Better Public Services Result 9 - Case Study: Online tools for business
“ …busy business people can view the introduction to business videos anytime from anywhere, and check and re-check details whenever they want. The videos have been viewed almost 60,000 times.”
Changing business needs trigger new Inland Revenue services
People setting up a new small business can face many hurdles. Often they’re still doing their “day job” to make ends meet, and trying to plan the new business after hours. They may be based in small towns without access to the services main centres take for granted. Then there’s coming to grips with government compliance. Time is precious and there’s a lot to learn.
Inland Revenue has been running free seminars for small businesses for many years. Talking with prospective attendees, they found many now don’t have time to attend a seminar, don’t live nearby, or need to hear information more often.
Inland Revenue’s Community Compliance staff followed up with new small businesses and their advisers to understand the issues, then worked with the Communications team on “better for business” solutions.
Together the teams developed a set of short, animated online videos. Each covers a ‘need to know’ tax topic such as business expenses, income and provisional tax, GST, and depreciation in an easy, engaging way. With each video about five minutes long, busy business people can view anytime from anywhere, and check and re-check details whenever they want.
The videos were tested with businesses and staff during development, and are available through YouTube and business.govt.nz, as well as Inland Revenue. They’ve proved popular.
“I just want to say thank you .... what an amazing website! The intro to biz vids are so easy to use – congrats to whoever set this up” and “..the language is so easy to understand – topics are really useful”, are typical comments.
Since August 2013, the introduction to business videos have been viewed almost 60,000 times, translated into sign language, Te Reo and Asian languages, and used by tax agents.
Tax tool for business
Also making life better for business is Inland Revenue’s updated interactive online tool that helps customers get on top of compliance and record-keeping.
Inland Revenue worked with Christchurch business customers and business.govt.nz to update the tool to a mobile-friendly format with easy-to-find information that’s aligned across government agencies.
The page has been a favourite with around 6,500 visits monthly – the new format makes interactions simpler and clearer on phones and tablets, and provides helpful templates and videos.
Business customers who helped with testing say “ it’s just simple”, “easy to follow” and “looks sharp and clean”.