New Zealand

How to successfully implement legal tech into in-house legal teams

The emergence of Legal Tech, or LawTech, represents a significant shift in the legal profession, mirroring the impact of FinTech on the financial industry.

Improving technology remains a top priority for legal firms, particularly in-house legal teams. This deep dive addresses questions about Legal Tech and its implementation.

Legal tech, not to be confused with legal for tech, refers to a suite of technologies designed to support, supplement, or outright replace traditional methods for delivering legal services and improving operational efficiency.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has recognised legal tech potential to revolutionise the legal landscape, offering parallels to the FinTech revolution in finance.

With the market already worth an estimated $28 billion in 2022 and expected to grow, legal tech’s scope for expansion and innovation is vast.

The integration of legal tech offers many benefits to the legal industry.

Efficiency gains

One of the most significant advantages of legal tech is its ability to streamline operations. It automates routine tasks such as searching for contract terms or generating timelines, reduces the administrative burden on legal professionals, and frees up their time to focus on more complex and strategic activities.

Zegal, for instance, provides comprehensive solutions that encapsulate this efficiency through its platform, making legal processes more manageable and less time-consuming.

Enhancing transparency

The legal sector has historically been perceived as opaque, relying on complex jargon and processes.

Legal tech, however, is at the forefront of shifting this perception by offering user-friendly solutions that demystify legal processes. Platforms like Zegal play a pivotal role in this transformation, providing tools that promote clarity and understanding, thereby improving the overall quality of legal services.

Certainty and risk mitigation

Digitising legal processes through tech solutions significantly reduces the risk of human error and the loss of critical documents. Automated contract management systems will ensure that every piece of due diligence is accounted for, safeguarding against potential oversights.

Security enhancements

Data breaches are a constant threat, but legal tech offers robust security solutions, such as digital signatures and encrypted data rooms. These technologies secure sensitive legal documents and build trust with clients.

Despite its advantages, the adoption of legal tech is challenging. Initial barriers often include:

Funding constraints

One of the primary obstacles to legal tech adoption is the initial investment required. Legal technologies, especially sophisticated solutions like AI-powered contract analysis tools or comprehensive case management systems, can be expensive.

Strategies for overcoming funding constraints:

  • Cost-benefit analysis: Conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis to understand the long-term savings and efficiency gains against the upfront costs. Demonstrating a clear ROI can help in securing budget approval.
  • Phased implementation: Consider a phased approach to adopting legal tech, starting with more affordable solutions to demonstrate value before investing in more expensive technologies.
  • Seek external funding: Explore options for external financing, such as grants, legal innovation funds, or partnerships with legal tech providers, which may offer favourable terms for new adopters.

A lack of tech literacy

The successful adoption of legal tech also hinges on the tech literacy of the legal team. A lack of familiarity with new technologies can slow down or even halt integration.

Strategies for enhancing tech literacy:

  • Tailored training programs: Implement comprehensive training programs designed to bring staff up to speed on the new systems. Consider leveraging the training modules provided by tech vendors.
  • Hiring tech-savvy staff: Enrich your team with professionals who can champion legal tech adoption and support their colleagues through the transition.
  • Encourage continuous learning: Foster an organisational culture that values continuous learning and innovation. Provide opportunities for staff to engage with new technologies through workshops, seminars, and conferences.

Resistance to change within organisations

Resistance to change is a natural human instinct, especially in traditional professions such as the legal industry. Concerns over job security, a preference for established ways of working, and scepticism about the effectiveness of new tools can all contribute to resistance.

Strategies for managing resistance to change:

  • Communicate benefits clearly: Ensure that the benefits of legal tech are communicated to all stakeholders. Highlight how it can alleviate burdensome tasks, allowing legal professionals to focus on higher-value work.
  • Involve teams in the selection process: Engage potential users in decision-making. Allowing them to have a say in selecting legal tech tools increases buy-in and reduces resistance.
  • Success stories and pilot programs: Share success stories and case studies from other organisations that have successfully adopted legal tech. Consider running a pilot program to demonstrate the technology’s practical benefits before a full rollout.

Overcoming these obstacles requires comprehensive planning, prioritisation, and the proper support to ensure legal teams can effectively integrate legal tech into their workflows.

Selecting the right tools

The selection process is crucial to overcoming potential resistance to new technologies. Involving employees at all levels in choosing the right tools ensures buy-in and identifies solutions that address the most pressing needs.

Effective implementation

Beyond selection, successful implementation hinges on thorough training and engagement. Custom-built tools and platforms require a deep understanding to be used to their full potential, underscoring the importance of comprehensive onboarding processes.

Ongoing support and evolution

The fast-paced nature of technology means that legal tech solutions require regular updates and feedback to remain effective. Engaging with service providers like Zegal ensures that legal teams have continuous support and access to the latest advancements in legal tech.

Legal templates, from NDA templates to shareholder agreements, are among the most transformative tools available to in-house legal teams. They serve as a foundational element for swiftly creating consistent, compliant, and professionally structured documents.

By starting with a template, legal professionals can significantly reduce the time and effort involved in drafting documents from scratch and ensure that all necessary legal and regulatory provisions are included.

  • Efficiency and time savings: Legal templates streamline document creation, allowing legal teams to produce necessary documents much faster than traditional methods. This efficiency frees up time for legal professionals to focus on more strategic tasks.
  • Consistency and compliance: Templates provide a standardised format that ensures consistency across all documents. Moreover, because templates can be updated to reflect the latest legal requirements, they help maintain compliance with current laws and regulations.
  • Reduced risk of errors: Using a pre-vetted legal template minimises the risk of omitting crucial clauses or incorporating outdated legal language, reducing the likelihood of contractual disputes or compliance issues.
  • Accessibility for non-legal professionals: Legal templates demystify the document creation process for individuals without legal training, making it easier for other departments to draft preliminary documents without immediate legal input.

Customisation and flexibility

While templates offer a solid starting point, customisation is vital to ensuring that each document accurately reflects the specific needs and circumstances of the transaction or matter at hand.

Zegal grants users access to various legal templates and customises them to suit their unique requirements. This flexibility allows for creating legally sound documents that are perfectly tailored to the specific context in which they will be used.

