Category: Entrepreneur


It is difficult to find another role in today’s business world that has changed as rapidly as the Chief Information Officer (CIO). Only a few years ago, IT heads were there to make sure the basic infrastructure to keep a business communicating was in place and up and running. So while they do have to maintain current and past systems, their new most important role is to drive internal and external innovation. And because innovation is increasingly technology-driven, the CIO is in a perfect position to lead this evolutionary revolution.

Role Diversity

The role of the CIO over the past few years has become more diverse and challenging. CIOs now need to cover a whole lot more ground and stay on top of a rapidly changing field defined by quick shifts and advances in technology, and to incorporate these new methodologies and applications into business.

This fundamental shift in the role of the CIO reflects the changes business environments undergo on many different levels. The single most important factor in CIO recruitment is what new, innovative and efficient solutions they can bring to the company. In stark contrast to the old image of the CIO they are now supposed to ‘wow’ the board with amazing schemes to facilitate company growth,performance, efficiency and collaboration with full user adoption and experience.

Collaboration

Since technology and infrastructure investment have become a central focus, the CIO’s role is becoming more integrated into business process than ever before. In the past, it was the IT department that controlled technology and infrastructure purchase decisions. But with application usability needs such as cloud-based technologies, social media, the abundance of mobile devices, purchase decisions have become more collaborative.

Previously the focus for the CIO was delivering IT solutions and infrastructure, but with minimal collaboration between the IT and other departments across the organization. Now the primary focus is for the businesses and CIOs to work collaboratively and adapt and adopt useful technology with the C-suite firmly on board. Not to mention the need to embrace new employee demands with user-driven technologies, BYOD and social media. Employees are now demanding the usability and mobility in their professional devices that they have with their personal ones.

CIOs need to be a true business partner and support their counterparts in delivering results and differentiation; to help Sales grow the business, to help Engineering deliver a better product to the market, to help our Marketing teams drive new business acquisition.

Bimodal approach

With these fundamental changes to the CIO role and the requirement to deliver both basic IT for an organisation while preparing it for new challenges around big data, the Internet of Things, cloud computing and up-skilling workforces, it may require a “bimodal” approach to IT.

The first accountability will remain as a conventional IT role and manage risk and governance; and the second accountability will be more creative with the need for innovation, agility and new skills.

What is becoming clear is that the mounting challenges at the crossroads between technology and business innovation are leaving CIOs in need of the right tools to enable positive change for their companies.

So in today’s world CIOs need to be agile and innovative to support the growth and performance of the company, they need to adopt a more collaborative approach with their C-Suite colleagues as well as carry out the more traditional tasks around purchasing decisions, risk and governance. So the CIO’s role must shift from protecting and defending the status quo to embracing and extending new innovative capabilities, it needs to transform into the Chief Innovation Officer. In order for CIOs to survive in this ever changing and challenging role they need an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution. Of course it is not the ERP system in itself that provides the innovation, it is the possibilities it creates through the delivery of better business intelligence that enables better decision making.

 

For more information about ERP Solutions and the changing role of the CIO download our whitepaper: http://www.sageerpx3.com/landing-page-cio

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivered his Budget Speech on 26 February, favouring consistency and steadiness over change and fireworks ahead of the national election on 7 May.

Some tax relief for tax payers in the 2014/15 Budget Speech – 40% of the tax relief was allocated to those who earn up to R250,000 per annum, meaning individuals earning more than R250,000 per annum will receive a little less of the allocated tax relief pool.

Though some commentators had speculated that high earners would need to pay higher income tax, the Minister left income tax rates untouched, says Madelein van der Watt, Development Manager at Sage Pastel Payroll & HR. The lowest tax bracket remains at a tax rate of 18% (annual taxable income up to R174,550) and the highest tax bracket remains taxable at 40% (annual taxable income of more than R673,100).

Tax credits for medical scheme contributions

Effective from 1 March 2012, the medical aid capping system was replaced with a tax credit – bringing in equality for all taxpayers under the age of 65 and improved benefits for lower earners.

In the new tax year, commencing 1 March 2014, monthly tax credits for medical scheme contributions (reduction of tax payable) have been marginally increased from:

  • R242 to R257 for the main member and the first dependent on a medical scheme
  • R162 to R172 for each additional beneficiary on the medical scheme

The medical aid tax credit system allows a reduction on income tax and does not reduce taxable earnings as the medical aid deduction system allowed in the past.

“The credit system is a more fair approach to providing tax relief as each individual contributing towards a medical aid fund will receive equal relief as it is not based on annual earnings. Whether an individual earns R250,000 per annum or R2,500,000 per annum, the income tax liability will be reduced by R257 for each of these individuals with at least a single beneficiary on the medical aid fund.”

