Posts

Have you given any thought to which business structure is right for your business? We’ll be honest and admits it’s not usually the first thing that comes to people’s minds when starting or buying a business. However, the way that you structure your business plays a significant role in how it functions down the track.

In NZ, there are three common business structures, along with some which are not so common. We’re sticking with the most common of these structures today, though if you think another type would be better for your business, get in touch and we’ll help you sort it out.

The three most common NZ business structures are:

  • Sole trader
  • Partnership
  • Limited liability company

To help you decide which one you should choose, we’ll work through them individually.

Understanding the Sole Trader Business Structure

A sole trader structure involves only one person: you. It is the simplest structure in which you are the only individual who is liable for every part of your business. This doesn’t mean that you have to do it all alone as you can hire employees to help you run it. You’ll just need to register yourself as an employer with the IRD and meet the required obligations.

As a sole trader, you use your IRD number for tax purposes, filling in a personal tax return. You can claim expenses to lower the amount of tax you pay and generally, any business losses can be offset against any other personal income. Trading under your own name is fine, as the operational life of this business structure simply depends on you.

The advantages of choosing to become a sole trader include:

  • it is quick to set up with no red tape
  • there are no legal fees to pay during the establishment phase
  • you receive all the profits
  • you’ll have total control of the entire business
  • no business name registration is required
  • you can change your business structure easily in the future

Downsides to being a sole trader are:

  • you are completely responsible for all debts and claims
  • your assets can be at put at risk
  • harder to get finance should you need it
  • more difficult to sell as a working business
  • can be harder to grow a business using this structure
  • there are no shares to sell to raise capital
  • you are responsible for your KiwiSaver contributions

For further advice and information about this business type, get in touch.

Understanding the Partnership Business Structure

The partnership structure is often used by two or more professional individuals who already have experience in running a business. There are no rules regarding how much each partner can own, meaning an uneven split of 95% to 5% is acceptable. What does happen though, is the profits you receive and amount of work you are required to do often depends on the ownership percentage.

Instead of the partnership paying tax, each of the partners themselves is responsible for paying tax based upon the profit share they receive. To avoid problems, it is seriously recommended that there is a legally drawn partnership agreement which sets out all the details on how the partnership will be run.

The pros of choosing a partnership business structure include:

  • everyone shares costs and responsibility
  • relatively simple and low cost to run
  • each partner can focus on their specialities
  • you can offset losses against your other income
  • partners can bring in capital investment to the business
  • the running tasks of operating a business are shared

The cons of choosing a partnership can include:

  • each partner has an equal share in the business’ liabilities and debts
  • you need to make decisions with your partners
  • disagreements amongst partners are common
  • you can’t sell shares
  • you are responsible for your KiwiSaver contributions

To discuss if this structure is right for your business, get in touch with us.

Understanding the Limited Liability Company Structure

Commonly referred to as a company, a business with this structure is separate from the business owners. In other words, a company is a separate legal entity.  Any money earned will belong to the company and will pay its tax at the corporate tax rate. The shareholders then receive the profit from the company, who then individually pay income tax on this.

The shareholders, AKA the business owners, have less exposure to any financial or legal issues relating to the business.  So, while the company has full responsibility for all its own financial and legal obligations, the liability of the shareholders is less. This means a shareholder is only responsible for any personal guarantees they have given and losses to the dollar amount of their shares.

The advantages of choosing a company business structure include:

  • less personal responsibility for business debts and liabilities
  • easy to sell or pass on ownership
  • shareholder profit distributes are flexible
  • lower tax rate than top personal rats
  • easier to get funding approved
  • seen as a highly credible business structure by the market
  • easy to keep growing

The downsides include:

  • more red tape and paperwork to do
  • need to register business through the Companies Office
  • more time consuming to get up and running
  • higher establishment and compliance costs
  • often require more investment to grow
  • you are responsible for your KiwiSaver contributions

It is important to note, that the limited liability company is only one of three company structures. It is the most common one though. Others include co-operative companies and unlimited companies. To discuss which company structure is best for you, get in touch with us today.

Where to Next When Choosing a Business Structure?

While there is a simple tool available on the MBIE website to help select a business structure, there is no substitute for personal advice. As accountants and business advisors, we deal with these structures daily, putting us in the best position to help you make an informed decision. To make a time to discuss your business with one of our business advisors, book your free 30 minutes chat with us via our website now.