Integrating legal templates into the daily operations of an in-house legal team involves several steps:

  1. Template selection: Begin by identifying the most commonly used documents within your organisation and selecting templates for these documents as your starting point.
  2. Customisation process: Use platforms like Zegal to customise these templates, ensuring they align with your organisation’s legal and operational requirements.
  3. Review and approval: Establish a review process for customised templates to ensure they meet legal standards and receive approval from senior legal team members.
  4. Training and access: Provide training for the legal team and relevant non-legal staff on accessing and using these templates. Ensure everyone understands the importance of sticking to approved templates to maintain consistency and compliance.
  5. Ongoing updates: Review and update the templates regularly to reflect any changes in law, regulation, or company policy, maintaining a cycle of continuous improvement.

The role of Zegal

Platforms like Zegal play a crucial role in this process, providing a repository of legal templates and a comprehensive legal document management environment.

With features that support customisation, collaboration, and electronic signature, Zegal offers a holistic solution for leveraging legal templates effectively within in-house legal teams.

The platform facilitates the drafting and customisation of documents, their execution, and storage, creating a streamlined workflow from start to finish.

Contract automation

Contract automation stands out as a transformative solution for in-house legal teams. This technology harnesses the power of legal tech to simplify and accelerate the contract lifecycle, from initial drafting to final approval and execution.

Integrating contract automation into legal departments’ processes can achieve unparalleled efficiency, accuracy, and operational agility. 

Understanding contract automation

Contract automation involves using software to automate legal contract creation, negotiation, approval, and management. This technology leverages pre-defined templates and rules to generate contracts, streamlines the review and editing process through collaborative tools, and often includes digital signing capabilities to expedite execution.

The ultimate goal of contract automation is to minimise manual tasks, reduce the risk of human error, and shorten contract cycles.

Key benefits of contract automation

  • Increased efficiency: Automating repetitive tasks and utilising templates for standard agreements drastically reduces the time required to produce contracts. This efficiency allows legal teams to focus on more strategic aspects of their roles, such as risk management and compliance.
  • Enhanced accuracy: By standardising contract creation, automation reduces the likelihood of errors and inconsistencies. This ensures all contracts comply with current laws and company policies, mitigating legal risks.
  • Improved collaboration: Contract automation platforms often feature tools that enable real-time editing, commenting, and version control. This fosters better communication between legal teams, stakeholders, and external parties, facilitating smoother negotiations and faster consensus.
  • Streamlined approval processes: Automated workflows can route contracts to the appropriate parties for review and approval, ensuring that no time is wasted and all necessary checks are in place before a contract is executed.
  • Easier contract management and retrieval: Storing contracts in a centralised digital repository makes managing and retrieving documents more accessible. Advanced search capabilities and tagging mean users can quickly find specific contracts or clauses as needed.

Implementing contract automation with Zegal

Zegal is at the forefront of contract automation, offering robust solutions designed to integrate seamlessly with the workflows of in-house legal teams. Here’s how organisations can leverage Zegal for effective contract automation:

  1. Template customisation: Customise legal templates within Zegal for your most frequently used agreements. This ensures that your automated contracts align with legal and business requirements.
  2. Workflow design: Utilise Zegal’s workflow design features to establish automated processes for contract review, approval, and execution. This includes setting up notifications and reminders to keep contracts moving efficiently through the pipeline.
  3. Collaboration and negotiation: Use Zegal’s collaborative tools to negotiate contract terms directly within the platform. This speeds up the negotiation process and maintains a clear audit trail of changes and discussions.
  4. Digital execution: Leverage Zegal’s electronic signature capabilities to enable parties to sign contracts digitally, further reducing turnaround times and facilitating remote transactions.
  5. Contract management: Finally, use Zegal to store and manage completed contracts. The platform’s robust search and management features make it easy to keep track of contractual obligations, renewal dates, and compliance requirements.

The impact of contract automation

The impact of contract automation on in-house legal teams cannot be overstated. Freeing legal professionals from time-consuming administrative tasks allows them to devote more energy to strategic decision-making, risk assessment, and proactive legal counselling. 

Moreover, contract automation’s enhanced speed and agility enable businesses to respond more quickly to market changes, secure deals faster, and maintain a competitive edge.

Speeding up contract execution with bulk e-signing

Bulk e-signing is a groundbreaking feature of modern legal technology, redefining the efficiency and scalability of executing contracts and legal documents.

As businesses grow and the volume of contracts increases, a streamlined, secure, and time-saving document signing becomes paramount. 

The essence of e-signing

Bulk e-signing allows multiple documents to be signed electronically by one or more signatories in a single action. This technology bypasses the traditional, cumbersome process of signing legal documents individually, offering a seamless and expedited path to document execution.

By integrating bulk e-signing into their workflows, legal teams and businesses can significantly accelerate the contract execution phase, ensuring legal agreements are finalised promptly and efficiently.

Advantages of bulk e-signing

  • Enhanced efficiency: Bulk e-signing reduces the time and effort involved in the signing process. Legal teams can send out dozens or even hundreds of documents for signature in the time it would take to manually process just a few, freeing up valuable time for other tasks.
  • Improved accuracy and compliance: By automating the signing process, bulk e-signing minimises the risk of human error, such as missed signatures or misplaced documents. It ensures that every document is signed correctly and complies with legal requirements, reducing the risk of disputes or compliance issues.
  • Scalability: As organisations grow, so does the volume of contracts and legal documents requiring signatures. Bulk e-signing scales effortlessly to meet increasing demands, making it an ideal solution for businesses of all sizes.
  • Cost reduction: Bulk e-signing eliminates the need for physical document handling, including printing, mailing, and storing paper documents. This reduces direct costs and contributes to environmental sustainability by decreasing paper use.
  • Enhanced security: Digital signatures used in bulk e-signing are encrypted, providing higher security than traditional signatures. They also include a tamper-evident seal and an audit trail, ensuring the integrity and authenticity of signed documents.

