Tag Archive: Charles Pittaway


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

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 Charles Pittaway, Managing Director of Softline Netcash

Charles Pittaway

Charles Pittaway

There’s a story about the owner of a fancy private art gallery in London, who was once asked why he went to the trouble of treating even the scruffiest student who walked through his doors with the same courtesy as a rich and well-known buyer.  “You never know who they’re going to marry,” he replied. “Or who they’re going to be.”

There are plenty of consultants out there who will give you exactly the opposite advice about customer service today. 20% of your customers account for 80% of your revenue, they will say.  Treat that 20% like gold: offer them special deals, ask their opinions, remember their birthdays and pamper them with golf days.  The other 80%? Do as little as you can get away with and hope they go away.

This is not really an exaggeration. Here’s a professor of management at Rice University in the US, approvingly describing what happens at a large bank:  “Though customer satisfaction is important, the goal is to increase customer and corporate profitability… First Union estimates that its ‘Einstein’ system will add at least $100 million to its annual revenue. About half of that will come from extra fees and other revenue from unprofitable customers, while the rest will flow from pampering preferred customers who might otherwise leave the bank.”  The rich pay less, and the rest pay more, in other words.

I suspect most people reading this article have experienced being on the wrong end of this calculation.  Whether it’s a bank, a cellphone company or a restaurant, we’ve all been overlooked in favour of someone with a bigger (apparent) bank balance.  “We’re only interested in your money,” these businesses are telling us. “The more money you have to give us, the more attention we will pay you.”

This is not a classy way to treat people. Even worse, it’s not good business. Customer X may not be worth much today, but you have no idea who her friends and family are.  She could be the one who refers your biggest client of the year. And then again, where might Customer X herself be in five years’ time?  And when she finally makes that big deal, who is she going to take her business to – the people who saw her potential from the start, or the ones who only started paying attention when she had cash?

At First Union Bank, customer profiles are flagged red, yellow or green so service representatives know how well to treat them. At Netcash, we’ve made sure our service staff have no way of telling how big a client is – we want every client to be the most important one we have.

I’m with the gallery owner. If you care even the slightest bit about serving your customers well, you will treat every one with exactly the same care and respect. It shouldn’t matter how much money they’re worth to you today.