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Start-up Guide

How To Write A Business Plan

A useful guide on how to write a business plan.

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An international study showed that only 42% of small-business owners actually took the time to write a formal business plan, but of those who did, more than 69% said it contributed greatly to their success.

It’s no surprise that most experts and financial institutions advise those thinking of starting their own business to put together a comprehensive business plan first.

Related: Business Plan Format Guide

But before you put pen to paper, there are a few vital exercises you need to go through to ensure your business idea is a viable one.

Step 1: Researchresearching-a-business

The business you plan to start might be in an industry you have some experience in or it might be totally new to you, either way you need to do in-depth research into the industry and market to make sure you fully understand how it operates.

Your research should include understanding the dynamics and forces affecting the industry, the preferences and characteristics of your target market, insight into how many competitors are already operating and the quality of their product or service, finding out who you could partner with to start the business, how your product or service will be created and delivered and how it is different from those that already exist, and identifying a profit and operating model for the business.

Some of the sources you can turn to for this information include:

  • The Internet
  • Industry experts and associations
  • Suppliers who play a key role in the industry
  • Existing competitors in the industry
  • Interaction with member of your team.

Step 2: Stress-test your business concept

Many people are infatuated with their new business idea before they have properly evaluated whether it is worth the time and money they need to invest in it.

An idea should be stress-tested before producing and selling it.

  • Technical feasibility: When considering the technical feasibility you need to know if the technology for your product or service is available or still in development, what possibilities are there that the end user might not want to use your technology and what other technologies could becoming competition in future.
  • Market feasibility: The market feasibility refers to the actual need for what you are selling, how large is the market and how fast it is growing. You need to know who your customer is, what their needs are and the advantages and disadvantages of your product or service over the competition.
  • Financial feasibility: You also need to determine the financial feasibility by determining what the sources of revenue for the business are, what the major costs are for the new business, is there a good profit margin, what capital is required to launch the business, how long the business will take to break-even and you should develop best-case and worst-case scenarios regarding your cash flow. If you are using your business plan to apply for funding, the funder will also want to see that your cash flow will adequately cover your running expenses and enable you to re-pay their loan.
  • Team feasibility: When looking at the team skills you will require to get your business off the ground, you should identify how many people it will take to make your business happen, what cost they will come at and develop a timeline for staffing if your budget does not enable you to hire staff immediately. If you intend to run the business by yourself then determine the skills and expertise you will require (marketing, sales, financial, etc). If you are not equipped with these skills, you should consider bringing a partner on board, outsourcing and/or up-skilling yourself.

FREE Business Plan Template Download.

Step 3: Refine your business concept

Based on the findings from your research and once you have stress-tested your idea, you may have identified weaknesses or opportunities.

The findings will allow you to refine the business idea so that it fills any gaps in the industry, meets market demands, is different from competitor offerings, leverages relationships with partners and suppliers and is financially sustainable.

Step 4: Writing the business planWriting-a-business-plan-in-south-africa

While a business plan doesn’t automatically guarantee success, it does assist an entrepreneur to avoid many of the common causes of business failure, including undercapitalisation or an inadequate market-share.

Related: Sample Business Plans

While there is no universal business plan template, plans generally include the following sections:

1. Table of Contents

This features the main headings of the business plan and their page numbers for easy reference. Finalise this section last to ensure the numbers are all correct.

2. Executive Summary

The executive summary is a summary of your full business plan. It contains the summary highlights of each section of your. It should also describe the company, provide details about management and their strengths, the business objectives and why it will be successful, and if the business needs external funding, how much is needed, and how it will be repaid. The executive summary is written last and should not exceed two pages in length.

3. General Company Description

This is where you give an overview of the company and the business it engages in. It should include the company’s name, mission statement, goals and objectives, and strengths. If you have a register company name, trademarks, patents, BEE credentials and/or a VAT number include those details here.

4. The Opportunity Industry & Market

Based on the research you conducted prior to writing the business plan, you will discuss the opportunity you have identified, the ‘gap’ that exists in the market. You’ll need to detail why this gap exists, how you identified it and how you will fill it. When writing about the industry you must answer questions about the ‘barriers to entry’ (how easy or difficult it is for future competitors to enter the same market and offer the same product or service as you do), who the customers are and the influence they have over prices, who the suppliers are and their influence over the prices, who the competitors are and how strong their products or services are and the major changes affecting the industry.

Regarding the market you need to state the total size of the market, what percentage of the market share you will have, and major trends.

