Tag Archive: Softline Pastel

Pastel Mobility in Motion

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Manage your personal finances online, for free!

Track your spending: Use our expense categories or add your own. Pastel My Money will remember these every time to help you analyse your expenses.
Control your budget: Easily create a budget based on your historical spending. Compare your actual spending to your budget so that you know what is left.
Get total visibility: See all your bank balances and transactions in one place. With Pastel My Money you finally get the entire picture.
Reach your goals: See how your spending decisions affect how much you have left each month. You will know what you can do today to save more tomorrow.



Softline Pastel, South Africa’s leading developer of business and accounting software, today launched a portal for its range of online applications. The platform, known as Sage Pastel Online, provides the entrepreneur on-the-go one central location to access the company’s bouquet of cloud-based business tools, making running a small business a little easier.

Pastel Accounting launched South Africa’s first online accounting program, My Business Online, in May 2009 and since then has brought several online innovations to the local SME market.

“Times have changed,” says Steven Cohen, managing director of Pastel Accounting. “We have entered an age where technology is pervasive, allowing us more mobility than ever – and business has to be part of the revolution to remain competitive.”

The portal can be found at www.sagepastelonline.com and offers online accounting, payroll and marketing services – allowing business owners the freedom to run their businesses at any time from anywhere. Additionally, Pastel’s BEE one-stop-information-hub, BEE123 and brand new free-to-all-users personal finance applications are also available in the same location.

Pastel My Business Online is a full-function accounting program, designed specifically for the small business owner. All accounting lingo has been changed to simple English, so even the layman can manage the business’s books. It’s a multi-user system with dashboards, graphs and drill-downs to source transactions that provide a bird’s eye view of the business. The system allows users to manage customers, suppliers and inventory items and keeps track of sales and purchases. It comes with a comprehensive list of reports so that month-end management packs are quick and easy to create.

Pastel My Payroll Online is a simple payroll solution that allows SME owners to pay their employees anywhere, anytime.  It’s a SARS compliant system aligned to even the most complex legislation, including PAYE and UIF. Users can also process leave online with leave types already defined according to the BCEA requirements. Like, My Business, My Payroll contains no confusing jargon.

Did you know 70% of SMEs don’t have a website, or at least one with limited marketing capabilities or integration with smartphones and social media. Pastel My Webspace is an online marketing engine for SMEs with an HTML5 website builder designed for optimal marketing and e-commerce capabilities. In addition My Brand will manage users’ search engine optimisation, and mobile and social media integration. My Brand effectively integrates everything for the user and provides an all-in-one e-marketing service with analytics, social media insights, and creating and mailing a fully dynamic newsletter with marketing feedback.

“Moving your business applications online is a must for anyone who wants to ensure that they remain at the cutting edge of service delivery,” said Cohen at the launch event that celebrated the mobile business of the future.

As part of Pastel’s drive for business mobility, it has also formed a relationship with Samsung Enterprise Mobility. Selected Samsung devices will now come preloaded with the My Business Online Android app and Pastel is a reseller of Samsung’s SIII, Note and Tablet devices; all preloaded with a year’s free access to Pastel My Business Online. The devices will be available for purchase via the Pastel Webstore.

The submission for manual tax returns has now passed. The deadlines for efiling submissions is the 23rd of November 2012 and in this post we’ll be exploring why it is sometimes necessary to seek out professional advice with your tax return.

There are many examples of incorrect tax returns which have ended in large sums of money being owed to the South African Revenue Service, and even court proceedings.  A recent article on the Moneyweb news website states that in one such case, the tax court in Pretoria had to consider an objection by a tax paying company against assessments issues by a SARS auditor. Of course, SARS had issued this assessment based on the tax return submitted by the company and their accompanying financial statements.

Despite many arguments from the company on if they were suitably qualified to be submitting tax returns on behalf of the business, and other issues, SARS won the case. The court ultimately found that the company had underpaid tax on several fronts and was now liable to pay the outstanding tax as well as the interest on the aforementioned amount.

This is just further proof as to why businesses, large and small, should seek the assistance of professional tax consultants when it comes to that time of the year. The help of a professional might cost far less that the penalties involved in an incorrect tax return.

SARS - SME companies should brace themselves for the interim PAYE reconciliation that is due from 01 September 2012 to 31 October 2012. Employers are required to fully reconcile and submit their employee tax certificates and EMP501 reconciliation for the period 01 March to 31 August 2012, by the end of October 2012.

