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    "Mark Gwilliam and his team at Business Advisory Accounting & Tax Services has been my full service accounting department for many years for my companies.

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    Owner, Medium sized building business
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Welcome to the Business Advisory Accounting & Tax Services (BAS) website and thank you for visiting.

We’re a firm of Chartered Certified Accountants based in Auckland with clients all over New Zealand.  We provide high-quality accounting, tax and business advisory services at affordable rates to small and medium businesses.

Before I introduce us, I’d like to clear up some common misconceptions and then I’d like to focus on how we can help you.

I want to dispel these common misconceptions you may have about accountants:

  • Top flight accounting & tax services are intended only for large companies and are out of reach for small and medium businesses – Not with us.  We use our skills and experience to focus on helping small to medium sized businesses like you;
  • It’s okay to economise on these services in order to save money – It’s not always the case, but we recognise that we need to add value;
  • Accountants that provide accounting & tax services are primarily interested in inflating their billings as much as possible – Again, not with us as we pride ourselves on our transparency and encourage you to compare our fees with others.  We don’t hide anything.

Like many, I’m sure you’ve experienced frustrations with your accountants such as these:

  • “My accountants just don’t seem to care – I’m just a number”
  • “Now and then, all I need is some practical business or tax advice – not just mumbo jumbo bean counter language”
  • “I quite often want information that will help me but I can never it in one place”
  • “I wish I had accountants who understood what I need”

Please allow me to explain how we’re different.

I urge you to regard our fees as a tax deductible business investment, not an expense.  As a prudent business owner, we’d like you to make your decision on which accountants & business advisors you hire based on the return on your investment or value added;

Some key benefits that we bring to the party that I’d like you to consider are:

  • We want to save you time and effort (not to mention stress) to concentrate on what you know best, whilst leaving accounting, & tax to dependable and efficient specialists;
  • We want to achieve maximum tax savings for you;
  • We know that you’re keen to know exactly what your accountants’ fees are, so you can make informed decisions and budget for them accordingly;
  • We know that you’d welcome a personal service that’s tailor-made to your specific requirements;

We understand that you want confidence that your tax returns and other returns are being handled by professionals who will file them correctly, and on time.

At BAS, we have a competent, friendly team of accountants & tax professionals who are committed to making all of the above happen for you, with unparalleled levels of dedication and integrity.

Since we’re committed to “walking our talk”, I’d much rather offer you a concrete demonstration of our skills.

So why don’t you get in touch with us on 09 449 0417 and let us show you that some accountants really do care and want to help you succeed.

Increase your success by being selective with the tasks you do yourself

Many entrepreneurs who have started their own business venture will openly acknowledge what a supremely difficult challenge it can be. If business was easy, everyone would be doing it, wouldn’t they? But widely accepted statistics reveal that during the first year half of businesses fail. The figure gets worse – within 5 years of starting, 95% of all businesses fail. Why do so many business ventures fail and why do so many start-up businesses repeatedly make the same mistakes?

Deliver your vision

Most business start-ups are a result from an eager entrepreneur’s idea. Whilst ideas, commitment and dreams should never be discouraged, successful businesses flourish because their owners also know how to execute their vision. They either have a solid business background themselves or they aren’t afraid to hire experts to fill in the gaps.

Many business entrepreneurs are excessively optimistic at the outset. Confidence should be encouraged. But many under-estimate their over-heads and over-estimate forecasted revenue. Another mistake they make is that they fail to acknowledge activities that they don’t perform well or don’t enlist the help of qualified and experienced professionals until it’s too late.

Outsource your accounting

It’s perfectly acceptable to acknowledge that you can’t do everything. In fact, it’s often very smart to seek a second opinion or outsource an activity that’s not in your armoury of strong-points.

Being in business requires allocating time and energy to keeping accounting records, completing tax returns, and myriad other tasks. Many business owners simply want to focus of the parts of the business they enjoy most – customer service, sales, product design, etc. Whilst all of the extra accounting work that goes with running a business can be a burden, it’s a reality – it has to be done.