Implementing bulk e-signing with Zegal

Zegal’s platform offers robust bulk e-signing capabilities designed to integrate seamlessly with the needs of modern businesses and legal teams. Here’s how to leverage Zegal for efficient bulk e-signing:

  1. Document preparation: Start by preparing the documents that require signatures, using Zegal’s template library and customisation tools to ensure they meet your specific needs.
  2. Signatory identification: Identify the parties required to sign each document. Zegal allows for flexible signatory assignments, accommodating various signing scenarios and hierarchies.
  3. Bulk sending: Upload and send multiple documents for signature in a single batch. Zegal’s intuitive interface simplifies this process, guiding users through each step.
  4. Tracking and management: Use Zegal’s tracking features to monitor each document’s status in real-time. Receive notifications as documents are signed and easily follow up on outstanding signatures.
  5. Secure storage: After signing documents, they are automatically stored in Zegal’s secure, cloud-based repository. This facilitates easy access and management of executed contracts.

Bulk e-signing is not just a feature; it’s a strategic tool that propels businesses into the future of digital contract execution. Its adoption signifies a commitment to operational excellence, leveraging technology to streamline processes, enhance compliance, and drive business growth. 

As legal tech advances, bulk e-signing stands out as a critical enabler of efficiency and scalability in the digital age.

The integration of legal tech represents a forward-thinking approach to legal practice, offering unparalleled benefits in efficiency, security, and accessibility.

While the path to full integration may present challenges, the strategic application of resources, careful planning, and support

Platforms like Zegal play a crucial role in this process, providing a repository of legal templates and a comprehensive legal document management environment.

With features that support customisation, collaboration, and electronic signature, Zegal offers a holistic solution for leveraging legal templates effectively within in-house legal teams. 

How does Share Vesting work?

Share vesting is when a company gives its equity to its employees or consultants to keep them with the company and incentivize them to reach established performance goals.

You will likely find your share options in your Employment Contract, and they are often used when a senior employee or an important advisor or consultant comes on board.

What are vesting shares?

Share vesting means the company gives its shares to an individual upfront, and the shares are subject to the company’s right to repurchase them.

These shares are known as unvested shares. The buyback right extinguishes over time (or upon fulfilment of certain conditions).

Shares released from this buyback right are known as vested shares. This mechanism is sometimes known as reverse vesting, as opposed to the grant of a share option, which is forward vesting.

Share vesting enables a senior employee or an advisor to have equity immediately upon coming on board. However, the company still retains control over those shares by way of a right to buy back, and, in this way, the company keeps the employee or advisor on board until the end of the vesting period. 

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How share vesting works

Step 1: Check your company’s Articles of Association/Constitution

Check if the company’s constitutional document restricts the buyback of its shares.

If it does, you may build in some appropriate mechanisms in your Share Vesting Agreement or consider another form of rewarding your team (for example, a Share Option Plan).

Step 2: Create a Share Vesting Agreement

Create and sign the Share Vesting Agreement. After signing, the following will take place:

  1. The employee/consultant pays for the shares on the “Purchase Date” that you set in the agreement;
  2. On the Purchase Date, the company secretary issues share certificates in the name of the employee/consultant, and he then becomes a company shareholder. The number of the share certificates and the number of shares covered by each certificate should match the vesting schedule;
  3. The employee/consultant signs a document known as a “Share Power” and delivers this document to the company secretary;
  4. The company secretary keeps the share certificates in the name of the employee/consultant and the Share Power in escrow; and
  5. When shares are vested (i.e. released from the company’s right to buy back) according to the terms of the Share Vesting Agreement, the share certificate in respect of that part of the shares will be delivered by the company secretary to the employee/consultant.

Step 3: The share recipient pays for the shares and signs the Share Power Agreement

The employee/consultant pays for the shares on the “Purchase Date” you set in the agreement.

In addition, the employee/consultant signs a “Share Power” and delivers this document to the company secretary.

Step 4: The company secretary issues and holds on to the share certificates

On the Purchase Date, the company secretary issues share certificates in the name of the employee/consultant, who then becomes a company shareholder.

The number of share certificates and shares covered by each certificate should match the vesting schedule.

The company secretary keeps the share certificates in the name of the employee/consultant and the Share Power in escrow.

Optional: Exercise of the buyback right

If the employee/consultant leaves the company, any unvested shares will be subject to the company’s right to buyback.

The company may exercise its buyback right for three months after the employee/consultant leaves. The buyback right is deemed to be automatically exercised by the company upon the expiry of the three months.

This is unless the company notifies the employee/consultant that it does not intend to exercise the buyback right.

If and when the company exercises the buyback right, the company needs to pay the buyback price for the shares (the same price that the employee/consultant paid for the shares in the first place) to the employee/consultant.

Following this, the company secretary takes the necessary steps to make the transfer effective.

After the buyback, under Hong Kong and Singapore law, those shares will be regarded as cancelled. Ensure the company secretary files with the Companies Registry/ACRA within the applicable statutory timeframe after the share buyback.

Optional: Exercise of the call option

When creating the Share Vesting Agreement, you may opt for a “call option” to be put in place. This call option enables the company to do one of two things:

  1. Buyback all vested shares at fair value; or
  2. Convert all vested shares to non-voting shares (i.e. the employee/consultant, being the holder of the vested shares, can still receive dividends from the company but has no say in the company’s decision-making).

The company may exercise the call option for six months after the employee/consultant leaves the company.

Share Options vs Share Vesting

In a nutshell:

  1. 1st Step: A company’s board of directors will grant share options to key employees (beneficiaries of an Employee Share Option Plan or ESOP).
  2. 2nd Step – The exercise of those share options is conditional upon completing pre-set conditions.
  3. 3rd Step—Share vesting occurs upon the completion of all pre-set conditions: new shares are allotted, or existing shares are transferred to the beneficiaries.

In detail:

Share options are meant to create incentives for the key/senior employees or executives (directors) to stay in the company and increase profitability. Employees holding share options will be motivated to increase the value of their shares and will eventually enable long-term value creation.

A share option plan ultimately aligns the interests of the employees with those of the shareholders and the management, creating a shared stake in the company’s results. It represents a significant step toward a company’s better corporate governance.

A clear understanding of the basic option terms is essential for drafting the detailed terms of a share option plan.

The summary below will provide some guidance towards the mechanisms of a share option scheme, where share grant options limit a private company.

