Limited 100% government funding for COVID-19 support from your accountant

Date: March 27th, 2020

The government has released some limited funding for the Otago region to assist businesses with cashflow management and finance advice through a qualified provider. As accountants, we can help you rework your cashflow to allow for the current COVID-19 situation.

If you would like to seek funding to help us assist you, here are the steps to follow.

Step 1

Register at Regional Business Partners to be eligible for up to $2000 in government funding for Covid-19 support. (To be eligible you must be a GST a registered business and have less than 50 staff).

Step 2

Send an email briefly outlining how your business is affected by COVID-19 and the type of support and advice your business needs. Findlay Sidekick is registered to provide the below services that may be applicable to your business:

COVID-19 Support in Cashflow & Finance

  • Cashflow Management  (4 Hours)
  • Budgeting (4 Hours)
  • Assisting with Bank Re-financing. (2 Hours)
  • Assisting with Wage Subsidy applications (1 hour)

Business Continuity Plan

  • Business Continuity Plan (4 hours)
  • Business Continuity Plan Review (90 Minutes)

For more information on our registered services, please click here:

Business Continuity Plan

Covid-19 support in cashflow management and finance

Email to: Tara Druce, outlining your situation, what service you require and how many hours of funding you think you need. She will call you to discuss before approving.

Step 3

Once Tara has approved your funding, let Kirsty know your voucher code so she can create an event for you to book on to on the RBP website.

Please note this funding is limited and first in will be best served.  If you have any questions, please let us know.

Posted in: Covid-19, Latest News, Wanaka

COVID-19 wage subsidy & leave payments: clarity around applications

Date: March 26th, 2020

We are getting enquiries about whether clients can apply for both the wage subsidies and leave/self isolation support.

Leave and self isolation support

If you are an employer, contractor, sole trade or self-employed you may qualify to get the COVID-19 Leave Payment. This payment covers full-time, part-time and casual employees, and contractors who are legally working in New Zealand and who:

  • need to self-isolate in line with Ministry of Health Guidelines and have registered as needing to self-isolate with Healthline, cannot work from home and their self isolation is not because they left NZ since the travel restrictions on 16 March 2020 and have since returned, or
  • cannot work because the person has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or
  • cannot work because they are caring for dependents who are required to self-isolate or who are sick with COVID-19.

Wage subsidies

Wage subsidies will be available for all employers that are significantly impacted by COVID-19 and are struggling to retain employees as a result. The scheme is open to all businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed.

Wage subsidies will be available for businesses in all sectors and all regions that can show a 30% decline in revenue for any month between January and June 2020 compared to the year before (including projected revenue).

More information & applications

Apply for the wage subsidy and leave payments here.

Information on financial support available here.

If you need any clarification or assistance with applications, please reach out to us.

Posted in: Covid-19, Latest News

COVID-19 office closure: get in contact while our office is closed

Date: March 24th, 2020

Our office is now closed to our clients and the public but we will be operating as per normal and we have built in systems to be able to support you from our homes.

Please know that you’re still our main priority, with the use of Xero, email, phone, Zoom and other software, we aim to be able to offer you the same level of service you’re used to, minus the coffee and the ability to pop in.

Staff mobile numbers

Johnny:  027-453-5340

Scott:  027-243-4418

Phillippa:  021-375-728

Chris:  027-800-3862

Erica:  027-307-0221

Kirsty:  021-049-0476

Andrea:  021-76-9292

Sam:  021-231-6839

Get help & advice

We’ll be sending and sharing lots of information that will help you throughout this period on our Sidekick Business Lounge Facebook Group. Join up here.

Read our latest information related to COVID-19 here.

Keep in touch

Let’s be mindful but positive.  Let’s focus on the things that we can do to minimise the outcomes, such as heightened cleanliness and social distancing measures and find joy in the moments we can share with loved ones.

Whatever you do, please stay in touch with us so that together we can make a plan to help you in these difficult times.

Posted in: Covid-19, Latest News

Business Continuity Planning for COVID-19: two webinars this week

Date: March 24th, 2020

The impacts of Covid-19 on health and business are evolving quickly.  It is essential that every business has a plan for dealing with this outbreak.  Here are two webinars and additional information, to help you navigate your way through.

