Archive for May, 2013


Bold Context was in need of a hosted solution that could also support detailed financial reporting to their customers.  Sage ERP X3 presented itself as the perfect solution to address the company’s needs.

Bold Context simplifies financial management for small and medium-sized businesses through the provision of skilled advisory personnel and robust, scalable and cost-efficient back-office services in a shared service centre format, (referred to as a hosted solution). The hosted services include accounting, debtors, creditors, sales, purchasing, stock, manufacturing, reporting and business intelligence. In essence, SMEs have access to large company systems at small company prices.

Sage ERP X3 enables Bold Context to provide the hosted solution to companies with limited internal IT skills and capabilities. The solution is affordable and manageable. “The Sage ERP X3 application is hosted in a professional environment with full backup procedures and database administration which is taken care of on behalf of our clients.  There is no large capital outlay and businesses can now enjoy the benefits of large enterprise systems without breaking the bank”, says Graham McGregor, CEO for Bold Context.

“The cloud-based ERP offers many advantages, especially for start-up businesses,” says Keith Fenner, senior vice president for sales at Sage ERP Africa. “Businesses are able to benefit from lower infrastructure costs, easy software deployment and seamless scalability.”

Accounting and business management software solutions specialist Lorge was contracted by Bold Context to implement, service, support and maintain the Sage ERP X3 software. The hosted ERP X3 solution offers Bold Context and its customers a full suite of modules to fully support its needs and drive the business. Developments per customer are made easy with the SAFE (Sage Application Framework for the Enterprise) architecture, and data is securely housed in the respective customer’s folder,” says Jonty Katz, Operations Manager of Lorge’s Sage ERP X3 division.

In the past the clients of Bold Context also experienced difficulties with the level of detail available in the reports delivered from their various systems and they had to start to purchase and develop 3rd party applications to fill the gaps their current systems could not cover. This created a complicated IT environment which increased the costs of servicing.  Businesses started to become reliant on certain key individuals and were exposed to large amounts of risk should this individual depart the business,” says McGregor.

However, with the hosted Sage ERP X3 solution Bold Context can simplify the creation of reports dramatically.  Once the customer has transferred key financial accounting information, Bold Context starts a systematic system improvement & development process. This can be broken into phases to support rapid initial system setup and then focused development thereafter to achieve high levels of ROI for the ERP take on.

The companies utilizing Bold Context hosted Sage ERP X3 solution now have access to more detailed financial information supporting business analytics through the extension of multiple dimensions.  The customers can also map a long term system development strategy knowing full well that they will not outgrow the system.

One of Bold Context’s hosted clients is CSS Tactical, a professional security services company, providing mainly armed response and dedicated proactive patrols as well as the installation of burglar alarms and CCTV cameras.

“Sage ERP X3 has allowed us to manage our key customer billing information and customer master file data in a controlled and efficient manner. We have also managed to improve our business profitability analytics through the dimension levels supported in Sage. We have also been able to map a long term ERP strategy involving all the benefits of Sage including CRM & EDM module utilization,” says Ricky Croock, CEO of CSS Tactical.

By Keith Fennersenior vice president for sales at Sage ERP Africa.

Companies need to be efficient, save time and costs, when it comes to the production and distribution of documents, such as invoices, remittances, statements, quotes and order confirmations

Sage ERP Africa’s electronic document distribution solution, Spindle Professional, now makes being efficient as a business so much easier because it enables business users to improve their practices and to streamline and automate all communications. It also helps the organisation to reduce their carbon footprint by going paperless.

The Spindle Professional software helps the small and medium sized business to instantly distribute multiple documents via email and to automatically print, fax and archive it as PDF documents. It is versatile, can be utilised by a number of departments across an organisation including Accounts, Sales, Marketing and Customer Service functions and it integrates with accounting, CRM and other systems. The software also enables organisations to create professional-looking documents, including the company’s logo and branding.”

How does it work? – A practical example:

Angela raises a sales order and prints it to Spindle Professional. John (the customer) gets an order confirmation as a PDF, via email. It includes corporate branding, terms and conditions and special offers, as well as a digital signature to assure its validity. Steve (in the sales department) also gets the order confirmation and checks it against quotations. At the same time a copy is saved in CRM, giving a single location for all communications and documents.

In the accounts department, Susan’s local printer prints a copy for filing with Terms and Conditions. A copy is also created and indexed into Microsoft SharePoint for easy access by multiple teams. Angela’s sales order is at the same time printed directly to the warehouse printer with bar codes added for easy item picking. A copy gets emailed to Bob in the warehouse, in case a reprint of the paperwork is required.