Employers need to make use of the new SARS e@syFile software release, e@syFile V 6.1.0. to successfully submit their interim PAYE reconciliations. If they don’t, they will not be able to transfer their data electronically as the new software release will not recognise the old format.

“Companies have no choice,” says Philip Meyer, technology director of payroll and HR software developer Softline Pastel Payroll, part of the Softline Group and Sage Group plc.

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 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 with effect from 01 September 2012 companies will be penalised.

“New legislation that took effect in March this year means that medical aid contributions are no longer allowed as a tax deduction for employees under the age of 65. The medical aid capped amounts have also been replaced with Medical Aid tax credits. If companies did not make use of the medical aid tax credit method, their submission will be rejected and they will be required to manually recapture the details on e@syFile”, adds Meyer.

A new IT3(a) reason code for tax certificates has been introduced by SARS for non-deduction of PAYE  and must be applied on interim tax certificates. Code 08 will indicate a zero PAYE liability due to medical aid tax credits applied. There are also new source codes for fringe benefits and tax deductions that must be applied to interim tax certificates, replacing the consolidated values SARS required prior to the 2012 tax year. Most automated payroll software systems already cater for these codes.

Companies can receive step-by-step assistance from a SARS Contact Centre agent with Help-You-eFile. Help-You-eFile is a new service innovation from SARS which gives companies access to SARS Contact Centre agents online.

For a smooth interim PAYE reconciliation, opt for a reputable payroll software solution that can automate the reconciliation process for the company. Some automated payroll software providers require that users only load their employees’ information and payslips. Therefore no manual calculations are requires and companies can simply upload the file to e@syFile.

For further assistance with the interim PAYE reconciliation season, companies can attend the SARS interim submissions seminar, hosted by Softline Pastel Payroll.  Make contact on +27 11 304 4390 or go to seminars@pastel.co.za

Deciding to spend money on a software solution to tighten financial control is a useful and prudent decision for small businesses.  Owners and managers must choose wisely to ensure the solution matches the overall business requirements and that they are not purchasing a solution favoured only by the accountant or IT manager.

Many small business owners often turn to their accountant with the question of what software to use.  In larger companies, the IT department recommends a solution that matches their preferred technical platform and not software that might be incorrect for their financial requirements. This is where issues often arise.

It is vital to find the right software solution that not only details where you have been, but more importantly, helps you to navigate where you are going. By providing both an overview, and then delving deeper into the details, owners are better equipped to evaluate the business environment.

So, how should a SME owner or manager go about choosing accounting software, and who should be involved?  Here are a few tips:

  1. Define your scope and understand your functional requirements
  2. Determine who might be involved in the process and how much you’re able to spend
  3. Match points 1 and 2 to the solutions available in the market.

Since the evaluation process can be fairly lengthy and require time from your team, it is worth narrowing the field as soon as possible and considering in detail those products that are likely options.

Remember, you might not need hefty solutions with a plethora of features. The right vendor will assist you in finding a solution with sufficient functionality to support your company well into the future, assuring far greater fiscal discipline and laying a firm foundation for financial success.

The National Small Business Chamber (NSBC) alongside official sponsor Nedbank, has been promoting the concept of Small Business Friday. The initiative, which culminates on Friday the 7th of September, aims to promote and support small business throughout South Africa.  Literature on the official website states that the future of the SA economy and the solution to unemployment lies in assisting small business to grow and thrive.

This concept has been close to our hearts since the inception of Softline, and as such, we will be supporting Small Business Friday during the course of next week through the posting of helpful tips, hints and advice for small business owners.

As a starting point, we’d like to point out a few opportunities for small business to gain recognition in SA through several awards taking place at the moment. The first of which is the Small Business Awards run by Softline Pastel and 567 Cape Talk. The following was taken from the official press release issued by the awards organisers:

The small business sector in South Africa has the potential to make a significant contribution to economic growth and employment. It is through innovation that better service and increased employment becomes a natural consequence. The annual Small Business Awards in partnership with 567 Cape Talk and Softline Pastel, focuses on supporting and fostering this entrepreneurial culture and have done so since 2008. Entries for the 2012 nominations have now opened.

Once again, consumers are asked to nominate businesses that have provided them with excellent service. From the hundreds of businesses that are nominated, 30 are selected and the business owners are interviewed on either the Kieno Kammies breakfast or the John Maytham drive shows on 567 Cape Talk.

