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Accounting & Payroll

Paying Yourself First

Are you one of those entrepreneurs whose business makes money, but at the end of the month, you don’t seem to?

Donna McCallum




Do you pay yourself first?  Or do you pay yourself the ‘scraps’ left over once everyone else has been paid?

You have probably heard of the “Pay yourself first” concept, but the key question is, do you apply it?

As an entrepreneur, I know full well how it feels to pay everyone else first and then have nothing left for myself at the end of the month.  I did it for a few years on my own entrepreneurial journey.  After awhile it doesn’t matter how much you love your work or your business, if you are not paying yourself a good salary and paying yourself first you will be left feeling resentful and unhappy.  Neither of these emotions are productive for a thriving business.   Ask yourself…

  1. Who cares the most about this business?
  2. Who works the hardest in this business?
  3. Who is the most passionate about this business?
  4. Who has taken the risk on this business?

The answer, of course, is YOU and that is why YOU need to be paid first.  Without you – your passion, hard work and talent – the business wouldn’t exist. Thus you need to be rewarded first.

The moment you prioritise yourself in your business, is the moment that you will begin creating wealth for yourself through your business.

The question most entrepreneurs (who don’t pay themselves first) ask is “but what if I can’t pay my bills at the end of the month?”

The answer:  You are an entrepreneur and you’ll make a plan.

Some of your creditors may need to wait a week or two, but you will make a plan. I have experienced with the “Pay yourself first” phenomenon, once I started paying myself first the amount of money coming into my business increased to allow me to easily pay all my bills at the end of each month. I have observed this phenomenon it with many people who have done my Money Magic program too.  I can’t explain why, but prioritizing yourself attracts more money.I prioritise my payments in this order

  1. Pay myself first
  2. Pay taxes second
  3. Pay my lifestyle third (budgeted and within my means)
  4. Pay my business expenses last (and pay them in order of priority most important service provider to least important service provider)

You started your business with the goal of making money and creating wealth for yourself.  It is time to do so.  No-one else has the job or purpose of making you rich and wealthy.  That’s up to you.  If you don’t put yourself first, no one else will.

Upcoming Courses

Money Magic Seminars in October

In October, Donna McCallum  (aka The Fairy Godmother) is doing her 3 hourMoney Magic Seminars around the country to empower YOU create real wealth.

During the session you will learn about your relationship with Money, why you have the current Money Habits you do and how to change them into empowering habits to create real wealth.

Cape Town – Tuesday 11 October 18h45 – 22h00

Johannesburg – Thursday 13 October 18h45 – 22h00

Durban –  Saturday 15 October 10h15 – 13h30

Price: R200

To book your place go to: or call 084-207-0202 or email

Donna McCallum is also known as the Fairy Godmother. She has helped thousands of people in South Africa, the UK and the US focus on their dreams and goals. She is the author of The Fairy Godmother’s Guide to Getting What you Want and runs empowering 12 Week Money Magic Online Programme to help people transform their relationship to money. Prior to being a Fairy Godmother, Donna was a successful entrepreneur having started, built and sold businesses in media and marketing. For more info on Donna and the Money Magic courses, visit the Fairy Godmother website.

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  1. Ann Williams

    Sep 29, 2011 at 10:25

    Sorry but I really do feel that the first obligation that you have as a business owner is to pay your staff first. You have made a contract with them and being out of integrity with them will do more damage than not paying yourself a full salary ever will.

  2. Haroun Kola

    Sep 29, 2011 at 11:42

    Thankfully I don’t have ay employees. we should all be independent contractors!

    • Ann Williams

      Oct 8, 2011 at 08:07

      Yes, it’s a responsibility. I think Donna is aiming at the entrepreneur who is ‘owned by’ their business rather than being a ‘business owner’. It seems to be a case of striking a balance between being a slave to one’s business (where everyone else’s needs come first) and not being responsible for others…
      I sorry that I won’t be able to attend this particular session because Donna’s reputation is awsome! She also runs what looks like a really cool online course so that anyone from anywhere around the country can still get the benefit of her wisdom (and fun attitude) about money – even if they are not in one of the main centres where she holds these introductory sessions.

  3. dyambu1

    Sep 29, 2011 at 14:14

    It now makes more sense to me. I will adopt the concept with immediate effect (although I may need an overdraft to pay my staff second. They are just less important than me but hey they are as well). Thanks for the eye opener!

  4. Josef

    Mar 25, 2012 at 17:04

    Pay yourself first is a great financial model to adopt, but many of those people who talk about this model seems to miss the obvious thing that makes it workable: decrease spending, increase profit and THEN take the increase in profits out of the business as a “pay yourself first” transaction. I once heard an expression that said that you first need to create space in order for success to happen. Well, in this case you need to create the profit space first, before you can pay yourself first (or pay yourself more). It’s pure common sense. There is no need to leave any creditors, employees etc waiting for weeks. Just change the situation so that everyone recieves their fair share of the money pie. When it comes to taxes: you can still pay taxes first and take your cut after that. If you can´t take your cut after taxes, then you need (once again) decrease your supplier spending or let some employees leave their job, BEFORE you pay yourself first. It seems like you somehow go on hope. “I pay myself first and somehow I will afford to pay creditors later”. That doesn´t sound like a rational plan, my plan is. You can´t act on hope, but you can act on pragmatic plans. People who have a well thought-out plan have no need for hopefulness.

