Tag Archive: Sage VIP


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.

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

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

Ansie Snyders, Head of the Department for Training and Seminars at Sage VIP

Ansie Snyders

Ansie Snyders

Sage VIP has announced the launch of an e-learning option to its already comprehensive package of training solutions. E-learning is an online solution that enables a user to complete the outcomes of a specific learning program in their own time and pace.

It made business sense to develop an online training solution which is innovative and aligned with world-class technology. According to a 2012 Internet Access in South Africa study, conducted by World Wide Worx, the South African Internet user base had grown from 6,8-million in 2010 to 8,5-million at the end of 2011. World Wide Worx also forecasted in the same study that the strong growth would continue during 2012, and the Internet user base would pass the 10-million mark by the end of that year. Further to this point, the way in which we interact with technology every day is changing and it influences all aspects of our lives, including the way we learn.

E-learning is a cost-effective solution, saving on class fees and travel costs. However, it still requires a commitment from the learner in terms of time and actual completion of the course. The online assessment is an added benefit to Sage VIP’s e-learning solution and at completion of the course; students will receive a certificate of competence.

Furthermore, because this is online training you will need access to a computer with internet connectivity. Once you have registered for the e-learning workshop, a login name and password provided by Sage VIP, will allow you access to the specific workshop.  To be able to complete the course, you will also need Adobe v4.0.1.

Although the training is done online, it will still be practical, interactive and use real-life examples. Sage VIP’s e-learning tools will include online reading material and limited use of video, basically guiding a learner through the relevant screens of the payroll module. There will also be interesting exercises to test the understanding of specific topics and the learner will receive supporting documents for reference purposes.

In conclusion, Sage VIP’s e-learning will make the subject matter come alive in a way that textbooks and the classroom cannot.

In the 2013 Budget speech, Finance  Minister, Pravin Gordhan, emphasised that one of Government’s most pressing development challenges is to expand work opportunities for young people: “There has been extensive debate on how this should be done and the answer is that a wide range of measures are needed, including further education, training, public employment opportunities and support for job creation in the private sector.”

Learnerships help young people to obtain a formal qualification, while gaining relevant workplace experience. While there are many benefits to the prospective learners, there are also advantages to the employer implementing the learnership. Employers have the peace of mind that their employees are not away from the office for extended periods of time and while they are away, they are improving their relevant work based skills to be more productive and efficient at what they are employed to do.

In 2002, the Government introduced a Learnership Allowance Incentive, for employers to:

  • Encourage job creation by reducing the cost of hiring and training employees through learnerships
  • Promote skills development
  • Encourage human capacity development

However, there is a very specific legislation that guides the process and it poses certain challenges. Tax Talk spoke to Rob Cooper, tax expert and Director of Legislation Updates and Proposed legislation at Sage VIP, part of the Sage Group plc, about some of the recent changes made to the Learnership Allowance Incentive.

Cooper says: “To encourage employers to participate in learnerships, an allowance in the form of a deduction from the company’s taxable income has been available for many years. To qualify for the learnership allowance, employers must register the learnership with SETA. There is a R30 000 allowance at the start of the learnership, and a further R30 000 upon the successful completion. The value of the actual incentive has always been influenced by the when the learner is registered and the learner’s failure to complete. However, with new legislation introduced in January, the scenario will change.”

Cooper explains: “In the past, the allowance (deduction) was only allowed during the year in which the learnership agreement was officially registered with SETA.  For a variety of reasons, registration often takes a couple of months and this resulted in reduced value.”

“In future, employers will no longer have to register learnerships from the moment of the inception. A learnership will be deemed to have been registered for the duration of the agreement that falls within the employer’s year of assessment. However, it is necessary that the learnership is registered within 12 months after the year of assessment.”

“The second issue relates to failure to complete. In the past, the allowance was not granted if the learner previously failed to complete a prior registered learnership of similar nature to the new learnership.  Typically, the employer was not aware of prior learnerships (i.e. the information was not easily accessible or the quality of the information was not reliable, as it is dependent on feedback from other employers). Attempts to obtain this information also delayed the registration process.”

“In future, employers will no longer have to find out details of the individuals’ learnerships entered into with other employers.  Learnership allowances will only be refused if the learner failed the same type of learnership with the same employer (or associated institution).”

”Implementing a learnership programme within your company will definitely contribute to job creation, especially for young people. However, it is important to keep track of all the legislative changes.  Make sure that your company is operating within the parameters of the basic conditions of employment and its legal requirements. It is crucial to being a responsible citizen,” concludes Cooper.

