Tens of thousands of businesses around the country will in time be able to benefit from a unique number that identifies them, a not for-profit standards body says.
Every registered company has been given a New Zealand Business Number - or NZBN - provided by the non-profit group GS1.
It's now being rolled out to sole traders and charities and by the end of next year will be assigned to government departments and crown entities.
A similar system is used in Australia, where the numbers are used for tax purposes such as claiming GST credits.
GS1 chief executive Peter Stevens said businesses may find it useful for trade and to speed up dealings with government departments in the future.
"There's a timing issue here because as this programme rolls out, more benefit gets delivered, because obviously you would like to have more business processes supported by all actors that you interact with as a business," he said.
Mr Stevens said that included interaction with government agencies.