You can work long into the night or weekends to stay on top of the paperwork. Or you can engage professional support to help you and relieve you of some of those tedious but important activities. The choice is yours. As a new start-up, you’ll need to ensure that you have dotted all of your i’s and crossed all of your t’s.

Choose a reputable partner to help you lay the solid foundations that will be vital for your business to grow and flourish.

Focus, focus, focus – Why it’s important to your business

Do you suffer from Entrepreneurial Attention Deficit Disorder (EADD)?

This article discusses how to transform your big vision and turn it into reality. Basically that means taking you out of the idea zone and into a fully focused action zone. It will help you overcome EADD and fully commit to your business.

So you might be thinking “That’s not me!” Let me give you a few examples.

If you list on your business card that you’re a mechanic, a panel beater, web-designer, multi-level-marketer selling health products, chances are you have EADD – how can anyone focus on so much and so many different services? I had one client recently who did just that. But seriously though, most people suffer with EADD at some stage. Take comfort that you are not alone.

So here’s the plan. You need to focus on what’s the most important now. There are so many things that you can do in your business. You could build your website, download the latest business app, listen to a training teleseminar or host your own, read the business pages in the newspaper, post comments on Face Book, etc. There are a thousand things you could do.

Let me share with you 3 things that I do when I’m feeling like this.

The first step is to remind myself and be crystal clear on my “Why”. You started your business for a purpose. Perhaps you wanted to help others. You want to turn your vision into reality but somewhere along the way with all the hustle & bustle, the marketing and balancing the finances your purpose gests pushed to side. I always return to what’s most important and ask myself “Why am I doing this business?” In my case, it’s really to impact other people because I’m on a mission to help people succeed and because doing this helps provide an incredible lifestyle for my family and me.

Keeping firmly focused on that gives me real purpose and the drive and passion to overcome tough times.

Next, I ask myself “What’s the quickest path to the cash?” If you want to turn your vision into reality you’ve got to begin making money now. You might require a big team, you might require a big network, you might require a big fancy vehicle (I don’t!) to reach your big vision. So the sooner you start making money, the sooner you’ll achieve your vision.

What’s your fastest path to cash for right now so you can begin to create the wealth you need to fuel your business?

Thirdly, I make big decisions fast. So many entrepreneurs procrastinate or suffer indecisiveness. They ask themselves “Should I do this?” or “Should I do that?” or “Is this the right thing for me to do?” and never take action. Every time I’m at that cross-roads and feel overwhelmed, I pause and I ask myself “What’s the next decision I should make right now to kick-start some action?” I know that the quicker I act, the quicker I resolve this.

So remember…focus…focus…focus. Focus on what’s important to you and to your business and make decisions because that’s what your business needs.

What’s your big vision and what do you have to do to make it come to life?

Remember, your vision is possible. You just need to stop wishing, stop waiting and take action!

3 Simple Tax Planning Strategies

Planning for and paying your tax is not as straightforward as you might think as there are a number of different ways to ensure that your business is using the most optimal aspects of the tax system.

There are a number of strategies that you can use in order to manage your tax and minimise the amount that you have to pay. The reason that there are various options available is because the Inland Revenue is aware that there is no ‘one size fits all’ scheme that can work.

Define Your Business Correctly

How you define your business will affect the tax rates that you pay. This is because there are a number of different ways to trade as a business in the form of a company, a sole trader or as a trust.

So take a careful look at how you trade and made sure that your business definition matches with the one defined by the Inland Revenue that you are being taxed against. You should carry out this comparison as early as you can in the development of your business. This is because changing your business structure after a company has been fully established can incur a number of problems.  Not only can altering the structure of your business be an expensive venture, it can also be risky, particularly if there are additional tax benefits that will be claimed.

You should also remember that tax rates change and while one particular option may be more attractive currently, it may change in the future and so you should choose an honest representation of your business in order to ensure that the right structure is assigned at the beginning.