So chat to your customers, let them know about the awards, and then hold thumbs for a nomination. Check out the site at visit www.sba.capetalk.co.za/ for more. Good luck!

The second award to highlight is the National Small Business Champion Awards.  This award aims to recognise the tireless journey of small business success and provides business owners recognition for their outstanding achievements.

The website for the awards  is http://www.nsbc.org.za/index.php?nav=champions and it lists the following criteria for entry:

All service, commercial or industrial companies that manufacture or sell a product or service. Such companies are not allowed to be:

  • Members or affiliated members of a listed group on a national or international stock exchange
  • A government or semi-government enterprise
  • An enterprise in whom government is a stakeholder

Visit the site and get your entry in!

We hope to see you on the blog next week for small business tips and hints. Have a great weekend!

The sales team from Softline Pastel donated their time and year end function money to donate 1800 meals to Stop Hunger Now! The team will go out with volunteers over the next months to help with the distribution of their donated food parcels and see first-hand what difference their donation will make.

The Tax Season commenced on 01 July 2012. Taxpayers can now submit their IT12 Returns for 2012. To avoid fines or penalties, individuals need to file their tax returns within the SARS deadlines, for the period 01 March 2011 to 29 February 2012.

Submission Deadlines

Please take note of the submission deadlines below:

•Manual returns have to be posted or delivered to local SARS branches by 28 September 2012.

•Non-provisional taxpayers may use SARS eFiling until 23 November 2012.

•Provisional taxpayers have more time and may submit electronic returns via eFiling until 31 January next year.


Tax Return Guide 

Visit www.sars.gov.za  to obtain the 2012 Tax Season electronic guide to help with submitting your IT12 Returns.


A Help-You-eFile service will also soon be launched by SARS. The Help-You-eFile service is an innovation that will provide taxpayers with access to contact centre agents while the taxpayer is online. SARS Agents are able to see what taxpayers are doing and assist with the completion of the tax return. SARS has also embraced mobile technology and this year individuals with mobile devices will also be able to file their returns through the new SARS eFiling mobisite (sarsefiling.mobi) or a soon-to-be-launched eFiling application for people on the move using smartphones or tablets.

SARS is also enabling taxpayers to view eFiling videos on YouTube demonstrating 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.



e@syFile™ Employer version 6.0.4 is available to download from www.sars.gov.za. An updated security certificate is included in this release to ensure successful installation. There are no additional changes in functionality.

Taxpayers who may have forgotten their eFiling login or password will be able to request their login name and reset their password from the login page


Find out more from www.pastelpayroll.co.za

BEE123 Panel Debate

By Thulani Fakude - Business Development Executive at BEE123

Thulani Fakude  (BEE123 Business Development Executive) , Kganki Matabane (Director, Transformation and Internal Affairs – BUSA),  Don Mkhwanzi (Member of the Presidential B-BBEE Council), Herman Radali, (BMF JHB Chair)  Saul Symanowitz (BEE123 Divisional Director) and Nkululeko Silimela, (BMF JHB EXCO)

Thulani Fakude (BEE123 Business Development Executive) , Kganki Matabane (Director, Transformation and Internal Affairs – BUSA), Don Mkhwanzi (Member of the Presidential B-BBEE Council), Herman Radali, (BMF JHB Chair)
Saul Symanowitz (BEE123 Divisional Director) and Nkululeko Silimela, (BMF JHB EXCO)

BEE123, a subsidiary of Softline Pastel, hosted its first Panel Debate on the 12 June 2012 entitled “18 years on…has BEE missed the mark”.  Co-hosts for the evening were the Black Management Forum.

The event was massively oversubscribed with approximately 300 guests in attendance.

The panellists’ comprised the following thought leaders in the BEE space:

  • Don Mkhwanazi, BEE Pioneer and Member of the Presidential B-BBEE Council
  • Kganki Matabane, Director, Transformation and Internal Affairs – BUSA
  • Teddy Daka, Executive Chairman, Tedaka Technologies
  • Lerato Ratsoma, Managing Director of Empowerdex
  • Jacob Maphutha, Director of BEE Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement, DTI

The debate was facilitated by respected and prominent journalist and  3rd Degree executive producer Debora Patta.

