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Differentiate Your Business
What makes your business stand out? How are you competing against other businesses in your industry?

A part of being a business owner is working out how to differentiate your business and make it stand out from the crowd. Market competition can be tough particularly for start-ups and SMEs. You need to stay ahead and outgrow your competitors. While you may be satisfied with your current business status, growth still matters and being too complacent may cause future risks to your business. 

Here are some ways to help you differentiate and grow your business:

1. Keep your company under the radar. Great ideas, opportunities and strategies can be quite exciting but as you are creating these with your team, you may want to keep a low profile to avoid feeding valuable information to your competitors.  Read more…

Sugarcoating Is your business staying financially viable in the long-term or are you sugar-coating underlying problems in your business with short-lived successes?

First, what are short-lived business successes? They may have different meanings depending on who is involved. Short-lived business success may refer to a new business project, a completed goal, or maybe it is just the feeling of triumph over adversity. 

You might be feeling good having implemented a new project or overcoming a big issue. But problems with cashflow, creditors and debtors and other issues beyond the metrics prevail and won't go away, stopping you from maximising your business' potential. If this situation is familiar to you, then your short-lived successes may be sabotaging your business viability by sugar-coating underlying problems.

Like a house, your business needs more than just a nicely painted wall. All aspects need to be solid from the foundations up. It has to survive a competitive market and be ready for change and challenges.

To be sure your business is in good shape, first take an honest look at your business and learn, learn and learn more about it. Regularly conduct a business health check with the help of someone you trust like a Chartered Accountant. Follow the three R's to thoroughly evaluate your business.   Read more…

Mentorship for Business GrowthAs cliché as it may be, "No man is an island." There is no way you can do everything on your own. In some way or another you need the help and support of other people to succeed in life - whether it's a personal endeavour or a business challenge. Help can come in different forms. It could be an idea or inspiration from someone you respect and look up to, or it could be advice from a trusted mentor.

What is a mentor?

One of the age-old forms of learning is by having a mentor (or mentors). A mentor can be called 'master', 'sensei', 'teacher', 'advisor', 'guru', 'coach' and so on. But what is exactly a mentor?  A mentor is someone who is more experienced in a field and is willing to teach and provide wisdom to his/ her student or apprentice.

In the business world, mentors are often referred to as the business advisors, executive coaches and financial advisors who help business owners in making important decisions for their companies. They teach new skills, offer advice or simply provide a new perspective on something that business owners are having problems with. 

There are several benefits from having a mentor particularly when it comes to growing your business. One of these benefits is getting an outside perspective on what is really happening in your business. A mentor can help you step back and see the bigger picture whenever you are clouded with uncertainties. The mentor is there to present you with a different angle on the problem and provide inputs for long-term interests of your business.  Read more…

Business MetricsIn today's world, managing and monitoring your business performance is much easier with the right tools and methodologies. The advancement in technology has allowed business owners and managers to analyse and monitor metrics of business success. Over the last few years, hundreds or maybe thousands of applications and online programs have been developed for business monitoring alone providing more efficiency analysing data for business operations improvement.

To leverage business growth, business owners and managers must know their business' strengths and weaknesses and understand their customers' needs and wants.

How is this possible?

What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) that businesses need to measure to determine the future risks and areas for improvement in their businesses? Below are some of the key metrics to consider:   Read more…

6 Essential Financial Tips for Doctors

Financial Tips for DoctorsWe all have our fair share of challenges and doctors are no exception. While most doctors are really smart, medical intelligence does not necessarily translate to financial acumen. With a busy professional life, paying attention to financial matters is sometimes not given enough focus. If you are one of these medical practitioners trapped in the busy-ness of life, here are some essential financial tips to help set you up to be financially secure later in your life.

1. Make sure you have your own medical insurance. Just because you are a doctor, it doesn't mean you won't need health insurance. Before you can take good care of others, you need to ensure you take care of your most important asset, your health - the last thing you need is to be caught off guard by unforeseen illnesses. 

2. Avoid getting into the black hole of debt. If you have debt from medical school, credit cards or a mortgage, pay them off as early as possible. Paying interest for longer than necessary is like throwing away your hard earned money for nothing.

3. Save money as much as you can. Your future depends on what you do today. Consider setting up an automatic payment regularly into your savings account or retirement plan to start saving. As elderly people often say, saving and investing is not pure science but rather a habit that needs nurturing to build a solid foundation for the future. Read more…

5 Key tips for business growth

Business Growth Strategies
Business growth does not just happen overnight. Every business has to start somewhere and growth is rarely instant. No matter how successful a global business may have become, it once began as a small business serving a local or niche market.

There are many techniques successful companies have used to grow and thrive. You too can adopt a proven method and apply similar principles to grow your own business. According to Fergus Lee, Head of Capital Solutions at ASB, business growth can be achieved in three ways; a) build your business over time; b) borrow growth in partnerships c) or buy growth through acquisition.

But really, how does a business grow? This question has been puzzling business leaders and managers since the dawn of modern business. What is it about the global tycoons that allowed them to grow progressively from small businesses to the international business champions of today?  Read more…

Provisional Tax and GST Reminders

The holiday season is nearly here! As well as preparing for Christmas, you also need to remember that a range of

tax payments are due on 15 January 2016. Please review the schedule below to check your tax obligations:

Note: these dates apply to those clients for whom we prepare tax returns. Different dates will apply for those clients for whom we don't prepare returns. Please ask us if you'd like more information.