Webinar 1: Business Continuity Planning

As members of a progressive Accounting Network called “The Gap”; we have helped develop content for a client webinar.

This webinar will be hosted specifically for our network’s collective clients as a way of providing you with logical advice to help minimise the impact of this global pandemic on your business.

This complimentary webinar is for you to:

  • Outline the things you should consider now to minimise the impact on your business
  • Provide you with a guide and a template for you to create your Business Continuity Plan
  • Give supporting information to help you engage your suppliers, employees, bank and advisors to drive empathetic and effective conversations
  • Help you build resilience in your team and family at this time

When: 11.00am-12.15pm, Wednesday 25th March

Please note: after registering, you should receive an email with a join link. Contact us asap if you do not receive this.

Register here

Webinar 2: HR in Challenging Times

Kirsten Maclean is our group HR expert and is currently helping many of our clients through these uncertain times.  There’s a wealth of knowledge Kirsten can share with us all right now  on the many immediate and unfortunate repercussions of COVID-19 for employers.

When: 2.00pm, Thursday 26th March

Posted in: Covid-19, Latest News

COVID-19 Alert Level 4: additional support for business

Date: March 24th, 2020

Yesterday, 23 March, the Government announced:

  • New Zealand moves up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict
  • New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours
  • Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare

So how will your business be affected?

Business closures

From today, 24 March:

  • Workplaces must implement alternative working with everyone who can to work from home.
  • Non-essential business in NZ must all close, including bars, cafes, restaurants and cinemas.
  • Supermarkets, doctors, pharmacies, service stations, and access to essential banking services will be available throughout New Zealand at every alert level.

Government support for economy, workers, businesses

As of this afternoon, the Government announced significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. This is additional to the support measures announced on 18 March.

Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the economy over the next eleven weeks.

In addition:

  • The Government is expediting urgent work on new income support measures for all workers above and beyond the wage subsidy scheme, to be appropriate for how the economy will operate under Alert Level 4.
  • The Government, Reserve Bank and retail banks have agreed in principle to significant temporary support for mortgage holders and a business finance guarantee scheme for those impacted by COVID-19 as the country moves towards Alert Level 4. The details of this will be announced in the next few days.
  • Cabinet has agreed to freeze all rent increases and to look to extend no-cause terminations to protect people during this difficult time.
  • Self-employed people and businesses that are less than a year old will also now be eligible for help

How we can help

Let’s be mindful but positive.  Let’s focus on the things that we can do to minimise the outcomes, such as heightened cleanliness and social distancing measures. And find joy in the moments we can share with loved ones.

At this time, our team are able to work from their homes with no disruption to the service we provide.  Our accounting software is cloud based and we are available via email and mobile.  Please contact us if you need our help.

Whatever you do, please stay in touch with us so that together we can make a plan to help you in these difficult times.

Read our latest information related to COVID-19 here.

Posted in: Covid-19, Latest News

COVID-19: business support information documents

Date: March 20th, 2020

Please find below downloadable PDF documents on Government support for businesses and employer advice regarding COVID-19, current as of 20.03.19:

Wage and leave subsidy information 24 March 2020 update

Business cashflow and tax measures factsheet

COVID leave support factsheet

Employers Advice for distruption from COVID-19

Income support factsheet

More information about preparing your business for COVID-19

Posted in: Covid-19, Latest News

Government support package for businesses affected by COVID-19

Date: March 18th, 2020

We know you’ll be getting so much information right now about COVID-19 so please bookmark this page and know that at any point, if you’re concerned, you can reach out to us. We have a contingency in place that should the need arise, our teams can work from home and be connected to you in the event that you need us.  

You may have heard about the financial support package announced yesterday. We have summarised the main points below and we are here to help you navigate through this process, help you to understand your eligibility and obligations, and assist you in applying for support.