Share options

A share option gives an employee the right to access the company’s share capital in the future. When an employee owns a share option, it is crucial to remember that he/she does not yet own any share in the company. 

The mechanism of a share option is similar to that of a call option as it gives its holder the right to buy shares at a pre-determined price only if certain conditions are met.

An option is a right and not an obligation, meaning the employee cannot be forced to purchase the shares. On the other hand, by granting share options to an employee, the company undertakes to issue the said shares upon satisfaction of the pre-determined conditions and exercise of the options by the employee.

What does a company grant when granting share options? A share option gives conditional access to one or several share(s) of the company. A share option does not grant the employee any of the rights attached to shares, which means that the employee is only entitled to participate in general meetings or to receive dividends once the shares are effectively allotted.

Share options are generally granted for free and cannot be transferred nor sold to other persons by the grantee.

Share vesting

As a share option plan is generally conditional upon the employee satisfying several pre-set conditions or upon the occurrence of pre-set events, the share vesting is the acquisition of the actual right to exercise the options.


small business

Zegal, the end-to-end legal platform for small businesses, launched in Australasia, sees tremendous growth in the UK. 

LONDON, UK, 20 June, 2021 —Increasing small business demand for online end-to-end legal services in the UK has Zegal rapidly expanding its team and product range. 

Small businesses in the UK, well-versed in using cloud accounting services like Xero with their accountants, are demanding the same and more from their legal advisors.  Enter Zegal.  The Zegal platform, which is used across Australia and Asia by more than 20,000 smaller companies and their legal advisors, has seen tremendous growth in the UK as businesses adapt to work-from-home offices.

Zegal is designed to be end-to-end—enabling companies to do legal work that is more complex. Zegal’s sophisticated software is the core of the experience, providing the technology for businesses to work alone; or together with good old fashioned real-life lawyers, working virtually through the platform, whenever needed.  The result is streamlined and affordable legals.

As a global Software as a Service (SaaS) company, Zegal was built for the cloud and is an example of how technology companies are providing significant opportunities to small businesses the world over by leveraging the benefits of scale and leveling the playing field.  Zegal recently announced a collaboration with British leading virtual law firm 360 Business Law, selected by Zegal to deliver legal advice to its UK clients. Clients using Zegal’s contract management application can now access a free 30-minute consultation with a lawyer at 360 Business Law.

Daniel Walker, Zegal Founder says, ‘The transition we’ve seen from office to remote working has driven a huge demand in the UK market for virtual legal counsel and platform solutions. We are seeing the strongest demand within the mid-market space, which is a very exciting opportunity.’  

For more information and/or interview requests please contact Alicia Walker at 


Linkedin | Facebook | 


Zegal is the end-to-end platform for the legals smaller companies need. 

Our story

Zegal was founded in 2014 by lawyer friends Daniel Walker and Jake Fisch. Having been a part of the system that preserves quality legal advice only for those that can afford it, the two were determined to build a model that delivers the ‘corporate law firm’ experience to small business.

Today Zegal is the world’s only end-to-end platform for smaller companies to create, negotiate, and sign both the simple, and complex contracts they need to run their business, with expert legal advice, 100% online every step of the way. Since our launch, we have helped more than 20,000 companies close commercial contracts, run leaner HR teams, and enter new markets. You can use Zegal for your company in the UK, Australia and across Asia. Make your legals simple.


This article does not constitute legal advice.

The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.

Start managing your legal needs with Zegal today


READ MORE: UK Startups: Essential Legal Documents

READ MORE: New April 2020 tax rules in UK and how to comply with IR35

Company Incorporation Step by Step: New Zealand

This article covers the main points on registering a company in New Zealand. Read on for details on New Zealand’s requirements, procedures, and the estimated timeline to register a company. 

Minimum Setup Requirements to Register a Company in New Zealand

  • Director -1 
  • Shareholder – 1
    *The shareholder can be the director 
  • Official Local Office Address 
  • Local registered agent 

At least one director must reside in either New Zealand or Australia.

Registration Timeline 

Once the company name is reserved, all other procedures must be completed and approved within 20 working days to successfully incorporate your company. Therefore, it is important to make sure you have all the required information and signatures from the required parties beforehand to ensure a smooth application process. 

The registration process can be completed online through the New Zealand Companies Office website, managed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment.

The estimated total cost of applying for incorporation is roughly NZD$115.

*Most importantly, in order to start the online registration, you will need to have a RealMe®️ login and an online services account with the Companies Register. 

**New Zealand corporations pay an annual renewal fee of USD$6,000.

Step 1: Reserve a Company Name

It is important to make sure the proposed company name meets all the criteria and it is available. The name cannot be identical or almost identical to an existing company’s. Proposed names can be checked using the ONECheck platform and it should not fall within the restricted names as set out in the Companies Act 1993. 

Once the application has been submitted, the Companies Register office will check for all requirements. If approved, you will receive an email notification to confirm the reservation of the company name. From the date of confirmation, you will have 20 working days to fully successfully incorporate your company. 

Step 2: Registering your Company

As mentioned earlier, it is important to have, on standby, the required documents for the following applications. It is also advisable to have the directors and shareholders registered to be available to sign the consent forms as required within the 20 working days period. 

Required documentation:

  • Registered office address for place of business 
  • Legal name and address of all registered directors 
  • Legal name and address of all shareholders 
  • Declaration of an Ultimate Holding Company (UHC) – if applicable 
  • Tax registration – for an Inland Revenue number and a Goods & Services Tax (GST) number 
  • Annual return filing month 
  • Company constitution – optional but highly recommended

Once all the documents mentioned have been prepared, you can submit the online application for incorporation. More information can be found here.

Step 3: File the required Consent Forms

Once the online application has been submitted, the Companies Register office will reply with the required consent forms to be signed individually by all registered directors and shareholders. 

The signed consent forms must be returned to the Companies Register office within the 20 working days stipulated period as well for the registration to be successful. 

Once the consent forms are all received by the Companies Register office and all documents have been approved, the office will send a Certificate of Incorporation and information of your company will be publicly available on their website. 


All New Zealand registered companies might be audited yearly. Therefore, it is advisable to keep detailed documentation of the company.

