Well, this 31 March feels a bit different, doesn’t it?  This year-end seems more like prepping for a doomsday than gathering your info to send off to us.

If you want to look for a positive, the lockdown is going to give many of you some extra time to focus on year-end matters. Our team are ready to receive your info and our cloud based solutions mean we can have everything underway asap.

How does COVID-19/the Lock-down Affect the End of Financial Year?

Stocktakes

Doing a stocktake is unlikely to be possible at present for almost all businesses.  Even if a business is not locked down, a stock take is probably an extension of the essential services.

We advised all of the clients we spoke with prior to lock-down to do a quick stocktake prior to locking up. Our thinking at the time was more to do with being able to make accurate insurance claims if the premises was accessed by some undesirables during lockdown. These will be a really good source for us to now to at least draft accounts while in lockdown to help with any required bank lending you may need.

If you don’t have 100% confidence in your quick stocktake figures for tax reporting or you simply didn’t get any before lock-down, don’t worry. The stock and work in progress on your first day back should be identical to year-end. Make stocktake one of your first tasks back. This will let you see if anything was stolen during lockdown as well as letting us finalise those draft accounts nice and quick.

We would not be surprised if there was a legislative fix or IRD ruling on this soon so everyone is working from the same play sheet.

Stock Valuations

For clients who use a stock method that has a market value aspect to it, it is fair to say that values will be down in many cases (unless you are hoarding stocks of toilet paper and hand sanitiser).

If an independent valuation is required, that would not be possible at the moment as valuations are not an essential service.

Work in Progress

For service industries, some thought needs to go into whether to invoice as many sales as possible with the knowledge that your customers are likely to be slow paying and therefore the sooner that the amounts are billed, the sooner you will be able to get some cash in.

On the other hand, the 2020-21 year is very likely to be down on the 2019-20 year, and if not invoicing the amounts defers that income into the next year there will be a tax timing difference in doing so.  However, “cash is king”, so we recommend getting your invoices out as soon as possible.

Bank Reporting

With everything that is going on, we expect that banks will want financial statements from their customers sooner than usual.  Also, if you are looking to take advantage of the Government-backed lending scheme, we expect that the banks are going to want to see budgets and cashflows.

Therefore, we would suggest that you take the opportunity while things are probably a bit quieter to get your financial information up to date.

Bad Debts

A bad debt needs to be written off on or before 31 March 2020 to be able to claim it in the 2019/20 tax year.  Since the cash flows of many businesses are in a pretty dire state, we suggest you urgently give your debtors a good working over to identify any debts that are bad.

The tax requirements for writing off a debt as bad are:

  • The taxpayer decides the debt is bad – the test for this is that a debt is bad when “a reasonably commercial person would conclude that there is no reasonable likelihood that the debt will be paid”; and
  • The debt is written off as bad in the accounting records.

Note that writing a debt off as bad, does not prevent you trying to recover that amount in the future.  If a debt has been written off is later recovered, that amount is treated as income.

Tax Considerations

Inland Revenue’s Attitude to Late Payments

As mentioned in prior guidance we have provided online, Inland Revenue has signalled a somewhat relaxed approach to tax payments.  They do not want taxpayers reaching out to them (as they do not have the capacity) but have suggested that taxpayers request penalty and interest write-offs when we all have a little more time to deal with those things.

Taxpayers should not get behind on GST or PAYE payments as these are effectively collected on trust for the Government.

If you know that you have overpaid 2020 provisional tax, an estimate can be filed to get an earlier refund.  We would normally recommend caution using estimates due to the impact that these can have on the use of money interest calculations.  However, with Inland Revenue signalling use of money interest write-offs, this won’t be as crucial as it is in normal years.

For most provisional taxpayers, use of money interest will only accrue from 7 May.  Therefore, it is helpful to have a pretty accurate tax calculation by that date. However, the Inland Revenue’s relaxed approach to the use of money interest reduces the importance of this.

Relevant Information for Forecasting 2020 Tax Payments

Foreign Investment Funds (FIFs)

With the state of the share markets, it is fair to say that the FIF calculations are not going to look too pretty for those who have investments in the foreign share markets. For those who can use the CV method (i.e. entities other than companies), the FIF result is very likely to be zero.

Foreign Exchange Gains and Losses

At the time of writing, the New Zealand dollar is well down against major currencies, but up against the AUD.  Therefore, we would expect some pretty significant FX gains and losses depending on the currency and whether an amount is an asset or a liability.