5. Business Model

The business model you choose will be a strong determining point of the future the success of your business. Your business model must include information on what your companies offers in terms of products or services; what makes your offering unique; who you sell them to; and how you make your money.

You need to take into consideration the source of revenue, the major costs incurred in generating revenue, the profitability of the business, the investment required to get the business up and running and the critical success factors for the model to work.

6. Strategy

Discuss how your business will compete in its specific market. You need to explain the strategic choices you have made including the focus of the business, how you will create a unique and valuable proposition, what is unique about your business and what value there is for customers. You must also include your plan for how you intend to enter the market and grow your market-share.

7. Team: Management & Organisation

You will provide a breakdown of the people in the business. It should include a list of founders including their qualifications and experience, a description of who will manage the business, and an organisational chart if you have over 10 employees.

8. Marketing Plan

This should provide details on your marketing strategy based on your market research. The marketing plan should include important marketing decisions about the product or service and the value thereof, a detailed description of the target market, the product or service’s positioning, the pricing strategy, the sales and distribution channels and the promotion strategy.

9. Operational Plan

An explanation of the day-to-day operation of your business. It should include the business’s operating cycle, where the skills and materials will be sourced from, if anything is to be outsourced and how you will manage those relationships, and the cash payment cycle.

10. Financial Plan

The financial plan is an overview of your business’s financial future. You should back up the main features of the financial plan with accurate financial projections. The most important information to include in this section includes start-up expenses and capitalisation, a 12-month profit and loss projection, a 12-month cash-flow projection, a projected balance sheet at start-up and the end of years one and three and a break-even calculation.

11. Appendix

This section contains any supporting documentation you think the reader would want to refer to and could include brochures and advertising, industry studies, blueprints and plans, maps and photos of locations, articles, lists of equipment, contracts, letters of support from future customers, market research studies, and detailed financial calculations and projections.

Related: (Video) Business Plans for Dummies. It’s Easier Than You Think. 

Take Note:what-to-put-into-a-business-plan

While writing the business plan it helps to be cognisant of the following:

  • Business plans vary from one organisation to the next as well as the reason for the business plan. If you are writing the business plan to submit to a bank or other institution for funding you should contact the institution beforehand to find out what their specific requirements are for business plans. If you aren’t looking for funding your plan will look different and there should be a focus on cash flow.
  • If you are using your business plan as a tool to attract funders, partners or suppliers, the executive summary is the section that will be viewed first. The contents of the summary therefore must make a good impression and clearly demonstrate opportunity and viability.
  • Some entrepreneurs are concerned that those who read it could steal their ideas presented in the business plan. While some experts say this really isn’t something to worry about since it is the execution of an idea that is most important, if you believe your plan contains proprietary intellectual property, you should take steps to protect your ideas by registering trademarks and/or patents.
  • Using visuals like graphs, tables, diagrams and photos will capture readers’ attention. If you are communicating technical or complex ideas use a graph, table or diagram to increase the likelihood that the information will be read and understood.

Common Mistakes:

  • If you are presenting your business plan to third parties, ensure have corrected all spelling and grammatical errors. It is a good idea to give it to someone with strong language skills to edit it for you. Spelling mistakes make a bad impression.
  • There are many people who offer to write business plans on your behalf. This is not the best route to take as the process of putting the plan together will identify areas that need further research and help you determine the viability of the idea. It will help you know your business inside out, which is especially essential when presenting to potential investors.
  • If you don’t have a strong financial background, you can get assistance from someone who has, but be sure to let them explain the different aspects of your business’s financials. They will help you by pointing out key areas like payment terms and cycles, cash flow and any other discrepancies in your plan.
  • One of the most common mistakes people make is in creating unrealistic and over-optimistic projections. You must spend enough time collecting relevant and realistic figures for your financials. As a rule of thumb, experts recommend that start-ups halve their revenue projects and double their expenses.
  • Don’t make the business plan too long. In general it shouldn’t exceed 25 pages as this puts people off reading it. If you have more than 25 pages, cut out unnecessary information and include it in the appendix.

Related: Business Plan Examples to Get You Going

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.

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Start-up Guide

What You Should Include In The Partnership Agreement

How to create a formal written partnership agreement.

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When taking on a business partner, it is critical to have a formal, written partnership agreement. While this is not a legal requirement, it does provide a framework for the partnership in terms of everyone’s obligations, settling conflicts, disagreements and other issues that could occur. The agreement is needed for the wellbeing of the business.