For more information, employers are invited to attend the Sage VIP, Payroll and Tax Seminar. You can book your seat at:  www.vippayroll.co.za.

Rob Cooper is a tax expert and Director of Legislation Updates and Proposed legislation at Sage VIP, part of the Sage Group plc. 

Rob Cooper

Rob Cooper

“Changes proposed to South Africa’s Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), Labour Relations Act (LRA) and Employment Equity Amendment Bill (EEAB) will have a significant impact on how employers conduct their business in 2013,” says Cooper.

“In the draft Employment Equity Amendment Bill (EEAB), specific attention should be paid to the concept of equal pay for work of equal value, which can result in a new form of unfair discrimination.”

Cooper explains: “In cases where employment conditions, including remuneration, are applied differently to employees who do the same or similar work, then the employer must be able to show that the differences are based on fair criteria such as experience, skills, responsibility and qualifications. If the employer cannot do this, the differentiation would constitute unfair discrimination.”

“In practice it would mean that if a company employed factory workers on a permanent basis and at times of high demand took on additional workers from a labour broker and they worked side by side doing the same job, then both permanent and labour broker-supplied workers must be paid at the same rate,” says Cooper.

“Because the employer must pay the labour broker his fee on top of the wages for the workers, the result will be that brokered labour will cost more than permanent labour. This is logical and the premium that the employer must pay for flexibility.”

“Importantly, the intention is to align the Employment Equity Act with other general labour laws that need to be applied in cases where an individual supplied to a client by a labour broker is seen as an employee of that client.  One can only assume at this early stage that these employees, supplied by the labour broker, will have to be included in the client’s equity plan as well as in the labour broker’s equity plan.”

“The draft Employment Equity Act further changes the way in which companies implement affirmative action. According to Cooper, the groups of people who benefit from the affirmative action provisions will be limited to those who were South African citizens before democracy (April 1994) or to those who were prevented by the policies of apartheid from becoming citizens before 1994, and their descendants. This means that the employment of foreign nationals or those who became citizens after the democratic era (April 1994), will not assist employers to meet their affirmative action targets.”

Employment Services Bill

According to Cooper, the Employment Services Bill is another very important piece of legislation for employers to be aware of as it moves towards finalisation.

“The overall intention of this brand new piece of legislation is to empower the Department of Labour to provide a comprehensive range of employment services (free of charge) to members of the public in an attempt to achieve the Government’s objectives of: more jobs, decent work and sustainable livelihoods.  Any initiative that reduces unemployment is to be welcomed,” says Cooper.

The Government is aiming at making employment services open and accessible to all. This includes the following:

  1. Registering work vacancies and seekers, matching resulting opportunities, and facilitating the placement of seekers with employers or other work opportunities.
  2. Provision of advisory services for training, social security benefits, dealing with vulnerability, vocational and career counselling, assessment of work seekers to determine suitability, and improving work-related life skills.

UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund) legislation

Changes to the UIF legislation have been pending for quite some time and will hopefully move through Parliament towards the end of this year.  Broadly, the proposed changes envisage increasing the value of the UIF benefit, as well as extending the grace period during which benefits can be claimed, from 6 to 18 months,” says Cooper.

He says there is also an intention to remove certain exclusions of which there are no details but hopes that this will include the exclusion of commission from the remuneration on which the contribution is calculated, which results in commission being excluded from the value of the contribution and the benefit.  Unemployed people, who were earning a low basic salary plus commission, are negatively affected by a benefit that is in line with only their basic salary.

Cooper is encouraging employers to attend Sage VIP’s Payroll and Tax Seminar in March and April 2013. “The seminar is regarded by many as a definitive guide to the changes in payroll and tax legislation and we endeavour to present it in a practical and interactive manner that does not focus on the legal aspects alone. The presentation will also aim at communicating future trends that will impact payroll and HR,” said Cooper.

The annual budget speech delivered by the Minister of Finance is often viewed with a healthy dose of foreboding by payroll administrators across the country. Sage Pastel Payroll and Sage VIP, regarded as experts in the field of HR and Payroll, will collaborate and embark on a countrywide roadshow during March and April 2013 at various venues throughout South Africa to provide guidance and support to payroll and tax practitioners and financial personnel. The seminar will be presented by Rob Cooper, a payroll tax expert at Sage VIP and part of the Sage South Africa.