Holiday Pay 63-day Adjustments

For taxpayers who are adding back their holiday entitlements, the 63-day adjustments are likely to be quite large, as many employees may have agreed to take leave over the close-down period.

Its Time to Get in Touch

The team at MBP are ready to help you get your end of financial year tax and accounting sorted. Reach out to your normal Business Partner or Business Support Manager to get the ball rolling. They’ll be able to tell you anything specific we may need from you.

In these unprecedented times, it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together; everyone is impacted by Covid-19, from our team, to our customers and suppliers.  We’ve prepared this guide to help our clients navigate through these uncertain times by working together to help keep businesses alive and people employed.

We can’t stress enough the importance of communication at this time.  You’re not alone in this.  Communicate with us, your accountants; we’re here to help.  Communicate with your team; they’re worried about their job security and supporting their families.  Communicate with your customers; reassure them that you’re still open for business and of the steps you’re taking to protect them.  Communicate with your suppliers; they’re a business just like you, with similar concerns.  Communicate with your bank and financiers; sooner rather than later – act now for your best opportunities.

These are scary times for everyone, but it’s a time for planning, not panicking.  We can all make a plan to minimise the impact as much as possible.  Things will change, that’s a given.  But with this change comes opportunities.  Think about how your business can evolve.  It’s likely your customers still need you; but you may need to pivot your business.

We encourage our clients to reach out to us.  We are keeping up to date with the latest from the government and will share the latest developments with our clients.

Many, if not most, team members will be working from home.  Most, if not all, of your usual face-to-face meetings will now take place online or by phone.  The value we provide you won’t change; our delivery will just look different.

We can all do our part to keep ourselves safe and protect our community.

We are committed to safeguarding the financial health and wellbeing of our team and our clients.

Please get in touch, by phone or email, to discuss your options and make a plan for the continuity of your business.

We’re here for you,

The MBP Team

 

Click HERE to access your free copy of our Business Continuity Plan template.

Your Resilience

Wellbeing

The coming months are inevitably going to be tough for a lot of people.  As a business owner, you’ll need to make some tough decisions.  It’s essential we look out for each other and speak out when we need help.  This is a stressful time and it’s important we look after our mental health as well as offering mental health support to our team.

Some tips for managing your mental wellbeing:

  1. Select your information sources carefully. Access information from official sources when required.
  2. Try to maintain your daily routine. Some adjustments will need to be made but try to keep to your routine as much as possible.
  3. Exercise each day. Go for a walk or run and get some fresh air and sunshine.  Even if you’re self-isolating, you can get outside while maintaining social distancing.
  4. Get enough sleep. Easier said than done at times.  Put technology away earlier and read or listen to an audiobook to help you relax.
  5. Maintain a healthy diet. Eat a range of fresh and nutritious food.  Reach out to your community and swap produce if possible.
  6. Stay calm. Choose a relaxation practice, e.g. yoga, meditation, etc. and commit to doing it daily.
  7. Stay connected. Spend time with your family and keep in contact with friends; call instead of texting.
  8. Be positive. With crisis comes opportunity.  Seek out opportunities and don’t catastrophise.

If you’re struggling to cope and need to speak to a trained counsellor, you can call or text 1737 any time.  In an emergency, dial 111.

For more information on managing your mental wellbeing, see the Ministry of Health website.

Xero Assistance Programme

If you’re on any MBP Business Partner Assist, Assist Pro or Assist Insight plan, you can access XAP, the Xero Assistance Programme.  This allows you and your team to access free and confidential counselling and support, either face-to-face, online or over the phone.

Find out more on the Xero website.

Family first

Your family should come first, always.  It’s likely they’re your main reason for being in business; setting your family up for success.  Discuss your options with your family and make a plan for working from home.

If you have children, speak to them about what’s happening in an age appropriate manner.  Find out what they know and correct any misinformation.  Listen to their fears and offer comfort while being honest.  Reinforce the need for proper hygiene and getting lots of sleep.  Make sure you have technology, books and resources available for them to continue learning.

Personal budget

Review your personal budget and ‘trim the fat’.  Identify areas where you can save money.  Your personal budget doesn’t need to be complex – it could be as simple as totaling your expenditure from the last month or 2 to identify your monthly personal costs.  From there identify where you can make savings e.g. on entertainment, coffee, gifts, and any other unnecessary expenditure.  Every saving you make takes pressure off what the business needs to provide to you.

Don’t cut costs for essential utilities; a strong and reliable internet connection is a must if you’ll be working from home.

