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Filing Annual Returns - Start to finish process

This article outlines the start to finish process of filing annual returns in Connectworks.There is a printable .pdf training module available to download at the bottom of this article.

Contents

1. Linking to the Companies Office via RealMe

2. Using annual return workflow filters

3. Quick profile edit

4. Update last filing date (retrieve record from Companies Office)

5. Checking for Overdue Annual Returns

6. Begin filing (or bulk filing) returns for the current month

7. Send annual return extract to client for verification

8. Client view of annual return verification email

9. Reviewing client responses and filing returns with no changes

10. Action director and company updates (and update Practice Management system records)

11. What to do if a client doesn’t respond to the verification email

12. How to skip the workflow and file the return

13. Download training module

 

 

Linking to the Companies Office via RealMe

To enable filing annual returns from within Connectworks you must first link your Connectworks account to the Companies Office using the RealMe login which has authority to file on behalf of your clients. Your RealMe connection then remains active for 6 months. If you encounter an error warning during the final stage of filing you will need to connect (or in some cases disconnect, then reconnect) your RealMe login.

1. In your personal workspace select the “Manage your profile” dropdown.

2. Select “NZ Companies Office connection”.
*If you are already connected, but are encountering issues filing, select “Disconnect from the Companies Office”.

3. Select “Connect to Companies Office” - a pop-up window should appear. If this does not appear your browser is likely blocking pop-ups. In this event navigate to the web address bar in your browser - to the right of the web address there will be a small red icon - select this, and then choose “Always allow pop-ups and redirects from https://goconnectworks.com”. Then refresh your page and reselect the “Connect to the Companies Office” button.

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4. When pop-ups are enabled you will be redirected to a Companies Office RealMe login screen. Log in with your RealMe username and password (must be the RealMe account which has authority to file Annual Returns at your firm).

5. Approve the “User Consent” request - you are now ready to begin filing Annual Returns from within Connectworks.

 

Using annual return workflow filters

1. Begin by accessing the “Work” tab in your firm profile. Ensure the “Annual Returns” tab at the top is selected. By default, this will show you all companies which you have a filing obligation for*, which have not yet been filed.

access_annual_return_workflow.png

*More specifically, the default filtering shows those companies who have their filing obligation in Connectworks set to “Registered office and filing” or “Office filing only”. Please review our Knowledgebase article for more details on updating your registered office & filing obligations. Filing obligations can be updated in bulk by selecting all entities with the same filing obligation in the Clients>Companies list and then updating using the cogs dropdown.

As Connectworks has no means to determine your filing obligations, all manually imported companies will be marked as “not registered office” until updated by the user. This detail must be updated for all companies in order for the annual return workflow to display accurately. Companies imported via our bulk import template should have this information already (if this field was supplied on the loading template).

 

Quick profile edit

You can quickly update any company profile and add details such as filing obligation, contact details, partner, manager, business unit etc. by hovering over the 3 dots at the very right of the company and selecting “edit profile” from the slide-out menu.

quick_edit.png

 

Update last filing date (retrieve record from Companies Office)

Occasionally companies do not show the accurate last known filing date (often older entities loaded prior to our Companies Office integration). You can quickly update these with most recent filing date recorded with the Companies Office by selecting the “retrieve last filing” (see screenshot above). This will also update the next due filing date in the Annual Returns workflow.

 

Checking for Overdue Annual Returns

To view overdue returns add filters to your workflow:

  • Files Return
  • Last month
  • Needs Attention - (displays companies whose annual return workflow has not yet been started).
  • Overdue - (displays companies whose annual return workflow has been started, but not yet completed).

check_last_month.png

 

Begin filing (or bulk filing) returns for the current month

1. Apply filters to the workflow:

  • All (no filtering)
  • This month
  • Needs attention

2. At this stage, you may choose to download an excel file to quickly review your filing obligations for the month and ensure there is an email address recorded for each client. To do this simply select the “I would like to” button and “export list (CSV)
export_list.png

3. After downloading your list, check your filing obligations are set correctly and that the email field is completed for sending the verification extract to the client. If details are incorrect or incomplete use the “quick edit” function to update the email address in the company profile.

Important: By default, all companies import to Connectworks as “not registered office”. If there has been a recent import, check the filing obligation for these companies is correct before proceeding.

The reference field is what will appear on your bank statement when the filing fee is processed. This reference is auto-populated from the "Client Reference or Matter number" in the companies profile. 
check_excel.png

 

Send annual return extract to client for verification

1. Ensure you have filtered the Annual Returns workflow by:

  • Files Return
  • This Month
  • Needs Attention

2. Also ensure all selected companies have contact email addresses (check excel download, update via quick edit company profile if missing).

Important: If email addresses are missing the next step will result in errors. To prevent this you can enter your own email (or a generic firm email address) and then contact clients to ascertain if there have been any changes to the company, then accept the verification email on their behalf.

3. Begin filing by selecting all companies to file with the tick-box. You can select as many companies as desired, a list will start to appear on the right as you select them.

