Accounting: A Digital Transformation

Accounting: A Digital Transformation

It’s 2020 and the accounting industry is experiencing a digital transformation, one which is changing the way we function. The shift from traditional accounting to implement technology has changed the way accountants’ function on a day-to-day basis in the industry. The shift has now moved to include advisory and consultancy services. Technology has helped in automating accounting procedures to an extent where accountants can now spend more time focussing on what is and isn’t working for their clients, and provide them with valuable changes to do so.

The increase in the roles and responsibilities of a modern-day accountant requires key skills, like critical thinking, analysis and decision making. Traditionally basic accounting training consisted of auditing and tax preparation.  Technology coupled with data analysis has bought about the ability for accountants to now perform forecasting analysis to help guide business owners to make better decisions.

We’re outlining some of the major technological advancements that have been made through the introduction of new digital tools and applications, over the years which have changed the way the accounting industry functions. Some of these are tools that we use at JZR to ensure more efficiency and higher productivity levels. This lets us complete our core accounting tasks, and let us provide our clients with valuable insights and recommendations.

  1. Cloud Based Accounting: Cloud accounting is the use of the internet to permanently store data and use of business applications through a remote server. At JZR we achieve this by using Xero as an accounting software tool. It’s easy to use, and lets you access data remotely, and at any time. Data is permanently stored in huge data centres, versus the traditional system of using paper, and filing. Cloud based accounting is also extremely economical and convenient, since our clients can also access the same data to stay updated, and you only pay for what you use. Xero accounting services also lets you transform data seamlessly across its different platforms, like Xero Practice Manager for example which stores every client’s data separately can be exported to Xero’s Accounting software with just the click of a button. The software lets you invoice a particular client, therefore cutting drown preparation time massively.

 

  1. Payroll Technology: Payroll technology is another sector of accounting which has changed immensely over the last decade. Innovative tools like ‘SmartPayroll’ help in massively cutting down you would spend over manually entering and registering the data. Software’s like Smart Payroll is designed to work out payroll calculations and tax deductions automatically, saving time in payroll processing and to automatically generate payslips. It also files the payroll returns mandated by the IRD electronically so that you never miss a deadline.

 

  1. File Sharing: File sharing tools like ‘Dropbox’ and ‘Google Drive’ make sharing information and documentation easy and accessible. Common work folders can be shared by team-mates and colleagues to make sure communication lines are maintained. It also makes the possibility of working remotely much more convenient since most of the data and client files are already backed up to cloud-based platform on the internet.

 

  1. Video Communication: Video communication has also enabled accountants and their clients to converse from the convenience of their own work spaces, thus making accountants more accessible to their clients and vice versa. Tools like ‘Skype’ and ‘Zoom’ enable options like screen sharing which enables users to share their desktop screens in real time, which could be really useful while analysing statistical data or for the purpose of making presentations. It also saves time by cutting down on the hassle of travel, and thus ensures accountants get more time to be productive.

 

 

  1. Other Software Tools & Applications: There are a bunch of other software applications which further contribute to simplifying the role and job of an accountant today. ‘Docusign’ is another good example of a tool that enables it users to send, sign and approve documents from anywhere and at any time. It helps significantly in reducing the amount of paperwork and clutter. Another great tool for accountants is ‘HubSpot’. ‘HubSpot’ gives accountants and its users a chance to manage marketing campaigns from a simple dashboard that is designed to be simple to use and efficient. Tools like HubSpot now allow accountants the ability to market their businesses to prospective clients by showcasing their skillset and business propositions.

 

All in all, the industry has evolved substantially over the last decade. The industry has a strong growth potential for the future, and tremendous opportunities.

To know more about how we can use the right tools to help your business grow, get in touch with by mailing us at info@jzr.co.nz or call us at +66-9-972-2236.

Written by Rowain Pereira

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Govt. Announces Small Business Cash-flow Scheme

Govt. Announces Small Business Cash-flow Scheme

The government has announced a plan to provide interest free loans for a year to small businesses which have been impacted by the COVID-19 to help support their cash-flow needs and fixed costs as well.

The scheme will provide an assistance of up to $100,000 to firms employing 50 or fewer full time employees. The scheme was introduced by the government to address the needs of small and medium sized businesses which wasn’t being met by the banks in question.

The scheme will provide $10,000 to every firm, and an additional $1800 per equivalent full-time employee. To further encourage businesses the loans will be interest free if they’re paid back within a year. If the loan amount cannot be repaid within a year, then a 3% interest fee will be charged for a maximum period of five years. Repayments are not required for the first two years.

