Archive for November, 2013


Local and globally aligned provider of secure online transaction processing services, Sage Pay, says the industry faces an “interesting period” over the next five to 10 years.

“A new set of entrepreneurs is emerging in South Africa,” says Sage Pay managing director Charles Pittaway. “People are moving online and younger businesses are more inclined to make use of the internet for their business solutions. It is a mindset and reflects what users are comfortable with.”

Pittaway adds that SMME businesses have limited resources for complex systems and seek to have all their business, payroll and accounting systems integrated to conduct their business through multiple platforms. He contends that Cloud computing and connected services have broadened the capability of standalone vertical products and are interacting with other services.

The new set of entrepreneurs seeks Cloud accessibility and Web mobility on the basis of cost effective subscription and ‘pay for what you use services’. “The new generation in business wants mobility, flexibility, time and cost savings. While SMEs tend to accept recommendations via word of mouth (for example, their accountants) they don’t really know how to differentiate between what will and won’t work for them.”

Pittaway sees the Cloud as the way forward, a fundamental shift that will see the Cloud becoming the absolute norm. “It is a natural movement as young entrepreneurs want their lives to be fully automated. There is a five to 10 year adaption gap between the average age of social media users and senior business people, however in the next few years there will be a major shift in that ratio.”

About Sage Pay

Sage Pay (previously Sage Netcash) provides payment solutions to small and medium-sized companies in South Africa. Salary and creditor payments, debit order collections or credit card gateway transactions are processed from 1 online account. Competitive transaction fees, and an easy to use online platform allows business owners to manage their business transactions from anywhere at any time. A full range of credit check and risk management services are also available from the Sage Pay account.

Sage Pay a wholly owned subsidiary of The Sage Group plc.

The Sage Group plc is a leading global provider of business management software to small and medium sized companies, creating greater freedom for them to succeed. Sage understands how and why each business is unique. We provide products and services that suit varying needs, are a pleasure to use and are secure and efficient. Formed in 1981, Sage was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1989 and entered the FTSE 100 in 1999. Sage has over 6 million customers and more than 13,500 employees in 24 countries covering the UK & Ireland, mainland Europe, North America, South Africa, Australia, Asia and Brazil. For further information please visit www.sagesouthafrica.co.za and www.sage.com

“It is a daunting challenge for SME businesses to keep pace with regular legislative updates. However, automated payroll software ensures that the essential updates are automatically implemented and that payslip calculations are correct, meeting the latest legislative requirements,” adds Kok.

To help overcome this challenge, Kok says Sage Pastel Payroll & HR interprets legislative changes for start-up and small businesses and ensures that they remain compliant via payroll and HR software. RSS feeds provide information on and notification of legislative and tax changes as well delivering new system functionality releases that ensure companies always process their payrolls on the latest software version.

SMEs generally agree that excessive Government bureaucracy and Government handling of the country’s current economic challenges still top the list of the least favourable aspects of doing business.

The SBI established that globally business confidence is improving but in South Africa managing cash flow is the biggest challenge for growing businesses with government not helping as there remain 4.7-million unemployed, a lack of basic skills and protection of employed people while SME businesses battle with wage and payroll legislation.

Recognising the pressures on SME business in the current difficult economy, payroll and HR software specialist Sage Pastel Payroll & HR has introduced a payroll and HR software solution that businesses can obtain on an affordable subscription monthly payment plan.

SME business contributes significantly to the economic growth in South Africa so there is a need to harness entrepreneurial businesses and ensure that they succeed.

According to the SBI survey, South Africa is generally downbeat about local economic prospects with a low score of 44.10%, which is on a par with the UK and US at 40.65% and 41.53% respectively.

Mobility provides start-up businesses with agility and seeing as the owners are invariably busy managing many aspects of their business, Kok says Sage Pastel My Payroll Online is a lucrative online payroll solution for start-up companies. Online payroll solutions can be obtained on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis whereby businesses only pay when they use the system.

“It is important to provide South African companies with more than just a box of software,” says Sumay Dippenaar, marketing manager at Sage Pastel Payroll & HR. Telephone and email support services can assist users with payroll, legislation and process enquiries. “Businesses should opt for a payroll provider that offers a national footprint of certified payroll software installers to ensure they benefit from professional installation of their payroll and HR software solutions.”

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

The end of the year is in sight and companies face the administrative burden of making the complex calculations related to determining the correct leave pay due to individual employees.

The process is governed by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) which sets out the legal structure of all employment contracts and the rights of employees to ensure they are fairly treated in terms of annual leave and severance or notice pay.

