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How Did We Get Here?

Posted by James Fuller on 3 February.

Becoming self-employed seemed like a scary prospect. Whilst I was comfortable that I’d get a regular income out of it, my biggest worry was that I had no idea how tax worked for self-employed people here in New Zealand. I understood the basics of income taxes and GST, but I was more concerned with the stuff I didn’t know about - the random gotchas that only people who were ‘in the know’ remembered to do; the tricky accounting calculations that went way over my head.

So I followed the process that most people do when they’re just starting out. I googled; I read a bunch of articles about what being self-employed was like; I paid for an accountant; I tried to get my head around what my tax and compliance obligations might be. Unfortunately, none of this really prepared me for the admin headache of it all.

THE HASSLE BEGINS

As soon as I started out, all these different people and agencies started coming out of the woodwork - recruiters, accountants, IRD, ACC, insurance brokers - they all assumed that I knew exactly what was expected of me, and treated me like an idiot if I didn’t already know. Trying to get a simple answer from some of these folks was like trying to get my 2-year-old to sit still at dinner time.

Eventually though, things fell into a routine. I’d spend time raising invoices to clients, I’d deduct an arbitrary amount of ‘tax money’ from my earnings, and I’d shuffle it around bank accounts as though it would actually earn me some decent interest or help me pay off the mortgage faster (it never did). At the end of the year, my accountant would do a little bit of maths, and expect me to be prepared to hand over my entire life in the form of paper documents. The demands on my time just went on and on. The admin headache, (and worrying about whether I was doing it right) was making self-employment feel less and less like I was ‘independent’ and more like I’d picked up a bunch of new bosses to deal with.

“CAN’T SOMEONE ELSE DO IT?”

That’s when I realised that what people like me needed was a service that took care of all of this stuff, without me needing to be involved. A service that does everything an accountant does, and the rest as well - invoicing, payments, dealing with ACC, insurance brokering and the like. This sort of service would allow me to focus on working for my clients, not working for my accountant.

That’s where Hnry started - with a simple mission to make self-employment simple, less daunting, and more accessible to everyone. We assembled a team of really smart people, got through a whole bunch of legal wrangling with government departments (as you’d expect) and came out the other side with a great service that we believe is the future of self-employment, not just here in NZ, but in other countries as well. Our clients range from designers and freelance photographers through to tradies and drivers - we haven’t yet come across someone that we couldn’t help.

If you’re thinking of becoming self-employed, or you’re getting sick and tired of the time, effort and money it takes to handle your own tax and compliance, come and give Hnry a try.