Archive for July, 2013


Accurate and easily available monthly income statements and balance sheets are critical for the success of any business. Most businesses separate their payroll and accounting departments but for ease of administration it makes good business sense to be able to seamlessly move information from the payroll into the accounting system.

“Instead of having to import and export information, the seamless integration functionality in Sage Pastel My Payroll Online with Sage Pastel My Business Online streamlines and simplifies the process of transferring payroll information to the accounting system. Information is reconciled and despatched with a mouse click.”

“Seamless integration between payroll and accounting systems whereby payroll expenses and liabilities are updated in the accounting system, improves business processes,” says Sage Pastel My Payroll Online business manager Karen Schmikl.

The integration functionality is accessible at no charge to users of the Sage Pastel My Payroll Online  system. It keeps track of any changes to the payroll affecting the journal, notifying users when alterations are made and thereby ensuring that the payroll and accounting systems are always synchronised.

Should users forget to post a processing period they are able to rectify the omission without having to conduct a tedious restore and back-up operation.

Schmickl adds that security functionality ensures that users are valid,  meaning that only users entitled to post journals are able to do so, thus securing access to the information. Back-ups are done every day and with the roll-over of each reporting period.

“With Sage Pastel My Payroll Online accountants don’t have to manually import information and reconcile it, saving time and costs. Companies using the Sage Pastel My Payroll Online system can obtain the online integration at no cost. The time saving and efficiency benefits from this seamless integration are very tangible.”

For the latest legislative news, connect with Sage Pastel Payroll & HR on Twitter (Payroll News), Facebook or LinkedIn.

‘Men in the Making’ initiative

Sage Pastel participated in the ‘Men in the Making’ initiative  by hosting 10 matric learners from Minerva High School in Alexandra Township.

The aim of the initiative is to help raise responsible young men as well as to build and restore the confidence of male school learners in South Africa by developing their understanding of business in our country.

Career advice, mentorship, guidance and support were the order of the day, with the boys visiting various departments, exposing them to different career paths within the business. They were very enthusiastic and curious during all presentations and were highly motivated and inspired by Sage Pastel Accounting’s MD, Steven Cohen’s presentation – “Leadership Journey in Business”.

The boys described Sage Pastel as the “coolest” company, with some indicating they would like to be hired by the company in the near future.

We would like to thank Sage Pastel BEE123 for embracing the ‘Men in the Making’ initiative and the Human Resource and Marketing departments for their support.

The initiative is sponsored by Tracker and endorsed by the Department of Education.

With the official launch of the Tax season on 01 July 2013, taxpayers once again need to file their tax returns within the SARS deadlines if they are to avoid fines or penalties.

Manual returns must be posted or delivered to local SARS branches by 27 September 2013 while non-provisional taxpayers may use SARS eFiling until 22 November 2013. Provisional taxpayers have more time and may submit electronic returns via eFiling until 31 January 2014.

Philip Meyer, technology director of Sage Pastel Payroll & HR, encourages taxpayers to start getting their tax documentation into order as soon as possible.

“They should start gathering proof of contributions to Retirement Annuities or private pensions and medical schemes, investment income, dividends and lump sum payments as the earlier the return can be finalised and submitted, the better. Rather be well prepared and avoid the stress that accompanies the last-minute rush.”

Taxpayers receiving remuneration of less than R250 000 may choose to not submit an income tax return. However, they need to meet the following criteria: their remuneration must be from a single employer and for a full year of assessment (1 March 2012 to 28 February 2013), no allowance was paid from which employees’ tax was not fully deducted and no further deductions need to be claimed or income declared.

SARS announces its tax season every year and it is during this period that individuals must submit their annual return.

On Monday (01 July 2013) the individual tax filing season was launched by SARS and on the first day,  the SARS eFiling website struggled to handle the volumes of eFilers logging in to file tax returns.

“Thousands of returns were filed on Monday and the volume may have caught SARS by surprise. Traditionally, taxpayers prefer to wait until the last few days of the filing season to get their tax returns done and this is normally the time we expect the eFiling website to start stumbling under the pressure,” said Meyer.

SARS has acknowledged via their website that they are aware of the technical difficulties being experienced by eFiling and that their technicians and service providers are investigating the network issues.

If you want to confirm whether you are one of the individuals exempt from filing this year, access the following link from the SARS website, http://bit.ly/15a37Gp

SARS has adopted a more user-friendly approach and has published a Tax Season 2013 electronic guide that can be easily accessed on the SARS website www.sars.gov.za enabling an electronic version to be quickly downloaded.

Taxpayers are being offered SARS assistance with their returns through a number of channels to ensure that tax returns are submitted accurately and on time with minimal effort. A Help-You-eFile service has also been launched by SARS.

“The Help-You-eFile service provides taxpayers with access to contact the call centre agents while the taxpayer is online. Agents are able to see what taxpayers are doing and can assist with the completion of the tax return,” says Meyer.