Key Features

·         Email – The most cost effective way to send documents. Complete with company branding and messages, finished documents are sent as PDF files.

  • Print – When an organisation simply can’t email or fax. Copies can be printed on different stationery Prints to multiple printers simultaneously

·         Barcode Generation – Create and insert barcodes to documents.

·         CRM – Automatically links outgoing documents with a customer or company and saves a record of the communication for reference.

·         Fax – Quick document delivery from one business to another.

·         PDF Digital signatures – Digitally signing documents gives you improved security and protects against invoice fraud.

Key Benefits

·         Reduce costs – documents are automatically delivered via email and fax and remove the need for pre-printed stationery.

·         Reduce environmental impact - sending documents by email and fax dramatically reduces the amount of paper used by a business and can help reduce environmental impact.

·         Automated Archiving – Spindle Professional automatically archives all documents as PDF files to a predefined location.

·         Intelligent Delivery – Spindle knows which documents to print, email or fax based on client and supplier preferences.

·         Intelligent documents - Terms and Conditions or promotional offers are automatically attached to relevant documents.

·         Seamless Integration – Spindle professional integrates with existing systems e.g. Sage 300 ERP (formerly Accpac), Sage ERP X3 and Sage CRM.

Spindle Professional is a document distribution solution that many of our Sage 300 ERP and Sage ERP X3 users in Africa have been looking for. It has been developed in partnership with Draycir International and offers us a real opportunity to deliver greater business value to our distributors and offer even more functionality from our Sage platforms.

Companies need to ensure that they are geared to provide SARS with their annual PAYE reconciliation submission before the end of May.

The first step companies should make is to ensure that they download the latest version of the e@syFile™ Employer system which has been loaded on the SARS website www.sarsefiling.co.za.

“It is most important that companies download and install this software before conducting their PAYE, SDL and UIF reconciliations to ensure accuracy and compliance with SARS requirements,” says Philip Meyer, technology director  at Sage Pastel Payroll & HR.

While SARS will not reject tax certificates that do not have an income tax number, the e@syFile™ Employer system will issue the submitting company a message declaring that penalties can be raised on the employer as a result of the missing information.

Meyer stresses that employers must confirm that the company will comply with the SARS penalties procedure before their companies are able to continue with their reconciliation and submission.

“SARS has also increased employer penalties applying to employee tax certificates that do not have a registered tax number. So it makes financial sense for companies to ensure that they register all unregistered employees with SARS before they submit tax certificates for reconciliation. Even employees that are below the tax threshold need a registered tax number,” adds Meyer.

Companies wanting to register employees for a tax reference number can either go into a SARS branch, or can log onto the e@syFile™ Employer system and load their employees manually. To follow the verification status of the tax reference number, companies can use the ITReg functionality of the e@syFile™ Employer system and follow a synchronisation process to obtain a CSV file with their employees’ tax reference numbers.

“However, companies using an automated payroll software solution can obtain employee tax reference numbers via the Bulk ITREG functionality and the e@syFile Employer system to simplify the reconciliation. Those using automated payroll solutions need only capture employees’ information and their payslip details,” adds Meyer.

During the year end procedures, the electronic tax certificates are generated automatically in the IRP5.13 file. This file can be imported directly into the e@syFile™ Employer system and the payroll EMP501 Reconciliation Report to complete the PAYE, SDL and UIF reconciliations. Meyer points out that this saves businesses considerable time and cost compared to manual calculation and capturing.

“Payroll departments should not issue tax certificates to their employees until they receive notice from SARS that the reconciliation is both complete and correct.”

Sandra Swanepoel

Sandra Swanepoel

Blog by Sandra Swanepoel, Sales Director at Sage VIP

There are ten core principles that differentiate good entrepreneurs from great ones. It is important to nurture an entrepreneurial spirit within an organisation and to empower the business to operate as if each individual works for themselves.

