May 30

Investing in our communities

Posted by Craig Weston at Thursday, May 30, 2019


Last week in my capacity as a co-director of a company called G-Fund Ltd, I had the pleasure of jointly accepting "The Business Institutional Innovation Award" along with our friends at ANZ Bank (Capital Markets) at the INFINZ 2019 Awards evening.  With 750 people from NZ professional finance community present it was a great night.

G-Fund Ltd is a subsidiary of Genesis Youth Trust which operates in South Auckland.

Two years ago, G-Fund Ltd promoted a $6 million social impact bond in conjunction with ANZ Bank who brought the Bond to market.

The idea is that socially minded investors invest in the bond through G-Fund, which in turn invests in the Genesis Youth Trust with the aim of reducing the level of youth re-offending in our communities.  Investors receive a commercial rate of return on their investment.

The Trust partners with NZ Police, Oranga Tamariki and ANZ Bank along with a number of community minded people and organisations.

The aim is to work with 1,000 medium to high risk young people in their communities over the 6 year life of the Bond.

After the first 18 months of operation, we are seeing a marked reduction in the level of re-offending and the severity of offending, which is awesome.

Genesis Youth Trust has with a great team of socially minded and committed people who make a difference every day in the lives of our at-risk young people.

It's a pleasure to be involved in this in my capacity as a co-director of the funding arm.  We are accountable to the investors - it's a big responsibility but well worth it when one sees the change that the Social Impact Bond is making.


May 08

Inland Revenue - a transformation

Posted by Craig Weston at Tuesday, May 08, 2018

When I first started out my career in accounting (many years ago!), I remember you could write a letter to Inland Revenue and you sometimes might not receive a reply for 12 months!

How times have changed.

These days Inland Revenue are on top of things like they have never been before.  They have introduced new initiatives over the past few years mainly based around access via the internet.

Coupled with this is a new desire on their part to want to seem friendly and able to assist.

Sure, get on the wrong side of them and things may not be so friendly, but they have a job to do for the Government and they seem to be doing it better.

Last night I looked at a very good example of the new Inland Revenue.  I looked for some information on the IR website about the Research & Development (R & D) Loss Tax Credit system and how to apply for cash early.  What did I find? - an updated easy to understand explanation (no big words, just common sense) and a short 2-minute video interview with a business that had applied for and got the tax credit.  Brilliant!  If you are interested check out the link...

So well done Inland Revenue.  I still don't like paying the tax but I like what you are doing.


Oct 05

What's it like being virtual?

Posted by Craig Weston at Thursday, October 05, 2017

This is a question we get asked a lot!
You see, our accounting team of 6 people have been operating in a virtual space for the past 4 years.  This means we don't have a set office in a set location.  Each of our team works from their home office.

When we started this new way of working it was a bit scary but we had some great advice from the team at Xero and our IT advisors and this gave us confidence we could do it and do it well.

So 4 years on you may be interested in what we now know about it !

The Advantages:

We get to go to work without having to hit the Auckland traffic - the office is just down the hall!
We make use of modern technology - we use Skype for business a lot - we use it for team meetings and meetings with clients.
We use the Cloud for all our applications and file storage - no expensive and clunky servers any more.
For face to face client meetings - we get to stay out of the early morning and late afternoon traffic - it's great!
Our team have flexibility - if they have an unwell child at home from school, they can still do some work while looking after their child.

The Disadvantage:

Social interaction for the team - there are no conversations around the "water cooler" anymore - but we make up for this by booking in regular team meetings, on-line conversations, social events, dinners and conferences.


We have proved to ourselves that it can work and that it works well.  So if you would like to know more about how this might work for you - give us a call - we would be happy to answer any questions.


Yvette Young - hard at work!

Aug 09

Zones Conference

Posted by Craig Weston at Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Recently we presented to Zones Franchisees (Landscaping Specialists) at the Chateau Tongariro - our brief was to impart key accounting knowledge that Franchisees could use in the running of their business.  Some of the Franchisees are relatively new to running a Franchise so were eager to learn and develop their business.

Three key areas we looked at were:

  • Cash is King! Invoice weekly or monthly.  Collect your accounts receivable quickly!

  • Tax. It's a pain but it means you are making money.  Claim all the expenses you can.

  • Planning. A financial forecast for the next 12 - 36 months is key to know where you are going.

We also presented on Xero and how to best utilise it in your business.  Wow what a great session! Once you know xero and update it daily it's a very powerful tool.

We thoroughly enjoyed being part of a great Franchise and meeting all the Zones Franchisees.  If you need advice from us or training on xero, just ask. We are always happy to help.



May 10

Property is Booming

Posted by Craig Weston at Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Each morning in semi-rural Southern Auckland I hear earthmovers working to clear what was once farmland into what will soon be residential sections, and after that homes for families.  For some it will be a step up, and for others a step in for the first time.

Interest rates are low but we are hearing more and more about how they will soon be rising.