$12.1 billion support package for New Zealand businesses

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has today announced a financial relief package for businesses and employees impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the key highlights of this package are:

  • $5.1 billion in wage subsidies for affected business in all sectors and regions, available from today.
  • $126 million in COVID-19 leave and self-isolation support.
  • $2.8 billion in business tax changes to free up cashflow, including a provisional tax threshold lift, the reinstatement of building depreciation on commercial and industrial properties and writing off interest on the late payment of tax.
  • Increasing the small asset depreciation threshold from $500 to $1,000 – and to $5,000 for the 2020/21 tax year.
  • Increasing the provisional tax threshold from $2,500 to $5,000 from 2020/21
  • IRD now have the discretion to remit use of money interest for customers significantly affected by COVID-19

For more information on these changes here are two links for you:

  1. The first is the press release from the government. This is the statement from our Finance Minister Grant Robertson and includes factsheets on business cashflow and tax measures, leave support, income support and the wage subsidy scheme: Government press release
  2. The second is a summary of the five proposals in the Business Continuity Package that relate directly to tax: Tax changes from the Business Continuity Package

Some of these points are quite meaty and take a little to digest. If you are unsure which aspects may relate to you and your business please give us a call.

Look after your employees

Employees are often your biggest asset and it is important to ensure that you are meeting all your obligations as an employer. The team at Sidekick HR have put together an information sheet of Q&A’s that outlines some of the key things that you as employers need to monitor including:

  • Health and Safety obligations
  • What happens to employees pay if they cannot work
  • Eligibility for the wage subsidy
  • Varying the terms of your employees’ employment.

More details on this can be found in this PDF: Sidekick HR Information Sheet. Sidekick HR can help you with any of these employment queries – if you would like to know more please contact the team using the phone numbers in the PDF or via their website:

Contact Sidekick HR

How can Sidekick help?

In our regional communities, we know many businesses will be needing assistance, especially those servicing the tourism and export industries. We’re here to help – whether that’s specific business advice, a general chat around current and future economic impacts or to formulate a business contingency plan – so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Posted in: Covid-19, Latest News

How to prepare your business for COVID-19

Date: March 16th, 2020

We would like to reiterate we are available to help business owners through this difficult time.  We have plans in place to work from our homes if needed so there will be a continuity of services.  We can set up phone meetings and we all have the technology to set up Zoom meetings with any clients as required. 

We agree that now is a sensible time to stay informed of the potential economic impacts of coronavirus in the Central Otago region, given our reliance on the tourism industry. Most importantly, it’s also the time to invest in business contingency planning – always a worthwhile exercise!

man wearing facemask

As your local accountants, we thought we’d share a few useful tips to help you in your financial preparations.

Have you heard about tax relief?

Inland Revenue is aware of the pressure that coronavirus is placing on businesses regarding tax payments. On 11 March, they released a number of beneficial relief options they’re offering business owners (depending on circumstances and criteria), including:

  • Provisional tax re-estimates;
  • Early refunds on overpaid provisional tax;
  • Tax instalment payments & write-off arrangements;
  • Extensions to filing dates;
  • Remittance for late payment penalties;
  • Certificate of exemption for schedular payments.

To find out if any of the above could be applicable to your business circumstances, IRD recommend speaking to your tax agent, so please feel free to contact us anytime to discuss.

Tax Relief Coronavirus (IRD)

A government ‘Business Continuity Package’ is in the pipeline

Keep an eye out for the Business Continuity Package’, currently being developed by cabinet with details due for release next week. It is said to include a wage subsidy scheme, similar to what was offered after the recent major NZ earthquakes, the idea being that it would assist in keeping employment levels up.

Government develops wage subsidy scheme ( 

How to make a plan B

Now is a great time to ensure you have a detailed business continuity and contingency plan, ready to go. A contingency plan is a documented process which identifies specific risks for your business and outlines how you might back to business as usual should something happen. If this level of planning is new to you, we recommend checking out this helpful step-by-step guide from You can also contact your accountant to assist with contingency planning as often there are financial impacts with decisions around process changes.

Open up the lines of communication

Things are always easier when everyone is on the same page. Maintain honest and open communication with your bank, especially if you’re unsure how your business is going to be impacted. The sooner the bank are made aware, the better they’ll be able to support you through the process.

Take the time to check in with your business advisors, mentors, business support groups and of course, your accountant. Ask how other similar businesses are being impacted. The affects of coronavirus are far-reaching, so don’t feel as though you’re suffering alone.

