Tag Archive: Laurica Kok


Some of the major challenges facing small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa are limited sales, access to finance, managing cashflow and competition from large businesses.

Laurica Kok, general manager of Sage Pastel Payroll and HR, says the business arena is increasingly going mobile with Cloud computing and big data both structured and unstructured. This is driving payroll and HR industries to provide affordable and online solutions as well as self service and connected services offerings to businesses and business partners alike.

“Users will buy if they are given what they need. As business increasingly embraces mobile technology we endeavour to stimulate our business partners and their vendors to change their mindset and meet the mobility challenge head-on. Mobile solutions are in demand in the South African market.”

Kok adds that mobility, affordability and accessibility any time anywhere for business-to-business or business–to-consumer are the future and futurist applications are the way to make your personal and business life easy.

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.

The solution 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 or smartphone connection.

At the click of a button the online applications of employees can be updated to the desktop application, providing a beneficial application for employees and business owners, payroll administrators and HR managers.

With connected services, the payroll desktop solution provides users with the best of both worlds (desktop and online), by making use of frictionless automated update technology. Frictionless updates enable traditional desktop applications to seamlessly update over the internet with minimal intervention from the end-user. Businesses no longer need to download and install updates from a website or use CD versions to manually update their software. The software now does it all for them, directly from their payroll software – as long as businesses have an active internet connection.

Another component of connected services is RSS Feeds. Payroll administrators, HR managers, business owners and business partners can view RSS Feeds directly on their desktop payroll system. This allows the business to receive information, notifying it of legislative and tax changes as well as new system software releases, ensuring the business stays on the right side of the law.

Sumay Dippenaar, marketing manager at Sage Pastel Payroll & HR, said a company’s logo is no longer its brand. “According to futurist Pieter Geldenhuys, customers and employees are the brand. It is all about credible recommendations. Consumers know an advertising message may not be accurate and is purely aimed at encouraging people to buy a product. Traditional media are likely to be seen as less credible advertising mediums. In a recent survey only 3% of respondents said the advertising message is seen as very accurate.”

It is important that business partners build their personal brand and use it as a vehicle to generate more sales. An affordable marketing discipline to build a business partner’s personal brand is public relations, complemented by general online visibility such as suitable social media platforms, to name but a few.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The conventional channel structure is being revolutionised by technology in an ever-evolving environment that requires channel partners to adapt to ongoing change and add value in new ways.

Laurica Kok, general manager and channel manager at Softline Pastel Payroll, part of the Softline and Sage Group plc, says technology and payment plans are driving the restructuring of rebates and subscription pricing is rapidly becoming a reality for software vendors. Technology and the Internet are playing a big role, bringing in online products that are changing the playing field.

“Technology is enabling do-it-yourself as opposed to services, with the internet as the key element in changing the way that organisations conduct business. Pastel Payroll’s channel partners have been very active in terms of sales but technology is ringing in changes that are leading to the structuring of new incentives for channel parters.

“The adoption of what many consider to be commoditised uses for the internet is seen as a steady evolutionary process and the switch from legacy desktop applications to the cloud is proving to be a gradual adoption rather than a rush to jump on the bandwagon.”

Pastel Payroll has started introducing new functionality and is making use of frictionless updates that enable traditional desktop applications to seamlessly update over the internet with minimal intervention from the end-user of the software.

“Customers no longer need to visit a website to download and install updates manually and install CD versions, the software now does it all for them. The days of CD-based updates and disruptive installation and implementation cycles are over,” says Kok.

“Generally accepted standard online applications – those which many people are comfortable using on a daily basis such as internet banking and online flight reservations systems, news feeds and social media sites are all being complemented by steady streams of new online business applications and services. The younger generation has a strong affinity with online business and payroll solutions, eliminating the traditional support and assistance models. Pastel Payroll has to keep up with the times and offer customers a variety of software solutions.”

“The technology boom has driven structural changes to evolve with the new trends and we have seen major movement towards subscriptions, monthly payment options and the development of a pay-as-you-go environment as longer term budgeting is increasingly implemented. We have had open discussions with channel partners regarding this changing environment as it requires different incentive structures,” said Kok

Traditional channel programs used to involve an upfront payment and an annual licence fee structure.  However, increasing numbers of customers are feeling the economic pinch and looking for monthly payment options with budgeting becoming longer term. “Pay as you go is also becoming a popular option with customers,” concluded Kok.