There are also other factors that will affect your tax payments that include owning shares, the performances of other business within a group depending on the level of common shareholding.

Best Way To Fund Your Tax

For many companies the provisional tax rules present problems. This is because they are based on the end of financial year profits, and there are a number of provisional tax dates during the year when payments have to be made in order to fully cover the end of year profit. While it may be thought that there wouldn’t be an issue making payments at the end of the financial year in order to cover any additional profit not already covered, the way the rules work mean that a company is charged interest by the Inland Revenue if the provisional date tax does not cover the total amount of tax that is owed at the end of the year.

While it may not feel like the best option, the interest rate that is charged is 8.40% per annum, which represents low interest rate unsecured finance from the Inland Revenue Department.

Goods And Services Tax and Tax Periods

Much of the success of a business is the ability to get the timing right so that positive cash flow is maintained. If this is not achieved it can be the reason for the demise of a company.  Registering for GST requires decisions to be made on the filing frequency and the accounting basis that will be used for the GST returns.

Consider carefully how your business operates and use this information to register for a sensible option. For example, a business that registers on a payments basis is likely to have significant lead times on recovery of debts from the point of invoicing to payment made.

You should also be aware that there are different compliance levels related to each registration type and so should be aware of the differences between registering on an invoice basis and a payments basis, particularly in terms of the software that is required to be used for each one.

Business Advisory Services Tips – How To Choose An Accountant

It’s difficult to find a reliable chartered accountant—so difficult that it is becoming a standing joke in the small business fraternity.  Trying to identify a suitable chartered accountant is difficult as there is often too much information around to narrow down your options.  Here is some guidance to help you choose one with the right skills and scope of business advisory services.

Chartered Accountants today are so much more than just ‘number crunchers’.  Their business advisory services skills cover a huge range of business areas, which makes them ideally placed as strategic business leaders.

This development into strategic professionals has required chartered accountants to incorporate better communication, persuasion and leadership skills. These are just the beginning of the overall skill set that high-quality chartered accounting professionals have today.

Professional Qualifications

To maintain membership to a recognised professional accounting body, chartered accountants must carry out a specified amount of professional development each year. This ensures that they keep up to date with changes and are adopting best practice.  Membership also prescribes that members operate within a strict code of ethics and conduct.

A good chartered accountant should provide a range of business advisory services and also bring a wide business perspective to help your business prosper.  For the small business owner, your chartered accountant should provide sound and reliable advice. They should evaluate your business problems and offer credible solutions. To achieve this, they must look to understand your business right from the very first time you meet with them.

Good communications

On-going, regular communication is a symbol of any good business relationship.  Your chartered accountant should communicate with you regularly and be committed to developing the right level of rapport with you.  Look for one that is proactive and is not just happy to see you once a year when it’s tax return time.


Finding a good chartered accountant or business advisory services specialist and building an on-going business relationship will be a major decision for you.  It’s worth spending some time on finding the right one for you.  A good chartered accountant or business advisory services provider should become an invaluable aid to business throughout the its life-cycle.

How To Keep Business Exciting By Asking The Right Questions

Since the economic market became tougher in 2008 it has become much harder for small business owners to remain enthusiastic about their businesses.  To lead their businesses through these tough times, business owners have had to ask themselves some tough questions to keep things fresh and exciting.

When things are going well, business owners only need to ask themselves relatively simple questions, which are centered on asking “Why not?”  Let me explain:

  • Why not take just five more minutes to squeeze in that final sales call?
  • Why not make the extra effort it will take to convert one more enquiry into a sale?
  • Why not consider expanding our customer base and growing our business?
  • Why not use our initiative to maximize the opportunities we have to increase profit margins?

The economic meltdown has put extra burden and pressure on business owners.  Many feel that they are continually sinking and that there is no hope.  I have good news for you!  There is hope and there are still countless opportunities that’ll bring the excitement and enthusiasm back into your business.

Start asking yourself new “why not?” questions to propel your company forwards.  So, just what questions do you need to ask to revive your enthusiasm?

