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    Engagement Letter Templates

    When your firm begins using Connectworks, it’s a good idea to outline to clients why it’s being done and what they need to do. To help with this we’ve drafted wording for an email or letter to your clients explaining the move to Connectworks. The letters can be previewed below, and editable Microsoft Word versions can be downloaded and adapted to meet your firm's requirements.

    Draft initial letter for company clients

    Download: Sample letter to clients (trusts).docx


    Dear <Client first name>,


    Company Compliance

    As you’re aware, (your firm name) acts as the registered office for your company.

    There has been an increase in the record keeping and reporting requirements placed upon us as the registered office to help your company remain compliant.

    These include requirements by the Companies Office around the date, place of birth and residency of all directors and by Government as part of international tax agreements. 

    In addition to this, there is new anti money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) rules in place for accountants to make us reporting entities, as banks and lawyers are currently. This requires more oversight of clients' activities, more record keeping and requirements to report any suspicious activities.

    All this is an addition to the company having a share register that is compliant with both section 87(2)(a) and section 87(1),(2)(b,c) of the Companies Act 1993, an interests register, maintaining directors certificates and 7 years of company records, plus filing annual returns.

    There are also tasks that should be undertaken in accordance with best practice to ensure your company is well managed, with robust governance and record-keeping. This is especially important if it is ever challenged in any way, or if you ever wish to sell part or all of the business, or bring on a new director.

    In addition, following the right procedures can act as an “insurance policy”. For example, in the case of a company being liquidated, any remuneration to directors not deemed to be fair or properly authorised may instead be treated as a loan and required to be repaid. This could involve the directors being required to repay remuneration earned in the 6 years prior to liquidation.

    While these tasks could involve extra hours of work, but as with many things, there’s a technology solution to help.

    We’ve elected to use a New Zealand software product called Connectworks

    www.connectworks.com

    It will allow us to effectively manage what we’re now required to do.

    It also offers you the choice to conveniently approve resolutions and sign documents electronically if you wish, or to print sign, scan and upload them.

    It also provides the ability to easily approve or update information required by the Companies Office as part of the annual return process.

    The annual cost is $  +GST, which we intend to disburse from (date) as part of our annual fee for company secretarial services.

    There is also an option to give you full access. This would allow you to access and manage the risks, assets and interests registers in Connectworks.

    Directors and key staff can also use the document management feature of for Connectworks important records such as leases, contracts and employment agreements. Documents are held securely and can be shared, approved and digitally signed by all users.

    You can also access the Connectworks shareholding management system and governance documents.

    This full access is an additional $ +GST per user, per annum.

    Please advise us if you have any questions or would like to take up full access for one or more directors.


    Regards,


    Draft initial letter for trust clients

    Download: Sample letter to clients (trusts).docx


    Dear <Client first name>


    It’s common for people involved in family trusts to underestimate the ongoing management and administration requirements.  Recent case law has highlighted the risks for trustees when things do go wrong.

    In addition, the Trusts Act 2019 has been passed comes into effect in 2021 in which will legislate higher standards of management being required, including new requirements for a trustee to know the terms of the trust, to act according to those terms, to retain trust documents, and make certain information available to beneficiaries. 

    While people settle (create) a family trust as a means of providing a form of protection for assets, many experts believe that if challenged, many of these trusts could be overturned.  Author and financial advisor Martin Hawes, who has sold over 120,000 books about trust management in New Zealand, estimates that 75% of family trusts wouldn’t withstand legal scrutiny.

    We want to ensure that your trust is effectively managed in order to achieve its goals.

    In addition to this, there is new anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) rules being put in place for lawyers and accountants to make us reporting entities, as banks are currently. This requires more oversight of clients’ activities, more record-keeping and requirements to report any suspicious activities. 

    As with many things, technology is being developed to address the issues identified. We have evaluated a New Zealand product called Connectworks, which is an easy-to-use, cloud-based software solution for the management of family trusts.

    It can bring all those involved in each trust and all their information together to improve compliance and streamline management. We are really excited about this development as it allows us to not only to help protect the trust and trustees from risk but also to provide meet our AML/CFT obligations and provide even better service.