Personal asset planning

Personal insurances

Review your personal insurances to ensure you have sufficient cover for you and your family.  Speak to an insurance broker for advice on your insurance options.

Wills

If you don’t already have a Will, make sure you get one written up sooner rather than later.  If you do have one, make sure it’s up to date and reflects your current wishes.  Speak to your lawyer for specific advice on drafting your Will.

Memorandum of Wishes

If you have a Trust, ensure you have a Memorandum of Wishes to guide your appointed Trustees on the purpose and desired outcome for your Trust assets.  While it may not necessarily be binding on the surviving Trustees, they will usually follow it.

Because a Trust continues after your death, a Memorandum of Wishes is important as it outlines your intentions for the Trust assets.  It’s a personal document that doesn’t need to be written by a lawyer.  You should write it yourself, in plain English, and update it whenever circumstances change.  We have a template available to guide you through the creation of your Memorandum of Wishes.

Powers of Attorney

There are two types of Powers of Attorney: general and enduring.  A general Power of Attorney is appointed to help you look after your affairs and you can choose what it covers, e.g. money and property.  A general Power of Attorney ceases to be valid as soon as you no longer have the mental or physical capacity to instruct them.

An enduring Power of Attorney allows your nominated person to act for you if you become mentally incapable but must be arranged while you are mentally capable to make that decision.  You can nominate an enduring Power of Attorney for your personal care and welfare, and for your financial affairs and property.

If you don’t current have a Power of Attorney arranged, now is the time to think about who you could nominate and the types of authority they’ll have.  Remember, it must be arranged prior to you becoming mentally incapable or it will be invalid.

Important documents and information

Ensure you store your important documents and information in a safe place which can easily be found by the person who will be dealing with your affairs in the event you become incapacitated.  Don’t forget to include passwords to online accounts, and key contact information such as your lawyer, accountant and doctor.  We have a Life Organiser which records all these important details in one place, stored electronically with us.

Supporting Your Team

Your team members will be worried about job security.  The government has stated that there will be job losses during this time.  Be open with your team.  Share your plan with them and be honest about the potential impact the pandemic will have on your business.  If there are to be job losses, ensure you obtain legal and HR advice on the best way to handle restructuring, stand down, reduced hours, and redundancy processes.

Covid-19 Prevention and Response Policy

If you haven’t already developed a policy setting out the actions you’ll take to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and respond to its impact, now’s the time to do so.  This policy should set out best practice for your team, including:

  1. Clear self-isolation policies.
  2. Postponing all travel and work-related events.
  3. Cancelling in-person meetings.
  4. Practicing social distancing.
  5. Measures to take at home.

We’ve developed our own policy and we’ve made our template available to our clients free of charge to use as a comprehensive starting point.  Get in touch if you’d like a copy.

Updating your team and ongoing communication

After you’ve completed your Business Continuity Plan, share relevant sections with your team.  Ideally, share this online either via email, video recording (Loom is a great tool for making video recordings), or online meeting such as Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting or Google Hangouts.  Answer questions honestly, even if the answer is “I don’t know”.  Be realistic and honest about any risk to jobs during this period but reassure the team that you’ll do everything you can to protect their jobs as much as possible.

Outline how you’ll communicate with the team on an ongoing basis.  This may be a daily update email while things are changing rapidly then become less regular.  For large teams, ask team members to send any questions to their direct manager, who can then collate questions to be addressed in future communications.

Continuity of work

Changes to roles

It’s likely there will be changes to roles within your business as you and your team adapt to the impact of Covid-19.  Spend time reviewing your current organisational structure and updating key responsibilities and tasks where appropriate.  Ensure everyone is clear on their updated roles and responsibilities.  Remember to seek HR and legal advice on how best to handle significant changes in roles or redundancies.

Updating goals and KPIs

It’s likely each team member’s goals and KPIs will need to be updated.  Targets which seemed achievable a few weeks ago may now be unrealistic.  While it’s hard to estimate the exact impact on sales and revenue over the coming months, reset your team’s KPIs and goals to realistic targets.

Working from home

It’s likely that people will remain in some form of lockdown in the coming weeks and possibly months.  Decide what additional resources you need to provide your team with, if you haven’t already.

Consider how you can best utilise technology to maintain team communication.  Using an application, such as Microsoft Teams or Slack, can encourage your team to regularly communicate.  You could also run an automated daily standup within your chosen app or via a third party app, such as Standuply or Standup Alice, which allows you to set questions for your team to answer each day, e.g. how are you feeling, what are you working on, what are your roadblocks, etc.