Create your written partnership agreement with the assumption that anything that can go wrong with your partnership will. Friction between partners over things such as money, power or ego frequently undoes business relationships.

Related: Developing Partnerships With Fintech Innovators

Your partnership agreement should prepare you for all possible “what-if” situations, and set methods for resolving them.

You can save money by drafting your own version of the key parts of your agreement, then taking it to your firm’s attorney to be reviewed, clarified, modified and finalised. It is important to have an attorney review the contract.

These are some of the key areas you should include in your written partnership agreement:

writing-a-business-plan

1Partnership Agreement Basics

  • What is the name of the partnership?
  • What is the purpose of the partnership?
  • What is the duration of the partnership?

2Responsibilities, performance and remuneration

  • What is each partner’s role?
  • What are each partner’s responsibilities within the company, and what level of performance is expected?
  • Are partners expected to make a full-time commitment to the venture, or are business activities permitted?
  • What will be the income of each partner, and how will profits or losses be distributed?

3Contributions

  • What will each partner be contributing to the partnership in terms of cash, assets, loans, investments, and/or labor?
  • If a partner loans the company money, what will be the terms or repayment?
  • Will the business partners be expected to make additional contributions to the partnership, and if so, how will that be handled?
  • Withdrawal of partners/admission of new partners
  • What guidelines should be followed if one partner wants to leave the partnership?
  • Will partners be allowed to sell their interests in the business to outsiders?
  • On what grounds can a partner be expelled from the partnership (misconduct, non-performance of duties)?
  • How will new partners be admitted to the partnership?

Related: 10 Questions To Ask Before Committing To a Business Partner

4Buy-out procedures

  • What guidelines should be followed if one partner wants to retire or leave the business partnership?
  • What happens if a partner is incapacitated or dies?
  • Will the partnership take out “key man” life insurance to ensure the surviving partner is able to buy the deceased partner’s shares from his/her heirs?
  • Will partners who leave have to sign a non-compete agreement?

5Dispute resolution

  • What methods will be used to settle disputes that can’t be otherwise resolved?
  • What procedures should be used in the event of a tie vote between partners on crucial partnership decisions?
  • Will you use mediation or binding arbitration?
  • If disputes can’t be resolved, is there a mechanism in place for dissolving the business partnership?

6Financial arrangements

  • What banking arrangements will be made for the partnership?
  • Which partners will have check signing privileges?
  • Who will be authorised to draw on the partnership’s accounts?
  • How will the books be kept?

Related: Essential Elements of Working with a Business Partner

7Method for dissolving the partnership

  • When can the partnership be dissolved?
  • What happens to the partnership if the partners decide they can’t work together?

8Valuation

  • What methods will be used to determine the value of the business in the event of a sale, dissolution, death, disability or withdrawal of a partner?

9Useful resources

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Start-up Guide

Do You Speak Start-up?

The start-up dictionary for every budding entrepreneur.

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Venture capital in South Africa is starting to take hold. With a host of venture funds, section 12J companies, incubators and start-up clubs being launched, start-ups are becoming more popular and investors are encouraged to consider these new opportunities.

Chris Ball, an investment analyst at AlphaWealth and a co-founder of Fincheck.co.za, a financial comparison fintech start-up, explains the colloquial jargon of venture investors and start-up entrepreneurs.

Chris wrote this ‘dictionary’ initially to educate AlphaWealth’s high net worth clients about the start up world so that they could consider becoming investors.

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]

Angel investor

An angel investor is generally someone who provides seed capital to a start-up in its infancy. In South Africa, there are a few well known angel investors. However, most entrepreneur’s first funds are generally received from family and friends who believe in the idea.

Resource: How to find an angel investor to back my business idea? 

[dropcap]B[/dropcap]

B2B, B2C, P2P

Business to business – This describes a business that is targeting another business with its product or services. This type of service is also known as enterprise technology. Salesforce would be a great example of this technology.

Business to consumer – describes a start-up that sells directly to consumer.

Peer to peer – is a platform concept, where the technology matches buyers and sellers. One of the earlier peer to peer technologies was Ebay. Today, the peer to peer platform has evolved to incorporate finance institutions such as Lendico.

Bootstrapping

This is a concept where founders pool their own capital resources to get the start up as far as possible before looking for external funding.

The term comes from “pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps”. This mindset links directly into the lean start up methodology.

