How does an accountant save you money?

SME Financial Accountants

Want to cut unnecessary costs, optimise the most profitable parts of the business, and increase your overall return on investment? Let’s talk about how we can work together to support your ongoing business profitability.

Continue reading

Xero’s Starter Plan just got better

Xero Starter Plans for SMEs

It’s been a tough year for small Kiwi businesses, so it’s always nice to get a little bit of good news. Last month Xero announced changes to its Starter plan, the entry-level Xero monthly subscription – a way to support small businesses during the pandemic as on-the-go accounting is more important than ever.

Check out the upgrades to the Xero Starter plan, effective from September 14, 2020:



Bank reconciliations

Limited to 20 per month



Limited to 5 per month

20 per month

The Starter plan is $27.50 per month, although new users can pay $13.75 per month for the first four months – and you can try Xero for free for 30 days. Remember that if you’re an SME Financial client, you get a discount on your Xero subscription, which we pass onto you.

The bank reconciliation feature keeps your numbers accurate, and you can set up bank rules to automatically reconcile regular transactions, saving you time. You also have Hubdoc, which means you can automatically get bills and receipts into Xero, making reconciliation easier. With the new higher limit on invoices, the Starter pack means you can send an invoice almost every working day of the month. Check out this video for invoicing shortcuts, and don’t forget to set up automatic reminders to help you manage outstanding accounts.

With these changes, the Starter plan is perfect for small businesses. It is designed to provide you with the flexibility to grow, at an affordable price. The Starter plan might be ideal if you’re a sole trader, a freelancer, contractor or tradie. It might even work if you’re a better-established small business owner doing only a small number of invoices each month. A few of our clients are switching from the Standard plan at $60 per month down to the Starter and saving themselves over $30 a month.

SME Financial is a Xero Gold Partner, which means our team gets a high level of training and support from Xero. We pass on that knowledge to our customers through our Xero training services and ongoing Xero support.

You can explore all the features here, and the changes are already in place so if you’re currently a Starter pack user you can start using them right now.

Questions about Xero? Wondering whether you’re in the right plan for your business needs? We can help. Get in touch with SME Financial today.

Last chance to apply for the wage subsidy extension – and a reminder about IRD notices

wage subsidy

Now’s the time to get in touch about the wage subsidy

Is your business still struggling with the impact of the lockdowns? Applications for the government’s wage subsidy extension expire on September 1, so if you think your business might qualify, get in touch with us immediately.

The subsidy provides $585.80 a week for full-time employees and $350 a week for part-time employees. It covers eight weeks: $4,684 for full-timers and $2800 for part-timers, all tax free.

Is your business is eligible?

Your business needs to have had a 40% drop in revenue for a 30-day period in the 40 days before you apply. We’ll take a look at your accounts for the past months and see if there’s a period where your revenue is down 40% on last years. Then we can help you apply and if you’re eligible you’ll get the money in your account very rapidly.

Will there be another wage subsidy now we’ve had another lockdown?

The government is thinking about funding another wage subsidy for Auckland if the lockdown persists. Money has been set aside to support businesses in the event of another prolonged lockdown.

Check with us about any IRD notices

If you get a notice from the Inland Revenue in the post, or you login to MyIR and look at your information, it may be out of date. Before you make payments or panic about any tax that’s owed, give us a call or drop us an email.

The reason this happens is because the Inland Revenue Department is using automatic calculations, often based on last year’s results, which may not be accurate. Here at SME Financial, we’ve been working hard to recalculate how much tax you need to pay. We’re doing regular reassessments and loss carry-backs, which can reduce the amount of tax owed.

Get in touch

That means you might get a notice from IRD saying you need to pay a larger sum than you actually need to pay – talk to us before you make a payment or panic, we can check whether any IRD correspondence is accurate for your company’s current situation.

Any other questions you have about the wage subsidy or about how much tax you need to pay, just drop us a note or pick up the phone. We’re in lockdown right now but still operating a full capacity and normal working hours.

Is this the perfect time to take on an apprentice?

apprenticeship funding nz

If your small business is doing well, but income is intermittent, the biggest challenge can be figuring out how to grow without committing to more full-time team members. An apprentice can be a fantastic way to manage your costs, have a certain amount of flexibility, and get an extra pair of hands to help with your work.

Free fees and plenty of jobseekers

Apprenticeships are currently fees-free until December 2022, and there are 200,000 Kiwis on the unemployment benefit. As a result, there should be some quality candidates looking for a new career and high-energy school-leavers hoping to find secure employment.

For small Kiwi businesses, an apprentice may be a way to help you focus on the more demanding parts of your job, while training your apprentice in the basics. As your apprentice becomes more skilled, they can take on more work. Some organisations will even pre-screen apprentices and supply gear for them – find out what’s available in your industry.

Can you afford an apprentice?

How much impact would an apprentice have on your business? We can help you answer those questions. You’ll need to use cashflow forecasting to estimate:

  • How much money you’re likely to make without the apprentice
  • What an apprentice would cost in terms of wages
  • The cost of equipment or systems you’d need to support the apprentice
  • How much time would be lost training the apprentice
  • How much extra money you could make with an apprentice

After factoring in all those numbers and considerations, you should have a clear answer on whether an apprentice will help you grow your small business.

Your responsibilities when you employ an apprentice

It’s vital to understand what you’re signing up for when you employ an apprentice. The Code of Practice for Apprenticeships outlines your responsibilities, which include:

  • Being informed about what it means to support your apprentices throughout their training.
  • Being a good employer by complying with all the legislation supporting the safety, privacy and human rights of your employers.
  • Provide active and effective training and mentoring.
  • Support your apprentice’s access to off-the-job training.
  • Support your industry organisation’s access to the apprentice.
  • Communicating clearly with the apprentice and the industry organisation.

If you do a good job for your apprentice and they work hard, you could be training up a new staff member who knows exactly how your business operates, as well as providing someone with a great job for the future.