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Accounting & Payroll

Technology In Accounting – Race For Relevance

Change is not just coming, it’s already here and the rate of change is growing exponentially.






Change is not just coming, it’s already here and the rate of change is growing exponentially. The recent research from ACCA around the race for relevance talks of six key technologies (Analytics, Artificial intelligence, Cloud computing, Cyber, Social and Robotic process automation), likely to present opportunities that challenge our traditional ways of working to all businesses, including SMEs – as well as their finance function.

The report explains that whatever the size of the business, technology change is having an impact.

It is imperative for SMEs to understand these technologies and start to, at least, plan. Failure to capture opportunities runs the risk of businesses being marginalised.

Technological advances provide finance functions with significant opportunities to play a valued role in maximising the organisation’s strategic ambitions and in how it is evolving. Not of all the key technologies may be relevant to all immediately, however, understanding which of them apply and can deliver value, is important.

Related: Want To Know Your Numbers? 3 ACCA Accounting Online Courses Your Can Take For Free

In this corporate race for future relevance, recognising the opportunity is essential.  Organisations are in a race to remain relevant to their customers and communities. Adapting and embracing technological changes in business is critical. Companies who leverage new technology well are going to win big in business. If CFO’s are to remain in decision making roles the need to understand the importance of data analytics is crucial. Businesses need forward thinking CFO’s who:

  • understand how to use the information available to them to provide strategic insight in real time;
  • capture, measure, report and predict future performance in a much more agile manner to support better and quicker decision making;
  • ensure they have in place effective and efficient processes that satisfy the overall business requirements of finance.

This is not to say that there is one approach. No single model fits all finance teams but there is an overall direction of travel. However, its not enough to become more efficient, but finance function must assist businesses to make decisions based on the right data. To achieve the goal of transforming the finance function, the CFO needs an understanding of the emerging technologies and the opportunities available. The CFO must ensure that there is sufficient governance of the data sources, be these internal or externally generated, to provide insights based upon ‘one version of the truth’.

Related: 4 Accounting Online Learning Courses From ACCA You Can Take For Free

In realising the finance technology strategy, it should be remembered that this is often a partnership between the Information Technology (IT) team and the finance function. As business partnering has affected the relationship between finance and its customers so the same process can be replicated in the relationship between finance and IT.

By 2020, organisations are expected to gain $1.2 trillion in business from their slower-to-adapt peers. How do you, as the accounting professional, influence this today? How do you work with IT to thrive in this age of change?


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Accounting & Payroll

Can Computers Replace Human Accountants? We Doubt They Can

People remain paramount to the accountancy profession despite advanced modern technology and artificial intelligence. But accountancy is no longer just about financial statements and tax returns.






“The secret lies in embracing the technological advances without sacrificing the values and ethics that sustains and defines the profession,” says Jeanne Viljoen, Project Director: Practices at the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).

“Don’t fear technology – embrace it and use it wisely. By embracing technology, the profession can provide deeper insight to their clients while helping them understand the rapidly approaching ‘new normal’ for business operations.”

The radical transformation of accounting

“It is no secret that accounting has been radically transformed by globalisation, digitisation and a growing amount of technological integration into business operations.

External disruptors, like the use of big data, the cloud and distributed ledger technology also affects the profession, but computers will never replace human interaction or advice.

Computers and algorithms may increase accuracy and can crunch numbers and vast amounts of information at increasing speed, but they have no feelings and cannot learn common sense or the ability to plan creatively. They also cannot deploy human judgement or professional scepticism,” Viljoen continues.

Related: From Local To Global: Bruce Mackenzie CA(SA) Shares Top Tips On Being A Successful Entrepreneur

This, paired with a human accountant’s technical knowledge and adherence to a global Code of Ethics and international standards applicable to certain types of engagement, offers vast new potential for accountants to accurately interpret data and develop insights that will underpin more valuable strategic recommendations for their clients.

The focus of accounting is changing

“While traditional services will continue to remain an important part of what accountants do, the focus will be different. The biggest benefit of using artificial intelligence (AI) instead of manual bookkeeping, is probably the time it frees up for accountants to provide strategic advice to businesses and organisations.

Real-time accounting can help small to medium businesses to take decisions when needed instead of waiting for months for financial statements.”

Correct analysis of business data is exactly what gives a business a competitive edge and help generate a higher profit margin.

“If, for instance, your company sell products online, software that enables you to determine when your customers are most active online will help you determine the best time to market to them. The correct technological systems and software can make your business lean and mean and will enable a total overview of your business at the press of a button.”

