Tag Archive: Sage South Africa


All RSA companies are required to submit their SARS interim PAYE reconciliation that is due from 01 September – 31 October 2013, including their employee tax certificates and EMP501 reconciliations for the period 01 March to 31 August 2013.

Employers also need to ensure they make use of the latest SARS e@syFile software release, which they can download from the SARS website, www.sars.gov.za. Without downloading the software companies will not be able to successfully submit their interim PAYE reconciliations and transfer the data electronically to SARS.

Philip Meyer, technology director at Sage Pastel Payroll & HR, says legislation dictates that each and every employee in a company must be registered on the SARS database with their own tax number. Therefore individual income tax reference numbers must be reflected in the SARS interim PAYE reconciliation. If one or more tax certificates do not include the tax reference number, companies will receive an error notification in e@syFile and will be penalized.

Companies using an automated payroll software solution can obtain employee tax reference numbers via bulk ITREG functionality and the e@syFile Employer system to simplify the reconciliation.

Another important requirement for companies is to comply with new legislation pertaining to employees making use of company vehicles leased by their employer. Meyer says the fringe benefit value is the rental contract plus the fuel cost for the month. However, the rental contract must be classified as an operating lease.

“New source codes were also introduced in the event that the employer pays a lump sum to the family of a deceased employee. The first R300 000 of the lump sum is tax free but the portion exceeding R300 000 is taxed by way of a SARS directive and the lump sum must be reported against code 3922 and the PAYE on the lump sum must be allocated to code 4115.

Meyer adds that companies can receive step-by-step assistance from a SARS Contact Centre agent through the SARS Help-You-eFile, a service innovation introduced by SARS to give companies access to SARS contact centre agents online.

“Use of a reputable payroll software system will result in a smooth interim PAYE reconciliation, as the software will automate the reconciliation process for the company. Some payroll solutions require only that users load their employees’ information and payslips. Therefore no manual calculations are required so that companies simply upload the file to e@syFile.”

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

Microsoft Excel is the universal language of business and accountants and most decision-makers in small to mid-sized businesses use ‘the king of spreadsheets’ in some way for reporting. In fact, research analyst Gartner has conceded that “Excel is still the number one reporting tool”[1]. Why then, would you want or need to use Sage Intelligence, a Business Intelligence (BI) tool, and not just Excel for your business reporting?

Let’s begin by answering this question with some more questions: Can you say with conviction that you have a clear view of your company’s performance? Do you have visibility of MTD and YTD sales year on year? Can you see, whenever you want to, how your profitability or cash flow is tracking? How about top 5 customers, expenses, or salespeople

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Annelie VisserAnnelie is the National Sales Manager for Sage VIP. She is responsible for growing the organisation’s market share in all segments, from small start-up businesses to large and corporate enterprises.  “Being part of a team that is innovative and successful is rewarding and the launch of new products makes my day to day work-life fulfilling and stimulating,” says Annelie.

 

Annelie believes the challenges she faces every day are not any different to those of her male counterparts.  “Things have definitely changed over the years and when you do good work it is about your output and not your gender.”

Her secret to a healthy work-life balance: If you love your job, it is possible to balance your responsibilities at work with your family duties.  It is all about priorities and staying focused. I always ensure that I spend quality time with my daughter when I get home and when she goes to bed, I will attend to work matters, if necessary. It also helps to have a good support structure, seeing that I am a single mother.

“To be employed gives women economic freedom that allows them to take charge of their own life and destiny, as well as making a difference in their workplace,” says Annelie.

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

If there is a conflict of opinion with a person or department within the organisation, try not to get over emotional and rather step out of the content, refocus on the issue at hand and always strive for common goals and purpose.

Jenny Venter

Jenny is an Organisational Development Specialist at Sage VIP, who helps clients  overcome any human capital challenges.In 2010, her  passion for starting new things gave her an opportunity to start the Organisational Development Consulting unit.

Jenny’s secret to a healthy work-life balance: I spend 30 minutes every morning reviewing my principles in life and answering for myself the following three questions: “It is important for me to not only spend quality time with my clients, but also with family and friends and to take some time for myself to recharge and reflect on my daily experiences.”