SARS also caters for mobile technology, enabling individuals with mobile devices to file their returns from their smartphones and tablets.

“Taxpayers will also be able to view eFiling videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to register for eFiling, complete and submit the IRT12 tax form, accompanied by supporting documents if these are required. SARS has said that eFilers will receive their ITA34 assessment and statement of account within a few minutes of submitting the return.”

Finally, taxpayers who may have forgotten their eFiling login or password will be able to request their login name and reset their password.

For the latest legislative news, connect with Sage Pastel Payroll & HR. on Twitter (Payroll News), LinkedIn, Facebook.

Philip Meyer

Philip Meyer

Connected Services enables SME companies to extend their desktop payroll with an online solution that eases the growing burden of HR managers and payroll administrators.

Connected Services includes a web-based self-service tool that enables employees to manage and maintain their own information online, thereby carrying some of the overall HR administration responsibility. They are able to make online applications for leave, loans, bursaries, travel claims, view their payslips and update personal information no matter where they are so long as they have an internet connection.

The adoption rate of online business software for new entrants into the market is increasing, posing the question of how to bridge the gap between the growing trend towards online software adoption and the traditional desktop application users in the same market segments.

The advantages and conveniences of connected services assist with expediting the many benefits of dual-deployment business software models such as client-side hosted applications with significant connected services capabilities and functionality, together with a seamless upgrade path to ultimately complete cloud-based models facilitated by vendors.

Connected Services has workflow capabilities based on the organisation chart or specific workflow orders per online form. Once an employee applies for leave online and it is management approved, the payroll & HR systems are automatically updated. The software also provides for leave scheduling, particularly practical over traditional December holidays when “skeleton staff” is required. The programme helps to manage minimum staff levels by providing system warnings.

When applying a connected services solution such as Self Service, companies should consider a hosted solution.  This guarantees quick deployment at low implementation cost, meaning companies do not have to invest in additional infrastructure to host the online application. All a company needs is an internet connection and a computer.

Frictionless (automated) payroll legislative updates
Frictionless updates are another example of connected services. This functionality enables traditional desktop applications to seamlessly update over the internet with minimal intervention from the end-user of the software.

Users no longer need to visit a website to download and install updates or CD versions manually as the connected services functionality does it all for them, directly from their payroll software. The days of CD-based updates and disruptive installation and implementation cycles are over.

RSS Feeds within payroll software
Another component of Connected Services allows HR managers and payroll administrators to receive RSS feeds to their desktops notifying them of legislative and tax changes as well as new system software releases so that the company is always on track and up to date.

The internet and, more specifically, cloud-based and online business applications constitute some of the most compelling opportunities for streamlining the way business is now conducted. It is reassuring that the optimisation of internet capabilities will almost certainly not amount to a one-size fits all model.

It is rather the incremental evolution of traditional desktop software, leveraging the internet where it is appropriate and business enhancing, that is playing an important role in the evolutionary shift to complete cloud-based business software provisioning, billing and deployment. This is providing a flexible and extensible migration path to the cloud, taking into account preferences of individual business requirements, as will pure cloud-only offerings.

Reduce payroll fraud and bank rejections with automated payroll software
Opt for a payroll vendor that can offerID number and bank account validations, as well as Employee Credit Checks and the delivery of secure salary EFT payments directly from the payroll software.

Companies need to take steps to avoid paying fake employees and can reduce payroll fraud and bank rejections, ensuring that they avoid stalling when processing salary payments. By combining monthly employee ID Number validation and verification with monthly bank account validation and verification together with secure payment services, companies  ensure that not only are they paying the correct employee through the correct bank account, but also that the payment is expedited in the most secure manner possible.

By validating and verifying the ID Numbers on the payroll, companies create complete peace of mind in the knowledge that not only has their employee provided a valid ID Number but also that the ID Number has been verified as belonging to the associated employee and is recorded on the Department of Home Affairs list of official ID Numbers. This eliminates both fake ID Numbers as well as ID Numbers not associated with the given employee.

With secure salary EFT payments, payment batches can be created automatically within a payroll system without creating the infamous “text files” which on some payroll systems needed to be stored on the hard drive of the Payroll Administrator’s computer and then forwarded or transferred to the authorised user of the banking software for transmission to the relevant bank. Avoiding editable payment  text files improves efficiency and eliminates yet another potential area for payroll fraud, ensuring a tamperproof payment is imported into the banking software.

By performing credit checks on employees, companies and Human Resource managers are provided with valuable information on existing and potential employees including judgments, defaults, notices / alerts, fraud listings / indicators, marital status spouse details and all residential address details. Reports can sourced from the three main credit bureaus in South Africa, namely TransUnion, Experian and XDS.

For more information on in-payroll software ID Number and Bank Account validation and verification services, contact Sage Pastel Payroll & HR and enquire about their Sage Pastel Connect Module.

For the latest legislative news, connect with Sage Pastel Payroll & HR. on Twitter (Payroll News), LinkedIn, Facebook.