Many of the calculations for leave pay are quite complex and arriving at the correct allocations manually or on spreadsheets is a time consuming exercise.

“All of these calculations have to be correct or the company will breach the provisions of the BCEA,” says Phil Meyer, technology director at payroll and HR software specialist Sage Pastel Payroll & HR.

The BCEA aims to ensure that leave pay is fully representative of individual employees’ actual earnings and Meyer says the calculations have to take into account variable income types and must be based on the average earnings of each employee over the 13 weeks preceding the date upon which leave becomes effective.

“There are many elements that affect the calculations such as overtime, commissions, allowances and other payments. The bottom line is that they lead to fluctuating income so each employee’s income has to be calculated individually. It can be a nightmare to execute this manually or on spreadsheets.”

Automated payroll and HR software retains detail of all of the variable income paid to each employee so that the calculation for the average income over the 13 weeks preceding the leave is not only accurate but is available immediately with a few key strokes.

Circumstances may lead to some employees benefiting from higher variable earnings during the three months prior to the leave date. For example accounting staff may take leave when company financial year-end audits are completed, thereby benefiting from the overtime payments they may have received during the preceding 13 weeks.

Similarly, people employed in the construction industry which usually shuts down in mid-December, are also likely to have worked overtime to ensure contracts are completed before shut-down and therefore their leave pay calculations will be affected.

“In consultation with management, payroll administrators can establish parameters that the software will automatically follow so that calculations of average earnings are always consistent with the requirements of the BCEA and fair to all concerned,” said Meyer.

Users of automated payroll and HR software also benefit from the fact that the software developers monitor amendments to the BCEA and provide updated versions whenever new legal requirements are promulgated. “Automated payroll and HR software therefore always operates in full compliance with the Act, ensuring also that the BCEA leave payments are not subject to basic finger trouble, interpretation or even fraud.”

In addition, software solutions offer functionality that enables the user to give the entire company an increase, based on either a set value or a specific percentage as well as process a production bonus or commission using only one screen. This not only saves time, it allows global changes to be made to any transaction within the payroll or HR system for all, or a selection of employees.

Automated payroll systems turn leave and bonus processing into a quick, accurate and simple task that eliminates administration headaches before the December holidays.

Staff performance reviews are critical in most businesses yet unpopular with the majority of managers who would probably admit they find conducting reviews a tedious task. However, with proper planning and the use of payroll and HR software, performance reviews can be a simple, quick, valuable and motivational experience for managers and employees.

The key is to ensure that the performance review process is simple and quick. “Avoid making the review process too complex or it could become both intimidating for employees and tedious from an execution point of view,” says Phil Meyer, technology director at Sage Pastel Payroll & HR.

“The answer is to measure less, more frequently. Keep the process simple and develop a habit of conducting reviews more often as employees generally are more comfortable with this approach.”

If simplified, quick reviews that are regularly conducted enable managers to deliver more value to employees, identifying areas where improvement is necessary and providing the employee with an opportunity to improve in those areas by the next review. A combination of regular short reviews with one in more detail at longer intervals probably offers the greatest value to both employers and employees.

“Despite the fact that performance reviews are not intended to be a tool by which to determine salary increases, they often end up playing that role,” adds Meyer. “The real objective, however, is to regularly identify areas of concern and areas of excellence to the benefit of both employee and employer.”

For employers, Meyer says well-developed personal skills lead to positive performance review outcomes and he points out that where regular reviews are implemented, employees who have received a negative review at least have a chance to turn that into a positive outcome at the next one.

“Human Resources Management (HRM) is a vital component of good business practice but doing it properly and effectively is not always that easy. This is where technology in terms of payroll and HR software solutions can ensure that the correct systems and processes are firmly in place.”

Aligning employees to the company vision, mission and objectives is achieved through measurement and regular reviews. It is important for employees to receive recognition for achievement and to be made aware of under-achievement and what they need to do to rectify it.

Meyer recommends that reviews should take five to 10 minutes. “Regular appraisals and feedback is the way to keep on track. Employees have opportunities to improve and that improvement is easily traceable over shorter periods of time.”

“Automated payroll and HRM software solutions assist managers by offering pre-defined Key Performance Area (KPA) and Key Performance Indicator (KPI) categories and review templates that are automatically kept on record. Management is therefore able to store all review records and accurately monitor staff performance improvements.

“Employees like to receive written feedback from reviews, even if only by email. Such brief reports provide a base for comparison and both parties know where they stand. The next review will enable both parties to identify the levels of improvement and progress achieved,” concludes Meyer.

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