 PAYE  large employers return and payment  7 December (due to 5th falling on a weekend)
     15 January
     5 February
   large and small employers return and payment  21 December (due to 20th falling on a weekend)
     20 January
     22 February (due to 20th falling on a weekend)
 GST  return and payment for the period ended 30 November  15 January
   … for the period ended 31 December  28 January
   … for the period ended 31 January  29 February (due to 28th falling on a weekend)
 FBT  for employers with a November balance date under close company option - annual return and payment  7 December
   for employers with a December balance date - annual return and payment  15 January
   quarterly return and payment (if completed quarterly)  20 January

Provisional and Terminal Tax

I pay provisional tax…   And my balance date is… So my provisional tax is due next… 
 2 monthly (6 times a year)  September, July, May, March, January or November  15 January AND 29 February
(due to 28th falling on a weekend)
   October, August, June, April, February or December  28 January
 4 monthly (3 times a year)  July, March or November  15 January
   August, April or December  28 January
   September, May or January  29 February (due to 28th falling on a weekend)
 6 monthly (twice a year)  May or November  15 January
   June or December  28 January
   July or January  29 February (due to 28th falling on a weekend)
 Terminal tax  December  Terminal tax payment due 15 January
   January  Terminal tax payment due 9 February
(due to 7th falling on a weekend and
Waitangi Day 'Mondayised' to the 8th)

Other basic things to remember in relation to income tax/ provisional tax and GST payments:

  1. Filing your tax return. Income tax returns are due on 7 July every year, unless you have an extension of time. You need to file an individual income tax return (IR3) if you are a sole trader, or, if you own a company, your company needs to file a company income tax return (IR4) including a copy of your business's financial records (IR10).
  2. Claiming expenses. You can sometimes reduce your tax bill by claiming business expenses. You need to have good records and receipts as supporting documents. If you are using your home for business, you may be able to claim part of your household expenses like telephone bills, electricity bills and mortgage interest.
  3. Residual income tax. If you owe less than $2500 of income tax to IRD you just need to pay it at the end of the tax year. But if your last residual income tax payable was more than $2500, you have to pay provisional tax for the following year. 
  4. Provisional tax calculation. There are three ways to calculate the amount of provisional tax you should pay, the standard, estimation and ratio option. If you are not registered for GST, you can't use the ratio option. 
  5. Due dates for provisional tax and GST payments. The payment schedule and number of times you need to pay depends on the method you use to calculate your provisional tax. Please visit IRD Provisional tax basic information to check the due dates for your provisional tax.

Make sure to file and pay your tax on time to avoid penalties and use of money interest. If you have concerns about paying your tax in full or on time, please don't hesitate to ask assistance from our tax advisors to see what options might be available for you. You could also use a tax pooling service like Tax Management New Zealand. You can reduce your IRD interest costs by up to 30 percent and eliminate late payment penalties if you purchase your tax shortfall from Tax Management New Zealand. 

Please call us on (09) 576 4166 or request an appointment online if you need help managing your upcoming tax obligations.

3-Step Guide to Holiday Readiness

NZ Holiday Pay and Leave EntitlementsChristmas is coming! Is your business holiday-ready?

The Christmas season is a time of opportunity and challenge particularly for business owners. During this season there may be company events, promotions, bonuses and gifts to prepare and organise before everyone takes their summer holidays. Below is a 3-step guide to prepare you and your business for this holiday season.

Step 1 – Take time to calculate and pay your employees what they are entitled to

As a business owner, you have obligations in relation to holiday pay, bonuses and entitlements of your employees. Take time to prepare your employees holiday pay before you get caught up with the busy season. If you offer performance-based bonuses or gifts make sure they are cost-effective. Consult with a Chartered Accountant to get professional advice about company bonuses and gifts and any tax implications.  

Here are some important reminders about the upcoming festive season:  Read more…

Restructure Your Medical PracticeEverything in today's world is fast evolving, particularly how businesses operate and communicate with their clients. The reality is we are in a digital age where everything requires a more flexible structure to match current technological advancements. As a medical practice owner you need to look at every aspect of your business, from your business operations to your business' finances to stay up to date.

At some point, you need to step back and really look at your medical practice from a different perspective - not as a medical practitioner but as a business owner. You should adopt a multipronged approach to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your medical practice. What are the indicators that you are doing well with and what needs to be restructured to get abreast of today's digitised approach?  Read more…

Five Ways to Future-Proof Your Business

Future Proof Your BusinessThink about the future to ensure your business is still intact tomorrow.

Innovate your business

The business world today is fast changing and your business needs to evolve to stay in touch. As a business owner there is a need to develop and use new business strategies, technologies, and ideas in relation to the current business trends to ensure your business survives. 

Also, in today's world, ease and convenience are key to surviving a demanding marketplace. Business owners and managers nowadays are lucky to have hi-tech business tools like Xero, a cloud based accounting system designed for small to medium sized enterprises. It is a useful tool for managing and tracking your business finances. With Xero cloud accounting the financial health and activities of your business are in real-time allowing information to be updated and monitored easily. Since data is stored in the cloud, you can access your account anywhere and anytime on any device for as long as you have an internet connection.  Read more…

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