With many first-time home owners stretched to the limit on funding home loan debt, a small rise in interest rates will have big ramifications.

For those that own their own business, this will put extra stress on the business to come up with extra after tax income to service the increased interest bill at home.

Accountants have experience in ensuring that debt servicing is treated as tax efficiently as possible while making sure that the appropriate tax treatment is always within the law.

Now might be the time to have a chat about ensuring your loans are treated as tax efficiently as possible.


Dec 20

Keep the Ball Rolling

Posted by Craig Weston at Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I’ve been involved in advising clients for more than 25 years and I have noticed a few things over this time.  One thing that stands out is that business success is never a given. In other words, we can’t rely on past sales, past performance and past success to see us through. We always need to have an eye to the future and what key activities need to be done to “keep the ball rolling”.

With the Christmas holidays almost upon us, I find it is a good idea to plan to make the most of this time. That can include doing absolutely nothing, spending quality time with family, and can also include some thinking time – maybe sitting under a tree with a notebook and pen for an hour or two and jotting down the key actions that will “keep the ball rolling” for 2017.

Have a safe and happy holiday time.

Our office is closed from 5pm on Thursday the 22nd Dec and opens on Monday 16th of January.

Oct 03

Flying away!

Posted by Craig Weston at Monday, October 03, 2016

I am writing this from the Hawkes Bay. We are down here for a Fly in Fly out weekend attending our niece’s birthday party.

Air NZ was the airline and I determined before we left to pay specific attention to how they dealt with their passengers. I have long been impressed with this iconic Kiwi company. They have recovered from disasters including near financial collapse but have survived and gone on to win awards around the world in a range of categories. This does not happen by chance.

I have to say I am impressed. We were dealt with in a very professional but friendly way - just the way we Kiwis like it.

How come they are so good?

I think it comes down to three things:

  • The culture that comes from the top and inculcates everything
  • A motivated and involved team
  • Systems that drive & monitor performance

As I look at my own organisation and the others I am part of, I am challenged to check each of them out in these three areas. There is always room for improvement and it always comes back to the question - what will I do to improve things?


Nov 25

Buying a good business

Posted by Craig Weston at Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Don’t know what it is…….

……… but recently I have had an influx of good people wanting to buy good businesses. In spite of the risks, the economy seems to be chugging along albeit not quite a “rock star” one.

We have heard for many years that there is this huge wave of businesses about to be sold by ageing baby boomers. When I analyse the approaches we have recently had, it doesn’t yet seem that way. As well as the purchase of existing businesses we also have clients involved in new start ups, and expansion of existing operations.

Using my small sample, the age group that are selling are not predominately baby boomers. They are younger ones moving on to something new.  The really interesting thing is that 50% of the ones buying or expanding are baby boomers!

We love this kind of work. We employ tools that help make the complex simple. It is stimulating working with people who are seeking to do something new.


Sep 29

Seven Ways to Grow your Business

Posted by Craig Weston at Tuesday, September 29, 2015

We all want our business to grow!  Here are Seven Ways that we find work well and we wanted to share them with you!

  1. Increase client retention rate.  Keep current clients happy - It is easier to keep existing clients than it is to attract new ones.
  2. Increase leads generated.  Drive more potential clients to your website, phone line and premises.
  3. Increase prospect conversion.  Follow up those who've made enquiries, show interest and build rapport - help prospects to buy from you.
  4. Increase transaction value.  Upsell additional services or bigger volumes to your current clients.
  5. Increase transaction frequency.  Encourage clients or customers to buy more frequently
  6. Reduce cost of sales.  Identify ways to save time and resources in order to make more sales - drive efficiency and variable cost reduction.
  7. Reduce overheads.  Review your business costs to identify fat that can be trimmed (not muscle).

We often talk to our clients about the Seven Ways and how they can be implemented in their business.  If you want to discuss how we could help you implement them, please do give us a call (09) 309 2561.

Aug 24

Getting your brand out there!

Posted by Craig Weston at Monday, August 24, 2015

Marketing is such an important thing. We pretty well all want more business coming through the door. The old saying – “if you are not growing your business then you are going backwards” is often true.

We are no marketing experts and we leave the high level stuff to those that are good at it, but here are a few things we believe are true:

  • Your best source of new business is referral (someone who knows you telling someone else they better check you out because you are good)
  • Be real – we really like this quote “Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go.” – Seth Godin
  • We all have to walk the talk – no use saying that you will do such and such and then fail to deliver
  • By all means get the new business in the front door, but watch the back door too – you can spend a lot of time on new work and forget the existing customers to the extent that they leave
  • Consider outsourcing some of your marketing – the firm you choose should be an expert and not cost you an “arm and a leg”
  • Keep up with technology – it can help a lot

At Inspired we try to find ways to improve our marketing footprint out there. Our latest venture is a YOU TUBE video – if you have the time – check us out!

Inspired promo video

Best Regards