If your company is a subsidiary of a company incorporated outside of New Zealand, and the total assets of the entire company is more than NZD$20 million or have a total revenue of more than NZD$10 million, you will have to file audited financial statements. 

If your company has more than 25% of its voting shares held overseas, and the total assets of the entire company is more than NZD$60 million or have a total revenue of more than NZD$30 million, you will have to file audited financial statements. 

Annual Return Filing

On top of tax returns and financial statements, all New Zealand incorporated companies need to submit an annual return. 

An annual return is a yearly update of publicly available information about your company to be published on the Companies Register website. Failure to submit results in the company being off the register.

More information can be found here.

Corporate Tax Requirements

All New Zealand incorporated companies are taxed on worldwide income. The current tax rate is 28%.

Annual General Meeting

All New Zealand-registered companies must hold their Annual General Meeting for each calendar year. The meeting must be no later than 6 months after the company;s balance date and no later than 15 months after the previous annual general meeting. 

For newly incorporated companies, the annual general meeting must be held within 18 months of the first day of business. 

This article does not constitute legal advice.

The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.

Start managing your legal needs with Zegal today

Related Article: Company Incorporation London | Detailed Guide 2021

MORE IN THIS SERIES: Company Incorporation: Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, Australia,Taiwan, Macau, China, Philippines, BVI, Vietnam,Thailand, Indonesia, Cayman Islands, United Kingdom

READ MORE: Documents required when incorporating your business

E-sign Laws: New Zealand

Learn all about the e-sign laws in New Zealand to make the ease of doing business a cinch. 

Part 11: Signing in to the digital age

E-sign Laws New Zealand

Named the world’s easiest country to conduct business in 2016, New Zealand is not just a pretty face. The beautiful country boasts legal business structures that facilitate the smooth incorporation of companies. 

Adding on to this, New Zealand introduced its Electronic Transactions Act in 2002 to help make international business activities even more convenient especially on the go. It adopts an open legal model.

New Zealand welcomes foreign investors, implementing many business incentives that entices people to start a business in the land of the long white cloud.

As an example of how simple and convenient New Zealand’s procedures have become, have a look at their electronic signature regulations. 

Read on to learn more about the legal compliance for electronic signatures in New Zealand specifically and watch out for more in this series on Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, China, New Zealand, Australia, UK, Cayman Islands, and BVI.


The Rules and laws for e-sign in New Zealand

(22) Legal requirement for signature:

(1) Subject to subsection (2), a legal requirement for a signature other than a witness’ signature is met by means of an electronic signature if the electronic signature—

  1. adequately identifies the signatory and adequately indicates the signatory’s approval of the information to which the signature relates; and

  2. is as reliable as is appropriate given the purpose for which, and the circumstances in which, the signature is required.

(2) A legal requirement for a signature that relates to information legally required to be given to a person is met by means of an electronic signature only if that person consents to receiving the electronic signature.

Applicability of an Electronic Signature 

(24) Presumption about reliability of electronic signatures:

(1) For the purposes of sections 22 and 23, it is presumed that an electronic signature is as reliable as is appropriate if—

  1. the means of creating the electronic signature is linked to the signatory and to no other person; and
  2. the means of creating the electronic signature was under the control of the signatory and of no other person; and
  3. any alteration to the electronic signature made after the time of signing is detectable; and
  4. where the purpose of the legal requirement for a signature is to provide assurance as to the integrity of the information to which it relates, any alteration made to that information after the time of signing is detectable.

(2) Subsection (1) does not prevent any person from proving on other grounds or by other means that an electronic signature—

  1. is as reliable as is appropriate; or
  2. is not as reliable as is appropriate.


Read more from the E-Signature Series:

Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, China, MacauIndonesia, VietnamTaiwan

This article does not constitute legal advice.

The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.

Start managing your legal needs with Zegal today

READ MORE: Is e-signing legally binding? 

EBOOK: E-signatures

Essential Guide to Starting a New Zealand Business as a Foreigner

Apart from being a popular tourist location, New Zealand also stands out from its counterparts for its favourable business environment. Earning the title of “Easiest Country to Do Business in the World” in 2016, New Zealand has surpassed Singapore and Hong Kong. This acclamation is well deserved; New Zealand is renowned for its open market, regulatory efficiency, monetary incentives and high transparency. All of which are attributable to its light-handed regulatory policy, there are few restrictions on the establishment and operation of businesses in the territory.

In addition, businessmen are also supported by a comprehensive network of physical and technological infrastructure. Having convenient online channels for foreign entrepreneurs, the procedures for starting a company in New Zealand can be completed in just a few hours’ time.

Explore Business Opportunities

The start to any business ownership is coming up with a realistic business idea.

New Zealand is a place filled with opportunities for small and large companies alike, be it expanding on existing industries or filling out gaps in the market. Abundant in natural resources, New Zealand provides rich resources for bee farming, wine making and wood processing businesses. On the other hand, businesses arising from children rearing such as tutorial centres and child-care services are also gaining currency.

While going through endless trending business ideas, consider which one fits your interest, personal goals and skill-set.

After you have a preliminary idea, carefully analyse and refine it.  Carry out market research, perhaps even engaging a professional service to help, in order to know your customer and define the costs, profits, and risks of your business.

Product development, marketing strategies and financial funding are important questions that you should consider before taking the plunge.

Once you have a viable business idea and a workable game plan, all you have to do is follow these simple steps to put your business plan into action.

Step 1: Get A Visa

First things first, you need is a visa. You have a choice here – an entrepreneur work visa or a residential visa.

The entrepreneur work visa is categorised into two types, depending on the stage of your business. For those who are looking to launch a business, a six-month visa is granted upon successful application.

When your business is on track and steadily growing, you can apply to stay in the country for another 24 months. To be granted a visa, your business has to satisfy a few thresholds. This includes a minimum working capital of NZ$100,000, a minimum of 120 points (the grading system evaluates the success of your business and the contributions it makes to the country) and a clean track record indicating your past businesses have never been involved with events such as fraud or winding up.

I’ve got my visa, now what?

The residential visa is targeted at foreigners who wish to settle in the country with the purpose of running a business. However, the conditions here are more demanding than those required under the entrepreneur work visa.  

