Agribusinesses taking control of Moving Day
13 May 2020
As 1 June approaches, also known as Moving Day amongst New Zealand’s dairy farmers, the industry must navigate a new environment of movement as New Zealand enters Alert Level 2.
Amongst the recent turmoil it has been encouraging to see that famers have again adopted the number 8 wire mentality and adapted and innovated to continue business as normal as much as possible. There are many forces operating outside of our control, but if we concentrate on what we can control then we can feel more influential and empowered as individuals and as a whole industry.
Moving Day is fast approaching, and often involves challenges even in normal circumstances let alone the need to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions. For many it will be a chance to start a fresh, but in order to make the best start possible there are a number of considerations to be had to make life easier and ensure you are meeting your legal requirements.
- Get your annual account records and details to your accountant before you move – one less thing to move and early completion of annual accounts and budgets will make for good information at your fingertips.
- Ensure your stock numbers make sense ahead of your shift. This saves time for your accountant, and ensures you are paying the correct tax on closing stock, and you will not be looking for stock that do not exist.
- Communication is the key; to reduce conflict ensure that you have discussions with the owner of the farm you are leaving to clarify any expectations required.
- Ensure you inform your insurance company that you are moving (check you are covered for moving) and of your new location. Has any inventory/equipment been bought or sold? Now is a good time to ensure everything you need is insured and that you are no longer paying insurance for what you no longer have.
- Ensure you have employment agreements ready for all employees and spend some time going over each clause with them, (as well as signing the contract), before the employee starts. Federated Farmers have templates for agreements, which cover all the basic legal requirements and items to consider. You can build and adapt the agreements as required. If the contract has ended, ensure a renewal contract is established. Failure to do so can be costly if the relationship breaks down.
- Consider if you are meeting the Minimum Wage Act requirements including in the busiest period where the employees hours will peak. Your accountant can help you out with ensuring you are compliant in this area.
- Current legislation requires farmers to charge market rental value at arm’s length for on-farm accommodation and the accommodation must meet tenancy-housing regulations.
- If your new season sees you buying into a farm, ensure you have a shareholder agreement drawn up which specifies how decisions will be undertaken, expectations and the dollar worth of these. Obtaining an independent market valuation of the business ensures fairness and transparency from the start.
- If you were planning to switch suppliers such as electricity, now is as good a time as any to get that in motion.
Many of the above suggestions are useful to consider even if you are not undertaking a move. Spending some time getting processes right from the start can be instrumental in saving cost and headache later on.
If you would like further clarification on how to best prepare for during and over the coming season contact the team of experts at BDO Taranaki today.