Single Business Number coming to NZ

Internal Affairs Minister Chris TremainEconomic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain have today announced a single customer number for New Zealand businesses.

Smart online government services make it easier for public

Xero congratulates the Government for their progress on the initiative, which will accelerate commerce between large and small businesses.

A single business number is key to establishing a business’s identity electronically. It will facilitate the electronic sending of trading documents between businesses. It will increase trust, improve cash flow and reduce compliance costs. We believe this will be an accelerator for cloud computing.

The idea for a single business number was raised 3 years ago as the Government consulted with the business software industry. This was one of the big ideas where we needed Government help.

We’re leading the world in Cloud Computing. The industry has been proactive with the Cloud Computing Code of Practice, we are developing world class global solutions and Government is working well with industry.

The next big decision is whether all businesses receive the identifier. Currently the Companies Register does not include partnerships and sole traders – which are a big number of New Zealand trading entities.

You can be sure that Xero is ready to begin implementing the Single Business Number and we’ll work hard to reduce the effort required for small businesses to implement this new number.


Gayle Buchanan
August 30, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Super thumbs up from this bookie!
Way to go Rod, its your wider helicopter view that propels us forward – nice work!

Richard Mansell
August 31, 2012 at 9:24 am

It certainly makes life easier when you have a direct link to the Minister!
I would have thought from an accountants point of view that we already have the numbers set up in New Zealand being the IRD number. The problem would seem to be getting it to be accepted for more than just the dealings with the IRD.

Rod Drury Xero
August 31, 2012 at 9:53 am

Hi Richard,

Yes our original thinking was that using the IRD (or GST) number would be ideal but ran into two issues.

1. When the IRD number was set up it was determined that it wouldn’t be used for any other purpose. Officials cite this as a privacy concern though practically most people would think that they are public numbers anyway and for convenience let’s just use that. But there are sensitivities to this in Government.

2. More importantly, I think, the IRD number is a NZ centric number. If we are going to go to standard business identifier being part of an international standard would be ideal. I really like the thought of using a global numbering system so that those who export can seamlessly be part of international supply chains. It’s a bit aspirational but I think good.

Many businesses will be concerned about the effort required to implement a new numbering scheme but these days with cloud based applications we should be able to eliminate much of the work required.

The next big thing we’d like to see is how the Companies register handles this. Will there be a legislative change so that sole traders and partnerships must also register?

Thanks for the good question,


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