Tag Archive: business solutions


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.

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.

By: Christophe Letellier, CEO for Sage ERP X3

Christophe Letellier

Christophe Letellier

When approaching the subject of the Cloud, there is a choice between being strongly positive or enthusiastic. The wave in favour of the Cloud is so strong that views which attempt to even mildly address the need or even the relevance of the Cloud could make you look like a supporter of the past. But this has always been true with new technologies or business models; just look back to the early 2000s.
Cloud technology is not a revolution; it’s an evolution that materialises the maturity of the Internet. By definition the evolution will take time, a long time, when in contrast a revolution could change our world in weeks or months. As customers and suppliers, it has already taken us 15 years to get to where we are today with the Internet. I would bet it will take even longer before everything runs from the Cloud
The Cloud, in my opinion, brings many good things to the software industry. It means solutions can be developed more quickly, agile development becomes standard and seamless upgrades a given. Software vendors are changing and the Cloud is the trigger, but the change is embraced because it creates value for customers.
On a similar note, the Cloud implies a different business model that is based on usage. The ‘per month, per user’ pricing model is the first step that will evolve into fully consumption-based pricing. Once again, it’s good for our customers. The Cloud will also open the ERP world to many more users than today. Because it’s more flexible and web based, we can expect that the Cloud will provide much easier access to an ERP system. C-level executives will, at last, benefit from the mine of data that is created by their ERP system. This is particularly true in mid-sized companies where the CEO is in the operational driving seat and today drives almost blind! Casual users will also be more at ease and will be able to contribute more. This is true for occasional internal users, but also for external users like partners, suppliers or customers. The 25-year-old concept of an extended enterprise now becomes a reality.
All these changes can bring great value to our customers and it’s important that we aim to deliver on these promises. The Cloud is not the means to get there, but only the trigger. It has changed mindsets and offers a technical solution, but we can deliver the very same value to our customers via other delivery mechanisms. If I look at the ERP world for instance, there are many examples of strong adoption of financials in the Cloud when manufacturing, that requires significant customization and close connection to shop floor control systems, looks less attractive. Does it mean that our customers should be put on the side of the road? Today a vast majority of mid-sized companies do use their ERP systems on fat clients without web access, when such systems have been available for over 10 years now. Why should we expect that adoption of full cloud solutions will be that much faster? And does this mean that our customers shouldn’t have access to the benefits listed above?
Adoption of the Cloud is a long journey. Cloud will become a standard in one or two decades. What do we do for our customers in the meantime?
My conviction is that although the Cloud will not dominate for some time in the ERP space, it will profoundly change mindsets and drive software vendors in a new direction. Having sold web-based products like Sage ERP X3 for over 10 years, Sage is not afraid of this evolution. On the contrary, we welcome this change towards flexibility and openness. This has always been our motto. Building hybrid systems and leveraging the best of the on-premise and cloud worlds will help the transition, drive adoption, and create true value for our customers. Our customers are pragmatic so we have to be inventive.

By Jeremy Waterman, the Managing Director of Sage ERP

Jeremy Waterman

Jeremy Waterman

The Sage Insights 2013 Conference was a resounding success and a true celebration of the mobile revolution and the challenges it poses for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).  More than 250 Sage ERP Africa’s business partners attended, which included 32 partners from East and West Africa.

The opening address focused on the mobile revolution and the challenges it holds for software vendors. It is not really the concept of mobility that is revolutionary, but more the reality of the delivery mechanism that has undergone an evolution.

Himanshu Palsule, Chief Technology Officer and Head of Product Strategy at Sage Group said in his keynote address that in going forward all Sage products will be built with a mobile and cloud strategy in mind. This is not a trend with an end in sight; it is a new way of life.

Benoit Gruber, Vice President of Product and Alliances Sage ERP X3, Product Marketing Europe and Sage mid-market, spoke about the road ahead for Sage ERP X3 and the planned release for version 7.0. This new technology update will make native thin client access to Sage ERP X3 a reality from any device, desktop or mobile.

Sean Mooney, the Head of Research and Development at Sage CRM assured partners that Sage CRM will remain at the heart of integrated business.

A strategic sales summary was delivered by Keith Fenner, Senior Vice President for Sales at Sage ERP Africa. He spoke about the Group’s extraordinary year and said that the success of Sage ERP x3 in Africa continued with triple growth digit growth in 2012. It is an ideal fit for many of the larger companies in Africa.