    OPTION ONE (where your firm is mandating the use of Connectworks

    We are a trustee of  (name of trust) with you.

    This is a very different relationship to being an advisor to you, as we’re also potentially liable if anything goes wrong with the trust. 

    We think Connectworks helps protect us all and can help ensure the trust can achieve its goals, so we’re requiring the use of Connectworks where we are trustee.

    Any discussions, resolutions and documents must be added into Connectworks.  

    The cost of the software will now be included as part of our annual independent trustee fee of $_____ from (date).


    OPTION TWO (where you’re using Connectworks without client engagement)

    The software has an annual cost of $———- and we’ll be disbursing this to you with our annual trust review fee. 


    OPTION THREE  (where you’re not a trustee, but recommending the use of Connectworks)

    We are mandating the use of Connectworks for trusts where we act as a trustee and insisting that all trust actions be recorded in Connectworks. While we do not act as a trustee for (name of trust), we do strongly recommend using Connectworks.

    The software has an annual cost of $———- and we would disburse to you with our annual fee unless you advise us otherwise by (date).


    If you have any questions or concerns at all, please contact us anytime.


    Best regards

    Letter to company clients outlining the annual return process

    Download: Letter to company clients outlining the annual return process.docx


    Dear <Client first name>,


    As you're aware, (your firm) acts as the registered office for (client company). One of the requirements of this is that someone from your company checks that the information to be filed to the Companies Office annually is correct.

    We've started using a software product called Connectworks to help with the governance and record-keeping of companies and trusts. It includes an easy process for you to verify annual return information and change any details if necessary.

    So in future, we'll be sending an email via Connectworks to start this process. Please keep an eye out for an email from (your firm) via Connectworks with the subject line: "Company Annual Return for (client company)"

    If you haven't seen this email by the end of the week please check your spam folder, and if its not there, then get in touch with us.

    The email will look similar to this:

    Company_Annual_Return_for_CONNECTWORKS_LIMITED_-_ischtar_toomey_connectworks_com_-_Connectworks_Limited_Mail.png


    Please open the email, read it, and review the information contained in it. There is a deadline for the Companies Companies Office to receive the filing for your company each year, so please act promptly when the email arrives.

    If the information in the email is correct, then please click the green "No changes are required" button at the bottom. It will ask you to verify this, and after that you've completed the process.

    If the information is not correct, please press the red "I want to make changes" button at the bottom of the email. This will open a web form where you can enter any changes to be made in the appropriate section. Once you've done this, click the 'Confirm and Send' button. We will retrieve the changes and make sure the Companies Office and our systems are correct.

    ~OPTIONAL~

    Connectworks also comes with a client portal that allows us to distribute documents for you to sign electronically on-screen, or to print, sign, scan, and upload. It is legal and secure and enables you to sign from anywhere at any time. It can store your signed documents and also act as a secure, convenient and free 'vault' for your important digital documents.

    If you are interested in signing this way, then get in touch with ____________.

    If you have any questions or concerns please contact _______ on ________.


    Regards,

    Draft letter offering to be company's registered office

    Download: Draft letter offering to be company's registered office.docx


    Dear <Client first name>,


    Registered Office and Company Secretarial tasks

    People often underestimate the requirements of being the registered office for a company.

    Beyond just filing annual returns, there are other legal requirements for the registered office of a company, plus a number of best -practice measures.

    The Companies Act specifies that a compliant share register must be maintained and formatted in a certain way.

    It also states that all directors certificates company records must be retained for 7 years and held at the registered office.

    Annual Returns must be filed and any director and shareholder changes must be updated at the Companies Office and appropriate resolutions must be produced too.

    New rules are periodically introduced too, such as the requirements to report the date and place of birth for directors, requirements for a NZ-resident director and now to meet Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act requirements.

    There are also tasks that should be undertaken in accordance with best practice to ensure your company is well managed, with robust governance and record-keeping. This is especially important if it is ever challenged in any way, or if you ever wish to sell part or all of the business or bring on a new director.

    For example, in the case of a company being liquidated, any directors’ remuneration and benefits not properly authorised would be instead treated as a loan and required to be repaid for up to six years.

    With many company directors are focused on the day-to-day operations of their businesses, some of the requirements of maintaining the registered office can be overlooked.