The eligibility criteria for this scheme is similar to the Wage Subsidy Scheme. In addition to this businesses will also have to declare that they are a viable business, and that the money from the scheme will be used to core business operating costs, and will have to enter into a legally binding loan contract.

Inland Revenue will administer the payments and repayments of this scheme to provide immediate support to businesses that have been adversely impacted. Applications for the scheme will be open from May12th, and businesses will apply for the loan payment through myIR.

More information on the loan, including the eligibility criteria and a calculator to determine how much a business can borrow/ qualify for will be available in the upcoming days.

Keep watching this space to know more about the scheme, and if you have any issues or queries, feel free to get in touch with us at info@jzr.co.nz or call us at +64-9-972-2236

Written by Rowain Pereira

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Further Tax Changes to Help SMEs

Further Tax Changes to Help SMEs

There’s no doubt that the recent pandemic has had a huge impact on small and medium sized businesses in New Zealand. In addition to the tax changes that were previously announced, today the Government has introduced a few more tax measures that aim to help businesses through this rough period.

We have outlined below the three key tax changes that will be relevant to small and medium sized businesses.

 

Changes to Tax Loss Continuity Rules

Previously, any accumulated tax losses were forfeited if shareholder continuity of at least 49% was not maintained when there is a change in the shareholding of a company. This significantly impacted on the amount of tax losses available to be used by companies after trying to raise capital. Start-up companies with high growth and high capital raising requirements were particularly affected by this.

The introduction of a ‘same or similar business’ test, means a business could carry forward losses. To meet the test, the business must continue in the same or a similar way it did before ownership changed. This test is modelled on Australia’s rules.

Some companies will be looking to raise capital to keep afloat now and to recover in the future. Raising capital may result in a change to the existing shareholder structure. Relaxing the rules will ensure companies in this position could carry losses forward to offset income when they return to profit.

A bill will be introduced in the second half of 2020 after consultation with tax advisors, and will apply for the 2020-21 and later income years.

An example:

A start up firm XYZ, that offers microphone and webcam software has been incurring large losses in the recent years. However, it now intends on scaling up massively given that more people are working from home and using video conferencing.

Despite having a promising early-development software, banks are unwilling to lend to XYZ without it having a firm revenue base. After approaching several investors, another video conferencing company ABC has agreed to invest several millions into XYZ for a 75% stake in the business. While XYZ does want to accept the investment, the company is wary of losing the value of its losses, which would be extinguished under the current shareholder continuity test. The governments new ‘same or similar business’ test ensures that XYZ can take on new investors without losing it losses because its business will be of the same or similar nature as the business it was operating as while incurring those losses.

Given this, the price that XYZ will now stand to receive for the 75% equity stake will be higher as the ability to carry forward losses makes the business more valuable to its investors

 

A tax loss carry-back scheme

A tax loss carry back mechanism will enable a firm to offset a loss in a particular tax year against a profit in a previous year, and receive a refund for the tax paid in a previous profitable year. The proposed mechanism seeks to provide cash to firms that make a loss in the next income year.

A temporary mechanism will be included in a bill introduced in the week of the 27th of April. Between now and then Inland Revenue will be undertaking targeted consultation with tax advisors to make the law and administrative guidance as clear as possible.

An example:

Steven’s Hospitality Limited has had a profitable year for the year ended 31 March 2020. It has not yet finalised its tax return, but it is expected to return $2m net income. Its final provisional tax payment for the expected $2 million income is coming up on May 7, where it expects to pay $250,000 in tax (it has already paid $310,000 in early provisional tax instalments).

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 the organisation has ceased operations, with no clear information on when they would be allowed to resume operations. The staff working for the organisation are still be paid (supported by the Wage Subsidy scheme). It seems that this year, the organisation will inevitably make a loss in the financial year ending 31st March, 2021. In early May, the directors meet with their chartered accountants in order to forecast certain scenarios. The scenarios anticipated in the forecast, indicate that the organisation will make a loss of $1.5 million for the year ended 31st March, 2021, although some scenarios indicate a greater loss of $2 million.

Anticipating that it will face ‘use-of-money-interest’ charges if the organisation over-estimates its loss, they decide to carry-back the more certain loss of $1.5 million to the 2019/2020 financial year, and re-estimate its income for that year to $500,000 (down from the $2 million). Since the Steven’s Hospitality Limited has already paid $310,000 in tax, it pays nothing on May 7th, and instead receives a refund of $170,000 for its earlier provisional tax payment.

