The Annual Return workflow

Connectworks makes filing annual returns with the New Zealand Companies Office (NZCO) quick and easy. Our interactive, multi-party workflow connects companies, their annual return filers, and the NZCO, allowing companies to confirm their annual return details, and filers to file the returns via the NZCO API, all without leaving Connectworks.

This article outlines the steps involved in initiating and completing the Annual Return workflow.



1. Workflow Summary

2. Linking to Companies Office

3. Preparing the company Profile

4. Managing annual returns in the Work tab

5. Initiating the Annual Return Workflow

6. Preparing and Sending the Company Extract

7. Gathering Changes from Clients

8. Applying Changes

9. Filing the Annual Return

10. Bypassing steps in the workflow

11. Assigning workflow steps to your staff

12. Viewing your active workflows


1. Workflow Summary

The following steps are required, prior to initiating the annual return workflow for a particular company:

  1. The annual return filer (‘filer’) connects to NZCO via their RealMe login
  2. The filer ensures the company Profile is correctly set up to file the return
  3. In their firm’s Work tab, the filer locates the company whose return they wish to file

Workflow summary:

  1. The filer selects the company and begins the workflow
  2. The filer imports the company’s company extract from NZCO
  3. The filer reviews the company extract
  4. The filer shares the company extract with the company’s General Contact
  5. The company’s General Contact reviews the company extract, and records any required changes via an editable web form
  6. The company’s General Contact shares the reviewed and/or altered company extract back with the filer
  7. In light of the information received from the General Contact, the filer makes any changes required to the information held for the company in Connectworks
  8. The filer files the annual return via NZCO’s API connection

These steps are set out in more detail below.


2. Linking to Companies Office

To be able to e-file an annual return for a company via the NZCO API, you need to have a valid RealMe login, be registered with NZCO as an authorised agent for the company, and have a billing account with NZCO.

The first step in preparing to file an annual return is to activate your Realme login in Connectworks. You can do this in your Personal Workspace - the first page you see when you log into Connectworks - by clicking Link to Companies Office:



You’ll be taken to the RealMe login screen, where you enter your RealMe details. When you do so, you’ll be asked to allow Connectworks to access the NZCO resources under your authority:



Click the approve button, and you’re linked. Your Personal Workspace will now be changed, to allow you to unlink from NZCO if you need to. Note that, once set up, your RealMe credentials are stored in Connectworks for 14 months, so you do not need to follow this step prior to filing every annual return!



3. Preparing the company Profile

There are three pieces of information that need to be correctly recorded in a company’s Profile, before you can begin its annual return workflow: its General Contact email address, its Company Number, and its New Zealand Business Number (NZBN):



4. Managing annual returns in the Work tab

The Work tab is the place for you to manage your annual return filings. It shows a list of your client companies whose filings are due in the current or following calendar month. You can filter the list by the Status of the filing, or by your Obligation to file returns for your clients:



5. Initiating the Annual Return Workflow

When you’re ready to begin running the annual return workflow for a company, you first need to locate the company in the Work tab. Once you’ve found the company, select it, then click on the cogs and click start workflow:



The company will now show that the workflow has started, and is in the first stage, Prepare review:



6. Preparing and Sending the Company Extract

To continue the workflow, click through into the company’s Workspace. (Note that to access the annual return workflow, you need to access the company from the Work tab, not from the Clients tab). When you enter the company’s Workspace, the workflow will be displayed in the yellow banner at the top of the page. The four main stages involved in the workflow are shown in the centre column, with the individual steps involved in those stages expanding out to the right. The banner can be collapsed by clicking the arrow in the top-left corner:



The first step, Prepare company extract and variance report, is automatically run when you initiate the workflow, allowing you to view the Company Extract prior to sending it to your client. To send the extract to your client contact to review, click the run button next to Send company report to client. This will send the extract to the email address listed as the General Contact in the company’s Workspace:



Once you’ve run this step, the workflow will be changed to show that the first step is complete:


If you go back to the Work tab, you’ll see that the company has moved into the second stage of the workflow:



7. Gathering Changes from Clients

The email the General Contact receives will look something like this:



Your client should review the information contained in the extract. If all the information is correct, they should click the green No changes are required button. This will bring up a final version of the document. Click the Return and send button, and the extract will be returned to your annual return filer.

If there are changes to be made, they should click the red “I want to make changes” button. This will bring up an editable web form in which the changes can be recorded. Your client then clicks Next, reviews the final version, and clicks Return and send.

When the client has returned the extract, the Work tab will show that the workflow has proceeded to the third stage, Review response:



The workflow will also show that the second stage has been complete. To view the webform returned from the client, click Companies Office Extract (responses):



Any changes required by the client will be displayed in the green boxes:



8. Applying Changes

Make any changes in Connectworks as required by the web form, and click the Close button on this stage in the workflow. Note that currently, any changes that need to be made to director or shareholder details need to be made both within Connectworks, and via the NZCO website:



9. Filing the Annual Return

When you’ve made any required changes through NZCO, you’re ready to file the return. Click the File Annual Return button, complete the declaration, and the return will be sent!



You can now close off the final stage in the workflow:



All the stages in the workflow will now show as complete:



And if you return to the Work tab, you’ll see that the company has been moved to the Completed filter:



10. Bypassing steps in the workflow

You can bypass any steps in the workflow by clicking the skip button next to it:



11. Assigning workflow steps to your staff

It’s possible to assign workflow steps to members of your staff, to make sure it’s clear whose responsibility it is to perform the piece of work. Click the Change button next to the name below the workflow stage:



This will bring down a drop-down list of your staff. Click the name of the staff member you want, and it will now appear on the workflow:



12. Viewing your active workflows

You can view all active workflows in the Workflows tab of your firm’s Dashboard:


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