  • Why not make sure that you have the most able and enthusiastic employees around you to help you make the changes happen?
  • Why not revamp the company’s marketing plan to make the most of current economic climate?
  • Why not push the company’s sales goals so that they are challenging and stretching, but still achievable?
  • Why not see the positives around you and make the most of them to revive your enthusiasm?

“What?” is such a powerful question and one that will transform you and your business.  Start thinking positive…start thinking about your future.  Ask yourself:

  • What do I need to do become more successful?
  • What benefits do my products or services have that are different from my competitors?
  • What must I focus on this year to achieve my goals?
  • What opportunities can I exploit?

In many ways it is harder to be in business now that it was 5 years ago, but the tactics you need to employ to achieve success are still the same. You have to question what you are doing, how you are doing it and what opportunities you can take advantage of that will improve your business.

5 Time-Saving Solutions for the Busy Small Business Owner

How often do you wish had a way to achieve much more but with less?  It’s time to stop wishing – here are 5 tools that I have found useful to make my life easier.

Say goodbye to password frustration!

LastPass is a tool that I have personally used for several years.  If you’re like many, you’ll probably have a password list that is as long as your arm.  Last pass allows you to store all of your passwords in one place so the only password you’ll need to remember is your password to open LastPass.  It’s safe, it’s secure and best of all it’s free!

Drop Box

I love Dropbox.  If you have ever emailed yourself documents so that have them available on another machine, or emailed them to a colleague in order to share them with another system or user, you’ll also love Dropbox.  It allows you to save all of your documents, photos and videos in your Dropbox folders so you can access them from any internet connection anywhere in the world.

No more Post-It stickers!

If you’re like many, you’ll have post-it stickers all over your desk and computer.  Evernote is a free on-line service that allows you to capture and save your ideas in one convenient location and eliminate those intrusive yellow stickers for good!

Because Evernote is an on-line solution you’ll be able to access your notes from anywhere.  Better still, you’ll be able to use the search facility by typing a keyword to help you find your documents fast.  I use it when I am browsing the internet for ideas and simply take a snap shot of a page or document that interests me.  It’s so easy.


Do you know how much time you waste on your computer?  RescueTime automatically records what websites and applications you use so you can analyse how you spend your time.  One feature I use a lot is the facility to temporarily block websites that I know consume my time when I know that I should be working.  I set my RescueTime clock to prevent me from browsing FaceBook, Twitter and other sites during working hours.

Document your brainstorming sessions in an on-line mind map

I use Mindmeister whenever I’m brainstorming anything.  If I’m planning an article, I’ll use it as a mind map so I can begin to structure what I’m going to write.  I even used it for this article!  Imagine a free on-line tool that will allow you document and share your brain storming sessions for future use anytime and anywhere!

With so many distractions, you now have some tools to help you better organize your day.  Remove some of those time-consuming administrative tasks and free yourself to focus on running your business instead.

The Successful Entrepreneur’s Mind-set

Following on from last week’s article about adopting an Olympian’s mind-set in business, we should consider a similar correlation with how to become a successful entrepreneur.

With the right mind-set, anyone can become a successful entrepreneur.  The question is:  Do you have one?

What makes a successful entrepreneur?  Let’s start with a simple definition for an entrepreneur.  An entrepreneur is someone who is not afraid of assuming accountability and responsibility for starting and managing a business.  Today’s business world is a far cry from the past and tough competition requires someone being able to spot opportunities where others may not and fulfil the needs and wants of the end consumer.

Successful entrepreneurs have a few characteristics or traits that set them apart, including the following:

  • They love what they do & display high levels of enthusiasm in everything they do;
  • They set high expectations & goals and continually strive to exceed them;
  • They are highly creative and discover solutions to people’s wants and needs;
  • They are positive people and do not surround themselves with negative people or adopt negative thoughts;
  • They do not procrastinate and they make “snap” decisions, based on instinct, when necessary.