Related: Financial Management and Accounting Support for SMEs

This can prevent relatively small problems like absenteeism on certain days and over claiming on business trips to turn into big crisis situations.

“This is exactly where accountants will continue to play an important advisory role, because they are trained to analyse risks, and spot outliers, exceptions and trends.”

Accountants can also assist businesses and organisations with cyber security and successfully navigating their digital landscape, helping to avoid cyber fraud and the theft of personal information.

The future of accounting

Viljoen also referred to twelve predictions about the future of the accountancy profession made by Rob Nixon, an internationally renowned accountancy expert. These are:

  1. Compliance will be completely commoditised, meaning less “human” time spent on ensuring compliance.
  2. Cloud accounting will be installed in more than 90% of small- and medium-sized entities, because more and more people want their data and information on their mobile devices.
  3. More than 90% of accounting firms will have cloud practice management, as it improves efficiency and mobility and lowers operating costs.
  4. Coaches and consultants – even non-financial – will become competition for tomorrow’s accountant.
  5. Clients will be more transient because of cloud accounting. All that is required for data to be captured is a login code. This will result in tighter and more enduring relationships between client and accountant.
  6. Offshore teams will be more prevalent – cloud computing will enable your teams to work anywhere.
  7. Compliance prices will plummet, new systems costs will be reduced and financial reporting will be current.
  8. Marketing and sales skills will be needed – with commoditised services comes price pressure and new low-cost entrants into your market. Accountants will need to differentiate and give compelling reasons as to why clients should stay with them.
  9. Young people will not buy into staid and boring systems – they are not interested in old-fashioned systems/equipment and offices. Instead, they will be tech-savvy and will want progress faster than ever before.
  10. There will be no more time-based billing, but rather a valuation of the intellect that has taken many years to develop.
  11. The role of business advisor will result in more than 80% of an accountant’s revenue, as accountants can add a huge amount of value when they know the facts. Spending less time on compliance services will mean that an accountant will have more time to truly live up to the trusted advisor status that they deserve.
  12. Advanced technology will mean that clients are finally served properly with real-time data, resulting in the accountant adding real value to the business.

In the light of all of this, it is important for small to medium businesses to look critically at their digital strategy, she concludes. “You don’t need to buy the biggest, most expensive accountancy system. Look at your cash flow and needs and invest in a system that can grow with your business. Your accountant will be the best person to advise you on this.”

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Accounting & Payroll

Save Your SME Money With A Good Payroll Management System

Not only does an efficient payroll system enhance staff morale and boosts your reputation, it can also save your business significant costs.






Payroll solutions are designed to help hone the strategic focus of your business’ HR department, by shifting HR and payroll managers’ from paperwork to developing and motivating employees.

“The biggest potential saving comes from full compliance with tax and labour laws and regulations,” says Ania Strydom, Compliance Specialist at Sage. “Avoiding the massive costs of fines, interest and penalties that a company risks if it doesn’t comply.”

Here are her tips for conducting payroll, saving money on a good system, and pitfalls to avoid that most SMEs don’t see coming:

Choosing a viable payroll management solution

  • Look for a scalable product that can grow alongside the business
  • Find a solution with full local support that is kept up to date with relevant labour and tax laws for the markets where the business operates
  • Make sure the vendor has a proven track record and local reference sites
  • Ensure that the solution is built on flexible modern technology that accommodates today’s trends — mobility and the cloud, for example
  • Consider a solution with integrated employee self-service functionality.

Related: Brand And Marketing: Finding The Balance For SMEs

Vital considerations when conducting payroll

  • Ensure that the payroll department consists of people with a good knowledge of payroll and the required skills set to ensure success and compliance with payroll
  • Instil a payroll environment that does not need regular review
  • Conduct regular payroll compliance audits to ensure compliance minimises the risk of exposure.

How a good payroll management system actually save you money

  • Using automated payroll software with employee self-service functions can help organisations save time as it diminishes the need for manual data capture, calculations, reporting or returns
  • Rest easy knowing that automation reduces the possibility of human error, allowing businesses to focus on strategy, customers, and employee engagement rather than on red tape
  • Payroll can help businesses understand how employees are contributing to profitability, what resources are needed, the cost for major projects, and identifying gaps or surpluses in their human capacity
  • The risks of payroll fraud and incorrect payments are reduced by giving managers better visibility into transactions, providing an audit trail, and providing a set of controls, checks and balances
  • The biggest potential saving comes from full compliance with tax and labour laws and regulations – avoiding the massive costs of fines, interest and penalties that a company risks if it doesn’t comply.

Related: SME Leaders: How You Can Manage Growth

Avoid payroll errors SMEs typically make

  • The use of manual solutions due to tight budgets. They should instead, look at affordable, cloud-based solutions that are priced per payslip per month instead
  • Failing to enforce separation of duties. Different people should have responsibility for capturing payroll data and for managing access to the system as well as adding and removing employees from the payroll. Another person checking that the numbers add up could reduce risks of fraud and error
  • Not keeping abreast of changes to tax and labour laws such as the Employment Tax Incentive.

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