Another highlight of the conference was the announcement of Parity Software as the winner of the Sage National Solution Provider award for 2012. This is the highest recognition awarded by Sage for excellence in development, sales and technical expertise.

Parity’s managing director, Warren Williams said they are extremely pleased by the fact that after 30 years in business they continue to receive the highest industry accolades and that they still plan to provide top quality business solutions for Sage and other business partners.

Sage VIP’s latest generation product offering, called VIP People is now officially available to all South African companies, particularly for the enterprise market and offers a turnkey integrated payroll, HR and Employee Self Service Solution. “It is powerful, simple, flexible, feature-rich and highly customisable. The solution caters for diverse and often quite complex payroll and HR challenges faced by South African organisations, especially those with a large number of employees,” says Anton van Heerden, Managing Director of Sage VIP (previously known as Softline VIP).

Anton Van Heerden

Anton Van Heerden

Anton continues: “VIP People places the organisation on the forefront of yet another development. Innovation is one of the core values at Sage VIP and therefore we continuously develop software that is fresh, forward thinking and in line with world-class standards. The new offering combines state of the art technology with VIP’s existing, well developed infrastructure. It also effectively incorporates the Group’s extensive experience in the HR and payroll industry, ensuring that companies are legislatively compliant, while keeping focus on business efficiency and value. VIP People is the result of years of interaction with our clients, learning how they operate and incorporating best practices and procedures.”

Van Heerden says, “VIP People is one of the biggest research and development projects the company has invested in for the last five years. Development of the product was completed in August 2011. Systems were then sold into a controlled environment to a small number of companies, ensuring everything runs smoothly before the formal launch of the product.”

The first company that bought VIP People was King Price Insurance. Basil Song, financial director, says: “King Price Insurance embraces innovation and is proud to be the first live customer on VIP People.  We like the fact that the software is scalable, can grow and expand as our requirements change. Secondly, the software is extremely easy to use, I was put in a position where I had to submit Equity reports on short notice and, with VIP’s prompt assistance, was able to submit on time with ease. As expected, VIP lived up to its reputation as being a world class service company.”

Existing customers of VIP’s Payroll offerings will have the choice to continue with their existing software or to buy the latest offering, with full support from Sage VIP resources. The roll-out into Africa is scheduled for 2014.

Some interesting facts about VIP People:

  • Developed in .Net and runs on a MS SQL Server.
  • The real-time design that VIP’s products are known for, is also an integral part of the People system.
  • It employs a friendly and familiar user interface with the ability to customise the working space for each user as they prefer.
  • The payslip can keep track of, and manage details of external payments for example garnishees, bond payments, revenue services, etc.
  • It creates remuneration structures containing all the payroll definitions applicable to a specific individual or group of employees, which streamline processes.
  • Company management is also streamlined. For example, VIP People can create unlimited companies per database and employees’ pay periods can be viewed for two years in advance.
  • Customers can regularly receive all the latest statutory updates ensuring full legal compliance with minimal effort.
  • The reports allow for complex calculations and further manipulation.
  • Multiple Medical aid providers with their various options can be created.
  • The employees’ leave transactions can be viewed on an actual calendar and leave set-up is done according to company specific guidelines.
  • It is built on an extremely secure design which employs best practice principles to ensure maximum security and control.

For more information, visit www.vippayroll.co.za.

By Sandra Swanepoel, Director Sage VIP

Sandra Swanepoel

Sandra Swanepoel

Companies consider replacing their payroll and HR systems from time to time. The reasons may vary, ranging from questions about the technology and problems with service, through to group decisions, mergers or features that lack in current applications. The ten most reasons why Companies, that have been using Sage VIP for many years, continue with our product, are mainly the following:

  1. At Sage VIP CIDCustomer Intimacy Discipline’ means that we deliver world class customer service. This can be attributed to the fact that we invest in customer service training, which uplifts and measures our employee performance on an on-going basis. It is addictive and clients that experience it want more, which explains why 99.39% of our users recommend Sage VIP as the payroll and HR solution of choice.
  2. The biggest cost facing companies is their human resource costs that need to be managed effectively. Sage VIP’s software is designed in such a way that you can manage your ROI per employee or per department with optimum accuracy. The data is available online, in real time at the click of a button which underscores informed decision-making.
  3. How much do you need to know when you want to be a Payroll or HR consultant? At Sage VIP a graduate is given classroom product training for four months, which is followed by supervised practical sessions with the assistance of specialists. Some may consider it to be a bit of an over kill but when you work at Sage VIP you realise just how much a customer depends on your expertise, it can never be underestimated.
  4. Feature rich software sounds so yesterday, yet you cannot invest in anything less than that if you need software that is flexible. It is essentially an investment in the future of your business and if your payroll and HR system cannot cater for the requirements you never thought would happen, it will cost you dearly in the long run.
  5. Legislation is a must for all payroll and HR applications, and often I hear companies say that every payroll calculates tax; but how quickly are legislative changes made available, and does it include all the legislation? Catering for legislative changes means doing it across multifaceted environments and countries, accurately and comprehensively.
  6. Sage VIP walked away with the Deloitte best company to work for award for the third year running in 2012. It means that our employees are challenged and content, which directly translates into longstanding client relationships that are built on integrity.
  7. The infrastructure that Sage VIP offer provides support to companies in remote parts of the country with fully functional offices in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Bloemfontein, Gaborone, Windhoek and Nairobi. It is a key consideration that companies, who are planning to expand their operations across South Africa and Africa, should heed.
  8. Sage VIP’s operational systems such as its national call centre and CRM products are state of the art.  Some may question the value of these systems but it saves time and underpins flawless customer service that will help you solve your query quickly and efficiently.
  9. Innovation is a core value at Sage VIP that defines software that is fresh and up-to-date. We invest in technology solutions so that our clients never need to reinvest in new software.  One of our customers has been with Sage VIP for 23 years, which is unheard of in the industry, yet part of the package at Sage VIP.
  10. Sage VIP has ample resources available that companies can utilise. If you are looking for a payroll and HR administrator that is well acquainted with Sage VIP’s products you can rest assured that there are many expert people available and looking for opportunities.

By Keith Fenner, Senior Vice President of Sales for Africa at SAGE ERP Africa.

Keith Fenner

Keith Fenner

This years’ annual Sage Insights 2013 Conference is taking place from 7-10 February at Misty Hills in Johannesburg and brings together local and international Sage staff, solution providers and third party developers.  The conference serves as a platform for players in the industry to network with the purpose of providing some insight into 2013 and what to expect in terms of trends and product developments in the fields of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Business Intelligence (BI).

An opening address from Managing Director of Sage ERP Africa, Jeremy Waterman, will kick the event into gear on Thursday, 7 February 2013.

Himanshu Palsule, Chief Technology Officer and Head of Product Strategy at Sage Group will address the roadmap that is planned for the launch of Sage 300 ERP, formerly known as Sage ERP Accpac, which is in line with Sage Group’s directive to consolidate its brand name globally.

Keynotes will be delivered by Sean Mooney, the Head of Research and Development at Sage Group, on developments that are expected for Sage CRM in addition to Benoit Gruber, Vice President of Product and Alliances Sage ERPX3, Product Marketing Europe and Sage mid-market, speaking on the road ahead for Sage ERP X3.

The launch of Sage ERP X3 Version 7 is also one of the big announcements scheduled for Sage Insights 2013.  This new technology update will make native thin client access to Sage ERP X3 a reality from any device, desktop or mobile.

For more information visit:  www.sageerp.co.za

By Keith Fenner, Senior Vice President of Sales for Africa at Sage ERP Africa.

Keith Fenner

Keith Fenner

The continued pursuit of mobility will fuel the uptake of Cloud solutions and requests for software on a subscription basis in 2013.

The sales of our solutions in the cloud have doubled in the last year, and I believe it is mostly attributable to the decline in bandwidth costs.  This trend has underscored the uptake of cloud in the last year.  A cloud solution can be tailored to meet the needs and pockets of the user, which makes it adaptable to suit the needs of the organisation.

A trend that will certainly continue to stamp its presence into 2013 is the demand for connected services, especially around service, sales and stock.  The days of spending hours to compile data and to debug excel formulas, are numbered.  Clients want to know what their key performance indicators (KPIs) are at the touch of a button and with a host of cloud enabled Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions you literally need an internet connection and a laptop, tablet, PC or smart phone to review your performance.  Slick and easy to use is the name of the game and that is why the uptake of applications for mobility has mushroomed.

Many vendors with modern architecture have easily adapted to the new challenges of mobility, but not all software is architected to allow for a rapid response to changing market conditions and that is something that the industry will need to work on in 2013.

