Tag Archive: business South Africa


Sandra SwanepoelSandra is the Sales Director at Sage VIP and she is strategically involved in the management of the business as a whole.  She is responsible for business development of new markets by growing Sage VIP’s market share across all market segments.  “My career is jam-packed with many highlights, such as the launch of several innovative products and the growth of Sage VIP from a small family business to a business with 730 employees and a customer base of more than 26 000 customers.”

According to her, women in a corporate environment will always be faced with equality challenges. “However, we should recognise our differences and use it to rather build on the many talents and strengths woman indeed can offer in the workplace. This mind-set has helped me to never really experience the differences as challenges, but rather as opportunities to do things differently.”

Sandra’s secret to a healthy work-life balance: I believe in exercising daily and to also participate in various running and cycling events – small or big. This is something I treasure and it has had an amazing positive impact on my life because it ensured wonderful friends and relationships, something which has kept me well-balanced in my career.

Sandra’s advice to other women in a corporate environment:

·         Be confident and approachable

·         Never stop the learning process, be inquisitive about everything. Ensure you are up to date with business and technology issues by reading regularly

·         Surround yourself with strong, optimistic and positive individuals.

·         Always be true to yourself, no matter what

·         Work hard, always give your best and work as if the business is your own. You will then feel a sense of achievement

·         Be passionate about the company you work for. My passion has really given me an amazing career

Anja Hartman

Anja is the HR Director of Sage VIP and she is responsible for the Human Capital within the company with a specific focus on maintaining Sage VIP’s status as an employer of choice. “I love the feeling when I can help people reach their potential and in my role as head of HR, I have the privilege to see it happen regularly.”

“As women, we tend to take things personally at work, while we should rather aim at having a positive attitude and mind-set. I also rely on the principle of straight talk. One should rather deal with a tough conversation than try to avoid it. I have learnt in life to talk tentatively, makes a huge difference in ensuring that a message is positively received.”

Anja’s secret to a healthy work-life balance: Plan ahead, be prepared and organised. Allowing myself some me-time leisure also ensures I have enough stamina to face all my responsibilities at work. I believe that – ‘life is short, live it’ – one should aim to have balance in all areas of life – body, mind and spirit.

Anja’s advice to other women in a corporate environment:

·         Choose your attitude – It is irrelevant what you face, it is all about how you decide to think and react to the situation

·         Excellence is not a habit; it is a way of life – Do whatever you do to the best of your ability; be it doing homework with the kids or sitting in a meeting at work

·         Define your dreams and take responsibility for making it happen – I also believe in continuous learning, so ensure that you read and grow as a person

Karen Schmikl

Karen Schmikl

Karen is the Business Manager for Sage VIP’s online business. She is responsible for not only designing the software but also needs to manage its marketing, sales and support functions. “I have been part of the Sage VIP team for 12 years and during this time I have had the privilege to work in various departments, giving me exposure to different aspects of the business. My job is fulfilling, with various aspects keeping it interesting and challenging,” says Karen.

“Working in a corporate environment is challenging but you need to take responsibility for ensuring that you have knowledge, expertise and experience in your field of business. This makes it easier to show you can make a difference as a woman and it will also instil a culture of respect amongst fellow colleagues. However you will need patience and perseverance,” says Karen.

According to Karen, the corporate environment is very much driven by a male energy and usually emotions do not have a place in the work environment. “It remains a challenge to stay in touch with your female energy, while managing yourself in your work space. It is not all about being emotional, but rather about tapping into your intuition and making that work.”

Her secret to a healthy work-life balance: It should be as important for you to ‘achieve’ at home, as it is at work. I always ask myself what my kids and husband would say about me if they had to give me an annual performance review. Ensure you have a healthy outlet to stress. You are one person doing different things. The balance is found within yourself – everything that is important to you needs attention. Work is very much part of one’s life, you cannot see it as something separate, so it should form a healthy part of your life.

Karen believes in doing a job that you love and can do well. “Money is important, we need it to survive, but what we do for our money is our choice, so make it a good choice.”

Karen’s advice to other women in a corporate environment:

·         Always remember what your values are and use that as a basis for how you work

·         Look for recognition within yourself – decide what is important for you, what you want to achieve and how you are going to measure it. It can make you miserable waiting for external recognition

·         Be fair, be honest and be true to yourself

·         Always respect other people, and yourself

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 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.

By Anton Van Heerden, Managing Director of Softline VIP, part of the Sage Group plc.

Anton Van Heerden

Anton Van Heerden

Softline VIP clinched the title of ‘2012 Enterprise of the Year’ during the recent Capital City Business Chamber (CCBC) awards dinner.  The awards aim to pay homage to excellence within the Chamber’s membership base.

The Capital City Business Chamber was established in 2008 with the purpose of being a facilitator as well as a hub for business support and networking interaction in order to encourage business development within the greater Tshwane (Pretoria) region.  The CCBC focuses on marketing and networking efforts, strives to make a difference in its community and assists with business related information and support.

As a proud member of the Capital City Business Chamber, Softline VIP participated in the Chamber’s annual awards dinner and we are absolutely delighted with our new title.

On a winning streak, Softline VIP was also announced as the winner of the 2012 Deloitte Best Company to Work for Survey’s business and professional services category.  We continuously strive to identify practices and strategies that not only benefit our business but our people too – both employees and clients alike.  People are at the heart of our business and titles such as the CCBC 2012 Enterprise of the Year tells me that we are doing it right.  It will certainly take our search for excellence to new heights.

The judging of the CCBC award was done independently by chamber business partners.  The award took four major elements into consideration that comprised of entrepreneurial ability, marketing skills, the product or service offered by the contender and the management skills of the enterprise.  We proved to be the top contender amongst participating members such as ATA Training, the Waste Group, DFR Engineers and Legal Nexus.