Can we help?

We live in an area where many people make a living through the tourism industry (which has been heavily impacted already), so we foresee that there’ll be Wanaka, Queenstown and Central Otago businesses needing assistance. We’re here to help, whether that’s specific business advice, a general chat around current economic impacts or to formulate a business contingency plan – so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Posted in: Alexandra, Covid-19, Latest News, Queenstown, small business, Wanaka

Upskill with Josh Wilson: Xero & Hubdoc

Date: March 7th, 2020

Something for the confident Xero user! FREE

Josh Wilson is our Business Apps and Software specialist and is passionate about helping clients find ways to make their software work harder and smarter. He’s coming to Wanaka and this is your chance to upskill in Xero!

Three short seminars are rolled into one bite sized chunk allowing you to cover everything in one hit.

Seminar content as follows:

Hubdoc – A 20 minute introduction to Hubdoc for people that haven’t seen it before and want to know more about it.

Xero Coding – A 40 minute advanced coding course for people that have used Xero already but want to know how to handle those one-off tricky transactions and how to sort out banks that don’t balance.

Xero Reporting – This 45minute section looks at the reports that Josh frequently uses or clients have asked for. He will also look at areas to get information without having to run a report and how to customise reports.

There will be short breaks in between each section.

Date:     Tuesday 7 April
Time:     9am – 11am
Where:  Findlay Sidekick Office, Level 1, 31 Dunmore Street, Wanaka

Places are limited. Please email call 021 039 8903 for bookings and further information.

About Josh

Josh Wilson is a Chartered Accountant originally from Southland. He made the transition to working with software full time seven years ago and is passionate about helping clients find ways to make their software work harder and smarter. He works with both Xero and MYOB as well as a selection of add-on products to help businesses find the best solution for them.


Posted in: Workshops and Seminars

Free Cashflow Management Workshop

Date: February 28th, 2020

Making great business profit is one thing but that’s not much comfort if your bank account doesn’t reflect your profits.

Join us on Wednesday 11th March for this short and snappy workshop and let us help you:

  • Learn the difference between profit and cash surplus in your business
  • Learn how the working capital cycle works
  • Establish your Cash Conversion Cycle
  • Identify the causes of poor cashflow
  • Understand the process changes that improve your cashflow

Date: Wednesday 11th March
Time: 9am
Where: Findlay Sidekick Office, Level 1, 31 Dunmore Street, Wanaka

Places are limited. Please email or call 021 039 8903 for bookings and further information.

Posted in: Workshops and Seminars

Fluid Photo – Ruth Brown

Date: February 17th, 2020

“Scott helped me make sense of the financial side of my business and what actions I both could do & needed to do to grow my business. I not only gained so much knowledge and ideas from the workshop but it also brought a big kick of drive and enthusiasm back into managing my business on a day to day basis.

“I’ve been implementing many of these new ideas & strategies since and happy to say that I’ve been seeing very positive changes.”

Posted in: Clients

Pembroke Wines – Nadia & Troy Davidson

Date: February 17th, 2020

“We would love to share with you our experience with Findlay Sidekick.

“From day one of taking over a new business we experienced great support and advice from the team. Great training and attention in detail to any concerns we may have had. We appreciate the experienced advice and followups on weekly a basis.

“It is very reassuring having such a great service as a business owner. We highly recommend Findlay Sidekick, thank you, team!”

Posted in: Clients

Xero Education Month: what we recommend for small businesses

Date: February 15th, 2020

It’s Xero Education month which means that during February and early March 2020 Xero’s education specialists are running amazing webinars, joined by some fantastic external speakers.

The content covers everything from making the most of Xero, to work-life balance, mental well-being and learning about leadership, there are webinars for all types of small businesses. And best of all, they’re all free – you just need to register.

online learning

With so much to choose from, we thought we’d make your life a little easier by sharing our top picks.

Xero on the go: Tips for mobile | Daily

Xero’s mobile app lets you run your business from wherever you are. Each day Xero are bringing a different tip for using the app to help you save time and manage your business when you’re out and about.

Get paid faster | Tuesday 18 February, 12pm–1pm

Cash flow and time are two of the biggest pain points for most small business owners in New Zealand. Explore how you can get paid faster and reduce administration with payment services.