From the 2014/15 tax year, medical aid contributions by people older than 65 will also be subject to the medical aid tax credit system. Up until now, those contributions were fully tax deductible. Effective from 1 March 2014, their contributions will also be subject to the medical aid tax credit system.

Is it a fringe benefit?

The company contribution towards an employee’s medical aid yields a taxable fringe benefit.

Generally, any payment made by an employer on an employee’s behalf, must be included in an individual’s taxable remuneration, before calculating the final PAYE deduction. Only pension and provident fund contributions are still exempt from the rule until 1 March 2015.

Regardless of an employee’s age or employment contract conditions, the medical aid contributed by an employer, whether in cash or as a package component directly to the fund, must be treated as a taxable fringe benefit.

The contribution paid by the employer will be subject to employee’s tax and contrary to popular belief, there is no way to structure a salary package to bypass the fringe benefit.

During the 2012/13 year of assessment, 76% of all fringe benefits reported on tax certificates were medical aid contributions made by employers on behalf of their employees.

Medical Aid Contributions must be reported on the employee’s tax certificate

As part of the Employer Filing season, each company is responsible to issue their respective employees with a tax certificate.

Medical Aid Contributions, both the employee and employer contributions must reflect on the employees tax certificate (IRP5/IT3A). If you’re making use of an automated payroll system, the codes are already loaded for you. In addition, a company is making use of an automated payroll system, they can import a payroll file with all the filing requirements directly into the e@syFile™ Employer system and the payroll EMP501 Reconciliation Report to complete the PAYE, SDL and UIF reconciliations. Van der Watt points out that this saves businesses considerable time and cost compared to manual calculation and capturing.

If you’re making use of a manual payroll system or payroll spreadsheets, please make use of the following codes:

  • Source code 4005 for employee and employer contributions
  • Source code 3810 for the taxable fringe benefit equivalent of the employer’s contribution
  • Source code 4116 for tax credits allowed

How can an automated payroll system make your business life easier?

To calculate the correct employee’s tax effect of a medical aid contribution, an employer must take the following into account:

  1. What is the total contribution that must be processed every month?
  2. How much of the contribution must be deducted from the employee’s gross income and how much is payable by the employer?
  3. Is the employer’s payment made as a cash contribution to the employee or paid directly to the medical aid?
  4. Remember to include any employer payment as a taxable fringe benefit when calculating the PAYE deduction for the month.
  5. How many dependents belong to the employee’s medical aid?
  6. Remember to constantly keep track of new dependents added or dependents removed from the medical aid policy.
  7. Remember to check for any contribution increases or change in medical aid cover that might affect the contribution value processed on the payroll.
  8. Don’t forget to calculate the medical aid tax credit after you have determined PAYE based on taxable earnings. The tax credit is based on the number of dependents and must reduce the PAYE value before you calculate the net pay.
  9. Every six months, you need to submit a PAYE reconciliation to SARS detailing the contributions, fringe benefits and tax credits related to medical aid contributions.

Payroll software will take care of the calculations and reporting of medical aid contributions and the PAYE effect thereof.

It is also important to keep in mind that effective 1 March 2014, employees aged 65 and older are also included in the medical aid tax credit system and their contributions may no longer be allowed as tax deductions. If you still make use of spreadsheet or manual methods of calculating PAYE, it is important to adjust your calculations to not only cater for new medical aid tax credits for the 2014/15 tax year, but also to keep in mind that you need to adjust the calculation for your employees aged 65 and older.

“Our software is designed to make your business life so much easier, so that you can focus on running your business. Let automated payroll solutions take care of the six major payroll acts and the ever-changing legislative plethora that governs payroll,” says Sumay Dippenaar, Marketing Manager at Sage Pastel Payroll & HR.

“There is no reason for businesses to rely on manual payroll spreadsheets since we offer automated solutions that are easy-to-use, smart and affordable, whether you deploy them on the desktop or in the cloud. Our subscription-based payroll solution allows you to pay low monthly fees with no upfront capital outlay, keeping your cash flow in mind.” With an online payroll solution, you only pay per payslip that you process. This pay-as-you-go model is cost-effective at R18 excluding VAT per payslip.

Example

Mr Jim Hardens is 67 years old, he earns a basic salary of R15,000 per month and the company contributes the full medical aid contribution of R1,000 on his behalf. He is the only member on his medical aid.

Below, please see how the calculation differs for tax year 2013/14 and 2014/15. Seeing that Jim is over 65 years, he also needs to be taxed on the medical tax credit system, effective 1 March 2014. Jim will enjoy a tax saving of R143.04 in the new tax year.

