May - Two minute update


Optional fields on annual returns
The Companies Office has announced that additional, optional fields are being added to annual returns. A summary of the optional fields and the status of information able to be e-filed via Connectworks are as follows:
Phone numbers and email address - These can be updated to the Companies office now, via the same form through which the registered office address can be updated.
Trading name - we don't currently have a field for this, but as it's required for AML/CFT too, it will be added soon.
Website address and Industry classification - We don't currently support these but they will also be added soon.

Firm slashes the time spent getting clients to verify annual return details
A Christchurch accounting firm recently started using Connectworks, and for the first time used our unique process to verify annual return details for 700 clients in April. Not only was the process easy at the firms’ end (just a few minutes in total to retrieve the Companies Office extracts and send them to all 700 clients), they received responses from 40% of clients within just 3 days. This proves how easy it is for clients too.

We still encounter firms who get partners and managers to check client company details instead of the clients. If you do this, we have 3 questions for you. (1) Do you always know if all company, director and shareholder details are correct without checking? (2) Is doing this the best use of your time? (3) Is this the most boring job you do each month?

Why Connectworks offers better signing capabilities than what you use currently
We know there are lots of online signing products available, so what makes what Connectworks offers special? You will find a lot of products only let you sign electronically, but I’m sure you’ve got clients (and maybe even the odd staff member) who don’t want to do that. Connectworks offers flexible signing options, even on the same document. With Connectworks, you can (1) upload a wet-signed document (2) sign on-screen (3) insert a signature previously saved securely in Connectworks (4) by printing, signing, scanning and uploading. So if one or more signatories have signed on paper, it can then be signed by others using methods 2,3 or 4 or vice versa.
But wait, there’s more.

It’s easy to see all outstanding signings and approvals.
It’s safe. Yes, we’ve got all the security features everyone else has, and more. But one of the biggest security issues is inadvertently sending a document to a person who isn’t supposed to receive it. Connectworks has three steps to help avoid this (1) you see all the people associated with that entity to select from (2) if they’re shown, but not invited in as a signatory, they can’t be sent something to sign. (3) The roles of each signatory (trustee, beneficiary, director, shareholder etc.) is shown below their name, as a safeguard that they’re and appropriate recipient.

You can set a signing policy for each company. E.g. 1 director and a witness, 2 directors, 3 directors and the status of the document changes to ‘signed’ once this criteria is met.

Connectworks supports the witnessing of our electronic signatures. If you want to sign electronically and have it witnessed, you can get another Connectworks user from the office to enter their login details on your computer when prompted to witness your electronic signature.
Doc pack. We have a documents pack for easily compiling, sending, tracking and signing multiple documents.
Branded client portal. Your firm can offer a branded client portal to let clients sign for and/or access all entities they’re involved with. It can act as their private vault as an added-value feature from your firm.
Any document can be signed using Connectworks. Not just ones generated from it.
It’s cheap and you’ll probably disburse it anyway. Unlimited signing costs between $ 5-10 more per client entity, per annum.

Easy approvals too. Often firms get clients to sign things because there’s not a digital equivalent of an “I agree” or show of hands. If something doesn’t need to be signed, you can use our easy approval functionality.

What it means to be a director
Some good and concise information you can share with clients is available on the Companies Office website here. Feel free to also mention how Connectworks easily takes care of the requirements for record-keeping, filings, directors certificates, maintaining an interests register, a share register that is compliant with both section 87(2)(a) and section 87(1),(2)(b,c) of the Companies Act 1993 and much, much more.

This 15 year-old article may be the most important thing you read this month…
Is your firm a Netflix or a video store?

Past success isn’t a guarantee of future success.
The author of this newsletter worries about some of you; mostly (but not exclusively) lawyers …and mostly (but not exclusively) ones with grey hair. Yes, legal and other professional advice will always be required, just as people will always want to watch movies. But it’s how it’s delivered and where it’s delivered from that will change. With Netflix, the movie you choose from your armchair isn’t delivered from your country, let alone your town. It can be watched from anywhere, at any time on a variety of devices. It’s that type of choice and convenience that’s resulted in the closure of most video stores.

So have a read. When doing so, picture how people you know in their teens, 20’s, 30’s and beyond prefer to engage with others (hint - they don’t print or post things). And if they’re happy to buy other goods and services online, maybe they’ll deal with professionals this way too. They’re the future of your business. Are you well-placed to attract and retain them as clients?

Quote of the month 
Everybody has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth” Mike Tyson

Fact of the month
When NZ-based accounting software provider Xero started adapting their product for the US market, they had to run a mini-workshop for their NZ-based developers to demonstrate what cheques were and how they worked.