Rookie business mistakes

Being an exacting accountant, with all those horribly strong type-A personality traits, it almost hurts me to say this but one of the biggest mistakes I made when starting out was not realising that business isn’t about doing a great job or working incredibly hard.  Yes, those things are really important but not the most important.

What I’ve come to realise is that business is more about the stuff in between; the keeping everyone happy stuff!  From explaining to customers why you’re worth it to tactfully dealing with incompetent staff and suppliers (because let’s face it, the good ones take care of themselves, don’t they).  Communication skills and relationship building are huge.  It’s almost as if you have to become a professional Happy-Maker!

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How to get tax back on clothes

One of the best things about being an accountant (yes there are some) is the ability to get up close and personal with some of the best businesses on the planet.  What’s not so great is being a messenger for the IRD.  Early in my career, I had an incredibly uncomfortable meeting with an elderly gent who just wouldn’t believe it was illegal to claim his glasses and hearing aid, even though he needed them to do his job.  It was quite the battle, I can tell you, so instead of boring him with legislation I told him about the court case where a personal trainer was sentenced, to home detention, for claiming running shoes and that even plain clothes police were taxed on their clothing allowance.

Now, I’m not saying it’s fair. Personally, I’m on your side but is there a way around these laws?  The answer is advertising.   I don’t know how you feel about having your business branding plastered all over your designer jeans but it’s one way to make them tax deductible.  Without advertising, most clothes fail under the scrutiny of a ‘brown-trousered’ tax investigator (unless they’re uniforms or health and safety wear).  We’d hate you to get caught out so why not quizz yourself to see if you can pick what’s deductible below?

“Life, as a business owner, isn’t perfect but your outfit can be”

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Boutique Financial Chartered Accountants & Business Commentators

Copyright © 2017 Boutique Financial Limited Chartered Accountants Auckland All Rights Reserved. This publication must be read in accordance with the attached disclaimer and does not provide an exhaustive statement of tax law.

Interest Certificates now available

It looks like ANZ wins again because your 2017 Tax Certificates are now available in ANZ Internet Banking and the goMoney money.  All you need to do is go to Documents in Internet Banking (or Your Documents in goMoney) to download your Tax Certificate. To see how to download your certificate click here.

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The end of fringe benefit tax on company cars?

Yes, it’s true.  Sort of, kind of anyway!  Some of you are now eligible to have a company car without the sting of paying Fringe benefit tax (FBT) on it.  Nothing’s quite that simple though especially when it comes to the intricacies of tax legislation and there are, of course, a whole string of eligibility requirements.  We’ll cover a few of them below but this type of thing is complex and riddled with fish hooks so it’s well worth having your Chartered Accountant review your situation properly before you do anything rash.

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How to get tax back on travel

As many of you know we’re just back from Jordan (that place beside Syria) so what better time to release our travel newsletter, with its usual edge of humour to offset the academia.  Understandably the accounting industry tends to lack humour and I doubt very much that travel review websites, like trip advisor, were invented to provide comic relief either but they seem to have achieved it nonetheless.  Some of the most entertaining reviews I’ve read will unfortunately be etched in my brain for life … particularly the unlucky traveller who, while enjoying a quiet drink by the pool, was “spewed on from the balcony above” and the couple furious about sharing their restaurant table with “Midgets” (in their words, not mine).  Ignoring typo’s (such as Midges*) what you post on public forums matters especially when you’re on a business trip. What most people don’t realise is that submitting reviews and posting business updates, on social media platforms, can really strengthen your travel claim when you’re facing off against an IRD investigator.  It can also work against you so read on for more tips:





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Boutique Financial Chartered Accountants & Business Commentators

Copyright © 2016 Boutique Financial Limited Chartered Accountants Auckland All Rights Reserved. This publication must be read in accordance with the attached disclaimer and does not provide an exhaustive statement of tax law.

Is there GST on …?

13544486_s (2)Have the GST changes ‘snuck’ past you?  The first time you’ll probably notice them is when you download music and are charged roughly an extra thirty-five cents per song. It’s not only iTunes and Spotify but also Kindle and Netflix.  How’s it work? Basically, you now have to pay GST on the online services you previously bought GST-free like movies, music streaming, e-books, overseas images and email through the likes of Microsoft.  Thankfully, fashion junkies don’t need to fret (just yet) because you can generally still buy low-value clothing, from overseas websites, without having to pay GST in New Zealand.  But (there’s always a but) it’s more complicated for the poor old business owner as you’ll see below:

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Financial Fibs

Have you ever tried to read a volume of tax legislation?  It’s like a Twistaplot where the ending is always no.  Even seasoned law students are regularly horrified by how tough the tax paper is at Otago University. Amusing then, isn’t it, that your average tom, dick and harry thinks tax is easy and that telling a darn good story will let them claim whatever they like. Personally I love a great story but have you ever tried telling a tearjerker to a computer?  Essentially the IRD is one large computer system chock a block with tax law, devoid of human emotion and logic.  So no matter how touching (or delusional) your story may be, if it doesn’t fit neatly into a box at the IRD, the computer will inevitably say no.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a selection of our all time favourite “doozy” stories below (which have absolutely no regard for tax law whatsoever but make for more amusing reading than tax compliant tales).  Are you guilty of these financial fibs?

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What’s your business worth?

pp edThere’s a business for sale, down the road from our accounting firm, claiming its profits exceed two million. Interestingly, buyers aren’t lining up. Why? Because the asking price is based on a multiple-of-earnings valuation. Most Accountants will lecture you this is how businesses must be valued and it’s a perfectly legit approach but absolutely useless if there aren’t any buyers. In reality, your business (like your home) is only worth what someone’s willing to pay for it.

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Xero puts prices up

price upThe Chartered Accountants, at Boutique Financial, aren’t at all happy about this (picture wimpy suit-clad versions of The-Hulk in angry mode) but we’ve just found out that Xero is increasing it’s prices yet again!  Fair enough, we all have to make money, but clearly Xero’s business model is volume based and increased turnover should, in theory, be driven by subscriber growth, not price hikes.  That being said, details of Xero’s new prices are shown below and now might be the time to consider downgrading to a cheaper plan:

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