Simply put, the Company returns $500,000 of income and pays $140,000 tax receiving back its earlier payments as refunds.

Allowing Inland Revenue to change due dates

The Government also proposes giving Inland Revenue discretion to temporarily change dates, timeframes and procedural requirements, such as tax return filing dates, and provisional and terminal tax dates. This provision will only apply to businesses and individuals affected by COVID-19.

The IRD will publish further guidance in the coming weeks after targeted consultation with tax advisors.

 

We hope this article has been helpful to you to understand the new proposed tax changes. If you have any queries regarding the above, or would like to find out how these tax changes will impact your business, you can reach out to us at info@jzr.co.nz or call us on 09-9722236.

 

Written by Rowain Pereira

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Economic Relief Packages Released by the New Zealand Government in Response to COVID-19

Economic Relief Packages Released by the New Zealand Government in Response to COVID-19

The New Zealand government has worked hard towards releasing certain economic packages to help businesses in and around New Zealand to sustain themselves and to help in balancing the economic distress and the financial strain the country is currently experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

We’re outlining the three key relief packages released by the government to help the country deal with the outbreak economically and financially.

Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Wage Subsidy Scheme was introduced by the government shortly before the country entered a lockdown. The scheme was introduced with the agenda to supports employers and their staff to maintain an employment connection and ensure an income for affected employees, even if the employee is unable to actually work any hours.

The subsidy is $585.80 per week for a full-time employee (20 hours or more) or $350 per week for a part time employee (less than 20 hours).

The payment issued by the government will be made as a lumpsum, covering a period of twelve (12) weeks. This essentially means that employers will receive a payment of $7,029.60 for a full-time employee and $4200 for a part time employee.

Businesses that opt in for the wage subsidy scheme are required to note that anyone accessing the scheme must still undertake to pay their employees at least 80% of the pre-COVID income. In case that is not possible in cases where certain businesses have had no activity whatsoever during the shutdown period, must still pay the entire wage subsidy amount to each affected worker. Businesses must also undertake to retain employees during the period of the wage subsidy. In addition to this, the previous separate sick leave payment scheme has also been folded into the wage subsidy scheme.

To know more details regarding the eligibility criteria head on over to, click here.

It is also important to read the declaration before signing up for the wage subsidy scheme and ensure that you match the right criteria, since signing the declaration without meeting the eligibility criteria may have criminal implications.

To learn how to apply for the wage subsidy scheme, click here.

 

Mortgage Holiday Scheme

The mortgage holiday scheme was introduced by finance minister Grant Robertson in collaboration with New Zealand banks, who agreed to give their customers a six-month holiday from paying both the principal and interest on their mortgages, since most kiwis have their income affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

However, people who opt for the six-month mortgage holiday will add their pending interest during the six-month scheme to the principal amount on their mortgage, which would end up increasing their loan amounts, or extending the period of repayment on these mortgages. It is important to note that the scheme only defers the payments, and that payments be paid once the scheme ends.

It is also to be noted that different banks will have approaches to implementing the scheme, and will have a different assessment criteria for every customer who approaches them based on their suitability.

It is hence prudent for every person, availing of the scheme to note what the terms and conditions that are being offered by the bank while implementing the scheme for one of their customers.

These are the list of banks which are working with the government on the holiday mortgage scheme:

  • ANZ Bank
  • ASB Bank
  • Westpac
  • BNZ

 

Business Finance Guarantee Loan Scheme

This $6.25 billion dollar scheme leverages the crowns financial strength, allowing banks to lend in order to ease the financial stress on solvent firms affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The scheme seeks to provide short-term credit to cushion the financial distress caused by the pandemic. Banks will continue using their own lending criteria when lending to SMBs/ SMEs, and will not be dictated by the government.

The scheme will include a limit of $500,000 per loan and will apply to firms with a turnover of between $250,000 and $80 million per annum. The loans will be for a maximum of three years and expected to be provided by the banks at competitive, transparent rates. The scheme is also only available to financially solvent firms (i.e. firms whose assets are greater than their liabilities).

The Government will also underwrite 80% of individual bank loans to SMEs, with banks stated to underwrite the balance 20% of it. This means that in the event of a loan default, the government will bear 80% of the losses that come with it, while banks will bear the other 20%.

