Encounter the Difference

NZ CA is an association of independent Chartered Accounting firms, proactively working together for the benefit of our clients.

The New Normal

Published in: TrialBalance, Issue 71

Lockdown has provided an opportunity to rethink whether working from home (WFH) can and should be embraced, whether on a permanent, part time or flexible basis. Some of the potential pros and cons we have observed for employers are set out below, followed by other matters to be considered.

PROS
• Opportunity to reduce overhead costs.
• Increase in productivity with reduced distractions and commute times.
• Greater work/life balance and happier employees.
• Better prepared for a further lockdown or a different type of crisis (e.g. natural disaster).

CONS
• Difficult to maintain workflows, supervision and communication.
• Decrease in productivity, engagement and motivation for some.
• Loss of workplace culture.
• Negative impact on career development.

EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENTS
Consider what employment agreements say in regard to the location, hours and days of work, what changes are proposed, and whether employees need to agree to these changes. This step is particularly important where employers are planning to “require” employees to WFH, and the changes may be perceived as substantial, thereby triggering potential claims for redundancy compensation.

TIPS
• Check employment agreements, whether there is a WFH policy and seek legal advice.
• Where an employee requests a WFH arrangement, consider agreeing to (and documenting) a trial arrangement in the first instance.

HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK
Employers are still required to ensure the health and safety of employees, whether WFH or not. This was demonstrated across the Tasman in Hargreaves v Telstra Corporation Limited [2011] AATA 417 where Telstra was ordered to compensate Ms Hargreaves for injuries she sustained falling down her stairs while WFH in Australia.

TIPS
• Implement a WFH policy that covers health and safety.
• Conduct WFH risk assessments to ensure that workplace set up is ergonomically appropriate, and risks are identified and eliminated to the extent possible.

TECHNOLOGY AND SECURITY
Under the Privacy Act 1993, all agencies that hold personal information are required to ensure that information is protected against loss, disclosure, modification and misuse. Employers need to ensure those obligations are still met when employees are WFH. This may include reviewing IT and security policies, increased server security and training on technology best practice.

TIPS
• Consider the security of hardware and paperwork in a WFH environment.
• Consider updating IT and security policies and procedures.

EMPLOYEES’ RIGHT TO REQUEST WFH
Under Part 6AA of the Employment Relations Act 2000 (“ERA 2000”), employees can request a WFH arrangement. If the request is made in writing, it must be dealt with as soon as possible (at least within one month). An employer may refuse a request but only in limited circumstances as prescribed in the ERA 2000 (e.g. where what is requested would have a detrimental impact on quality of work).

TIPS
• If an employee makes a written request to WFH, be familiar with the rights and obligations in the ERA 2000.
• Make sure any refusal aligns with the statutory grounds.

  • Auckland
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Canterbury
  • East Coast
  • Hawke's Bay
  • Manawatu/Wanganui
  • Nelson/Marlborough
  • Northland
  • Otago
  • Southland
  • Taranaki
  • Waikato
  • Wairarapa
  • Wellington
  • West Coast

McDonald Vague Limited

Our experience in business turnaround, restructuring and insolvency has helped many New Zealand companies through periods of growth and change, as well as difficult times.

We advise underperforming businesses how to protect their financial future and find stability through a range of turnaround services including independent accounting reviews, raising finance and divestment.

Region: Auckland

Phone: 0800 30 30 34

Focus Chartered Accountants

At Focus we believe that the Chartered Accountant of today is judged by the way in which they work with their clients to provide creative and creditable solutions to their business needs.  To do this successfully they must be a proactive member of their clients' business teams, and be prepared to dissolve the boundaries and limitations of traditional accounting work and thinking.

Region: Bay of Plenty

Phone: 0800 362 872

Martin Wakefield

At Martin Wakefield we pride ourselves in being friendly, accessible accounting specialists who make it our business to make your business more successful.

By helping our clients to succeed, we are able to continue to grow our client base and expertise in the many areas in which we excel.