For many years, the low value asset threshold for depreciation had been set at $500.00. This meant that everything over $500.00 had to be capitalised and depreciated as a fixed asset. The cost of many business items has increased significantly since the rules were last reviewed. At the same time, the useful life of the items has decreased. This is why the government was reviewing the rules and planning to increase the threshold.

The pandemic came along and the under review low value asset rules were a perfect option to allow some quick action to help stimulate business investment. The updated rules were one of the first COVID-19 Business Response measures, announced in March 2020.

The New Low Value Asset Rules

From the 17th March 2020, the low value asset threshold for depreciation has been increased to $5,000.00.

This is a ten-fold increase from the previous threshold of $500.00. The governments intention for this is to spur business investment. It is hoped that businesses will be encouraged to spend more in order to take advantage of the ability to expense items costing up to $5,000.00. This was a direct reaction to the drop in business confidence as a result of COVID-19.

12 Month Time-frame for New Rules

This new threshold is strictly limited and expires on the 16th March 2021. In order to expense a low value asset costing up to $5,000.00, you must purchase it on or after the 17th March 2020 but before the end of business on the 16th March 2021.

There was initially some confusion around when the rules would come into effect. This was largely due to the chaotic situation in the early days of the pandemic and the requirement for the rules to be amended by legislation. The 12-month period is as outlined above and is not in line with the standard 2020-2021 tax year.

Low Value Asset Rules from March 2021

From the 17th March 2021, the low value asset threshold for depreciation will be $1,000.00.

This is double the old limit of $500.00 and is in line with the original uplift intentions signaled before COVID-19.

There is no time limit on this adjustment. It will remain effective until varied by future legislation.

Benefits of the Adjusted Low Value Asset Rules

Benefits for Small Business Owners

If you have been put off investing in your business because you would have to wait years to claim the full tax benefits, this may be the opportunity you have been waiting for. Need a few new computers? Now’s the time to invest. Need to refresh the workspace to make it a bit more inviting and productive? Now’s the time to invest. Need to optimise your online presence for post-covid growth? Now’s the time to invest.

If you run a small business selling to other businesses, this is a perfect opportunity to market the tax deduct-ability of your products. For many savvy business owners, it might be just the sweetner they need to convince them to spend up to $5,000.00 with you.

Benefits for Residential Property Investors and Landlords

The Healthy Homes Standards are a potentially costly burden for may landlords and property investors to bear. These changes offer the ability to implement the required expenses and claim the full tax deduction in this tax year.

This means that you can invest in the new heatpump, glazing or insulation and claim the full amount as an expense (as long as it remains under $5,000.00).

The requirement for you to include a statement of compliance with the Healthy Homes Standards has also been extended by the government. You were required to comply with this new regulation from the 1st of July 2020. This has now been delayed until the 1st of December 2020.

There will not be a better time to get the required upgrades done.

Depreciation Adjustments Announced with Same Legislation

The government also announced changes to the commercial investment property depreciation rules in the same package of tax changes. This will allow depreciation in much the same was as prior to the 0% rules which were passed in October of 2010. If you would like to view the IRD information on this announcement, click here. This depreciation rule may apply to your AirBNB properties.

 

If you would like a run-through of the new rules and how they may benefit your business, feel free to get in touch with us. You can book in a free chat with one of our team or simply flick us an email.

As a small business owner, you’re probably keeping a close eye on every cent you spend. You need to have a good eye on your income and expenses to manage your cashflow, so that’s a good thing. However, it might mean that you are wasting time micro-managing your finances and not hiring people to help give your business a boost. Hiring a bookkeeper can be a great investment fro any small business.

What Does a Bookkeeper Do?

A Certified Bookkeeper will take care of your daily business financial management. They’ll make sure your books are up to date, balanced and reliable so they can support the best possible decision making. They’ll manage your invoicing (accounts receivable), track your receipts and general expenditure and reconcile your accounts payable.

All of the frustrating daily and weekly financial tasks that you hate or that just sucks up half your day, they love doing. Not only do they love that work, they are likely a lot faster and more efficient at doing it than you are.

Hiring a Bookkeeper Saves You Time

Unless you’re a bookkeeping whizz and love those debits and credits, you might find your bookkeeping to be a headache-inducing waste of time. Chances are, you’ll put off your bookkeeping until its a massive chore. This means it takes up more time and you like it even less. Even if you do enjoy it, doing this day-to-day book work is dragging you away from the parts of your business where you should be focusing your energy and passion. Your time is valuable. You’re much better investing your time in value-adding activities like sales, networking and marketing your business.