 - What values am I willing to be punished for?

- What results am I trying to achieve?

- Which activities today will have an 80% or greater impact on results?

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

·    Come to work with an attitude of curiosity and willingness to be challenged

·    Be fearless without losing your feminine touch. Who you are, determines the quality and effectiveness of your leadership.

I believe Peter Block said it best: “The delivery vehicle of my expertise is my humanity.” 

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

With the official launch of the Tax season on 01 July 2013, taxpayers once again need to file their tax returns within the SARS deadlines if they are to avoid fines or penalties.

Manual returns must be posted or delivered to local SARS branches by 27 September 2013 while non-provisional taxpayers may use SARS eFiling until 22 November 2013. Provisional taxpayers have more time and may submit electronic returns via eFiling until 31 January 2014.

Philip Meyer, technology director of Sage Pastel Payroll & HR, encourages taxpayers to start getting their tax documentation into order as soon as possible.

“They should start gathering proof of contributions to Retirement Annuities or private pensions and medical schemes, investment income, dividends and lump sum payments as the earlier the return can be finalised and submitted, the better. Rather be well prepared and avoid the stress that accompanies the last-minute rush.”

Taxpayers receiving remuneration of less than R250 000 may choose to not submit an income tax return. However, they need to meet the following criteria: their remuneration must be from a single employer and for a full year of assessment (1 March 2012 to 28 February 2013), no allowance was paid from which employees’ tax was not fully deducted and no further deductions need to be claimed or income declared.

SARS announces its tax season every year and it is during this period that individuals must submit their annual return.

On Monday (01 July 2013) the individual tax filing season was launched by SARS and on the first day,  the SARS eFiling website struggled to handle the volumes of eFilers logging in to file tax returns.

“Thousands of returns were filed on Monday and the volume may have caught SARS by surprise. Traditionally, taxpayers prefer to wait until the last few days of the filing season to get their tax returns done and this is normally the time we expect the eFiling website to start stumbling under the pressure,” said Meyer.

SARS has acknowledged via their website that they are aware of the technical difficulties being experienced by eFiling and that their technicians and service providers are investigating the network issues.

If you want to confirm whether you are one of the individuals exempt from filing this year, access the following link from the SARS website, http://bit.ly/15a37Gp

SARS has adopted a more user-friendly approach and has published a Tax Season 2013 electronic guide that can be easily accessed on the SARS website www.sars.gov.za enabling an electronic version to be quickly downloaded.

Taxpayers are being offered SARS assistance with their returns through a number of channels to ensure that tax returns are submitted accurately and on time with minimal effort. A Help-You-eFile service has also been launched by SARS.

“The Help-You-eFile service provides taxpayers with access to contact the call centre agents while the taxpayer is online. Agents are able to see what taxpayers are doing and can assist with the completion of the tax return,” says Meyer.

SARS also caters for mobile technology, enabling individuals with mobile devices to file their returns from their smartphones and tablets.

“Taxpayers will also be able to view eFiling videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to register for eFiling, complete and submit the IRT12 tax form, accompanied by supporting documents if these are required. SARS has said that eFilers will receive their ITA34 assessment and statement of account within a few minutes of submitting the return.”

Finally, taxpayers who may have forgotten their eFiling login or password will be able to request their login name and reset their password.

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

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.

Jenny Venter

Jenny Venter – Consulting Manager for Organisational Development at Sage VIP

Jenny Venter – Consulting Manager for Organisational Development at Sage VIP

Sage VIP recently hosted the p2t HR Conference for HR and Organisation Development (OD) practitioners. The conference was a true learning experience and an excellent opportunity for practitioners to discuss, debate and clarify the meaning of integration between people, processes and technology.

In his keynote address, Marius Meyer, the CEO from the South African Board for People Practices (SABPP) said: “It is important for the HR profession to be guided by formalised and specific standards.” According to Meyer the current draft standard of practice will be finalised before the end of 2013. He encouraged the HR community to contact the SABPP and provide their input to the draft document.