Region: Canterbury

Phone: 03 687 7122

No firms in East Coast

Accountants Hawke's Bay Limited

Accountants Hawkes Bay is an Independent Chartered Accountancy firm operating in Hawke’ Bay providing quality business and financial advice. We are a progressive firm specializing in accounting, taxation, business growth and software solutions for small to medium sized businesses.

Region: Hawke's Bay

Phone: 06 843 4868

Naylor Lawrence

At NLA we believe that a good accountant will ensure your compliance and tax is completed to standard and on time. However, a great accountant will take the time to understand your vision for growing your business and help you plan the journey to achieve it. With some checks along the way!

Our team has the expertise to assist your business, whether it’s big or small, just starting out, or needing some fine tuning. We don’t just offer services – we offer personalised solutions for each of our clients.

Region: Manawatu/Wanganui

Phone: 06 357 0640

Wallace Diack Chartered Accountants Ltd

With over 50 years combined experience in New Zealand, Wallace Diack is committed to providing a comprehensive range of practical accounting services for today's economic environment that help you realise your goals.

We appreciate that selecting a firm to entrust with your accounting requirements is an important decision, intensified by rapid economic changes, increases in competitive pressures, and resource availability. With our benchmarking, cash flow forecasting, and other tools, Wallace Diack is well placed to help you make an informed decision.

Region: Nelson/Marlborough

Phone: (03) 578 7389

Whitelaw Weber Limited

Whitelaw Weber is the largest business advisory and accountancy firm in New Zealand's Far North. They have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of businesses and families for more years than they care to remember.

They have a large team of accountants and business specialists based in offices in Kaikohe, Kaitaia and Kerikeri. Their expert hubs consist of the following;

  • Technology, systems and processes
  • Business consultancy and marketing
  • Financial and investment planning
  • Compliance and administration

Region: Northland

Phone: (09) 407 7117

G S McLauchlan & Co

GSM is a Dunedin based Business Advisory and Chartered Accountancy practice founded in 1957. 

GSM pride themselves on our specialist knowledge, our ability to keep fresh in today's ever changing environment

Region: Otago

Phone: 03 477 8192

McIntyre Dick Limited

McIntyre Dick is a vibrant, driven, and people focused firm of Business Advisors and Chartered Accountants leading the industry in Southland, New Zealand. They’re dedicated to delivering exceptional service and strive to put time, mind and money back in their clients’ hands.

Region: Southland

Phone: 03 211 0801

Harris Taylor Limited

The Accountancy world is constantly changing and highly competitive. At Harris Taylor their challenge is to stay ahead of the competition by providing the best possible service, whilst ensuring that client satisfaction remains our primary motivation and ultimate goal.

Region: Taranaki

Phone: 06 278 5058

Vazey Child Limited


The first thing you will notice when you work with Vazey Child is their approach. It is in the analysis and advice, the understanding of your business and a focus on adding value that is where they excel. It’s why they exist, and it’s why their clients enjoy working with them.

Region: Waikato

Phone: (07) 838 2169

Southey Sayer

Offering a full range of accounting and business development services, tailored to meet the needs of each individual client. The wide range of expertise and experience within the firm is shared amongst the partners and their teams for their clients benefit. Services and products offered are fully flexible there will be no expectation to conform to a certain product or pricing structure.

Region: Wairarapa

Phone: (06) 370 0811

BW Miller Dean Ltd

BW Miller Dean Ltd was formed on 1 April 2016 with the merger of two long standing Wellington chartered accountancy practices: BW Chartered Accountants Ltd and Miller Dean Chartered Accountants Ltd. 

BW Miller Dean pride themselves on building relationships based on trust with clients through personal, individual attention, and always being available to help their clients with specialist Accounting or Finance functions when needed.

Region: Wellington

Phone: 04 910 3340

Marshall & Heaphy Limited

Central to the culture of the team that has been developed over their history, is the belief that successful and sustainable businesses are the backbone for the West Coast community. Great businesses create jobs, keeping people and family together on the Coast, building a sustainable community.

Region: West Coast

Phone: 03 768 7186