The time you spend trying to understand your financials could be better spent on tasks you’re good at. A Certified Bookkeeper will be more efficient than you, they won’t spend all day reconciling bank accounts and attaching invoices and receipts. They’ll have it done in minutes. They won’t have as many errors and overall, they will save you a mountain of stress.

Your time, and your sanity, are worth investing in a Certified Bookkeeper.

A Bookkeeper is on Top of Your Cashflow

Hiring a bookkeeper means that you’ll always have someone with an eye on your cashflow.

They’ll help you get paid. Many small business owners have a hundred things to get on and do. It’s easy for things like invoicing and accounts receivable t fall down the list. It is essential to your business survival that you send out invoices as soon as possible. It is equally as important to follow up with late payers to see what’s going on. These are harassing calls, just a friendly, personal reminder that the invoice is outstanding and due for payment. You might feel bad doing this, which is why its the perfect task for your friendly, professional bookkeeper.

Your bookkeeper will also ensure that you don’t end up getting any of those calls from your creditors. They’ll ensure that your bills are paid on time.

Id there any better investment in your business than one that makes sure you’ve always got cash flowing and money in the bank?

Hiring a Bookkeeper Prevents Costly Errors

A Certified Bookkeeper knows their stuff. They are committed to professional excellence and undergo ongoing professional development to make them experts in their field. They won’t make the same mistakes that you’ll make, either because you’re rushed or because you haven’t got around to reading the latest 53 page IRD tax bulletin.

Some mistakes might seem small and insignificant at first. However, data entry errors, mixing up expenses and mis-claiming GST, can all quickly add up. These mistakes cost you more time and more money.

If you are doing your bookkeeping and then relying on your accountant to clean things up a year-end, you’re burning money. What you are doing is then getting your accountant to be your bookkeeper, at accountant’s hourly rates! It also takes a lot longer to unpick and re-reconcile transactions that happened months or even years ago.

At the worst end of the scale, consistent mistakes, even little ones, could flag you for an IRD audit. An audit can cost thousands to resolve, and that’s even if things are nice and tidy!

It’s best, and cheapest, to get it right from day one. Get in an expert to keep your books in order.

Certified Bookkeepers are Experts

Are you up to date on every movement in tax law? Do you understand how small changes to the rules effect your business? A Certified Bookkeeper is. They can advise you about any changes that are coming that may impact on your business and can offer insight into how to prepare and minimise any impact or maximise any benefit.

Hiring a bookkeeper can also provide you with insight into your company’s financial position. If you’re short on cash, overspending in certain areas or struggling to collect accounts receivable, your bookkeeper will tell you. They can also work with you to help remedy these issues. If there is something you don’t understand about your business finances, your bookkeeper can help to explain it to you. Because they are slightly more human than accountants, they can even explain it all in plain English, not accountantese. So your business financials will never be a mystery again.

Hiring a Bookkeeper is an Investment in Your Business

With a Certified Bookkeeper on board, you can sleep easy knowing your business books are in the hands of a professional.

Not all bookkeepers are created equal. At MBP, all of our bookkeepers are trained professionals and are Certified Bookkeepers with the Institute of Certified New Zealand Bookkeepers (ICNZB). The ICNZB ensure that they are professionally competent and that they uphold the highest standards of continuing professional development and ethics. And the best part, our Ceritfied Bookkeepers are about half the cost of an accountant, so you get exceptional value from your investment.

Want some help with your bookkeeping? Get in touch with the team of Certified Bookkeepers at MBP, or book in a chat with us today.

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.

Want to reduce some of your business admin burden but not sure where to start? Here is our list of the Top 10 things we think you can outsource to get started.

1. Outsource Your Payroll

Nothing makes your staff angrier than not being paid properly. Payroll is a lot more complex than just paying your staff their hourly rates or salaries. The Holidays Act is the bane of many businesses, large and small. Its a part of your business that needs good systems and great, highly skilled people so that your business can avoid the bad publicity and expense that comes with screwing it up.

A Certified Bookkeeper or member of the Payroll Practitioners Association are your best options when looking for an expert to help you get your payroll sorted.

2. Outsource Your GST Returns

GST Return processing is a regular and time consuming process. It is also a very easy thing to outsource if you are new to outsourcing. Get in touch with a Certified Bookkeeper and use their expertise to help ease the burden of regular GST compliance.