Again, there are two types, one for a period of 6 months and the other for 2 years. In addition to passing health, character and language tests, if you have been employed in New Zealand for two years and can prove that your business is operating well and has significant economic benefits to the country, you may be granted a 2 year visa.

If you can’t meet these requirements, you can still try to get a 6 month visa, which requires that your business has an investment of NZ$500,000 and provides at least three permanent jobs to the country’s citizens or residents.

Step 2: Come Up With A Business Structure

If you’ve got your visa, the next decision you have to make is the suitable form of business structure, be it a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a limited company.

These different forms of business structure each have their perks and drawbacks. As a sole trader, you enjoy the simplest set-up procedures and the full entitlement to your business’s profits but at the same time you would miss out on the benefit of sharing expertise and business risks with your partners.

Being a limited company sets a ceiling to your liabilities at the amount of your initial investment but the regulations and formalities thereunder could be deemed too troublesome or restrictive for some.

There are other possibilities in addition to these common kinds of business forms. A good option is buying into a franchise business. As a foreign investor, leveraging off an established brand name can be a less risky choice. 

Step 3: Pick A Name

Upon finalising on your form of business structure, the next thing on your to-do list is choosing an available business name. Picking a name is easier said than done. Fortunately, the New Zealand government has a free online tool called ONECheck that helps entrepreneurs check the availability of potential names for their company with by one simple search.

Be sure to reserve your company name with the Companies Office once you’ve came to a decision.

Step 4: Set Up RealMe Login

At this point, setting up your RealMe login would be handy. This is a set of username and password that has wide use for online services in New Zealand.

Many government agencies use the RealMe login system, whether for the registration of your company name, managing your Inland Revenue account, or applying for permits. Setting up a RealMe account in advance will make your life much easier later on.

Your new office?

Step 5: Create A Business Banking Account

Utilising a dedicated business banking account is not only expedient but also necessary, especially as your business scales up. Mixing your personal and business transactions in one account is imprudent for asset protection and also confusing for accounting and tax filing.

Also, imagine the amount of investigative work you are laying upon yourself when trying to filter out the expenses incurred for your business. It is a smart move to get your business bank account ready early on. Reach out to a local bank of your choice and inquire about the requirements and documents needed to set up a banking account for your business.

Step 6: Observe Legal Obligations

Grappling with regulatory requirements can be vexing for many, especially as a foreigner. The following are some of the regulatory rules that you will have to keep an eye out for:

New Zealand Business Number (NZBN)

Unique to Kiwi companies, you need to register your business in order to obtain a New Zealand Business Number (NZBN). This is a distinctive code for each New Zealand company, serving the purposes of identification and information sharing between companies. For instance, when other companies wish to engage you for goods or services, all they have to do is look up the NZBN Register. All the basic information on your company, such as your trading name and address will pop up, saving you the trouble of having to repeat this information to every potential client.

Protect Your Brand

A unique business identity is vital to the growth of the business. Perform due diligence to make sure your brand logo design does not accidentally replicate other existent logos. When you are certain that your logo and trademark are one of a kind, don’t forget to register them. Registering for a domain name is also crucial for safeguarding your business’s uniqueness. 

RELATED DOCUMENT: New Zealand Trademark Licence Agreement

Obtain Licenses and Permits

Checking out the rules with your local council is particularly important, as different cities may have different regulatory systems. Apart from any general licensing or permit requirements that you are already aware of, prior to commencement of your business, you want to make sure you have all the necessary permits depending on your business nature.

Fulfill Tax Burdens

If your business earns over NZ$60,000 annually, it will have to register for the Goods and Services Tax with the Inland Revenue Department. Keep up with all filing deadlines to avoid paying extra fines. The Inland Revenue Department website has various instructional videos and tax workshops installed to better equip foreign investors.

These simple steps provide a basic guide to setting up a business in New Zealand. If you already have a winning business idea and the determination to make it happen, New Zealand is an easy choice.

This article does not constitute legal advice.

The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.

RELATED READING: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Setting Up a Business in New Zealand

RELATED READING: All About Sick Leave In New Zealand

5 New Zealand government grants for startups & small businesses

Ranked fifth in Forbes’ Best Countries for Business in 2018, New Zealand is an appealing destination for doing a business. Regardless of whether you are a new business or an established business, there is a range of government resources and support available for business owners. The New Zealand government also has grants for small business.

NZ Grants and assistance

Source: NZTE

Here, we pick out the 5 government grants for startup businesses that you should check out to see if you qualify:

1. Business Training and Advice Grant

Numerous entrepreneurs have written about how finding great mentors has been crucial to the success of their business. Finding experienced and trustworthy mentors gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to tap on collective experience in making decisions and building their company.

If you are starting up your own business, the Business Training and Advice Grant connects people getting government assistance who want to start up their own business with the training and advice they need to start their business. It’s a business start up grants by New Zealand Government

How You can get Business Training and Advice Grant ?

You may be able to get a Business Training and Advice Grant if:

    • either:
      • you or your partner are getting a main benefit, or
      • you qualify and have applied for a main benefit
      • you’re getting New Zealand Superannuation or a Veteran’s Pension as a non-qualified partner
    • you’ve asked Business Training and Advice Grant for help to start your business
    • you’re planning to take up, or are already getting, Flexi-wage for self-employment for the same business.

What you can get from Business Training and Advice Grant?

Business Training and Advice Grant will pay an expert who will help you with things like:

  • business skills training
  • developing a business plan
  • business advice before and when starting your business
  • independent vetting report
  • mid-project financial report.

You can apply more than once, but the total amount cannot be more than $1,000 in a 52 week period.

How to apply?

You can Call on 0800 559 009 and Business Training and Advice Grant will book you an appointment to come You will also need to write a brief summary about your business and provide information about what course or service you want the grant for.

If you are a startup that wants to connect with mentors and business advice, Callaghan Innovation can help you to connect with the right advisor, partner or mentor as business grants in New Zealand.

Callaghan Innovation identifies the expertise in your field and helps to use business owners to have national and international networks of Callaghan Innovation which  is government grant for business.

So one can take advantage from Callaghan Innovation partners to grow their idea.The main goal is to connect business owners with the right advisor, partner, mentor or technology provider.