“The seminar is regarded by many as a definitive guide to the changes in payroll and tax legislation and we endeavour to present it in a practical and interactive manner that does not focus on the legal aspects alone. The presentation will also aim at communicating future trends that can impact on payroll and HR officers,” said Cooper.

Topics to be covered at the Payroll and Tax Seminar will include:

  • A comprehensive review of the 2013/14 Budget Speech
  • Proposed changes and new legislation in Tax Administration
  • Possible impact of changes on businesses
  • How to be compliant with the legislation and remain one step ahead as a Company

Attendees will also take home a comprehensive, yet practical workbook for later reference.

Dates and Venues:

1, 20, 27 March: Sage Conferencing (Woodmead, Gauteng)

4, 12 March, 15 April: Emperors Palace (Boksburg, Gauteng)

5 March: Quest Conference Centre Vanderbijlpark

6 March: Windmill Casino (Bloemfontein)

7 March: CSIR Gauteng (Pretoria Gauteng)

8 March: Silverstar Casino (Krugersdorp)

11 March &16 April: Centurion Lake (Centurion Gauteng)

13 March & 9 April: Gateway Hotel (Umhlanga)

14 March: Grand West Casino (Goodwood, Cape Town)

15 March & 10 April: Sanlam Head Office (Cape Town)

18 March: NMMU (Port Elizabeth)

19 March: Garden Court Hotel (East London)

11 April: Golden Valley Casino (Worcester)

19 April: Meropa Casino (Polokwane)

22 April: Emnotweni (Nelspruit)

For more info, email: info_seminars@sage.com

Proudly brought to you by Sage Seminars
Powered by Sage Pastel & Sage VIP

Sage VIP’s latest generation product offering, called VIP People is now officially available to all South African companies, particularly for the enterprise market and offers a turnkey integrated payroll, HR and Employee Self Service Solution. “It is powerful, simple, flexible, feature-rich and highly customisable. The solution caters for diverse and often quite complex payroll and HR challenges faced by South African organisations, especially those with a large number of employees,” says Anton van Heerden, Managing Director of Sage VIP (previously known as Softline VIP).

Anton Van Heerden

Anton Van Heerden

Anton continues: “VIP People places the organisation on the forefront of yet another development. Innovation is one of the core values at Sage VIP and therefore we continuously develop software that is fresh, forward thinking and in line with world-class standards. The new offering combines state of the art technology with VIP’s existing, well developed infrastructure. It also effectively incorporates the Group’s extensive experience in the HR and payroll industry, ensuring that companies are legislatively compliant, while keeping focus on business efficiency and value. VIP People is the result of years of interaction with our clients, learning how they operate and incorporating best practices and procedures.”

Van Heerden says, “VIP People is one of the biggest research and development projects the company has invested in for the last five years. Development of the product was completed in August 2011. Systems were then sold into a controlled environment to a small number of companies, ensuring everything runs smoothly before the formal launch of the product.”

The first company that bought VIP People was King Price Insurance. Basil Song, financial director, says: “King Price Insurance embraces innovation and is proud to be the first live customer on VIP People.  We like the fact that the software is scalable, can grow and expand as our requirements change. Secondly, the software is extremely easy to use, I was put in a position where I had to submit Equity reports on short notice and, with VIP’s prompt assistance, was able to submit on time with ease. As expected, VIP lived up to its reputation as being a world class service company.”

Existing customers of VIP’s Payroll offerings will have the choice to continue with their existing software or to buy the latest offering, with full support from Sage VIP resources. The roll-out into Africa is scheduled for 2014.

Some interesting facts about VIP People:

  • Developed in .Net and runs on a MS SQL Server.
  • The real-time design that VIP’s products are known for, is also an integral part of the People system.
  • It employs a friendly and familiar user interface with the ability to customise the working space for each user as they prefer.
  • The payslip can keep track of, and manage details of external payments for example garnishees, bond payments, revenue services, etc.
  • It creates remuneration structures containing all the payroll definitions applicable to a specific individual or group of employees, which streamline processes.
  • Company management is also streamlined. For example, VIP People can create unlimited companies per database and employees’ pay periods can be viewed for two years in advance.
  • Customers can regularly receive all the latest statutory updates ensuring full legal compliance with minimal effort.
  • The reports allow for complex calculations and further manipulation.
  • Multiple Medical aid providers with their various options can be created.
  • The employees’ leave transactions can be viewed on an actual calendar and leave set-up is done according to company specific guidelines.
  • It is built on an extremely secure design which employs best practice principles to ensure maximum security and control.

For more information, visit www.vippayroll.co.za.