Frank de Beer, Industrial Psychologist at Sage VIP, encouraged a debate around the impact of broken job structures on HR. He said: “Job structures are unique to every organisation and the key is to ensure that it supports the organisational purpose.”

Jason Bonehill, Industrial Psychologist at Sage VIP, challenged practitioners to critically consider the meaning of performance management for their organisations. During a workshop, practitioners continued to explore the challenges in moving performance management from practice to culture. The major themes that emerged during this session, as the delegates shared their experiences, were that management support is the key to driving a performance culture.

Karen Ekron, Head of Recruitment Consulting at Sage VIP, provided a comprehensive presentation on the challenges of selecting and implementing technology within the recruitment space and shared how the South African context can influence these technology decisions. According to Ekron it is important to be clear on what you want to achieve with your recruitment technology. “Recruiters usually need a combination of software solutions and it is therefore important that they ensure compatible technology platforms in the recruitment space,” said Ekron.

Dr Louise van Rhyn, Founder of Symphonia for South Africa, a non-profit organisation, who leads and initiate projects that are intended to engage South Africans in the process of nation building, was also present. She shared the ‘partnership for possibility’ leadership programme with practitioners. “The goal of this national change project is to achieve quality education in South Africa by 2022. The main elements of the programme include the partnering of business leaders and school principals in a co-learning and co-action partnership and 113 business leaders in South Africa are already making a difference to the quality of education of approximately 94,000 children, by partnering with school principals,” said van Ryn. “The programme is accredited by the University of the Western Cape and can be included in skills development and BBBEE reporting.”

Otto Pretorius, principal thought leader and director at QBit, a Business Consulting Company, led a debate on the link between strategy, the operating model, practices, processes and tasks. Organisations often attempt to fix broken organisational processes with technology, without understanding the underlying causes of the dysfunction experienced. Pretorius commented: “Technology can’t fix a broken business; it just makes broken things happen faster.” In order to ensure that HR processes are integrated, HR practitioners need an operating model for HR that can be translated into an HRIS. Pretorius introduced practitioners to an HR operating model called Standard Integrated People Practices (SIPP), which is accredited with the SABPP. SIPP is a work centric model where all processes flow from an understanding of work in the organisation.

Pretorius explained: “When studying HR processes a significant realisation is that HR is not a sequential process. It is a vast network of intertwined business processes that can be triggered in what seems to be a random order.  Understanding current and future requirements of work, how we define levels of accountability, define output, competency models and pay models (including grading) all integrate through a proper understanding of work. SIPP is a framework that allows HR practitioners to create this integrated understanding of work and processes in the organisation.”

Renate Landman, Executive Coach and Facilitator, representing The Human Edge and Worldsview Academy, introduced practitioners to the Influencer Change model. Landman shared case studies where some of the most challenging behaviours have been changed by identifying the end result, designing the few vital behaviours that will produce that result and leveraging six sources of influence that create an environment where it is easy for people to engage in these vital behaviours. Landman explained: “The Influencer model was designed after decades of studying individuals who achieved sustainable behavioural change in challenging environments and who had the data to prove the change.”

Craig Yeatman, CEO from Worldsview Academy (an organisation that specialises in Organisation Development) facilitated a workshop titled ‘the Establishment and Adaptation Landscape’. At the session practitioners could not only network with other professionals, but also debate in detail the true meaning of organisation development.  Practitioners had the opportunity to walk around on the Establishment and Adaptation (E&A) Landscape of Organisation Development and plot organisational issues. Yeatman explained: “Unlike other change frameworks, the E&A Landscape of Organisation Development simultaneously and appropriately works with the human and the organising systems. The E&A Landscape is made up of 25 fields – each of which is a unique aspect of the organisation in a unique phase of adaptation, providing a platform for intervention selection and monitoring over long periods of time across multiple interventions.”

The p2t HR Conference was a true community of practice for HR and OD practitioners, allowing them the opportunity to engage with each other, share their experience and challenging them to think differently about their organisational challenges.

For more information about the presentations, please visit: www.vippayroll.co.za