Instead of face-to-face meetings, utilise Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts or GoToMeeting for one on one or small team meetings.  Consider using Trello, Monday.com or Asana to manage workflows while working remotely.

Flexibility of working hours

Consider whether you can offer flexible or reduced working hours to your team.  Team members may be willing to reduce their working hours for a period of time.  Encourage team members with outstanding leave to use this now.  In some instances, leave without pay may need to be offered.  Ensure legal and/or HR advice is obtained if hours need to be reduced or changed.

Financial support

If a team member is sick with Covid-19, or is caring for a dependent who is sick with it, and cannot work, they should first use any available sick leave.  They can then quality for the Leave Payment Scheme for hours above their available sick leave.

Work-related travel and events

It’s likely that a phone call or online meeting will generate the same results as face-to-face contact.

If you hold customer or team events, consider how these can be delivered online.  If you have booked venues for upcoming events, contact each venue as soon as possible to minimise costs.  Do not assume that venues will not provide a refund or will hold you to binding contracts.  Some suppliers will be understanding of your situation and will offer relief.

Restructuring and potential redundancies

During these unprecedented times, the legal ramifications of employment decisions may differ from standard.  It’s important to negotiate with your team where possible and give them options to choose from.  In some cases, team members may need to be given the option of either accepting reduced hours or having their role being made redundant.

Review your Employment Agreements to determine whether there are clauses which cover this current crisis and enable you to reduce working hours in these situations.

You may need to restructure your business with resulting redundancies.  It’s imperative you obtain advice to ensure proper processes are followed.

Supporting and Retaining Your Customers

The support you offer your customers now will impact the support your customers give you in the future.  Customers need to be reassured that you’re still operating.

Covid-19 Prevention and Response Policy

Your policy should cover the steps your business has taken to protect your customers.  Share this information with them to offer reassurance that you’ve taken every practicable step to reduce the risk and protect both your customers and your team.

If you regularly have meetings with customers, switch to phone or encourage online meetings using Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts or GoToMeeting.

Changes to your services

It’s likely that aspects of your business will need to change.  Ensure all changes are clearly communicated to your customers.  This includes any potential delays to delivery times or products being unavailable.  Use your website, social media and email to communicate well to customers.

Terms of Trade

Review your Terms of Trade and update the terms to reflect your changing business practices.  Share your updated Terms of Trade with your customers, highlighting key changes.  In particular, review your payment terms and delivery terms.  Remember to enforce your Terms of Trade at this time.  Don’t let customers avoid paying you, as this could have a material impact on the sustainability of your business.

We have a Terms of Trade Template available for our clients to develop robust Terms of Trade.  Please get in touch if you need help developing yours.

Offer incentives to retain customers

You customers may be facing job losses or reduced hours and lower income, so they’ll be prioritising where they spend their money.

Consider the types of incentives you can offer customers to keep buying during this period.  Can they spread the cost over a number of weeks or months?  Companies such as Afterpay or Laybuy can enable this.  You may be able to arrange consignment stock at this time, whereby you only pay your supplier once you’ve been paid by your customer.

Communicating with key customers

Ensure you regularly communicate with your key customers so they’re aware of what’s happening, particularly if you have an ongoing relationship with them to supply goods or services.  They’re likely being inundated with communication from numerous sources, so keep all communication brief.  Make your communications as personal as you can.

Working with Your Suppliers

Payment arrangements

Negotiate new payment terms with your suppliers if you can.  If you are able to pay upfront, ask for a prompt payment discount.  If you don’t have sufficient cashflow to pay upfront, ask to pay over a longer period of time.  Ask if it’s possible to hold stock on consignment where you only pay the supplier once you’ve sold that stock.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help here.  You and your suppliers are in this together.

Purchasing policies

Ordering of stock

Discuss your supplier’s supply chain and the measures they’re taking to continue supply.  Ask about their contingency plans for what may happen if deliveries can’t be made or supplies can’t be obtained.  Consider whether you need to order additional stock while it’s available, if it’s likely to become scarce in the coming months.

Alternatively, you may need to reduce your current minimum re-ordering levels.  Consider whether there are some items of stock that should not be re-ordered at all.

Return of stock

Review your supplier contracts in regard to the return of stock.  Discuss whether you can return excess stock that isn’t selling.  Ensure contracts are updated if any terms change.  If you cannot return stock, then consider discounting slow-moving stock to convert it back to cash (and don’t re-order that same stock).