My top ten tips for entrepreneurs are:

  • Have stamina and work hard – Be relentless in pursuing  business. Make sure you have the stamina to spend all the hours that you can on pursuing your dreams.
  • Always spend your time on activities that are closest to cash – Certain hours are high income generating hours, spend them wisely.
  • Be an expert in what you do – invest time in yourself in order to be extremely well informed.
  • Deal with people  effectively – if you had to think of a leader  that really had a impact on you  and that influenced you in a positive way. You will find that the qualities they possessed were mostly emotional intelligence qualities and very seldom technical or IQ related. Make sure you develop your emotional intelligence to be able to deal with people efficiently.
  • Do things differently – Ask yourself what can I do differently so that customers will do business with me. How can I add value to their business? Be innovative, and take bold steps to distinguish yourself from the competition, be it with product service or your operations.
  • Be driven – set targets for yourself, your business and your staff; your business will only do well if you are driven to achieve results. Make sure that your targets are realistic. Unless you set goals you will find that time goes by that you cannot account for.
  • Do you have an immensely positive attitude – How you think is extremely important when you are a business owner. If you are able to stay positive and have a great mindset you are already on the right track.
  • Measure as much as possible – If you do not know your business you will not be able to improve year on year.  An example would be to measure what employees do and to give them goals, motivate them and pay them accordingly, resulting in greater buy-in, more ownership and accountability.
  • Read listen and learn – make sure you have a culture where you never think you know enough. Be open to learning and hungry for knowledge, whether from people that are younger, older, in different places or culture groups.
  • Admit mistakes and manage poor performers – If you do not manage people that perform poorly you will loose the whole room. For the same token if you have made a mistake by admitting it you will create a platform for peers to also admit mistakes. Keep the best employees and surround yourself with strong players.

Join the Cloud

Charles Pittaway

Charles Pittaway

By Monique Verduyn

Mention moving to the cloud and someone is bound to ask, “How do we do that?” The answer is that it’s really simple. All you need is connectivity, and all you have to do is replace your existing system with a business-application cloud service.

This will mean that you have decided to end the life of your existing application and instead receive your payroll and HR software from a new provider. That provider will manage the migration of all your data to the cloud, and will manage the application’s security, availability, and performance, as well as address any problems and changes in the underlying software and hardware the application depends upon. It’s that easy.

Charles Pittaway, MD of Sage Netcash, says that the biggest benefit of moving to a reputable cloud service is that business owners get access to a safe online system with competitive transaction fees. “SMEs can exercise control over their money and only pay for services used. The get secure online access to debit order collections, salary and creditor payments, credit card gateway and a range of credit and risk management services from one account. Overheads are reduced as there are no hardware costs, no costs for additional resources, and no costs for managing several different accounts.”

High security

The integration of a variety of security services provides customers with a single secure payroll system, directly from the payroll software. Security services include identity number validation and verification services, bank account validation and verification services, credit checks and secure salary EFT payments.

Bank account validation and verification ensures that a valid bank account has been entered into the payroll system and that it is in the name of the employee specified on the payroll. This eliminates one of the most critical areas of payment fraud which occurs when an employee’s salary is paid into the fake or erroneous bank account of another individual. In addition, the solution validates employee banking details with major banks including Absa, African Bank, Capitec, First National Bank, Mercantile, Nedbank and Standard Bank.

“Businesses want simple, cost effective and efficient debit order, salary and creditor payments and credit and risk management services,” says Pittaway. “As a business owner your cash flow and your relationship with your customers and creditors are the two most important aspects of your business. Cloud solutions ensure that all transactions are processed securely, accurately and on time each and every time.”

Many cloud application service providers enable users to register for an account online. That means there are no lengthy approval times to open a merchant account and implementation of the service can be done in a matter of hours. With Sage Netcash, the service agreement has no fixed timeframe which allows you the flexibility to discontinue the services at any time.

The benefits

Moving your payroll to the cloud allows your business to reap the many benefits of software as a service (SaaS):

  1. Innovation. You always use the latest release of the software, so the business has continuous innovation in user experience, workflows and capabilities.
  2. Reduced costs. Cloud solutions can easily and quickly be deployed to solve immediate business needs.
  1. Risk Mitigation. SaaS providers typically excel in security measures, including access controls, backup and recovery, and other potential vulnerability points.
  2. Control.  With SaaS, the business gets full control over process timing (data entry, audits, check runs, quality checks, adjustments), which is not guaranteed when the payroll is managed in-house or outsourced. You also get anytime access to data, analytics and reporting, and the assurance that the software always includes the most recent changes in legislation.
  3. Scalability. Cloud-based payroll solutions make it easy for businesses of any size to dynamically scale operations as and when they need to.

The stats

  • Cloud-based solutions are implemented on average 82% faster than on-premises solutions.
  • They require only 22% of the resources in ongoing staff compared to on-premises shops, freeing up members of the payroll team to focus on more strategic initiatives.

(Source: CedarCrestone 2012-13 HR Systems Survey, 15th ed.)