Learn more about the access to experts available to startups.

2. Capability Development Vouchers

Administered by New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE), the Capability Development Vouchers can be used to co-fund up to 50% of capability development training up to a maximum of $5,000 per year per business, with the requirement that the business pays at least half of the training costs.Capability Development Vouchers is business funding grants in New Zealand

The vouchers can be used for training in business planning, capital raising, exporting, intellectual property and more.

In order to qualify for the NZTE Capability Voucher Scheme, the business must meet the following criteria:

  • Have undergone an assessment with a Regional Business Partner
  • have fewer than 50 full time equivalent employees
  • are registered for GST in New Zealand
  • are operating in a commercial environment
  • privately owned businesses, or are a Maori Trust or incorporation under the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 or similar organisation managing Maori assets under multiple ownership.

If you are good with this criteria then you are eligible to meet  RBP Growth Advisors to access co-funding for registered training enterprises. Here another steps you need to follow

  • To access this co-funding you must first meet with one of our RBP Growth Advisors to discuss your business.
  • The Growth Advisor will seek to understand opportunities for growth and help identify any barriers to this  
  • The Growth Advisor will then work with you to put together an action plan. Where there is a management capability need identified that could be addressed by undertaking training, the Growth Advisor may issue a Capability Voucher to the businesses.

Resource :  Regional Business Partners 

3. R&D grants

Research & development (R&D) is crucial to the development of any business as it provides a platform for innovation within an organisation and ensures that the business is constantly striving to maintain its competitive edge. Government agency Callaghan Innovation administers a range of R&D grants in New Zealand , in order to help businesses push the boundaries of scientific and technical knowledge in order to improve their products and processes.

There are a range of nz government business grants which target companies at various stages of R&D investment, including:

Source: R&D Grants

Getting Started Grants

The Getting Started Grant is designed to help you:

  • Launch your R&D activities to create a competitive edge
  • Navigate through R&D roadblocks – whether its troubleshooting, basic prototyping, project planning, technical feasibility studies, development of an Intellectual Property strategy or determining product specifications and user requirements
  • Access technical expertise to support you in taking your development in the right direction.

Learn More………

Project Grants

The Project Grant is designed to help you:

  • Build your R&D expertise by giving your business an opportunity to push the boundaries and uncover new scientific or technical knowledge and understanding
  • Break new ground in an R&D project for the development of new or substantially improved devices, products, processes, systems or services
  • Develop your business into a stable and substantial R&D performer
  • Grow your investment in R&D.

Learn More…..

Growth Grants

The Growth Grant is designed to help you:

  • Add scale to your R&D investment for greater market impact
  • Be flexible by allowing you to adapt to where you want to take your R&D programme, outside the constraints of traditional R&D grant criteria
  • Continue to grow your investment in R&D for maximum return

Learn more….

Students Grants

Student Grants designed to support both businesses and students.

Source: Callaghan Innovation

Learn more……..

4. Flexi-Wage Subsidy

Introduced in 2012 to target those most at risk of remaining on welfare, the Flexi-Wage Subsidy helps businesses hire someone on benefit as an employee and may also help with the training costs.

Individuals who are self-employed may also be eligible for Flexi-Wage. Small businesses have reported that the Flexi-Wage Subsidy has allowed them to take on new employees who require training as it helps to alleviate the costs of the training during the period when the new hire is not yet making a profit for the business.

In order to be eligible for the Flexi-Wage programme, you must be currently receiving some form of government benefit or payment, as well as a citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand. To find out whether your business qualifies for the Flexi-Wage programme, speak to a case manager at Work and Income.

How to get Flexi-wage Subsidy?

You may be able to get Flexi-wage for an employee if:

  • they’re one of our candidates
  • they meet the criteria for Flexi-wage
  • the position is ongoing and will continue after the subsidy has finished
  • you pay at least the minimum wage for the job
  • you haven’t dismissed anyone else just to employ them.

Who can get Flexi-wage Subsidy

Ministry of Social development discuss with you how much we can offer and how it’s paid. This will depend on what help the candidate needs to reach the skill level for the job.

Application Process

If Ministry of Social development find a suitable candidate for you but they require extra support, they will l contact you to discuss how Flexi-wage can help. They will need to check that you and the candidate meet the criteria for Flexi-wage.

If you choose to employ the candidate, They will organise the application for Flexi-wage.

As part of this, they’ll:

  1. contact you to discuss and agree on a:
    • development plan for them
    • subsidy amount
    • payment structure
  2. draft up a contract outlining these details and if it’s approved, they’ll contact you to let you know and discuss next steps.

they’ll email you the contract before your candidate starts work. You need to complete the contract and email it back to us along with evidence of your bank account number.

You’ll be paid once the contract has been processed.

5. Energy Management Support

If your product manufacturing processes form a significant part of your costs, you may want to consider the energy management support that the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) provides, including partnering with a custom energy management software development company to optimize your energy.

The EECA will fund up to 40% (to a maximum of $100,000) of the cost of expert help to bring energy saving practices into your company as government grants for startup businesses in New Zealand. By developing an energy management plan comprising an energy-savings target and a system to manage your energy, you can significantly cut operational costs and make your business more profitable.

Energy management support is designed to fund a specific, step-by-step process. This is managed by EECA’s experienced partners, who’ll help you to:

  • set an energy-savings target
  • commit to energy management, with a team and ‘energy champions’
  • set up a system to manage your energy, including having an energy policy
  • identify your main areas of energy use
  • create plans to prioritise energy-saving opportunities.

Who can apply ?

Energy management plans are ideal for large businesses with complex energy requirements. But smaller businesses can also benefit from long-term energy management planning.

If you spend over $200,000 per year on energy, you may be eligible for funding support.

Learn about energy management support.

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5 reasons to start a business in New Zealand


New Zealand topped the World Bank’s 2017 Doing Business report for the first time, we look into the top 5 reasons why doing . If you are trying to start a new business and confused about where your headquarter should be then here are the 5 reasons why doing a business in New Zealand is attractive and ultimately, is the perfect destination in the Asia Pacific region.