TAX YEAR 2014/2015
SALARY R 15 000
ADD MEDICAL AID FRINGE BENEFIT R 15 000 + R1 000 = R16 000
ANNUALISES TAXABLE INCOME R 16 000 * 12  = R192 000
TAX AS PER SARS TABLES R 192 000 – R 174 550 = R 17 450 * 25% + R 31 419 = R35 781.50
LESS PRIMARY REBATE R 35 781.50 – R 12 726 = R 23 055.50
LESS SECONDARY REBATE (FOR EMPLOYEES OVER 65 YRS) R 23 055.50 – R 7 110 = R 15 945.55
DEANNUALISE R 15 945.55/12 = R 1 328.79
LESS MEDICAL AID TAX CREDITS R 1 328.79 – R257
PAYE FOR THE MONTH R 1 071.79
TAX YEAR 2013/2014
SALARY R 15 000
ADD MEDICAL AID FRINGE BENEFIT R 15 000 + R 1 000 = R 16 000
LESS TOTAL MEDICAL CONTRIBUTION R 16 000 – R 1 000 = R 15 000
ANNUALISES TAXABLE INCOME R 15 000 * 12 =  R 180 000
TAX AS PER SARS TABLES R 180 000 – R 165 600 = R 14 400* 25% + R 29 808 = R 33 408
LESS PRIMARY REBATE R 33 408 – R 12 080 = R 21 328
LESS SECONDARY REBATE (FOR EMPLOYEES OVER 65 YRS) R 21 328 – R6 750 = R 14 578
DEANNUALISE R 14 578 / 12
PAYE FOR THE MONTH R 1 214.83
TOTAL SAVING R 143.04

 

Nifty Quick Links and Tools

>FREE Salary Tax Calculator

>FREE Online Logbook

>FREE Tax Guide

>Attend a Budget Speech Seminar, everything explained in laymen’s terms

>New Tax Rates

>Everything else you need to know

>Automate your payroll using an online solution 

For the latest legislative news, connect with Sage Pastel Payroll & HR on Twitter (Payroll News), Facebook or LinkedIn. To read more about the upcoming budget speech, click here.

Madelein van der Watt, development manager at Sage Pastel Payroll & HR.

Madelein van der Watt, development manager at Sage Pastel Payroll & HR.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivered no surprises in his Budget Speech on 26 February, favouring consistency and steadiness over change and fireworks ahead of the national election on 7 May. His Budget Speech once again put job creation, infrastructure development, social spending and education right on top of the nation’s list of priorities.

Taxpayers will benefit from R9,25 billion in personal income tax relief in the new tax year, though this relief hardly caters for the effects of inflation, says Madelein van der Watt, Development Manager at Sage Pastel Payroll & HR.  40% of the tax relief was allocated to those who earn up to R250,000 per annum, meaning individuals earning more than R250,000 per annum will receive a little less of the allocated tax relief pool.

Personal income tax brackets and rebates

Personal income tax brackets and rebates have been slightly adjusted. The amount an individual can earn before being required to pay income tax has been increased for the 2014/15 tax year:

  • Increase from R67,111 to R70, 700 for individuals below the age of 65
  • Increase from R104,611 to R110, 200 for individuals between the ages of 65 to  below 75
  • Increase from R117,111 to R123, 350 for individuals over 75 years

Individuals aged 65 and older will pay less tax due to an increase in the secondary rebate. The tertiary rebate for individuals aged 75 or older has also been increased which means less tax payable by the elderly from 01 March 2014.

The annual tax rebates for individuals have been increased as follows:

  • Under the age of 65 increased from R12,080 to R12, 726
  • Aged 65 to 75 increased from R6,750 to R7, 110
  • Aged 75 and older increased from  R2,250 to R2, 367

Though some commentators had speculated that high earners would need to pay higher income tax, the Minister left income tax rates untouched, says Van der Watt. The lowest tax bracket remains at a tax rate of 18% (annual taxable income up to R174, 550) and the highest tax bracket remains taxable at 40% (annual taxable income of more than R673, 100).

Tax credits for medical scheme contributions

Effective from 1 March 2012, the medical aid capping system was replaced with a tax credit – bringing in equality for all taxpayers under the age of 65 and improved benefits for lower earners. Monthly tax credits for medical scheme contributions (reduction of tax payable) have been marginally increased from:

  • R242 to R257 for the main member and the first dependent on a medical scheme
  • R162 to R172 for each additional beneficiary on the medical scheme

The medical aid tax credit system allows a reduction on income tax and does not reduce taxable earnings as the medical aid deduction system allowed in the past. The credit system is a more fair approach to providing tax relief as each individual contributing towards a medical aid fund will receive equal relief as it is not based on annual earnings. Whether an individual earns R250,000 per annum or R2,500,000 per annum, the income tax liability will be reduced by R257 for each of these individuals with at least a single beneficiary on the medical aid fund.