Contracts

Review the contracts you have with suppliers.  Is there a clause which would allow you to cancel orders or change the terms in this current crisis?  If you cannot meet the terms of your contract, seek legal advice and negotiate with the supplier.

Review all other key contracts, with lessors of premises, vehicles, and equipment.  You may need to renegotiate significant terms.  Do not assume that these contracts cannot be renegotiated.  As your current cashflow and ability to meet financial obligations may be significantly impacted, some of these key providers will be prepared to renegotiate terms.

Your business

Managing cashflow is essential for a business at all times but becomes even more important during times of crises.  Bear in mind that your customers and suppliers will also be concerned about their cashflow.

Preserving and bringing forward cashflow, and creating a war chest of cash reserves is important right now.

Cashflow Forecast and Cashflow Management

The first step to managing your cashflow is to create a Cashflow Forecast.  Projecting your cash position forward gives you the ability to make far more informed decisions.  Your previously prepared Cashflow Forecast will no longer be valid.  We can help you review and update it to reflect the impact that Covid-19 may have on your cashflow.

Some businesses will need to look at their cashflow and their cash burn on a weekly basis.

Accounts receivable process

Now’s the time to review your accounts receivable process and look for strategies to minimise your debtor days (the number of days, on average, it takes your customers to pay you).  Strategies include tightening and enforcing your Terms of Trade, engaging a debt collector, interim or staged invoicing, asking for deposits, offering prompt payment discounts and streamlining your billing process.

Follow up outstanding invoices and request payment early and regularly.  Make it easy for your customers to pay directly through Xero or by online payments or direct debit.  If customers are struggling to pay, offer payment options, such as spreading the payment across a period of time, to ensure you have cash coming in.

Accounts payable process

Review the terms you have with your suppliers and identify potential areas of improvement, e.g. asking for prompt payment discounts, better pricing, consignment stock and spreading payments across a longer term.

Review the support being offered by Inland Revenue to delay payment and access additional tax relief.  See the Inland Revenue section for more details.

Inventory process

Conduct a stocktake so you know exactly how much inventory you have on hand.  Determine how robust your supply chain is and whether you need to order more inventory now to get you through the next few months, or whether you need to cancel forward orders.

Debt / capital structure

Review your existing debt structure and work with the bank to negotiate debt consolidation, an interest only period, seasonal finance, revolving credit or overdraft extensions or better repayment terms.  See the Bank Assistance section of this guide for more information about how your bank can help with cashflow.  Review your drawings from the business and make adjustments if necessary.  Consider whether you could invest more cash into your business to get through the next few months.

Overhead expenses

Review all overhead expenses and identify areas where you could reduce your spend.  Are there costs that can be avoided through this difficult time?  Speak to your telecommunications, power and other suppliers about better rates.

Gross Profit margin

Your gross profit margin is the amount left of your sales income after variable costs have been paid.  Review your processes to reduce re-work, errors and wastage and monitor team productivity to identify areas for improvement.  Review the margins you’re achieving from different areas of your business, e.g. different departments or classes of product or service.  Focusing on the products or services that have a better margin and reducing or discontinuing products or services with a lower margin may contribute to your business survival.  Engage with your team about process improvement and increasing efficiency to help preserve and improve your margin.

Sales levels

Consider how you can maximise sales levels over this period to preserve cashflow.  Focus on the five ways to grow sales and determine which areas will give you the greatest return:

  1. Increase customer retention: Strategies to stop your clients switching to your competitors.
  2. Increase leads or enquiries: Ramp up your marketing to your target market, using cost-effective marketing channels that work in your industry.
  3. Improve sales conversion rates: Focus on the benefits you offer and the problems your business solves for your customers.
  4. Increase transaction frequency: Ensuring you have a follow up process for your next sale.
  5. Increase transaction value: Upsell to existing customers by offering them additional value.

Unused assets and equipment

Consider whether you need to keep unused assets and equipment.  Selling these, even at a loss, will give you much needed cashflow.

Asset purchases

Avoid purchasing assets outright with cash.  If asset purchases are essential, consider leasing or obtaining loan finance spread over a longer time period.