Tip: To quickly select the entire list, select the first companies tick-box, hold shift and then select the last companies tick box. Everything between these companies will be selected.

When all desired companies are selected click on the 3 dots at the top of this list and select “start workflow and send extract”.

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This will generate an Annual Return verification email which is sent directly to the client. You will also receive a copy of this email via Bcc, which can be used to follow up with any non-responsive clients by forwarding it to them as a reminder.

After sending the Annual Return verification extract all selected companies will update in the workflow list from “Workflow not started” to “2 - Awaiting response

 

Client view of annual return verification email

After selecting “start workflow and send extract" the client will receive the verification email from noreply@connectworksmail.com, and you will also receive a copy via Bcc. Below is an example of this email. Your firm name will appear in place of "Connectworks Training Firm".

The client can either confirm the details are correct or update as required using the links contained at the bottom of the email.

A Connectworks account is not required for clients to complete the annual return verification.

 

annual_return_email1.png

annual_return_email2.png

 

Reviewing client responses and filing returns with no changes

In your annual returns list, you will see that the workflow status of the companies will automatically update when the clients respond to the verification email. You will not receive an email notification for client responses.

1. To file the returns for clients who have responded verifying there are no changes, first ensure you have filtered the Annual Returns workflow by:

  • Files return
  • This month
  • Ready to file

2. Select all companies who appear in the list, then select “file annual return(s)” from the dropdown menu at the top right. You will be directed to make a final declaration and accept the direct debit payment. Complete the declaration & submit for filing. After submitting annual return/s, the Companies Office records will be updated in under 60 seconds.

Important: the direct debit filing fee should always be charged to your firm. If this option is not available to select please check you have connected the RealMe login which has authority to file for these companies.

final_confirmation.png

 

Action director and company updates (and update Practice Management system records)

When a client responds to the annual return verification advising of changes, the company will be placed in “review response” status in the workflow and will have to be manually accepted before filing.

1. Filter the Annual Returns workflow by:

  • Files return
  • This month
  • Review response

2. Click into the company workspace (by clicking on the name of the company in the list). The annual return workflow will now appear as a slide-out on the right-hand side of the company workspace.

3. Select “Gather changes from client” and then select the “Companies Office Extract (responses)” document which appears at the bottom of the workflow. You will then be redirected to review the client's responses in another browser page.

gather_changes.png

4. Within the company, workspace select the “Admin” tab and “People & Employees” to locate the person whose information is to be updated.

Important: If there are multiple versions of the same person showing in your admin tab you need to merge these into one client prior to proceeding. Please see our article on Merging duplicate contacts.

5. After ensuring you have a single client showing, update the client's details by selecting the client with the tickbox, then “edit profile” in the cogs drop down and complete with the information provided in the annual return verification.

It is a good idea at this stage to also update your Practice Management system to reflect the new client details.

6. Return to the company workspace and select “File annual return” in the top right.

file_rturn__workspace_view_.png

7. At this stage, you can update the company & director addresses in Connectworks. These updates will be pushed through to the Companies Office in the final stage of filing the Annual Return.

Shareholder address updates are not yet available with this method and need to be updated with the Companies Office directly. 

8. After you have modified the addresses and complete the declarations, select your firm for the direct debit charges, and submit the annual return.

Important: the direct debit filing fee should always be charged to your firm. If this option is not available to select please check you have connected the RealMe login which has authority to file for these companies.

modify_.png

 

What to do if a client doesn’t respond to the verification email

In some cases, clients do not respond to the extracts within the set period of time so will need to be sent a reminder. There are three ways to resend the companies office extract to clients:

1. When you send out the original extract, a copy of it is emailed to you, to can simply forward this to your client (best to add 'reminder' in the subject line). 

2. To resend extracts through the workflow of the company, navigate to the company's workspace through the Work tab of your firm. Within the Prepare company extract section of the workflow located on the right-hand side of the company's workspace, click Re-run under the Send variance report to client option. 

3. To obtain the link to the extract, simply click on Companies Office Extract (editable), this will redirect you to the extract, where you can copy the link and resend it to your client. 

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Alternatively, you could obtain verbal confirmation of any changes and then complete the process on their behalf by following the instructions detailed in the next section "How to skip the workflow and file the return"

 

How to skip the workflow and file the return

If you are satisfied that the Annual Return is ready to file (eg. the client has provided verbal confirmation that there are no changes) you can skip the workflow completely and file the return.

1. Click into the Companies workspace.

2. On the right, you will see a slide out panel showing the annual return workflow. Ensure you have the “Activities” tab selected.

3. Select the “Gather changes from client” step, then select “>>skip” at the bottom right. Click ok.

skip_workflow.png

4. Returning to your Work>Annual Returns tab, you will see the company now shows as stage “4 - Ready to file”.

5. Repeat for all companies you would like to skip the workflow for.

6. In the Work>Annual Returns tab select all companies to be filed using the tick box, then bulk file the returns using the ”...” dropdown menu and file the returns.

Download Training Module

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