Mobility will continue to gain traction well into 2013, in addition to the uptake of solutions in the cloud from both a consumer and enterprise point of view.  Devices, applications and social media are revolutionising the way that we communicate and it will have far-reaching effects on the South African IT industry going forward.

By Christophe Letellier, CEO of Sage ERP X3

Christophe Letellier

Christophe Letellier

Choosing an ERP system is one of the most strategic decisions for mid-market companies and their CEOs face a significant dilemma. Should I choose a system for today, or for how my company may look in five to ten years? Should I go for a full system or start small with a limited number of functions? Should I try to cover 100-percent of my needs or only aim for a fraction of them? Do I have to cover all my requirements with one single ERP system? Should I go for a comprehensive, full function system requiring a 12-18 month implementation, or for a simpler system with fewer functions that could be implemented in weeks? What balance will get me the best return on my investment?

I could go on and on with questions that are all relevant, but instead I would suggest reversing the thought process.  Rather than trying to solve all your outstanding issues with a new system, which will usually replace something that you are currently using, I would suggest thinking about how to improve what you already have. All of us would like to aim for the best in terms of ERP software, but in doing so we often ignore the ‘better’ solution.

The value of an ERP system lies in its integration across a company and the data gathered when using it. Start with a modern solution that is well integrated and covers 80-85-percent of an organisation’s functional needs. The last mile is by far the most costly and often the one that has the most problematic ROI.

Why look for perfection when 85-percent would help you make a giant leap in efficiency?  Go with as standard a system as you can to start with. Implementation will be significantly reduced, both in terms of cost (three to five times cheaper) and duration (up to ten times faster, in a matter of weeks). A properly integrated system will immediately make your processes more fluid, improve cross-functional collaboration, reduce operating costs; and most importantly, help you understand what you really need for the next step.

I encourage you to have a look at what our customer, Omega Refrigeration, did. They chose to go standard and not only did the company’s ERP system go live in just 44 days, but it started to see benefits just a few weeks after the implementation. Very soon after deployment, Omega Refrigeration was able to plan the expansion of the system.

One of the biggest mistakes often made is attempting to replicate existing business processes within a new system. It implies significant tweaks in the ERP system through customisation. On top of making life miserable for future upgrades, it also changes the way an ERP solution behaves, severely curbing the benefit that is derived from all the best practices that has led to the development of the built-in processes. Performance can also be dramatically reduced and future evolutions will be more difficult to leverage.

Implementing a new ERP system is a great opportunity to re-think processes. We love to think we are different, and guess what, it’s true! But being different doesn’t mean we are totally unique. Step back and try to honestly define what makes you better and more competitive than your competition.  This is what counts at the end of the day, and you will probably end up with two or perhaps three processes that are really distinctive. At most five percent of your system will recognise this difference, not 50-percent.

This past April, I had the privilege of visiting the Marussia F1 Team in Banbury, England, one of Sage ERP X3’s customers.  I spoke to Kevin Lee, their Operations Manager, and he lives by an expression that I often use, ‘walk before you run’. He applies this principle to everything he does to improve the team’s competitiveness in Formula 1.

Lee enacted this principle when he implemented his new ERP system and succeeded:

  • Implementation time – Eight weeks
  • Number of specific developments to address F1 needs – Zero

Go for standard solutions and after a period of usage, say 9 to 12 months, you will be able to make informed decisions on where to channel your investment to differentiate yourself in the market.  Once that is done, make sure you have as many people as possible using your ERP system.  ERP software is not a specialist play and it is certainly not only for accountants or plant managers. Everyone, one way or another, should use the system, starting with you. This is important because your ERP system will be your decision-making tool and based on the collected data, you will run reports, analysis or even simulations.

These activities will really add value if your database truly represents your business. To get there you need to ensure everyone contributes to it – the experienced and the non-technical alike. You can even open your system to those outside of your own organisation who also contribute to your business. Your customers, your partners and your suppliers can definitely enrich your data set, which will help you make better decisions.

Integration is key.  Integration means encouraging people in different functions to work together. This will open up a new field of efficiency through collaboration. ERP software will help you organise the social nature of your business and support a better, more natural and organised way of collaborating for greater efficiency, better problem solving, but also to promote innovation.

Before running like Usain Bolt, make sure you can walk.

Five tips to choosing the right ERP system:

  1. ‘Start small’ with a standard solution across your company
  2. Progress quickly within a few weeks,
  3. Learn through experience
  4. Encourage usage across and outside your organisation
  5. Make informed decisions for additional investments that will make you more competitive.