Bank Assistance

Contact your bank and any other financiers to find out how they can help you manage your cashflow over the coming months.  Get in touch with them now so you have access to additional funding when you need it.  Your bank may be able to offer the following assistance alternatives:

  • Increasing temporary overdraft facilities
  • Reviewing and extending trade credit
  • Asset finance funding
  • Loan repayment holiday, deferment of repayments, or interest-only terms
  • Extension of term lending periods
  • Short-term and hardship loans
  • Short-term mortgage holidays
  • Business credit card options

Insurances

A number of business insurances policies will not cover the impact of Covid-19.  Your policy may have a standard exclusion clause regarding infectious diseases.  However, contact your broker or review your policies to see if this is the case.

It is also important to review your business insurances to cover risks such as:

  • HR and employment related matters
  • Theft / loss of property
  • Statutory liability
  • Professional indemnity
  • Shareholder buy-out / key person

Inland Revenue Support

In addition to the tax relief announced in the government’s Business Continuity Package, Inland Revenue can help free up cash by allowing instalment arrangements, remitting late payment and filing penalties, and writing off debt in severe hardship.

We can advise you of the options available to your business.  It’s essential that we are open and honest and notify Inland Revenue of the hardship you’re facing as soon as possible to reduce the likelihood of additional penalties and interest.

We are experts at negotiating the best possible outcome from a tax minimisation perspective.  Please speak to us.

Government Support Package

On 17 March 2020, the government announced a Business Continuity Package to address the impacts Covid-19 will have.  If you meet the criteria, you can receive government payments to subsidise wages.  Please note that this information was correct at the time of writing, but the government is regularly announcing more support packages.

Please contact us for the most up to date information relating to your business.

Wage subsidies

This package includes subsidies for lost wages for businesses who can demonstrate a decline, or forecasted decline, in monthly revenue of 30%.  The government has recently updated the package to ensure new businesses and businesses who had been experiencing high growth prior to the Covid-19 pandemic can access the support.  If you need help calculating the financial impact on your business, please get in touch asap.

Affected businesses can receive $585.50 per week for employees working 20 hours or more per week, and $350 per week for part time employees.  This payment will be paid as a lump sum and covers a 12 week period.  There is no longer any cap on the amount payable to businesses.

It’s important to note that a declaration must be made that employees will remain employed at a minimum of 80% of their usual pay for the subsidy period and that you are taking active steps to mitigate the impact Covid-19 has on the business.

If you need help completing application forms, please contact us.

For more information about the wage subsidy, see the Work and Income website.

Leave and isolation support

This was initially rolled out when only a few people were sick or in isolation. This has now been rolled into the wage subsidy.

If you are operating an essential business and your staff need to take sick leave or isolate related to COVID-19, please get in touch with us to discuss your options.

Business cashflow and tax measures

To further support businesses, the package includes cashflow and tax measures, including:

  • Allowing Inland Revenue to remit use-of-money interest (UOMI) for customers significantly adversely affected by Covid-19
  • Increasing the Provisional Tax threshold to $5,000 from the 2020/2021 financial year
  • Increasing the small asset depreciation threshold to $1,000 and up to $5,000 for the 2020/2021 financial year
  • Allowing depreciation on commercial and industrial buildings from 2020/2021
  • Removing the hours test from the In-Work Tax Credit from 1 July 2020

For more information about these measures, see the IRD website.

Talk to us about how this may reduce your upcoming tax commitments.

Support available and useful links

It’s essential to obtain your information from official government sources.  Your industry associations may also have industry-specific information.  If you need advice or support, we’re here to help.  We recommend reviewing the following websites for up to date information:

New Zealand Government

Inland Revenue

Work and Income NZ

Ministry of Health

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise

Employment New Zealand

Next Steps

At this critical time, doing nothing is simply not an option.  You must prepare for the impact this pandemic will have on your family, your business and your team.  We’ve made key resources and additional services available for our clients to help them prepare.

Business Continuity Plan Facilitation

If you want to maximise your entitlements in the most cost-effective and efficient way, and get access to best practice (combining your expertise with ours) we recommend we facilitate the development of your plan online.  Depending on the size and complexity of your business, this may take between one and four hours and we can split our time into two-hour sessions if required.  Contact us for more information or a proposal for this service.

You may not be aware of all of your entitlements.  By working with us on your plan, we can make sure you receive your maximum entitlements.

Business Continuity Plan Review

If you would like to draft your plan yourself, using our guide to assist, we can review your draft and ensure you’ve covered everything.  We’ll do this over a 60-90 minute online review meeting.  Contact us for more information or a proposal for this review service.  The advantage of this option is that you get access to our expertise to ensure you access all the assistance you’re entitled to and we can make sure your plan gets done.