Leadership | Wednesday 19 February, 10am–11am

Join Craig Hudson, Xero Managing Director NZ, and Brigid Carroll, Associate Professor at the University of Auckland as they talk about leadership and managing a team effectively.

More about leadership and executive training in our blog

Xero Projects & WorkflowMax | Wednesday 19th February, 12pm – 1pm

Explore job management with Xero Projects and WorkflowMax. Track time and costs, invoice with ease, measure profitability and reduce administration time. Find out which one is right for you!

More about technology hacks for businesspeople in our blog

Work-life balance & XAP counselling | Thursday 27 February, 10am – 11am

We love this topic! Ensuring we have time for ourselves, family, friends, interests and work can be a real juggle. Learn the importance of balance and simple strategies to re-balance your life.

More about mental health in business in our blog

Coping with growth/change management | Thursday 27 February, 12pm–1pm

Gain a new mindset and understanding about how to think, approach and manage change within your organisation or practice. Learn a robust approach to and core principles of change management.

Get your business ready for end of financial year | Tuesday 10 March, 12pm–1pm

Learn what you can do ahead of time to keep your accounts up to date and have information ready for your accountant at end of financial year.


See what’s on and register here.

Other Xero initiatives may like

Xero has been busy with other initiatives. Here’s a few more you may like:

Xero Assistance Programme (XAP) – your mental wellbeing is important, so if you need a hand, reach out for free and confidential support. XAP is available to all Xero clients who are on starter, standard and premium plans in New Zealand.

More about workplace wellness and XAP in our blog

Not-for-profit discount – if you’re a not-for-profit business, you can run your labour of love for less because you’re eligible for a 25% discount off your Xero subscription. Speak with us about how to get the discount applied

Hubdoc joins Xero -you’ll soon be able to automate more admin and bookkeeping tasks and say goodbye to manual data entry. That’s because from 18 March 2020, Hubdoc will be included in Xero’s Starter, Standard and Premium plans.

More about Hubdoc joining Xero in our blog

Posted in: Latest News, small business, Xero

Inland Revenue sends heads up to hospitality businesses

Date: February 12th, 2020

Hospitality businesses have been in Inland Revenue’s spotlight recently. In late 2019, IRD personnel searched several Central Otago businesses and made unannounced visits to others, as part of its current hidden economy campaign targeting the hospitality sector.

barista in cafe making coffee

But it doesn’t end there, Inland Revenue has been in touch with us to say that hospitality businesses may be visited or closely reviewed again this year.

Expect to hear from IRD

Inland Revenue announced: “We’ll be contacting your client(s) in the hospitality industry to thank them if they’ve been keeping their books in order. As you know, helping your clients keep their books in good order assists with their tax obligations and provides them a more accurate view of cash flow, allows greater access to finances and ensures their businesses are correctly valued. We’ll also be encouraging your client(s) to put their records right if they’ve left anything off their past tax returns.

“We may also visit your client(s) in the hospitality industry. We want to ensure hospitality business owners know they need to show transactions through electronic trading and mobile payment apps.”

Protecting your reputation

Keeping good books not only means you’re complying with the law, it’s also good for your business. Accurate bookkeeping makes it easier to see what’s going on in your business, to get a loan, and to keep track of your tax records. It also means your business will be worth more if you decide to sell.

Recent tax evasion cases involving a national restaurant chain and a Waikato baker prove that business owners that break the rules face the consequences.

Fair play

Inland Revenue has ways of detecting the signs of businesses that aren’t following the rules. If business owners are under-reporting sales, paying under-the-table wages, or under-paying GST, they can find out. They have warned that they we will prosecute in these situations.

Getting it right

Most business owners are trying to do the right thing but if you realise you’ve left something off your past tax returns, we encourage you to contact us so you can help you make a full voluntary disclosure.

Fortunately, with help from your accountant and cloud accounting software, it’s easy to keep on top of compliance.

Please get in touch if you need help to get it right.