Debora Patta

Debora Patta

Deliberations on the topic highlighted that, BEE has faced a number of challenges/ shortcomings but remained an essential policy to transform South Africa’s economic landscape. Panellist’s also encouraged companies to move from a tick- box approach to an attitude/culture of transformation that embraces BBBEE implementation as a mechanism aimed at addressing inequalities and mobilising the energy of all South Africans, to ensure that our country  achieves its full economic potential wherein together  we contribute to  sustained economic growth, development and social transformation.

Denis Becket (prominent social commentator and journalist ) with Saul Symanowitz (BEE123 Divisional Director)

Denis Becket (prominent social commentator and journalist )
with Saul Symanowitz (BEE123 Divisional Director)

Moreover, panellist’s sighted an on-going concern that fronting in corporate companies continues to persist. Thereby welcoming changes to the BBEE Act of 2003, as a significant milestone towards ensuring that such negative practices don’t continue to set us back in the pursuit towards the establishment of an equitable society.

Closing on a positive note, Mr Kganki Matabane of BUSA indicated that there has been an increased adoption of BBBEE within various businesses that have demonstrated commitment to transformation and empowerment of its greatest assets; the men and women who selflessly contribute to the sustainability and profitability of these corporations. Furthermore, Don Mkwananzi of the BBBEE Presidential Council commended BEE123 for the tools it has developed towards assisting companies to better understand and implement BBBEE in their respective companies.

BEE123 is a newly launched division of Softline Pastel.

BEE123 is South Africa’s leading a one-stop BEE Portal that offers a complete range of useful tools, software, news, information and BEE network partners ensuring that BEE is easy to understand and implement. Developed using Softline Pastel’s infrastructure, and with a partner network of South Africa’s leading Verification Agencies and BEE service providers, BEE123 is at the cutting-edge of the BEE services industry.

Web: www.bee123.co.za

Email: info@bee123.co.za

Tel: 0861 BEE123 (233 123)

By Steven Cohen, Managing Director Softline Pastel, part of The Sage Group plc.

Accounting in the cloud

Accounting in the cloud is exactly the same as the accounting we’re all used to; the only real difference relates to where the software application is hosted and where the client’s data is stored.

This way of working will not fundamentally change how the core business process is conducted but it will certainly make it easier for businesses to manage their accounting processes, particularly with an increasingly mobile workforce and the growing number of external corporate consultants. Accounting in the cloud gives accountants and business owners alike the ability to conveniently access records and transact from remote locations with little or no advanced setup.

But working online is about far more than just accessibility; the cloud makes the lives of users considerably easier. It removes the need for manual program installations, and the array of associated hassles. It also means that users never have to worry about upgrades or backups as the system will automatically be the latest available version that is, by its nature, backed up as information is saved.

So for those willing to embrace accounting in the cloud, the result will be a streamlined book keeping and accounting process across every client that feeds into a central database and minimises the risk of data errors, or worse, losses. The more tangible benefits are felt when new legislation or tax rate adjustments, for example, simply feed into the system without the cost or aggravation of having to buy and install new programs.

Safe as houses

Our survey also tells us that security concerns are a major driving force preventing the uptake of cloud-based services amongst SMEs. I hear this kind of commentary from our clients all the time. And I repeat myself at every opportunity that security concerns shouldn’t deter users from embracing the cloud because service providers in this sector probably offer better security than regular IT vendors, leaving your vital business information safer in the cloud than on your local network.

For example, the security for our online accounting solution, Pastel My Business Online is iron clad. It includes physical armed security and restricted access to our data centres. We have firewall and intrusion detection with ongoing system reviews to identify possible weaknesses and new vulnerabilities. There are also technologies in place to ensure that if server errors do occur we can minimise downtime. And we back up data daily and store that information in two separate locations.

Making the move

Moving your business applications online is a must for anyone who wants to ensure that they remain at the cutting edge of service delivery. The fact that the cloud assists with streamlining internal business processes is also a good reason to make the move!

While users remain apprehensive about all of their data and activities taking place in what they consider to be cyber space, I’ve started recommending a hybrid approach to tackling the move online. A less scary approach is to keep certain applications on your actual server while others run in the cloud. This allows users to remain in control of the majority of their work but can slowly familiarise themselves with the way online services work.

I would suggest that there is one of two ways to split the application locations. The cloud is either for the mundane yet necessary activities that end users spend disproportionate amounts of time getting right on their own or for highly specialised services that require outside expertise. The heart of the system –client and financial data – should sit on your mainframe in the office.