From the 2014/2015 tax year, medical aid contributions by people older than 65 will also be subject to the medical aid tax credit system. Up until now, those contributions were fully tax deductible.

Fuel levies & subsistence allowances

The general fuel levy and the Road Accident Fund levy will increase by 12c per litre and 8c per litre respectively by 2 April 2014. This will push up the general fuel levy on petrol to R2.25 per litre and R2.10 per litre of diesel. Subsistence allowances paid to employees who travel for business within South Africa, will be tax-free provided the amount paid for meals and incidental costs does not exceed R335 per day. An amount not exceeding R103 per day for incidental costs will also be exempt.

Any good news for SMEs?

Van der Watt says that SMEs could benefit from a recommendation made by the Davis Tax Committee to introduce a tax compliance rebate that replaces the current progressive tax rate structure for income tax on companies. “Minister Gordhan’s speech indicated that he is looking at ways to reduce red tape for small businesses by amending the turnover tax regime and replacing the graduated tax structure for small businesses with refundable tax compliance credits,” she adds.

Youth subsidy and spending

Government will be collecting around R1.02 trillion in tax revenues for the 2014/15 tax year, but how will that money be spent? Mindful of the country’s budget deficit, Minister Gordhan plans to increase real non-interest spending by only 1.9% over the next three years.

Sage Pastel Payroll & HR correctly predicted that the lion’s share of revenue allocation during this year’s budget announcement would go to health services, education and social grants. Minister Gordhan allocated R254 billion for education, R146 billion for healthcare, R143 billion allocated to build new homes and improve basic infrastructure in communities.  Social grant expenditure has risen to R118 billion this year.

The Minister also provided feedback about the Employment Tax Incentive in his speech. The Minister mentioned that already in the first month of implementing the subsidy – aimed at increasing employment for the youth – about 56,000 beneficiaries were recorded.

What’s next?

Though Minister Gordhan’s Budget Speech was conservative, South Africans might see more radical changes to the tax system when he or his successor delivers the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in October. The Tax Review Committee led by Judge Denis Davis has started wide-ranging investigations into South Africa’s tax system, including a focus on value-added tax, mining taxes and wealth taxes.

In addition, Government will soon publish its National Health Insurance white paper, which may also impact on South African businesses and taxpayers.

Sage Pastel Payroll & HR assists SMEs

To assist SME businesses with the changes outlined in the new Budget, Sage Pastel Payroll & HR is incorporating all of the Budget changes to tax bracket values, medical aid benefits, and tax relief rebates. This will ensure that Sage Pastel Payroll & HR customers are immediately compliant when the new Budget stipulations take effect in the new tax year.  “With our automatic software updates, our customers will have the new year’s tax rates and calculations downloaded as soon as they open their software to process the first payslip run for March 2014,” says Van der Watt.

“We understand small and mid-sized businesses’ day-to-day challenges. Our software is designed to make your life so much easier so you have more time to do what you do best – grow your business,” says Sumay Dippenaar, Marketing Manager at Sage Pastel Payroll & HR.

“There is no reason for businesses to rely on manual payroll spreadsheets since we offer automated solutions that are easy-to-use, smart and affordable, whether you deploy them on the desktop or in the cloud. Our subscription-based payroll solution allows you to pay low monthly fees with no upfront capital outlay, keeping your cash flow in mind.” With an online payroll solution, you only pay per payslip that you process. This pay-as-you-go model is cost-effective at R18 excluding VAT per payslip.

For more information

For more help understanding what the Budget Speech will mean for you and your business – and a chance to win R10,000 – check out Sage Pastel Payroll & HR’s extensive set of online resources for Budget 2014/15:

>Competition: Stand a chance to win R10, 000

>Attend a Budget Speech Seminar, everything explained in laymen’s terms

>Free Salary Tax Calculator

>FREE Online Logbook

>FREE Tax Guide

>New Tax Rates

>Everything else you need to know

>Automate your payroll using an online solution 

For the latest legislative news, connect with Sage Pastel Payroll & HR on Twitter (Payroll News), Facebook or LinkedIn. To read more about the upcoming budget speech, click here.

