How to set payment terms if you’re a freelancer or contractor

Following up on late or non-paying customers is no freelancer’s favorite task.  Which is precisely why you need to set payment terms up front – and in writing – before you work with a new client or customer. By communicating and agreeing on the non-negotiables for doing business with you, you’ll avoid awkward misunderstandings, frustrating disputes, and in most cases, the ugly hassle of debt collection. These tips will help…  Read more

How to handle maternity and paternity leave

“Competitive advantage” may not be the first words that come to mind when you think about employees requesting parental leave. For young professionals, however, the option to enjoy time with their new additions can be a very attractive perk – more attractive than health insurance, pensions, and the retirement packages large companies can offer. If attracting top talent and nurturing employee loyalty are important to you, read on.  This article…  Read more

Which home loan is right for you?

Considering home ownership?  Congratulations!  Buying a home is an exciting milestone and for most people, one of the biggest investments they’ll ever make.  Among the many decisions to be made along the way, you’ll need to choose the best mortgage option for your circumstances. In this blog we’ll weigh the pros and cons of fixed, variable, and revolving credit home loans to help you make the right choice. Why choose…  Read more

How to learn from failure in business

Ask any successful entrepreneur about their path to greatness and you’ll get the same answer: failure is an inevitable part of the journey. It took Thomas Edison 1,000 failed attempts before he finally invented the light bulb. Tim Ferris received 25 rejections before his bestselling book, “The 4 Hour Workweek” was finally published and sold millions of copies. It’s a fact that 20% of businesses fail in their first year…  Read more

How to get professional business stationery on a tight budget

If you’re like most budget-conscious companies, any opportunity to grow your business while saving a few dollars is a win. These tips will help you create professional business stationery that builds trust in your brand, promotes your company, and helps market your services without breaking the bank. Explore cost saving DIY options As you consider your business stationery options, if you’ve already got your brand’s visual identity down, you’re halfway…  Read more

Business Health Check

Do your Christmas housekeeping! Chase up unpaid invoices to encourage payment before Christmas to get cashflow off to a good start for the New Year. Make sure your voicemail message and website mention closing date info and emergency contact details.  Who’s responding to work related emails while you’re on holiday? Is payroll all set up for the holidays?  Don’t leave it till the last minute and double check your calculations.…  Read more

Holiday cashflow blues

Many businesses start to worry about their bank balance around now.  The holidays looming recall unpleasant memories of last year. All the regular expenses (wages, rent, suppliers and so on) are still due, but the people who pay you are either away on holiday or slow payers awaiting payment themselves. Instead of a relaxing break the holidays can be filled with stress.  The brutal facts are that December/January are the…  Read more

How to enjoy all the bells and whistles without the tax headache

Parties and gifts are all part of the festive fun but they can cost a small fortune. Here’s a list of the rules around entertainment expenses so you know what’s deductible and non-deductible before you fork out for your staff and customers. To claim 100% of your customer gifts, keep it non-food or drink related.  Book vouchers, tickets to a sports match or a personalised calendar can be claimed in…  Read more

Checklist: Can your business survive the holiday period?

While the Christmas/New Year period is traditionally a slow time of year for business, you still need to meet your expenses. Ensure your bases are covered before you clock off for the year. 1. Plan ahead Do a budget to figure out how much you are going to need to cover your overheads.  This is especially important if it’s going to be several weeks before you start earning a crust…  Read more

Are you in charge of keeping the office or work-site safe?

Locking the doors is one thing but you need to take extra steps to ensure your workplace is safe and secure before you head away this Christmas.  The last thing you want is for someone to access your work space and hurt themselves. Take time to check every square inch of your work environment, inside and outside, so you can rest assured nothing will go wrong while you’re away. Manage a…  Read more

How cyber-secure are you?

Blackmail, extortion and identity theft might sound like something straight out of a blockbuster movie but cyber crime is not only a reality, it’s on the rise and research shows the average Kiwi business isn’t prepared. Is New Zealand really under threat, we’re so far away! Unfortunately ‘out of sight, out of mind’ doesn’t apply to cyber criminals.  More than a quarter of Kiwi businesses surveyed by Grant Thornton in…  Read more

Update your business plan for a new year

As another year winds down, it’s a good time to reflect on your recent business successes – and consider what you’d like to achieve in the coming twelve to fifteen months. These tips can help you with the process of making plans to help guide your business to greater success. Set priorities Entrepreneurs are typically highly creative and optimistic; as a result, they often have difficulty narrowing down their ideas…  Read more

Tips for keeping your business data secure

It’s no secret that data loss can be a costly nightmare for a small business, with recent estimates citing the total cost of data breaches exceeding $2.1 trillion by 2019. Unfortunately, cyber attackers increasingly target small businesses because they are less likely to have security protection in place.  Accidental loss or loss due to a natural disaster can be just as harmful to a business, with recovery efforts and delays…  Read more

Similarities and differences between a bookkeeper and an accountant

They both work with financial data; they’re both essential for managing a successful business.  Yet the roles and duties of a bookkeeper and accountant rarely overlap. If you’re like many business owners, you may not be exactly sure of the differences between a bookkeeper and accountant – and whether you should hire one, or both. An established, growth-focused company will employee the services of both an accountant and bookkeeper.  The…  Read more

Are You Falling Behind By Not Automating These Business Activities?

The daily processes and transactions involved in operating a business can mean long hours of repetitive tasks and occasional oversights due to human nature.  Automating these tasks can result in significant savings in resources and eliminate mistakes caused by human error.  The key, however, is to know which tasks should be automated and which ones warrant staff intervention and guidance.  Let’s take a look at some of them. Here are…  Read more

Business Health Check

  Visualise, plan and prepare for growth When you consider every large corporation started out as a small business, the idea of growth is exciting! To avoid growing pains, however, the first step is to create a focused vision for your business. Here’s how: Define your company’s values. Know your goals and make them SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound). Write a company mission statement that aligns with your…  Read more

Get up to speed – new rules for motor vehicles

  Did you know the mileage rate we’ve been referring to for years is now the kilometre rate? If you’re a sole trader or in a partnership (and use your own vehicle for business), you can claim your running costs as an income tax deduction. Traditionally, if you own a company you’re liable for FBT any time you provide non-cash benefits (like motor vehicles) to your staff.  Recent amendments to…  Read more

How anti-money laundering legislation impacts you

  If you’ve seen the film The Wolf of Wall Street, you’ll be familiar with the concept of money laundering – an illegal process where ‘dirty money’ received from criminal activities is passed through legitimate businesses and made ‘clean.’ In response to a growing number of laundering incidents in New Zealand, the government has made changes to the law, which now affect accountants and small businesses like yours. As of…  Read more

Financing business growth with provisional tax

  There are several options available when it comes to accessing money to invest in your business. However, did you know that provisional tax payments are also a source of finance? Tax Finance, an option offered by an IRD-approved tax pooling provider such as Tax Management NZ (TMNZ), lets you free up working capital by deferring a provisional tax payment to a later date, without incurring IRD interest of 8.22…  Read more

Grow with the (cash) flow

  Steady cash flow is the fuel that powers your business, but when you’re busy doing a million things at once it can easily slip to the bottom of the priority pile. Here are some tips to keep the cash flowing while you’re growing: Invoice quickly – good debtor management is crucial, so send invoices quickly, ensure your payment terms are clearly outlined and offer discounts for prompt payment. Make…  Read more

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