    The opportunity exists for (your firm) to be the registered to be the registered office for (client company).

    We’ve elected to use a New Zealand software product called Connectworks to help effectively manage the tasks and record-keeping requirements of being the registered office for companies.

    www.connectworks.com

    With it, we can maintain a compliant share register, generate all appropriate minutes and documents as required and much more.

    It gives all directors the choice to conveniently approve resolutions and sign documents electronically if you wish, and/or to print sign, scan and upload them.

    It also provides you with the ability to easily approve or update information required by the Companies Office as part of the annual return process. They are then e-filed directly to the Companies Office by us.

    The annual cost is of (your firm) being the registered office would be $XX X+GST, which includes the cost of the Connectworks subscription for your company and the Companies Office annual return fee. Any additional work required, such as director or shareholding changes would be charged additionally.

    There is also an additional option to give you full access to Connectworks. This would allow you to access and manage the risks, soft assets and interests registers in Connectworks.

    Directors and key staff can also use the document management feature of Connectworks for important records such as leases, contracts and employment agreements. Documents are held securely and can be shared, approved and electronically signed by all users. The cost is an additional $85 per annum

    Please let us know if you’d like to take up this opportunity for (your firm) to be the registered office and if so, whether you’re interested in the higher-level Connectworks subscription option.

    Regards,

    Draft letter re. connected trust subscriptions

    Download: Draft letter connected trust subscriptions .docx

    Dear (trustee name)

                                                    Re: (name of trust)

    You will be aware that there are multiple professional parties, including us involved in the administration of (name of trust). 

    Each of the professional advisors and the trustees have important roles to play to ensure the trust is well managed and able to achieve its’ purpose.

    Currently each party tends to each hold their own trusts records. This can be inefficient, as it means one party may need to request information from another, or provide it, with the trust bearing the cost of that duplication. Also, sometimes each party’s records are documented or dealt with differently which can cause confusion and waste time in being resolved.

    We use a software product called Connectworks to assist us to manage trusts. It offers the capability to have other parties involved and access all the records for each trust and allows the sharing of information and documents for the other parties involved to see. This is much like the way two people from a company or family can access online banking for a single account.

    We’ve spoken to (name of other professional/ professional firm involved) who we note is also an advisor to the (name of trust) and they are interested in having access to your trust records we hold.

    You also might like to have access to Connectworks if you wish to see what records we hold for you. It’s good practice for yourself as a trustee to have easy access to all trusts’ records. You could engage in discussions with the other parties involved using the software about trust activities, upload any documents or receipts relating to the trust that you may acquire, approve resolutions, sign documents and more.

    Please advise which, if any, of the following options you would like to consider

    • Add (name of other professional/ professional firm involved) to our Connectworks subscription at $40 per annum + GST [ ] (n.b. This is on the basis of upgrading from unlinked at $25 to 2-party at $65. If the subscription is currently on Unlinked with Signing at $35, the cost to upgrade will be $30)

    • Add both (name of other professional/ professional firm involved) and yourself to our Connectworks subscription at $73 per annum + GST [   ] (n.b. This is on the basis of upgrading from unlinked at $25 to Unlimited at $98. If the subscription is currently on Unlinked with Signing at $35, the cost to upgrade will be $88)

    Please feel free to get in touch if you’d like to discuss any aspect of this in more detail.

    Regards,

     


    Professional Engagement Letters

    Connectworks isn't just for your firm to engage with clients, it can also be used to collaborate with other professionals for mutual clients. Below are sample letters through which you can invite other professional firms to use sign documents using Connectworks, or collaborate in a client's profile with higher levels of access. The letters outline why you would like your firms to collaborate in Connectworks and how this can be done. 

    Draft letter inviting other professionals to sign documents using Connectworks

    Download: Draft letter inviting other professionals to sign documents using Connectworks .docx


    Dear <First name>,


    Signing through Connectworks

    [Your firm] has been using a NZ software product, Connectworks, for managing all its <trusts and/or trustee companies and/or companies> since late last year.

