Tag Archive: Payroll software


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.

Gerhard Hartman

Gerhard Hartman

Blog by Gerhard Hartman, Head of the Africa Division at Sage VIP

This year’s annual Sage VIP African Alliance Partner Conference is taking place from 11-12 April at Lombardy Hotel in Pretoria. The conference serves as an ideal platform for not only building relationships with our African alliance partners across 12 African countries, but also to share key product developments and assist them with operational challenges.

An opening address from the Managing Director of Sage VIP Africa, Anton van Heerden, will kick the event into gear on Thursday, 11 April 2013.

Ina du Plessis, Research and Development Director, will address the exciting roadmap that is planned for the launch of various Sage VIP products into Africa and Sandra Swanepoel, Sales director, will deliver a keynote about the organisation’s strategic focus for the future.

A highlight of the conference will be the announcement of Sage VIP’s top three African alliance partners for 2012. Our client base into Africa has increased tremendously in the last year and these partners’ contribution has been invaluable.

Sage VIP’s comprehensive partnership program is part of their winning recipe for increasing the footprint into Africa.  Establishing a partnership that works, is however a two-way street. Our partners need to take the first step in certifying themselves through Sage VIP’s training programmes.  It then becomes our responsibility to monitor their growth and development and to aid them as far as we can.  Being able to offer the best possible service to the end-user includes the offering of training to the client, local support and the implementation of a service level agreement.  We provide our partners with regular insightful information, in addition to a monthly webinar where we discuss any issues that may have arisen.

During our recent customer road shows with partners in Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia and Zimbabwe it was once again clear that companies in Africa want to ensure profitability by streamlining their business processes with automated HR and payroll software, which enable them to, for example, email payslips and manage overtime and leave by means of an automated process.

There is still an enormous scope of growth and within the next year Sage VIP’s client base in the rest of Africa will definitely increase. The greatest driving force behind our products remains the ability to offer a service that is compliant to the country’s specific statutory requirements.  Clients want the assurance that their payroll and HR system is compliant with legislation and that their tax documentation is on target.

The African Alliance Conference is the premier event of the year for Sage VIP and its partners. It promises to be highly informative and will provide a great deal of insight into the year ahead.

For more information visit:  www.sagevippayroll.com

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 Anton Van Heerden, Managing Director, Softline VIP and Pastel Payroll

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The debate around whether you are born to be a good leader or whether you can learn to be one has been raging since the dawn of time.  There is however no denying the fact that the success of a business is very much linked to the success of its leaders.  A good leader brings clarity and peace of mind to others by creating a clear vision for a business and leading people towards a common goal.

There are very specific traits that a person should possess to be a good leader.   You must have the appetite for continuous self-improvement and a natural inquisitiveness or thirst for learning that will propel the team into a ‘forward-thinking’ and pro-active mind set.  In the same vein, you must also be able to learn from your mistakes.

Having the ability to really listen to people is key for any business leader, as is the ability to connect with people on their level.  It is however crucial to be self-confident but without being arrogant.  Another particularly important trait is to be able to motivate people in a positive way.  Act in a way that commands respect from others and then respect others as you would like them to respect you.  Be consistent in your actions as it will go a long way in the prevention of confusion, and most of all:  Be trustworthy.

South Africa finds itself in a rather unique situation where social pressure and political agenda often add many obstacles that business needs to overcome in order to tap into the country’s leadership potential.  You literally have to become race agnostic as it continues to be a prevalent contentious issue in the South African landscape.  Access to quality education and training, not only formal training, is another obstacle, and the creation of an effective mentoring and coaching program within any organisation is also something that needs to be carefully considered.

The task of getting people to play an active and solid role in the business starts by nurturing a culture of accountability.  You have to encourage people to take risks, forgive them when they make mistakes and expect them to use their initiative and not merely follow orders.  If you can get that right, you can create a culture where you will be challenged more often, for the better.

A flat hierarchical structure often lends itself to an environment where people are free to use their initiative. In this environment titles are less important and people are expected to speak up. It normally coincides with a more informal culture where process and procedure do not rule supreme but where the workforce is given the freedom to operate within a framework. It does however require a high level of trust, with a diminishing need to closely monitor the people involved. It results in a much more output focused culture where individuals are measured on their outputs delivered, rather than the amount of hours spent at the office.

There is no question that the task of creating a value system for a business squarely rests on the shoulders of the executive management team, which in essence forms the culture of the business.  It guides the collective behaviour of employees and determines the personality of the business. The business leader should be the custodian of the corporate values and should exhibit them through his/her behaviour, to walk the talk as they say.

Values should be the only non-negotiable thing in a business. Your vision and goals might change over time but your values must always remain uncompromised. A business leader should use every opportunity to nurture and grow the value system within the business. For this reason the personal values of people employed by the company should strongly align with that of the business as it greatly contributes in building a strong value system.

There are a great many things to consider when it comes to building a business that is successful and visionary.  It does however start with the business leaders and how they choose to lead their people.