Related: 6 Tips For Bootstrapping

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]

Disruption

Both technology and business models can be disruptive and is defined when a start-up disrupts the current market place by displacing old businesses and winning market share. Outsurance and Uber have disrupted the insurance and personal transport businesses.

[dropcap]E[/dropcap]

Entrepreneur

This is someone who starts a business or venture, assuming all potential risk and reward for his or herself.

[dropcap]G[/dropcap]

Ground floor

This is the start of a venture where a founding team have enough to illustrate the concept but are yet to execute the initial steps of their plan.

[dropcap]L[/dropcap]

Lean start-up methodology

The lean start-up methodology, is a business thesis that was founded by Eric Reis. The business methodology is based on the practice of testing multiple small iterations in an effort to find the product, design or user experience or even business model that is best adopted by the end consumer.

Read more on the Lean start-up methodology here.

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]

Incubator

An organisation that helps develop early stage companies. Generally this help is offered in exchange for equity. The Israeli start-up ecosystem has some of the best incubators where they offer workspace, networks and guidance.

[dropcap]M[/dropcap]

Moonshot

‘Go big or go home’ – this is the impossible idea that a team wants to accomplish. The term was originally coined when John F Kennedy challenged American scientists to get a human to the moon.

[dropcap]P[/dropcap]

Pivot

A company that changes its business direction as a result of a dead end or the ability to use their technology in a more significant way. Instagram was originally a location check in service before pivoting to become a photo sharing application.

Pre-money and post-money

Post-money = Pre-money valuation + new funding.

Valuing a start-up has become a bit of an art, but more and more funds are starting to adopt a common methodology as the industry matures. In essence, the pre-money value is the monetary value of the company before a new investment is made.

Proof of concept

After the idea comes the execution. One of the first hurdles entrepreneurs need to clear is the proof of concept. This is a point where the start-up proves that the business model is feasible.

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]

Saas

Software as a service. These businesses are hosted in the cloud and the software can be rented out as a service.

Related: 10 Steps To Starting Your Business For Free (Almost)

Seed, A Round, B Round…

Start-ups raise capital in several tranches because raising it all at once would dilute the founder’s share before they have even had a chance to build the business. The seed round is done to prove proof of concept. The A round is raised once proof of concept has taken place. There can be several rounds before an exit or IPO is achieved. Some of these companies have grown so large through several rounds of investment that they are termed a unicorn business.

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Start-up Guide

Understanding Your Responsibility As An Employer

Now that you have your own employees, here is what you should know about your new responsibilities.

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Hiring employees requires more work from you as the employer than simply placing a job ad, hiring the right person and training them on their role.

You need to be aware of the Labour Law requirements in terms of the various funds and other stipulated registrations. The law does not differentiate between different size organisations, and therefore it is imperative that SME’s fully understand the implications of all aspects of Labour legislation.

Related: 5 Factors That Make a Great Boss

Salary deductions

Employers may only deduct money from a worker’s salary if the worker agrees or if they are required to do so. The provisions for deductions do not apply to workers who work less than 24 hours a month.

Employers may not deduct money from a worker’s pay unless –

  • the worker agrees in writing to the deduction of a debt, or
  • the deduction is made in terms of a collective agreement, law (e.g. UIF contributions), court order or arbitration award.

Deductions for damage or loss caused by the worker may only be made if –

  • the employer has followed a fair procedure and given the worker a chance to show why the deduction should not be made,
  • the worker agrees in writing, and
  • the total deduction is not more than 25% of the worker’s net pay.

Employers must pay deductions and employer contributions to benefit funds (pension, provident, retirement, medical aid, etc.) to the fund within 7 days.

What is UIF

UIF-Logo

UIF stands for Unemployment Insurance Fund and you need to register for it, whether or not you employ staff. It applies to all employers and workers (except those working less than 24 hours a month), learners, public servants, foreigners working on contract, workers who get a monthly State (old age) pension and workers who only earn commission. The fund makes short-term provision for individuals who become unemployed, or are unable to work because of illness, maternity or adoption leave. It also provides financial relief to the dependants of deceased contributors.

As an employer it is your responsibility to register with UIF and make the monthly payments. These include a 1% payment from you (based on your employees’ individual salaries).

Each individual employee needs to make a further 1% payment, but it is your duty to deduct this amount from their salary and pay it to UIF, together with your contribution, on a monthly basis to SARS if you are registered for PAYE or directly to the UIF if you are not.