    As well as the ability to use it for [your firm] internally, there is also the scope to connect other parties involved in each <trust and/or trustee company and/or company> through the software. This is either by them being able to (1) sign-only, or (2) by having full access to all the <trusts and/or trustee companies and/or companies>’ information.

    We would like to upgrade a number of Connectworks subscriptions to option (1) in order to be able to invite [other firm name] in to be able to sign documents and approve resolutions within Connectworks, along with the relevant trustee clients.

    The signing can be by either (a) signing on-screen or (b) by having a signature inserted and verifying the signing or (c) by printing, signing, scanning then uploading. Different users can sign using different methods and Connectworks even supports different signatories using different signing methods on a single document. As the subscriber, [your firm] has oversight of anything that hasn’t been signed.

    There is also the ability to upload a paper document as signed, for signatories who don’t wish to sign electronically and the witnessing of digital signatures is also supported.

    This paper outlines how the methods used comply with requirements of the Electronic Transactions Act 2002:

    http://www.connectworks.com/nz/connectworks-electronic-signatures-and-the-law

    All valid signatures produce a signing certificate verifying that the above requirements have been met.

    We believe that by [other Firm Name] and clients signing digitally using the methods outlined above, it will improve the efficiency and lower the cost of getting <trust and/or trustee company and/or company> documents signed. [Your firm] is managing the cost of the Connectworks subscriptions, so there is no additional cost (in fact, significant savings) for [other firm name] by signing this way.

    We would like to upgrade the following Connectworks subscriptions we share with [other firm name] to support signing:

    <entity name>

    <entity name>

    <entity name>

    <entity name>

    <entity name>

    <entity name>

    <entity name>

    If you have any questions or concerns, please either let us know, or you can contact Connectworks on support@connectworks.com


    Regards,

    Draft letter inviting other professionals to use Connectworks (with collaborative access)

    Download: Draft letter inviting other professionals to use Connectworks (with collaborative access).docx


    Dear <first name>,

    Full access to Connectworks

    [Your firm] has been using a NZ software product, Connectworks, for managing all its <trusts and/or trustee companies and/or companies> since <time>.

    As well as the ability to use it for [your firm] internally, there is also the scope to connect other parties involved in each <trust and/or trustee company and/or company> through the software. This is either by them being able to (1) sign-only, or (2) by having full access to all the trusts’ information.

    We would like to upgrade a number of Connectworks subscriptions to option, (2) in order to invite (other firm name) to have full access to the trust, which includes the ability to sign. Trustee clients will also be able to access it and sign.

    As well as the signing functionality, this will also allow you to generate and view resolutions and discussions in the <trust and/or trustee company and/or company>’ minute book, download precedents from Connectworks’ extensive precedent library, share and store documents with other parties involved in the <trust and/or trustee company and/or company>, and access the <trust and/or trustee company and/or company>’ asset and liability management system and more.

    Full training would be provided by Connectworks.

    The signing can be by either (a) signing on-screen or (b) by having a signature inserted and verifying the signing or (c) by printing, signing, scanning then uploading. Different users can sign using different methods and Connectworks even supports different signatories using different signing methods on a single document. You will be able to see what has and hasn’t been signed.

    There is also the ability to upload a paper document as signed, for signatories who don’t wish to sign electronically and the witnessing of digital signatures is also supported.

    This paper outlines how the methods used comply with requirements of the Electronic Transactions Act 2002:

    http://www.connectworks.com/nz/connectworks-electronic-signatures-and-the-law

    All valid signatures produce a signing certificate verifying that the above requirements have been met.

    We believe that by [other Firm Name] being able to access and use the minute book, store and share documents, use the precedents and assets and liabilities manager and well as both yourselves and clients signing digitally, it will improve the efficiency and lower the cost of managing the <trust and/or trustee company and/or company>.

    [Your firm] is managing the cost of the Connectworks subscriptions, so there is no additional cost (in fact, significant savings) for [other firm name] by working this way.

    We would like to upgrade the following Connectworks subscriptions we share with [other firm name] to support your firm having access:

    <entity name>

    <entity name>

    <entity name>

    <entity name>

    <entity name>

    <entity name>

    <entity name>

    If you have any questions or concerns, please either let us know, or you can contact Connectworks on support@connectworks.com


    Regards,


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