By Karen Schmikl, Legislation and Liquid Product Manager at Softline VIP, part of the Sage Group plc. 

Karen Schmikl

Karen Schmikl

When Softline VIP launched its first online payroll system, Liquid, we never dreamed the uptake of the product would be so astonishing.  One year later, we have 900 clients that have signed up to Liquid, servicing around 8 200 employees.  Liquid is experiencing tremendous growth for a young system and serves as a good example of the increasing shift in the industry towards an online mindset.

At the heart of Liquid’s design, was the development of an online payroll system that is user friendly.  We wanted to make sure that the user did not need a trainer or a consultant, negating the need for human intervention to a large extent.  The fact that a score of clients signed up – online – without even contacting Softline VIP, speaks volumes for the product.

I believe that online offerings will be playing an increasingly larger role in all markets across the board.  The cloud is however far from replacing desktop applications and greatly compliments any desktop offering at present.  The demand is certainly there with clients increasingly showing interest in the use of desktop solutions in the cloud.  A solution that provides more accessibility and something that is not bound to a desk that can be used from anywhere, fits the description of what the market wants.  New technology, such as the launch of HTML5 will further enhance this thinking by making online offerings platform friendly, further mobilising the market to use any device, anywhere.

The beauty of using an online solution is that you don’t need to be a technical IT guru to use the programme, you simply log on.  You actually need to be more tech savvy to load a software programme on your desktop machine or laptop.  Some of our users find themselves in rural areas and having access to a consultant or IT support is challenging, whereas an online offering eliminates the need.  Connectivity does however remain a concern with many outlying areas only having access to 3G, if at all.  Despite the fact, many still prefer an online solution as it makes financial sense.

If you had to look at an online offering purely from a software perspective, you would however be forgiven to think that it is the more expensive option.  But when you consider the bigger picture, it may not necessarily be the case.  Users do not have to worry about antivirus programmes, upgrading hardware, loading software, the running of a datacentre or making back-ups.  It is part and parcel of an online offering in addition to a telephonic support centre for added peace of mind.  It just makes financial sense, making it the ideal vehicle for SMEs who do not have the initial cash flow to afford the software infrastructure needed.

A year ago, very little people knew about online payroll systems.  The enormous growth that we have experienced with our online payroll solution, clearly indicates that the market is considering different ways of doing their business.  The demand for online solutions will continue to accelerate, slowly but surely closing the education gap and the fear of the unknown.

By Sandra Swanepoel, a Director of Softline VIP, part of the Sage Group plc.

Sandra Swanepoel

Payroll software is a mission critical function to any business.  There is a definitive necessity for any business to ensure that all changes, upgrades or installations of a new or existing payroll system are done in conjunction with a service provider that can deliver.

The relationship between the employer and employee is delicate and can easily be derailed if the payroll system should fail.  Making the correct choice is crucial.  The company’s software as well as its internal processes will suffer a major setback if the payroll installation is not done correctly.  The process needs to be underpinned by thorough training and supported by a concrete change-management process that documents all the procedures that need to be incorporated into the payroll solution.

The choice of a payroll system should be made with a long-term objective in mind.  To make this a reality, the company needs to consider the longevity of their payroll software investment.

It is of cardinal importance to ensure that the software is stable.  It is a very difficult aspect to ascertain during a demonstration.  There is however nothing stopping you from asking your prospective payroll software provider to provide you with client names as a reference.  This will help you to establish whether the payroll software that you are considering has a history.  Also ask them how often their software is updated; too many updates will point to an unstable product.

Another crucial aspect to consider is support.  If you install the product now, will the service provider’s support staff be available during peak times?  The company’s financial year-end is generally considered to be the busiest period for payroll administrators.  Support staff are normally flooded with queries or requests at these times and you want the assurance of knowing that your service provider is up for the challenge.

Investing in sustainable technology would be wise.  We live in a fast-paced business environment where technology changes rapidly.  You will want to invest in something that is up to date and current.  A good gauge would be to ask what technology your service provider is using and how often a new product is launched into the market.  If the product is versatile and adaptable, you should not have to change or update your payroll software too often.

One of the biggest concerns in the payroll software industry is leave management.  A company can stand to lose a great deal of money if their employee’s leave is not calculated and managed correctly.  Ensuring that the company’s payroll system operates its leave policy within the parameters set out by the basic conditions of employment act should be a given.  Companies that utilise an employee self-service strategy, often reap the benefits of having an electronic and accurate system that ensures that there are no mislaid leave forms.  It also facilitates a timeous leave approval process.

Having payroll software that is in tune with the country’s statutory changes and legal requirements is fundamental.   Ask whether your service provider keeps track of all the changes in the country’s laws.  Adherence to the parameters of the basic conditions of employment act is crucial to the maintenance of amicable employee relations in addition to complying with legislation.

Making the correct choice when it comes to HR and payroll software is therefore crucial.  Keeping these basic guidelines in mind, will ensure that your company makes a decision that it will not regret.