Posted in: Latest News, small business, tax, Wanaka

10 ways to improve your mental health & your business

Date: February 5th, 2020

It’s no secret that running a business can be extremely taxing to our health. A survey found that 31% of people suffered from a mental health condition after starting or taking over a business. It’s easy to get swept away in the day to day, but for a business to be sustainable and successful, it’s important we take the time to prioritise mental and physical health.

mental health

With that said, here’s our top ten tips to bring health and wellbeing into your workplace.

1. Ask for help

Most importantly: If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out. At some point in time, we can all become overwhelmed in business, so there’s always someone who understands what you’re facing.

Xero has recently partnered with Mental Health Foundation of NZ to start the XAP (Xero Assistance Program) to provide mental health support to NZ small businesses.

There are other excellent resources and NZ support organisations found online. Here are a few:

Where To Get Help (Xero)

Mental Health For You And Your Staff ( 

Workplace Wellbeing ( 

2. Build connections

Creating a sense of unity in the workplace should be right at the top of our list as business owners – and this doesn’t necessarily mean cringe-worthy team building exercises! People tend to work more productively in an environment where they feel respected, included and heard – regular team meetings are a great way to encourage this level of positive communication and support. A business owner has the ability to set the tone for the entire workplace.

3. Find a mentor

business mentor

A problem shared is a problem halved! Having stable guidance in business is so important for our mental wellbeing, relieving the pressure of ‘going it alone’. Having that ‘go-to’ person or group who you can bounce ideas off from outside your usual business circle can be invaluable. A mentor can bring a different perspective or business direction through their own knowledge and experience.   

Ignite Wanaka is membership based group with the aim to empower and connect the Wanaka business community.

4. Encourage breaks

work breaks

Breaks are legally required for good reason; we work far more productively when we can de-stress and recharge regularly. As an employer, you can use breaks as a great opportunity for casual team bonding – a quick 10 minute catch up over a cup of coffee can do wonders for breaking the monotony of the working day.  

5. Share the load

It can be challenging for business owners to delegate tasks – sometimes there is apprehension around things being done ‘right’ or maybe it seems faster to just do it yourself. Often, it’s a catch 22 – the business owner takes on a long list of tasks and suddenly those ‘fast’ jobs get pushed further down until it would’ve been quicker to delegate them in the first place! Our suggestion? Invest the time to train capable staff to take on some of your work list. After a few successes, you could feel like a weight has been lifted. 

6. Physical fitness

A healthy body quickly translates into a healthy mind. Exercise endorphins generate an alertness and clarity that are well-utilised within a business. Doing exercises at your desk can be a little daunting in a shared office, but a lunchtime jog or conditioning session at the gym might be just what you need to get through the afternoon!

7. Be social

Never underestimate the power of fun to increase morale and positivity in the workplace! Whether it’s a few cheeky beverages at the local, a full-on Christmas party or a Friday afternoon BBQ, it’s one of the simplest ways to make your employees feel recognised and appreciated, not to mention the benefits of team bonding. A team that plays together, stays together!

8. Outsource tasks

Running a business requires such a range of skills and personality traits that it’s virtually impossible to have a business owner who can cover it all. Often people start a business because they have a skill they wish to profit from, but this doesn’t mean they’re necessarily great at other tasks. The good news is, you don’t have to be a super-human. Instead, gather a support team of professionals together to assist in the day-to-day running of your business, such as an accountant, mentor, business advisor and HR consultant – you’ll have better results and feel better for it too!

9. Just breathe

woman taking time to breath in workplace

Breathwork is an amazing tool for reducing feelings of stress and anxiety in the workplace. You can easily take a moment to do some breathing exercises at your desk or on a work break subtlety and effectively. In a busy office, focusing on breathing regularly will give your brain the opportunity to settle back into a calm state. Be kind to your adrenal glands! Check out the Headspace or Calm app for some helpful guided breathing exercises. 

10. Workspace matters

tidy office desk

If you feel you spend a lot of your waking life ‘at the office’, then make sure you make that space is somewhere you want to be! Create a work environment that’s comfortable and relaxing to work in, whether that’s a installing a new ergonomic workstation, choosing a new colour scheme or cleaning out unnecessary clutter. The Japanese 5S methodology describes how maintaining a tidy workspace can increase business efficiency.  

Posted in: health & safety, Latest News, mental health, Wanaka