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Cut through compliance red tape with ComplyHub

Anahera runs a successful gift and souvenir shop, Ana’s Place, which is based in Dunedin. The tourism boom means her business is scaling fast, and although she’s an experienced retailer who knows what she’s doing when it comes to product and price, she’s finding herself spending more money than she’d like on lawyers and accountants as she makes sure her changing business remains compliant with legal and regulatory laws.

September 20, 2018 | Sponsored Content

Not only is the research that supports the continued growth of Ana’s Place expensive, it’s also time-consuming. In any given stretch of time, Anahera might be on the phone or going online seeking information from Inland Revenue; the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment; the Commerce Commission, the Ministry for Primary Industries and her local council – who all provide information in different formats and on different platforms.

Instead of chasing up somebody from the council to find out whether she can have a sign on the footpath outside her shop, or finding out whether she can hire a foreigner who’s applied for a temporary position in store, Anahera would prefer to be doing business development. Or being present on the shop floor with her staff. Or on a buying trip. Or enjoying time with her family. Or anything, really.

ComplyHub has created a tool that guides business owners like Anahera through the maze of legal and regulatory processes that can get in the way of running their business. It uses a short survey to assess what legal and regulatory information the user’s business needs, then provides what’s necessary for that business in one hub.

A business profile is created with checklists and guides. When dealing with things like council permits, ComplyHub even takes a user straight to the application forms.

Not only does ComplyHub save retailers time, money and sanity, it can also help protect businesses like Ana’s Place from the legal penalties or reputational damage that can occur if businesses fall short of their legal requirements.

ComplyHub product manager Elisha Hsiao says under the new health and safety legislation, the maximum fine for a company has risen to $1.5 million. In October 2017, a carpet retailer in Rangiora was fined nearly $180,000 after a staff member was seriously injured in a fall from an unconsented mezzanine floor. The employee had been moving a box of files in a storage area on the floor, and fell through a suspended false ceiling to the ground 2.5 metres below.

Rangiora Carpets Limited was charged with failing to ensure the health and safety of staff.

And as for that foreign worker who applied for a temporary position, if their work visa conditions prohibited their legally working, Ana’s Place could have been fined up to $10,000 by immigration New Zealand.

Hsiao says ComplyHub aims to support the role of lawyers and accountants within businesses by clarifying what business owners need to know. Some obligations are too complex and confusing for a DIY approach, however, in situations where ComplyHub encourages business owners to seek professional advice, it can still help by producing a list of items the user needs assistance with, saving everyone time and cutting down on billable hours.

ComplyHub has six core topics with 90 plus sub-topics, including:

Employment
Health and safety
Tax
Marketing
Companies
Products and services

It’s also separated out industry-specific topics covering council bylaws on retail, food retail, hospitality and other business categories. From applying for a liquor licence in Auckland to running a food truck in Nelson, there are policies, bylaws and regulations across 19 different New Zealand councils at the tip of retailers’ fingers.

We spoke with Hsiao to hear more about how compliance issues affect retailers.

Compliance is consistently a major concern for Kiwi business owners, so how much of an issue is it and can technology such as ComplyHub help them to stay on top of their obligations?

Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) make up 90 percent of Kiwi businesses. SME owners are often responsible for making sure that their business stays compliant. Business owners have traditionally had to navigate through multiple websites to find information about their legal obligations, which can be based on information from different ministries and local councils. Alternatively, they can go to lawyers, but it is a pricey exercise. ComplyHub is a revolutionary tool that brings together everything a business needs to know and helps protect businesses from legal trouble.

How does compliance and technology such as yours fit into a businesses’ overall risk management strategy?

Legal and regulatory compliance is a massive risk for businesses. It is also the most difficult for business owners to deal with because legislation changes unpredictably. ComplyHub helps owners mitigate risk. Owners will have peace of mind when they have completed a checklist of legal obligations relevant to them. If any new changes come through, they will be informed by ComplyHub.

When there are new legal updates that are relevant to a business, ComplyHub will email that businesses to tell them of the update. These updates can also be found in the legal updates tab in ComplyHub’s software. The software will also update users when a legal obligation is no longer relevant to their business.

Indeed, what are the emerging trends in the overall business compliance space in New Zealand?

The current trend we see in business compliance is that the government is increasing their effort into ensuring businesses comply with existing rules and regulations. For example, to ensure employers are meeting their obligations, Immigration NZ has the right to ask for certain information about employers when assessing applications. This can include a business owner’s financial statements, wages and holiday pay records and information about previous foreign staff members. If there is a breach, the foreign worker would not get a visa and the business owner will be added to the ‘Non-compliant employer’ list which is publicly available.

There’s been a trend in business news lately of cafes, bars and restaurants facing heavy penalties in situations where employees haven’t been paid correctly. Often the business owners put this down to bad processes or systems in their workplace – ComplyHub helps business owners check and reflect on their existing practices and avoid heavy penalties in the future.

What other advice can you offer business owners to help them meet their compliance obligations and overall risk management strategy?

Do business compliance health checks at least twice a year and keep up-to-date with upcoming changes. Don’t look for shortcuts when it comes to compliance, because the cost of being caught out will always be more than the savings.

Your business rules. Find out if your business is compliant or not at www.complyhub.co.nz

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