpose and impact of the new laws and how they will affect you.

Basically the implementation of the new regime will see more onus placed on people at every level of responsibility (in particular senior managers and company directors) who are required to understand and proactively manage health and safety in their workplace. There are now stronger penalties and wider enforcement tools for non-compliance.

I have gone through the Act and various articles including this summary from NZ Law Society on the implications and have tried to simplify them into a summary of the areas that everyone in business will need to be aware of.

This is not the complete Act so for further information about the legislation please go to Worksafe.

Who does the law apply to?

The new act widens the definitions of workplace and now applies to everyone who meets the new definition of a ‘Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking’ or a “PCBU”

Read More »

Running a great business

I spent a few days last month getting together with a group of colleagues who meet twice a year to work “on” our business’s. We’ve been getting together for 5 years now so we know each other very well. As one of them said “Its a bit like getting undressed together!”

Many Chartered Accountants call themselves “Accountants and business advisors”. To be honest, many of them have never really run a business themselves, or they have run a pretty sloppy one so I’m not really sure quite how they can advise their clients on how to.

I’ve been an owner of BW for over 20 years, and have many clients running small and medium businesses so I’ve gathered a bit of knowledge over the years.

Here are a few simple tips to running your business from me:
Read More »

People & Collaboration

We recently had an accounting firm from Auckland come and join us for a couple of days of team building, training and collaboration. The business owner and I are part of a group that get together a couple of times a year. We find this is a really helpful sharing of ideas exercise, so we thought why not extend this to the rest of the team in our practices? We consequently decided to get our whole teams together. Apart from it being a great social occasion and having great fun showing off our fabulous city it was really inspiring for everyone.

As a small business it’s often hard to keep up with new ways of doing things and bringing in new ideas. We’re both Chartered Accountancy businesses, so we do the same work, but our methods of doing that are quite different. We use different software or processes and slightly different systems. Each team member was able to have discussions with their contemporaries in the other team giving and receiving good ideas for making our jobs easier and to be more efficient.

We also had an external trainer come in and run some sessions for us. It’s really important to provide training to your team, but as a small business it can be expensive, but by joining with another small team we shared the cost but still had personalised training.

Everybody got so much out of it that we’re already planning a reciprocal visit next year.

Could your business survive a month without you?

Could you take a month off from your business, as I did recently, and expect everything to be up to date when you get back? So many business owners tell me that they can’t take time off from the business without it, in the worst case, falling apart, and in the best case them coming back to a massive pile of things to catch up on.

How healthy is that, for the owner or the business?

There’s also the business risk. What happens if you get hit by the proverbial bus? How many peoples’ livelihoods are in jeopardy because the business couldn’t carry on without you?

Nobody in a business should be able to hold the whole place to ransom like this.

Some of the steps required to make the business sustainable include:

  • Good processes and systems
  • Having a great team that all know what their roles are and how to do them, including the owner
  • Team members trained to cover each others tasks
  • A good data base system or customer relation system, so all the team have access to information about your customers and can help them out
  • Others having access to your emails, to keep on top of them

Then when you go away, even though you will be missed, the place won’t fall apart without you.

I came back from a month away to a clear desk and an inbox of about 12 emails. My team did a great job keeping everything up to date

Privacy Act

What safeguards do you have to ensure you maintain your clients Privacy and that your clients information doesn’t get into the wrong hands?

I am sure you all have better processes than the lawyer in last week’s paper who used the back of sensitive documents to photocopy information for sending to other clients! And that you have systems in place to avoid ACC style document mail outs. But systems and personnel change so it may be a good time to check your processes and review the requirements.

Here at BW we are all for recycling as much paper as possible but privacy is paramount and we are aware that a lot of the information we handle is for your eyes only. Rest assured your records and details are securely stored and we securely destroy all unwanted documents and don’t use client information for scrap. Our staff are all aware that information is sensitive and don’t divulge any of your details to others outside of BW unless you give permission.

Have you thought about the information you and your staff have access to? And have you discussed with them the unintended consequences that can come from casual conversations- many may not be aware that what is a normal conversation at work can really backfire in the wrong setting

Even with the best processes mistakes can happen. If you are on the receiving end of someone else’s error please think how you would like your information treated and resist the temptation to read it, contact the sender and either destroy it or return it as soon as possible.

To find out more about your responsibilities Business.govt.nz has some very good information and guidelines for processes as well as some examples of relevant situations.

If you have any concerns about your data or privacy please give us a call.