 

These are some of key measures which have currently been undertaken by the government to help in the economic fight against COVID-19. We’ll be updating this blog space as and when updates are made on any of the above schemes and will detail the proceedings so you can be informed.

 

For any queries regarding the above schemes, or information regarding their application procedures, you can get in touch by emailing us your queries on info@jzr.co.nz or call us on +64-9-972-2236, and we’ll respond to you as soon as we can.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Rowain Pereira

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What is the Wage Subsidy Scheme Developed by the Government and How Can You Apply for it?

What is the Wage Subsidy Scheme Developed by the Government and How Can You Apply for it?

What is the Wage Subsidy Scheme?

Last week, finance minister Grant Robertson announced a wage subsidy scheme which will be available for all employers that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.

A few updates have been made to the scheme since it was announced last week which have been listed below.

The scheme intends to:

  • support employers adversely affected by COVID-19, so that they can continue to pay their employees
  • supports workers to ensure they continue to receive income, even if they are unable to work

The modified wage subsidy scheme is available to all businesses affected by COVID-19 which includes the following:

  • self-employed
  • contractors
  • sole traders
  • registered charities
  • incorporated societies
  • post-settlement governance entities

The subsidy scheme was modified as of 27th March, 2020, 3PM (NZDT) to help businesses that need to shut down under Alert Level 4, pay their workers for an extended period of time. The scheme will support employers and their staff to maintain an employment connection and ensure an income for affected employees, even if the employee is unable to work any hours.

The scheme excludes state sector organisations. The new modifications introduced as of 27th March state that businesses accessing the scheme must still undertake best endeavours to pay employees 80% of their pre-COVID income. If that is not possible, in case of businesses which have no activity whatsoever during the shutdown, they must pass on at least the whole value of the wage subsidy to each affected worker. Businesses must also undertake to keep employees in employment for the period of the subsidy. In addition to this, the previous separate sick leave payment scheme has been folded into this Wage Subsidy Scheme.

The subsidy is $585.80 per week for a full-time employee (20 hours or more) or $350 per week for a part time employee (less than 20 hours).

The payment issued by the government will be made as a lumpsum, covering a period of twelve (12) weeks. This essentially means that employers will receive a payment of $7,029.60 for a full-time employee and $4200 for a part time employee.

There is no more a maximum amount of assistance (previously $150,000) which a business can apply for. The cap which had been placed initially was lifted, and there have been no further modifications to this criteria which means the modified scheme is also uncapped. Businesses can also make new claims for any employees that they did not apply for under the original scheme.

Employers will be eligible for the scheme if they can show a 30% revenue drop attributable to COVID-19. Before receiving a subsidy, employers must take measures to manage the implications of COVID-19 on their business. These measures might include (but are not limited to) talking with their banks and drawing on internal cash reserves.

How can you apply for it?

You can apply for the Wage Subsidy Scheme by filling up the application form by clicking on the link:

For employers

For self-employed individuals

In order to make a successful application for the wage subsidy scheme, kindly ensure you fill up the right form, or your application won’t go through and you won’t qualify for the scheme.

To ensure that you fit the eligibility criteria, please read the decleration form carefully before making your submission. It is important to note here, that signing the declaration form without meeting the eligibility criteria, will have criminal implications.

Declaration Form: https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/online-services/covid-19/wage-subsidy-declaration.html

 Here are some steps on how you can go about the application process:

Step 1:

While filling the form you are to select one of the below situations:

  • your staff are in self-isolation (or caring for others)
  • your business’s revenue has dropped due to COVID-19.

Step 2:

While applying online you will need to provide the following information:

  • your IRD number
  • your business name
  • your business address
  • the names of your employers
  • your employee IRD numbers
  • contact details for your business and employees

Step 3:

After receiving all the details, the government will check whether you qualify for the Wage Subsidy scheme. They may get in touch with you if they need further information regarding the application you’ve made, in which case they will contact you by phone.

Step 4:

If your process is approved:

  • you will receive an email and text to confirm that the application has been approved and a payment has been made.
  • you will receive the payment after a short duration

if the application is declined, you will also be notified of the same.

Tax Treatment for Businesses

The wage subsidy scheme, and the previous COVID-19 leave scheme, are not taxable income in the hands of the employer and the amounts received are exempt from GST. When the employer passes the subsidy on to the employee, the amounts are not tax deductible expenditure to the employer. PAYE should be deducted from the employee’s pay when it is paid out.