The Essential CIO

Welcome to the biennial IBM Global Chief Information Officer Study, reflecting face-to-face conversations with over 3,000 CIOs from organizations of every size, sector and region. Through these conversations, we have gained a stronger sense of the primary issues impacting CIOs in the two years since our inaugural study. One of the most compelling findings in the study is that CIOs are now increasingly in step with CEOs’ top priorities. One priority they agree on is how critical it is for today’s public and private sector organizations to derive insight from the huge volumes of data being amassed across the enterprise, and turn those insights into competitive advantage with tangible business benefits. CLICK HERE to read more

Most BI thought leadership articles these days include a fairly significant section on mobile data consumption, and how trends are heading in this direction. The predictions from analysts suggest that by 2013, as much as 33% of business intelligence functionality will be consumed via handheld devices.This inherently sets out to challenge the thinking of traditional BI vendors in terms of how their solutions become relevant in the mobile space. It can be tempting to re-invent the wheel in an effort to lead the charge with something really cool, something that demo’s well, without carefully thinking about what device the majority of customers are likely to use, and how they will consume or interact with the data on this device, and of course, what makes practical sense to add value to their day to day operations and decision making. To read more, CLICK HERE

 

Small and medium businesses (SMBs, defined as companies with 1-1000 employees) comprise 99% of employer firms in the United States and account more than 50% of total IT spending (Source: SMB Group estimates and U.S. Census Bureau Data). The SMB Group’s 2012 Small and Medium Business Routes to Market Study will help technology and telecom product, software and services vendors and service providers deepen their understanding of how businesses in this extraordinarily market discover and gain awareness of technology solutions; the sources that influence them to consider, evaluate and purchase them; the purchasing process; and channels that they buy technology solutions from. The study will also provide trending insights based on year-over-year data comparisons with the SMB Group’s 2011 Small and Medium Business Routes to Market Study Study results and analysis will help vendors make well-informed marketing, product development, media and channel decisions to successfully reach, influence and market to North American SMBs with one to 1,000 employees… Read more : Click Here

Microsoft Excel is the universal language of business and accountants and most decision-makers in small to mid-sized businesses use ‘the king of spreadsheets’ in some way for reporting. In fact, research analyst Gartner has conceded that “Excel is still the number one reporting tool”[1]. Why then, would you want or need to use Sage Intelligence, a Business Intelligence (BI) tool, and not just Excel for your business reporting?

Let’s begin by answering this question with some more questions: Can you say with conviction that you have a clear view of your company’s performance? Do you have visibility of MTD and YTD sales year on year? Can you see, whenever you want to, how your profitability or cash flow is tracking? How about top 5 customers, expenses, or salespeople

To read more: Click here

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.)

By Steven Cohen, managing director, Sage Pastel Accounting

Steven Cohen

Steven Cohen

To succeed in business, exceptional service is essential. Everyone says they do it but I question its true impact, particularly when I consider that everything is automated these days. In the world of electronic communications, everyone auto-signs their emails with a warm and fuzzy salutation, your birthday is recorded in a customer relationship management (CRM) system that triggers a congratulatory SMS on the appropriate date and it’s seldom that you get to talk to a real person at a call centre anymore. The result of the, so-called benefits of technology is a techno-void between a company and its customers.

The Extraordinary Customer Experience

Sage, the global parent of Sage Pastel Accounting has launched a new Extraordinary Customer Experience initiative which will benefit its 4 million clients globally. The programme’s key objective is to build real relationships with customers using an old-fashioned method; people.

Initially I was cynical about the advantages such a plan would bring to the business. Our local contact centre is manned by real people and it’s considered one of the best – it wins local and international awards all the time and is currently a regional finalist in three categories of the highly regarded Contact Centre World Awards run by ContactCentreWorld.com.

However, our new service initiative requires more than just people to offer extraordinary customer service; it’s their attitude and approach to the customer that is so crucial. In addition to the programme’s need for passion, accountability, collaboration and being enterprising when dealing with customers, I am drawn to its requirements for creating working conditions that encourage people to succeed!

It’s all about attitude

As a business leader, I’ve always said that it’s important to stimulate the thinking of those around you. This can only be applied if you understand that attitude and not just aptitude is essential when employing at any level in the organisation. I like to see the interview process as a gate that only lets exceptional people in – and it’s part of my management ethos to pay more for a good person. So, I think I am on the correct path to getting the customer service experience right but now the hard work really begins.

For the Extraordinary Customer Experience to become a reality we need to change the way we think about customer service. I want us to own every customer experience and not simply sell stuff to people because we have targets to meet. We need to build real relationships with all of our clients and recognise that a new client or a satisfied contact centre customer is not just another successful transaction. In addition it’s important to define what we are delivering to our customers in relation to what our customers think they are getting – a disconnect at this point is the difference between exceptional or deficient service.