Business Continuity Plan Template

Used in conjunction with this guide, the Business Continuity Plan Template allows you to identify and record the steps you need to take in your business.  Provided in a Word format, you can complete this yourself or engage us to complete it with you online.

If you want to complete your plan yourself, without any assistance from us, we recommend you send us a copy of your completed plan.

Please also contact us with any support you need as we move through the coming weeks and months.

We’ll be holding all client meetings online or by phone for the time being.  We use online meeting software that enables us to see each other and to share documents on screen.  Prior to any online meeting, you’ll receive a link to join that meeting.  We know you’ll get as much value from these online meetings as you would face to face.

Click HERE to access your free copy of our Business Continuity Plan template.

 

Click HERE to book in a free chat with an MBP Business Partner.

 

We are here to support you in this difficult time.  Please take care.

 

DISCLAIMER:

This guide has been designed to assist New Zealand businesses to develop their Business Continuity Plan in response to Covid-19.  Planning your response is critical; every business will be impacted in some way.  

This guide is not intended to be exhaustive or replace official advice provided by the New Zealand Government.  The information contained in this guide is of a general nature only.  Contact us for advice relating to your specific circumstances. 

All data was correct at the time of writing; however, this is a constantly evolving situation and we recommend you utilise official government or industry specific websites or contact us for the most up to date information.

Employees at businesses both large and small are now telecommuting/ working from home. Many companies around the world are restructuring their management practices to meet the challenges and opportunities of managing remote teams.

Now with the spread of the COVID-19 and workers being asked to work-from-home the need for managing remote teams is higher than it’s ever been.

Because they tend to be more agile and open to change, small businesses are particularly well positioned to adapt to telecommuting. Increased productivity and happier employees who appreciate the added flexibility are just a few benefits winning over small business owners.

But telecommuting also presents some challenges – in particular, two core issues: keeping track of what remote workers are doing and ensuring that remote and in-house teams form a cohesive unit.

These tips can help you effectively manage and support your remote employees and ensue the ongoing success of a remote business.

Promote Communication and Accountability when Managing Remote Teams

Defining expectations and setting up methods to track results are essential elements of remote team management. Here are a few ways to make sure your remote workers understand what is expected of them:

  • Set up a shareable daily work log your remote workers can use to report their progress on ongoing projects (Google Drive offers some good options).
  • Utilize a project management system to exchange messages, assign tasks and monitor projects rather than relying solely on email.
  • Determine key indicators for success for each remote worker and share these indicators with your employees (these might be daily, weekly or monthly goals).
  • Conduct regular reviews with remote workers to assess their performance.

Include Remote Workers in Office Culture

Positive work culture and employee engagement are quickly becoming top priorities for business managers who want to retain top talent. These tips will help your remote workers feel just as valued and validated as your in-house team.

  • If your in-house workers enjoy a monthly pizza party, don’t forget to include your remote workers. Invite them to attend, have a meal delivered to them or offer a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant.
  • Get to know and spend time with your remote workers, just as you would with in-house staff. Set aside a few moments each day to inquire about their families, personal interests, recent challenges and successes.
  • Consider pairing up remote workers to complete complex tasks. You’ll improve efficiency while helping remote workers feel like part of the team.

Ready to Enjoy the Benefits of Managing Remote Teams?

If the benefits of  managing remote teams outweighs the risks in your view, try offering your staff a work day from home a week – then, if it works out, you can try hiring remote employees. Some small business owners hire a remote employee in another region – a great way to expand their market.

If you trust your employees to work hard no matter where they’re located, the main thing to remember is fostering teamwork. A monthly meeting that everyone is required to attend can encourage stronger relationships, allow opportunities to clear the air or discuss any challenges – and improve a sense of teamwork and camaraderie.

Got a question about your business? Get in touch with the team at MBP. We can help you develop a remote working tech stack, implement HR policies for remote working and health & safety as well as work with you on your business culture and performance.

With the government announcement of the change to Level 3 and moving to Level 4 Lockdown in the next 24 hours, we understand that this will have a dramatic impact on our client’s and their businesses.

We fully understand the likely impact, and we are working as quickly as possible to be able to fully support our clients through this time.  But as you will appreciate, we are getting information at the same time as you are, so we don’t always have the answers or reassurance that you are looking for immediately.  Please bear with us and rest assured, we are doing everything that we can to be here to support you.

The level of client calls though does mean our response times getting back to you may be a bit longer.  We appreciate your understanding regarding this.