Entrepreneurs are pragmatic when tackling problems they face.  Their positive attitudes ensure that they look for solutions to problems presented to them.  They do not abdicate responsibility and look to own and solve their problems, although they recognise that they may need to solicit other people’s skills and experience.

Here are a few tips that will help you develop an entrepreneurial mind-set:

Develop your own mind-set

To succeed, you must develop a mind-set that is geared to achieving and surpassing your goals.  Evaluate your current mind-set and then evaluate how it’s led you to where you are today.

Adopt similar behaviours to other successful entrepreneurs

Many successful entrepreneurs will gladly share their experiences and road to success.  They believe that there are abundant opportunities.  Head down to your nearest library, book-store or search the internet for books they have written and discover the tips and techniques that successful entrepreneurs adopted.

Think big, set goals and milestones to achieve them

Entrepreneurs understand the value of setting goals as an essential step in achieving success.  They think big and continually review how they are progressing towards their goals.  Much of their day is focused on achieving them and they ignore distractions that take them away from them.

Get involved and increase your knowledge

Successful entrepreneurs have a thirst for knowledge and keep themselves up to date with market events and opportunities.  They read, observe other like-minded people and always look to increase their greatest piece of intellectual property – their minds.

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, increase your chances of succeeding by adopting the winning habits that successful entrepreneurs adopt.  Set goals, be creative and most of all have fun doing it!

Essential tax implications of employee and contractor agreements

The IRD’s recently updated guidelines on determining employment status for tax purposes serves as a timely reminder that establishing your tax status is essential.  Are you an employee or contractor?  Let’s discuss this in more detail. 

If you’re engaged to carry out work, your employment arrangement may have significant implications for tax purposes.  It’s essential to establish whether you are an employee or independent contractor and whether you have a “contract for services” or a “contract of service”.

IRD’s recent guideline identifies few changes in its approach and therefore those of you who are already familiar with previous interpretations will observe that many elements remain the same.

Why does it matter whether I have a “contract of service” or a “contract for services”? 

Will you be responsible for income tax, PAYE deductions & ACC payments?  Will you have to register for GST?  Before you can answer these you must establish your “employment” status.

A recent court case established some factors which may be help you determine your correct employment status for tax purposes.  In Bryson v Three Foot Six Ltd, the LOTR production firm was thrust in the spotlight as it highlighted some important distinctions between employee versus independent contractor statuses.  A number of “tests” were used to examine the relationship between the Three Foot Six and Bryson to form a clearer evaluation of the true status.  These tests can be used to establish your own status:

Intention:  This test analyses what was agreed between both parties and considers the true intention of the relationship’s nature.  For example:  If you’re paid regularly at set times and for set amounts and PAYE & ACC is deducted from you then this might indicate that an employer/employee relationship was intended.  Simply calling the relationship an independent contractor is unlikely to hide the true intended relationship.

Independence:  If you exercise high degrees of autonomy and independence then you are more likely to be labelled a contractor, rather than an employee.  If you’re free to work at home or your office and you supply your own tools & equipment, then this would strengthen your case as a contractor.  On the other hand, if you’re involved in recruiting & terminating staff or are significantly influencing how the organisation is managed, your case will weaken.

Control:  The control test establishes what control the employer exercises over you and how you perform your duties.  If you’re expected or asked to works set hours and are treated like an employee then you’re likely to be considered an employee.

Integration:  The primary question here is whether you’re simply an accessory to the organisation or whether you’re a fundamental part of it and “part of the furniture”.   As a contractor of service, you’re likely to be carrying out duties that are part and parcel of the business’ operations rather than carrying out ancillary duties over a short-term period

Fundamental:  This test establishes whether you are operating as a business and is often referred to as the economic reality test or business test.  If you have other business clients and cannot be dismissed (like an employee) but can have your contract terminated then you may satisfy this criterion and be deemed a contractor.

