With over 675,000 New Zealand companies already on the New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) register, now is a great time for sole traders to get an NZBN. We’ve outlined how it works and the potential benefits for self-employed, sole traders and other small entities to consider signing up.
The NZBN is a globally unique identifier, available free to every Kiwi business. Whether you’re a self-employed builder or a major corporation, you’ll benefit from having an NZBN.
Your NZBN makes doing business faster and easier because it links to your core business information (known as Primary Business Data). This includes things such as your trading name, phone number and email address.
What's Primary Business Data? (external link) - New Zealand Business Number
Having your primary business data available through the NZBN register means anyone you do business with (such as suppliers or customers) can easily access information about your business. They can quickly find all the details they need about your business in order to work with you. You won’t have to keep repeating this information every time you deal with a new business. When you update your information, your contacts are notified of the changes automatically — you won’t have to contact clients individually.
What's an NZBN? (external link) - New Zealand Business Number
Having an NZBN isn’t yet mandatory for sole traders, but it will eventually become a standard requirement. That’s because New Zealand wants to ensure it’s keeping up with global business requirements. As a sole trader, you’ll increasingly find larger entities will only do business with you if you have an NZBN.
Many other countries already have their own business numbers, including Australia, the UK, Canada, Singapore, and USA. New Zealand is working to catch up. Other countries are already using the NZBN to recognise Kiwi businesses.
Domestically, NZBN is simply an effective and efficient way to deal with fellow Kiwi businesses. You can ask other businesses for their NZBN so you can be sure of exactly who you're working with.
China Customs requires an NZBN from Kiwi businesses wanting to import there, so they can recognise the legal entity they’re transacting with.
Having an NZBN offers you many benefits. You’ll be easier for other businesses to find. You’ll build confidence and trust with your clients. You’ll automatically meet the trading requirements for those companies that only do business with traders on the NZBN register. An NZBN shows you’re running a real business, which gives others more confidence in working with you.
Andre is a freelance designer, better known as Taco. He has 10 years of international experience and has worked with a number of well-known brands. But when pitching jobs to clients, he’s often up against larger agencies.
“It can be a bit sketchy proving my credibility as a sole trader,” he says. “As a freelancer, I have to ensure my clients have total confidence in dealing with me.” It’s important for sole traders like Taco to be able to prove they’re a proper business — and that’s where the NZBN comes in.
“It makes it easier for customers to reach out to me and offers certainty that my business is the real deal. Even with a name like Taco,” he jokes.
When Taco found out getting an NZBN was free, signing up was a no-brainer. Having an NZBN means Taco doesn’t have to spend so much time explaining his business credentials to clients.
“The beauty is now I can spend more time putting pen to paper, sketching my clients’ visions into illustrations,” says Taco.