It is important to use a Certified Bookkeeper or Tax Agent to ensure you don’t create more headaches for yourself in future.

3. Outsource Your Accounts Receivable Management

Cash is king. From drafting quotes to reconciling payment, your accounts receivable process is the core of your business cashflow and will make or break your business. If you don’t have an accounts receivable process, you really need one. Outsourcing the process to an expert can be a great way to get an effective process in place.

Outsourcing your accounts receivable management can help to streamline the process and make sure you keep on top of your debtors. Working with a bookkeeper on your accounts receivable process will help you with:

  • Drafting quotes to potential customers,
  • Managing deposits for jobs,
  • Raising interim and final invoices,
  • Managing debtors and chasing late payments.

Outsourced to a professional, a proper accounts receivable process will help you to keep the cash rolling in while you focus on serving your customers and doing the things you love.

4. Outsource Your Accounts Payable Management

Keeping on top of all of your accounts payable can be a bit of a mission. You don’t want the accounts departments of your suppliers to be getting in touch with you all the time, its just not good business.

Most business owners seem to fall into one of two categories with their payables. You either avoid them and pay them in big batches once a month, or you pay them as soon as they come in. Neither option is desirable and both are bad for cashflow in different ways.

The best approach with your payables is to simply pay them when they are due. You expect your invoices to be paid on your terms. You should pay your suppliers bills on their terms.

Follow a simple process:

  • Review each bill you receive for accuracy and payment terms.
  • Record the bills as you review them into your accounting system.
  • Plan payment dates and set up batches in advance.
  • Set a certain day each week to process batch payments.
  • Send a remittance after making payment.
  • Allocate and reconcile payments in a timely manner.

5. Outsource Your Software Implementation

Software is a great tool to improve your business efficiency. However, for the automation that software offers to have the best benefit, it has to be implemented properly. Unless you’re an IT and implementation expert, it may be best to get someone in to help walk you through the process and make sure it goes off without a hitch.

There are a number of tech savvy professionals that you can use to help you select and implement software solutions. Selecting the right solutions is the first important step. Implementing properly is the make-or-break step. The overall change management process will also be able to overseen by the implementation team. Effective change management can help to avoid issues with your team having to learn new systems and processes.

Implementation experts are also going to be able to train you and your team on the software your are putting in place. Their end to end solutions will help to make what can be a nightmare into a smooth process that boosts your bottom line.

6. Outsource Your Email Management

More and more communication is happening electronically. Getting some help with your emails can help to free up a lot of your day.

A virtual assistant can help to manage your emails, delete spam and filter out the most important communications that require your attention. This means that when you jump into your emails, you’ll only have to deal with the most important communications form customers and suppliers.

7. Outsource Your Marketing Management

Marketing is the life blood of your business. Even successful and established businesses need to undertake at least some marketing to maintain their market position. If you are looking to grow, marketing is even more important.

The marketing activities you can outsource vary from your graphic design through to your Google Adwords management and everything in between.

Get in touch with a few suppliers of these services. It’s important that you find someone who thoroughly understands your business so that they can easily and seamlessly communicate with your target market and have the greatest benefit to you.

8. Outsource Your Social Media Management

Social media is a total time-suck. An hour can disappear in the blink of an eye. This is what makes it a really good task to outsource to a professional.

Getting a professional to handle your social media can help you to avoid the time-suck. You’ll be able to keep up regular posting, engage with your customers and deal with everyone in a personal manner, all while focusing fully on your business.

9. Outsource Your Copywriting

Getting a professional to handle your copywriting can be a real benefit. From SEO to blogs and proofreading, a professional copywriter can have a number of benefits to your business. They will also free up a lot of time for you to focus on value adding activities in your business.

We recommend you get in touch with the team at Spotty Lizard to have a chat about your copywriting needs.

10. Outsource Your Cleaning

Cleaning is one of the main things we recommend business owners outsource. Its a great way to relieve a weight off your shoulders by getting rid of a task you probably hate. Its an outsourced activity that has a great benefit to you personally and professionally as its something that wastes a lot of time and energy and is something that almost no one enjoys doing. The added benefit is that office cleaning is fully deductible for tax purposes while getting your home cleaned can be a part of your use of home claim if you work from home.

It doesn’t have to be business related tasks that you outsource. Anything that helps to make your life easier will free you up to focus on your business and the things you actually enjoy doing.

If you are keen to discuss the things you could outsource in your business or life, have a chat with an MBP Business Support Advisor.