You can register your business by completing a UF8 form and each new employee needs to be registered using a UI-19 form. These can be obtained from the Department of Labour.

Related: Why Your Business Needs Employment Contracts

What is COIDA

disability-south-africa

COIDA stands for the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act and being registered for it works in your favour. It is based on a no-fault system which means employees are entitled to compensation regardless of who caused the injury or illness.

But it also exempts you from liability for injuries or diseases contracted by your employees in the course of their work. In other words, employees can’t claim damages from you in those events. Instead, COIDA allows them to claim compensation for total or permanent disablement and death as well as reasonable medical expenses arising out of injury for two years.

You are required to pay the employee 75% of their normal salary for three months during the time that they are injured or ill but the fund pays you back this entire amount and covers all the relevant medical expenses.

If you are not registered, however, you are not indemnified. Getting registered involves submitting a WAs2 form, together with a copy of the registration certificate from the Registrar of Companies, or your ID document, if you are a sole proprietor. Every year before 31 March you will need to submit a statement of earnings paid to your employees. You will also be required to pay an assessment tariff, which is fixed according to your class of industry.

If an employee gets injured during the course of their work or falls ill as a result of their work, they can claim from the Worker’s Compensation fund. Dependants of employees can claim if a family member dies from an accident or disease. Employees wishing to claim will need to be furnished with one of the WG30, WAs2 or WAc1(E) forms, which they need to submit to the Compensation Commissioner for compensation.

How Does Maternity Leave Work?

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The law protects women against unfair discrimination arising from any form of prejudice. An employer may not ask a candidate who applies for a job if she is pregnant, nor if she is planning to start a family at any stage.

If you do, she could argue that you are discriminating against her. Equally, she is in no way obliged to disclose her pregnancy when applying for a position. The bottom line is that it has nothing to do with the candidate’s ability to meet the requirements of the position. And nothing stops her from resigning once she has returned to work after taking maternity leave. She has rights regardless.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act stipulates that an employee is entitled to four months unpaid maternity leave. All that is required is a notification by the employee that she is pregnant, accompanied by a doctor’s certificate. This leave should start four weeks before the expected date of birth, or when a doctor or midwife certifies that leave is necessary for the health of the mother or child. An employee must notify her employer in writing of the date on which she wants to start maternity leave. She may not work for six weeks after delivery, unless she is declared fit to do so.

Related: Richard Branson on Why Hiring Should Be Your No. 1 Job

An employee who has a miscarriage during the last three months of pregnancy or who bears a stillborn child is also entitled to six weeks maternity leave, whether or not she has started maternity leave at the time. Companies in South Africa are not obliged by law to provide paid maternity leave. A female employee who works for a company that does not offer maternity benefits can claim from the Maternity Benefit Fund if she has been contributing to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

An employer who pays maternity leave does have some rights, however. Paid maternity leave is a benefit, and the company is within its rights to conclude a contract with the employee stating that if she does not return to work for at least one year following her confinement, she will be obliged to return the salary she earned during her maternity leave.

South Africa has no paternity leave provisions in place, but workers who have been employed at a company for longer than four months may take three days’ paid family responsibility leave during each year of employment.

Family Responsibility Leave

Workers may take up to three days of paid leave a year to attend to certain family responsibilities. The provisions for family responsibility leave do not apply to workers who work less than:

  • Four months for their employer
  • Four days a week for one employer
  • 24 hours a month.

Family responsibility leave expires at the end of the annual cycle. Employees may take family responsibility leave:

  • when their child is born
  • when their child is sick
  • in the event of the death of a:
    • spouse or life partner
    • parent or adoptive parent
    • grandparent
    • child or adopted child
    • grandchild
    • sibling.

Employers may require reasonable proof of the birth, illness or death for which a worker requests leave.

Related: What Young People Want From Work

Overtime

The amount of overtime a worker may work is limited. Workers must get 1,5 times their normal hourly pay or paid time off in exchange for overtime. Alternatively, a worker may agree to receive paid time off or a combination of pay and time off.

The section of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act that regulate working hours does not apply to:

  • workers in senior management
  • sales staff who travel and regulate their own working hours
  • workers who work less than 24 hours in a month
  • workers who earn more than R115 572 per year
  • workers engaged in emergency work are excluded from certain provisions.

Workers may not work:

  • overtime, unless by agreement
  • more than 10 hours’ overtime a week (collective agreement may increase this to 15 hours per week for up to two months a year)
  • more than 12 hours on any day.