Tax Treatment for Individuals

Payments made under the subsidy scheme to those that are self-employed is taxable income.

What Happens If You’ve Already Applied for the Scheme before 27th March, 2020, at 3PM?

If a business has already applied to for the original scheme, they are required to continue to use the funding received to pay their employees for a full 12-week duration as agreed to in the initial application. Any applications made prior to 3PM, Friday, 27th March will be assessed against the original criteria of the subsidy scheme when it was announced.

Application made on the 27th of March post 4PM will have the new criteria and obligations applied to their application.

 

If you have any questions regarding the Wage Subsidy Scheme or how to apply for it, you can get in touch with us on +64-9-972-2236 or email us on info@jzr.co.nz

 

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Working From Home: Here’s How to Make it ‘Work’

Working From Home: Here’s How to Make it ‘Work’

With the outbreak of COVID-19 internationally, and a lockdown ensuing March, 25th 2020, businesses around New Zealand, will have no option but to work from home. It’s key at this point in time to activate the social distancing measures laid out by the government to keep the spread of the virus in check.

It’s also 2020, and technology has moved leaps and bounds. This means that working from home or remotely is now easier than ever. There are certain challenges associated with remote working like the not being able to meet with clients face to face or getting your employees aligned and ensuring their productivity levels aren’t dropping, but all these issues are easily addressable in 2020 with the right tools and technology.

As an accounting and consultancy firm, our approach towards our practice is a 100% cloud based. This allows us to be more efficient in completing core accounting tasks and thus drives us with more capacity towards spending time on doing things which actually add value to your business.

We’ve outlined some great tools which your business can use or implement during this period to ensure that nothing much really changes apart from the act of physically commuting.

 

Cradle for Communication

Cradle is a great VOIP tool your business can use to keep your call records tracked and up to date. Cradle lets you skip the voice menu or receptionist when your customers call you. At JZR, we also use the system to prioritise and setup a call hierarchy system, which ensures when a call is made to the number, you can select who’d receive the call first before it comes to you.

Cradle is also a great indicator of your employee’s presence. It lets you know who’s online at their workstations and available to take calls.

 

Dropbox for Business

Having a file system sharing in place while working remotely is crucial for any business during this period to function normally. Whether its documents, videos, PDFs, images or videos, it’s a secure way of sharing files with the rest of your team. At JZR, we use Dropbox to ensure that files can be shared and accessed easily by all team members, wherever they are.

 

Xero for Accounting

Xero is an easy to use accounting software used by a lot of small and medium sized businesses, and a popular tool we use at JZR as well. Xero makes tracking payments and financial information a whole lot easier. Xero gives you a clear financial overview with its unique dashboard display feature which allows business owners to see how much money is coming in and going out. The software is easily accessible at anytime and from anywhere, and lets you easily create and track invoices.

 

Slack for Internal Communication

Communication is one major element that always seems to take a hit while working remotely. But not anymore. Slack lets you create channels where you can add all your team members, and then create smaller groups within the channel which can be departmentally specialised. You can chat, send photos, files and tag specific members when you need a response ASAP.

Slack is easy to use and a great way of keeping in touch with your team members throughout the day.

 

Google Hangouts, Skype or Zoom for Video Meetings

Communication with clients is a vital aspect of maintaining a positive relationship and ensuring that all tasks are up to date. With the outbreak, face to face meetings are definitely off the radar, but there’s a simple solution to this- video calls. Google Hangouts, Skype and Zoom are all great video communication tools you or your business can use to constantly keep in touch with clients or even for the purpose of any internal meetings or catch-up sessions.

Video conferencing is always a great way to reduce the number of back and forth email communication or any confusion that it may bring along with it. It’s a great and simple way to keep in touch with your clients as well as your team mates.

 

Asana or Trello for Task & Project Management

If you’ve got a project you’re working on, or trying to stay updated with team members on tasks within that project, Asana or Trello are the right tools for you. Both the applications let you create tasks, assign users to those tasks and organise them in priority of which they need to be completed.

This helps the entire team, stay up-to-date with the proceedings on particular task or project.

 

 

In conclusion, whether you’re forced to work at home or simply enjoy the freedom that comes with working remotely, these tools will help you get by your day-today tasks, just like any normal work day in the office.

If you’re business is facing any other issues or problems in the wake of this outbreak, please feel free to get in touch with us by contacting us on +64-9-972-2236 or email us info@jzr.co.nz.

 

 

Written by Rowain Pereira

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