1. A Conducive Economic Climate

In spite of its status as a small nation, New Zealand has established itself as one of the top places to start a business due to its economic stability and potential for growth. The steady GDP growth of 3.3% last year shows that consumer spending has been growing steadily over the past year and shows no signs of slowing down. This makes it an ideal place for you to ride on this wave of economic success.

In addition to this, the New Zealand government seems to be both willing and able to support entrepreneurship and business. It has traditionally offered strong infrastructural support for such activities with the provision of grants by New Zealand government for startups, mentoring and low cost legal advice for owners to structure and manage their businesses. 

Furthermore, New Zealand has traditionally maintained good relations with countries in the Asia Pacific. For example, its close relations with Australia have resulted in the Closer Economic Relations agreement, a Free Trade Agreement, which gives each country free access to the other’s markets. Essentially, amongst other benefits for businesses, this means that no tariffs will be placed on exports to and imports from Australia to New Zealand. This would be ideal if you are considering eventually expanding into other markets. These two factors are important to consider especially when considering the long term future of your business.

There is also no need to worry about being bogged down by excessive bureaucracy and legal restrictions when it comes to starting a business in New Zealand.

Slightly different regulations may apply to each individual, depending on which business structure you choose – be it a partnership, limited partnership, company, or sole trader. Some of these processes involve registering to pay Goods and Services Tax (GST), registering as an employer, and applying for an Inland Revenue (IRD) number in order to be able to operate the business. Nonetheless, the paperwork to set up a business can be completed online in a matter of hours, with much ease and convenience.

3. A Supportive Startup Community

You’re going to need all the support you can get when you dive head first into starting a business. That’s why it’s important to have a community with resources that you can tap on. New Zealand’s startup scene seems to be able to provide just that, with working spaces aplenty, and a friendly, tightly knit community full of like minded peers. You’ll find no shortage whenever you need advice, a listening ear, or just someone to bounce ideas off with.

This is just the tip of the iceberg – for more on the startup community in New Zealand, check out our Ultimate Guide to the Startup Community in New Zealand.

4. A Forgiving Tax System

Unfortunately, tax is one of the inescapable realities of life. For small businesses, tax often tends to be a concern given how it impacts on the company’s income. A business pays income tax on its net profit, based on the amount of goods and services it sells. This is shaped by the type of entity you operate, and the income you make within the year.

Fortunately, the tax environment in New Zealand is relatively forgiving. Some of the tax concessions include a 6.7% discount on taxes for individuals in self-employed positions or in partnerships, as well as a number of rebates for sole trader and partners in a partnership if their annual income falls below NZD 38,000.

5. Work Life Balance

The question of work-life balance might seem counter-intuitive for someone looking to establish a startup. After all, in order to make it in the sometimes cutthroat startup environment, you’ll need to work as hard as you can.

However, what you might want to consider is how to be productive in a more meaningful and concerted way, and ensuring a healthy work-life balance might help with that. There are many factors that might affect one’s productivity such as the natural environment, one’s responsibilities to their family and social connectedness amongst others. One factor that stands out is your personal lifestyle. Ensuring a healthy work life balance in which you are able to block out time to recharge might boost your productivity in the long run, allowing you to work more efficiently to help your ideas take off.

According to the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey, New Zealand ranks 6th amongst the countries of the world for Work Life Balance, and 1st in the Asia Pacific. This comes as no surprise – with no lack of leisure activities on the island and time to engage with the local community, New Zealand indeed stands as a prime position for you operate your business from.

In short, starting a business in New Zealand has never been easier. Whenever you expand into a new market, it is also important to ensure that your company’s legal needs are being met. Ready to get started?

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The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Setting Up a Business in New Zealand

New Zealand is an attractive location for doing business, taking second place in Forbes’ Best Countries for Business in 2017. If you’re an entrepreneur looking to start up business in New Zealand you can take advantage of the tightly-networked yet laid-back and creative culture in this startup hub, look no further. We have put together a comprehensive guide for setting up a business in New Zealand.

Also read:The Ultimate Guide to the Startup Community in New Zealand

start a business in NZ


Registering your business

In order to register and start your business in New Zealand, you need to apply online for registration with the New Zealand Companies Office.

Decide on business name

The first step would be to reserve your company name online. Your company name must be unique and can be reserved for up to 20 working days with the Companies Office. To ensure that your business name is unique, search on ONECheck to confirm that the name you want is not already protected. Applying for a name to incorporate your company costs NZ$10.22 and the applications received during normal business hours will be processed within two hours. Try using a company name generator for ideas if you’re having trouble coming up with a unique business name. These tools can provide you with a list of potential business names based on keywords and other criteria that you provide. However, it’s important to remember that the name you choose should accurately represent your brand and be easy for customers to remember and spell.

Register your business online

In order to incorporate your company, first get a RealMe login. Once logged in, click on the Complete Coy Application link within your task list. You will be required to provide some basic details about your company, including:

  • Company address;
  • Annual return filing month;
  • Directors;
  • Shares & shareholders;
  • Constitution (optional); and
  • Tax registration (recommended).

After your review your application details and pay the application fee of NZD 150, applications to incorporate the company will be processed automatically. You should receive an email providing you with consent forms for the directors and shareholders to sign and return. You will need to upload the signed director and shareholder consents within 20 working days of when the company name was reserved in order for the certificate of incorporation to be issued.

After incorporation

Once your company is incorporated, it is time to get your business up and running.

Ensure compliance with local laws

Each territorial authority has its own rules regulating business activity on issues such as fair trading, consumer guarantees, privacy and health and safety. Check what these rules are at Compliance Matters, where you can quickly create an action list, complete and keep track of tasks online.

Determine tax obligations

If you have registered as a company or will be earning more than NZD 60,000 per year, it is mandatory to register for GST online with Inland Revenue. Use the Tool for Business to sort out your small business tax issues quickly and simply.

Get a lawyer, accountant and bank account

Set up a bank account for business purposes, and seek legal and financial advice.

  • New Zealand Law Society
  • New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants

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File annual returns

It is important to file an annual return with the Companies Office regardless of whether your company is trading or it risks being removed from the register.

Do you have any additional tips for setting up your business in New Zealand?

Share with us in the comments below!

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