New Zealand helps small businesses go digital through Taking Care of Business roadshows

Wellington -New Zealand Minister of Police, Fisheries, Revenue and Small Business Mr Stuart Nash recently launched the 2018 series of Small Business Roadshows at Wellington. He encouraged Wellington businesses to take advantage of new government initiatives, especially in the digital space, to make their jobs easier and free them up to focus on their products and services.

“This Government is working to give every small business in New Zealand the tools and the confidence to meet their potential, and realise their goals as a business,” said Minister Nash.

Minister Nash gave the example of the Government’s support for the e-invoicing framework as laid out in Budget 2018. New operating funding announced in Budget 2018, NZ$5.83 million over the next two years, will support the e-invoicing project, driving its implementation across the Government and business sectors.

According to the minister, e-invoicing is the ability to exchange information between the online accounting software of a supplier and a buyer. It creates economic benefits through faster payments and reduced transaction costs. It can deliver significant productivity improvements and savings from fewer invoicing errors and less time spent resolving errors. Incorrect or lost invoices contribute to about 40% of all invoices being overdue. He also said e-invoicing will enable significant modernisation of the way business is conducted.

The framework for e-invoicing relies on the New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). The NZBN is a unique 13-digit identifier which enables e-invoicing and simplifies other transactions and connections. More than 650,000 businesses already have the NZBN.

“The NZBN is for all sole traders, partnerships, trusts, companies, local authorities and other corporates and public sector entities. It creates a transactional environment where there can be greater certainty of identity, more reliable information, less duplication and much-needed efficiencies,” Minister Nash explained

“Businesses will be able to see supply chains, build trusted networks, find and assess providers, improve customer service and a whole lot more. Used to its full potential, the NZBN is not just a number, but is a business asset,” he added.

At the same time, Minister Nash also shared that New Zealand is working with Australia on common approaches to e-invoicing as part of the trans-Tasman Single Economic Market Agenda. The two countries are working towards mutual recognition of the NZBN and the Australian Business Number to make it easier to do business across the region.

The Small Business Roadshows will travel around the country and bring together the private sector with representatives from government agencies to explain what they do and how they can help small businesses. The Wellington event is first of twelve across the country between May and August.

The roadshow sessions are approximately two hours long and are comprised of two parts. The first part features briefings from different government agencies and lasts for up to an hour and a half. Following that, there will be an opportunity to speak one-on-one with representatives from the government agencies and to network with other attendees.