At Xero, we believe a key way to help small businesses succeed is to help the Government create a simple, efficient economy for those businesses to operate in.
The Government has a huge impact on both our personal and professional lives as well as our ability to do business. Making many decisions that have far-reaching impacts, affecting the country or economy as a whole. At the other end of the scale, individual Government agents interact with us as individual taxpayers or business people.
We want to help the Government improve their framework for decision-making, by showing how technology tools can lead to better quality data in an environment that is closer to real-time. We also want to help the Government make the economy as frictionless as possible through the appropriate use of technology, as well as to remove the pain points of compliance. Xero is leading by example on frictionless business through initiatives like e-filing of GST returns. Enterprise Connect brings invoices straight into Xero as well, eliminating manual data entry and speeding up processing.
The full utilisation of digital communication combined with the power of the cloud will enable faster, a more responsive collection of compliance returns by the Government. Collecting returns electronically give Government agencies an opportunity to improve their data aggregation and analysis. The information they work with becomes closer to real-time, which enables these agencies to become more responsive themselves.
A key way that the Government can reduce the compliance burden on small businesses is to wrap compliance tasks around existing business processes. This eliminates duplication of effort by small businesses.
Seamless communication, automated through software, also helps reduce the compliance work needed. Imagine a business’s annual ACC invoice being automatically downloaded into Xero, and their accountant or adviser getting an automatic notification to check the calculation.
Removing compliance friction minimises the effort required by small businesses to undertake Government compliance, and allows them to spend more time working on their business instead.
So just why is it important for Xero to be doing this?
We know that compliance with Government regulations and tax laws is a major stress point for many small businesses. We also know that compliance tasks can soak up a lot of a small business owner’s valuable time, taking them away from things that add value to their business.
We help small businesses be more successful by working with the Government sees the value in cloud solutions, and gets on board the journey to, the connected economy. We want to help guide Government agencies as they transform, to help them develop digital friendly policies that are flexible and allow for changes in technology.
A good example of a lack of flexibility can be found in the need for signatures. Some legislation still requires the use of physical signatures when dealing with Government documentation, because 20 years ago (when the law was written) no-one saw any alternative. In most cases, the signature is required to demonstrate an individual’s approval or acceptance. I believe that flexibility should be ‘baked in’ to laws now. In this case, rather than specifying how a digital signature might work, the law could require that the individual can demonstrate their acceptance without specifying how that should be done. Then any new technology that meets that requirement will automatically be okay.
Engaging with the Government
Engaging successfully with the Government requires building a working relationship at both Department/Agency (Executive) and Parliamentary (Legislative) level. This means getting to know and working with members of Parliament and Government ministers as well as executives and managers within Government agencies. Through these relationships, we will be able to understand what the Government needs from us and build long-term credibility and trust.
These relationships are fundamental to our ability to guide, educate, influence and inform the Government’s thinking on technology issues.
Xero is a great supporter of GovTech Solutions as part of a connected economy. We draw together the needs of the Government, customers and partners, our innovation roadmap, product and message to market; all into a concise vision for the Government and their journey towards the Connected Economy.
This blog was posted by Grant Anderson, our newly appointed Head of Government Relations New Zealand. In this role, Grant will provide advice and thought-leadership to Government agencies with the goal of making business easier for small businesses.