In the short term, our response will be to contact every client regarding the Business Wage and Leave Subsidies that the Government has announced.

If you don’t have Cloud Payroll Software and think that you may need our assistance to make applications, please email your MBP Business Partner as soon as possible a report showing your staff names, IRD numbers, and Dates of Birth.  We will need this information to make Wage and Leave Subsidy applications on your behalf. You will need to email this to us before the level 4 restrictions start tomorrow night. Our admin team will no longer be supporting your MBP Business Advisor directly after 5pm tomorrow (24th March 2020).

If you have couriered something to our Taupo office, we have made arrangements with the courier companies to have these redirected.

Once the subsidy applications have been launched, we will start to assist clients to assess the likely impact on their cashflows and talking to their bank.

The third wave of our support will be to assist with planning to try and minimise the longer-term impact of this. This is really the perfect time to start working on your business while its impossible to work normally in it.

Please contact your MBP Business Partner at any stage through the next four weeks.  We are all working from home and are here to support you as best we can in this difficult time.

The MBP​ Family wishes you and your family all the best through these difficult times, stay safe and healthy.

We all have tasks that get in the way of our business moving forward. It’s all these tasks that we tend to procrastinate, that we would rather void doing and that just suck up too much of our valuable time. Time that we should be spending on our businesses. Thankfully, there are lots of businesses, like MBP, that exist to help you identify what to outsource and take over completing those tasks for you. Get back to what you do best, what you enjoy doing and outsource the rest.

When looking to identify what to outsource in your business, we have a few simple questions you should ask yourself. What are the things you hate doing? What are the things you can’t do or struggle to do yourself? What are the things that you just shouldn’t be doing?

What Are The Things You Hate Doing?

It seems like common sense the the stuff you hate shot be what to outsource, right? You’d be surprised how many business owners don’t realise that there are people who love doing the things you hate. For example, that weekly payroll, bookkeeping and copywriting are all ideal things for you to outsource. These are the things you either push aside or neglect as you simply don’t have the passion to do them. The things you stress about but that aren’t really worth the stress. These things are the things you hate that are perfect for you to outsource.

What Things Can’t You Do Yourself?

None of us know it all. As much as us small business owners like to wear all the hats in our businesses and do everything, there are a lot of things that we simply don’t know how to do. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not knowing everything.

“Knowledge is everything you have learnt. Wisdom is knowing what you don’t know.”

It would be nice to know everything. It certainly helps to have a working knowledge of absolutely everything that goes on in your business. However, there simply is not enough time for you to be an expert in everything from payroll and bookkeeping to marketing and SEO. In order to run your business properly, you need to focus on what you know and do best. The rest is what to outsource.

Outsource the tasks you aren’t completely confident on to an expert. You can rest assured they will be done properly and in a much quicker time-frame than you could do. You can then sleep easy having avoided the stress of worrying about doing the task correctly and invest more time into the things you do best, further developing the expertise that makes your business thrive.

Are There Any One-Off Tasks You Need Done?

Every now and then, a job pops up that we don’t necessarily have time for. The job isn’t large enough or ongoing so there isn’t an option to hire an employee to complete the job. Even if it is a job that may take a few months, the added costs and delays of on-boarding anew employee can make the job unprofitable or considerably reduce it value to your business.

It could be something as simple as a few hours of data entry or something as complex as a transition to a new database or the implementation of a new software system. These are the perfect things to outsource. Especially with implementation of new systems as the experts you use can manage the change management process, implement the system and train you and your staff on everything you need to know. Outsourcing also allows you and your team to keep going with business as usual while the one-off tasks are completed. It’s a no-brainer really.

What Are The Things You Just Shouldn’t Be Doing?

Whether you are just starting out in business or you’ve been running a successful business for many years, the business landscape is constantly evolving and you need to be able to keep up. So focus on keeping up. As a business owner you need to be focused on your business and its growth. Everything that distracts you from that focus is something that should be outsourced.

These tasks aren’t necessarily business tasks. What to outsource can also include your cleaning, grocery shopping and anything else that sucks up your valuable time and distracts your from your business.

If you’re not sure where to begin, book in a free chat with an MBP Business Support Advisor. They are experts at assessing what tasks you can outsource to others. At MBP, we are expert Certified Bookkeepers, Accountants and Business Development Advisors but there is a lot of stuff that we don’t do. We outsource to experts ourselves and can put you in touch with our most trusted experts for whatever it is you are looking to outsource.