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New tool helps company directors know their obligations

The Companies Office has launched a new resource for owners of growing small businesses to help them navigate the move into business director responsibilities.

Good Governance was created by collaboration between the Companies Office, the Institute of Directors (IoD) and business.govt.nz, helping ensure business directors meet the range of obligations under the Companies Act 1993. The tool contains links to understand what it means to be a director, who can be a director, a guide to conflict of interest and how to develop director skills.

“Many small business directors are so busy with the day-today running of their business that they don’t have time to think about strategic issues. Often they are not fully aware of their legal obligations. This can create a raft of legal, financial and reputational risks and missed opportunities,” says Registrar of Companies Ross van der Schyff.

“Good Governance is a set of resources based on global best practice in governance, made relevant specifically for Kiwi businesses. The content is easy-to-understand and will help small businesses bridge these knowledge gaps and develop good governance: from keeping track of financials to establishing a board and understanding broader director duties.”

The resources are available on the business.govt.nz website and consist of a self-assessment tool, a quiz on Director Duties according to Companies Act, as well as practical tips and expert advice.

“This is an example of the government working together with the private sector to address challenges faced by businesses,” Mr van der Schyff says.

IoD CEO Kirsten Patterson says tools like this are vital to help drive good business governance.

“It’s great to work alongside the Companies Office on this project. Given the increasingly challenging role of directors, it is essential that we enable and equip them with tools they need to succeed. In so doing, we can help them build thriving organisations that contribute to creating a strong, fair and sustainable New Zealand,” she says.

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