If you’re an employee, employment law will apply to you and should offer you the same benefits as any other employee – minimum wage rates, annual leave, parental leave, etc.  Your employer will have to deduct PAYE from your salary or wages.  But if you’re a contractor you won’t be entitled to these benefits, although you are likely to claim tax deductible business expenses and enjoy more flexibility.  Your employment status should reflect the relationship’s intended nature and getting it wrong may have disastrous consequences.

For further help and advice on establishing your employment status, please contact your Business Advisory Services adviser.


7 ways to give your business Olympic success

Unless you’ve been on Mars, you’ll know that the 2012 Olympic Games in London are fast approaching.  Have you ever considered that you could use the same model for your business?

What can the Olympic Games teach you about running a successful business?

You should be striving for Gold in your own business.  I don’t mean swimming around Lake Pupuke at sunrise or filling up on pasta and carbohydrates before an important meeting.  Equally, I discourage you from running up Queen Street with a giant torch and fake medals around your neck just to get attention.

But I do mean that you should challenge yourself to achieve bigger and better results and strive to be the best at what you do.  So what’s my advice for emulating a gold medal Olympian?

These are just a few ways you can emulate them:

Discipline:  If you want to become the next Hamish Carter, you must have heaps of self-discipline & motivation.  Could you wake up at the crack of dawn, swim for 90 minutes, then hop on a bike for 120 kilometres and then with the cycling over  run for 20 kilometres – 6 days per week?  That’s the discipline of a true champion.

Passion:  Olympic competitors love what they do and without that love and passion they would find it much harder to motivate themselves when the going gets tough.  Equestrian, Mark Todd, will compete at his 7th Olympic Games in London.

If you enjoy what you’re doing in your own business then your dream will be much easier to achieve.  It’s obvious – enjoyment and passion breeds success, so if there are parts of your business you don’t like then don’t despair – look to delegate or outsource those parts. Successful business owners know the importance of leverage.

Determination:  It’s not always easy to reach the top and many athletes experience set-backs such as injuries and nagging self-doubts.  But their inner drive, persistence, desire and commitment to achieve greatness keep them going.

When Ted Morgan won New Zealand’s first Gold Medal in 1928 in boxing he fought men much bigger than him despite fighting with a dislocated knuckle sustained before the games.  How do you handle set-backs?

Focus:  By staying focused and ignoring the distractions around them, winners focus on the big prize.  They set goals and regularly evaluate themselves so they know that they’re on track to achieve them.

Rob Waddell set himself a goal to win Gold after disappointment in Atalanta.  He decided to focus on single sculls events and achieved his dream by winning Gold and our only medallist in Sydney.

How many goals have you set for your business?  If you haven’t, how will you know when you’ve achieved success?

Coaching & training:  Un-surprisingly, many Olympians pay credit to their coaches for the significant contribution they have had on their success.  Successful coaches inspire, offer experience and encourage.  They also know the importance of good training and the benefits of following proven training programmes.

Double Gold Medallist at the 1996 Atalanta Games, Danyon Loader, attributed much of his success to his long-time coach Duncan Laing.  How would your business improve with the help of a coach?

Sportsmanship:  It’s possible to be a great athlete and be humble and respectful at the same time.  Watch how an athlete reacts to defeat and how they treat their competitors & team-mates. Displaying humility and respect during competition will often say a lot about an athlete.

Gold Medallist at the 1960 Rome Games, Murray Halberg, has worked tirelessly for the good of all Kiwi sportspeople and remains a people’s favourite.  How do you incorporate these traits when dealing with your customers?

Confidence:  An Olympian may be the biggest, strongest or fastest but strong self-belief and confidence makes all the difference.

Bejing Gold Medallist, Valerie Adams, recently announced that she has become fitter, stronger, faster, and more confident in her technique and is well prepared for London.  Confident athletes have abundant heart and self-belief.  Do you?

So sit back, cheer on your favourite athletes later this week and adopt the same winning attitudes they show to get your business in a gold position.  If you’d like to talk with us about coaching your way to success or setting goals, please contact a Business Advisory Services consultant on 09 449 0417  We’d be delighted to get you to the top of the podium!