Employee Pay Slips

Employee-pay-slip

Each time workers are paid, employers must give them a pay slip containing certain details. Employers must give workers the following information in writing when they are paid:

  • Employer’s name and address
  • Worker’s name and occupation
  • Period for which payment is made
  • Total salary or wages
  • Any deductions
  • The actual amount paid
  • If relevant to the calculation of pay:
    • Employee’s pay and overtime rates
    • Number of ordinary and overtime hours worked
    • Number of hours worked on a Sunday or public holiday

The total number of ordinary and overtime hours worked in the period of averaging, if a collective agreement to average working time has been concluded

Public Holidays

Workers must get paid time off for public holidays, but if they agree to work, they must be paid double their normal daily wage. The provisions for public holidays do not apply to –

  • senior management
  • sales staff who travel
  • workers who work less than 24 hours a month

Workers must get paid time off for any public holiday that falls on a working day. Working on a public holiday is by agreement only. A public holiday can be exchanged with another day by agreement. A public holiday cannot be counted as annual leave.

Related: Sick and Tired of Employees being Sick and Tired?

Employee Sick Leave

Workers may take the number of days they would normally work in a six-week period for sick leave on full pay in a three-year period. Employers may insist on proof of illness before paying a worker for sick leave. The provisions for sick leave do not apply to:

  • workers who work less than 24 hours a month
  • workers who receive compensation for an occupational injury or disease
  • leave over and above that provided for by the Act.

During the first 6 months of employment, workers are only entitled to one day of paid sick leave for every 26 days worked. An employer may require a medical certificate before paying workers who are absent for more than two consecutive days, or who are often absent (more than twice in an eight-week period).

Staff Working Hours

overtime

Basic Conditions of Employment laws set maximum working hours and minimum rest and break periods for workers. The section of the Act that regulate working hours does not apply to:

  • workers in senior management
  • sales staff who travel and regulate their own working hours
  • workers who work less than 24 hours in a month
  • workers who earn more than R115 572 per year
  • workers engaged in emergency work are excluded from certain provisions.

The maximum ordinary hours per day for someone who works one to five days per week is nine, the maximum amount of hours per week is 45. For those who work more than five day per week should work a maximum of eight hours per day and 45 hours per week. Workers may agree, in writing, to work up to 12 hours a day without getting overtime pay. However, these workers may not work more than:

  • 45 ordinary hours a week
  • 10 hours’ overtime a week
  • five days a week

Workers must have a meal break of 60 minutes after five hours’ work. A written agreement may:

  • reduce meal intervals to 30 minutes
  • eliminate meal intervals for workers who work less than 6 hours a day

Workers must have a rest period of 12 hours each day; and 36 consecutive hours each week (must include Sunday, unless otherwise agreed).

Workers working between 18h00 and 06h00 must:

  • get an allowance, or
  • work reduced hours, and
  • have transport available to them.

Skills Development Levies

Employers must pay 1% of their workers’ pay to the skills development levy. The money goes to Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) and the Skills Development Fund to pay for training. The Skills Development Levies Act applies to all employers except–

  • the public service;
  • religious or charity organisations;
  • public entities that get more than 80% of their money from Parliament; and
  • employers:
    • whose total pay to all its workers is less than R 250 000 per year; and
    • who do not have to register according to the Income Tax Act

Employers who are required to pay the skills development levy must register with the South African Revenue Services (SARS). Employers must pay 1% of all their workers’ pay to the skills development levy every month. Employers must pay the levy to the South African Revenue Services (SARS) by the seventh day of each month. Employers who do not pay will have to pay interest on the money they owe and may also have to pay a penalty.

What is PAYE

All employers are required to deduct Employees’ Tax from their salaries. The amounts deducted must be paid by the employer to SARS on a monthly basis. The process of deducting or withholding tax from remuneration as it is earned by an employee is referred to as Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE).

Employers are required to:

  1. Deduct the correct amount of tax from employees’ remuneration.
  2. Pay this amount to SARS monthly, ensuring SARS receives a Monthly Employer Declaration (EMP201).
  3. Reconcile these deductions and payments with the completion of the interim and annual Employer Reconciliation Declarations. During the reconciliation periods, employers are required to submit an Employer Reconciliation Declaration (EMP501) confirming or correcting the PAYE, SDL and UIF declarations per EMP201s submitted, the payments made and the tax values of the Employee Tax Certificates [IRP5/IT3(a)].
  4. Issue tax certificates to employees
  5. An employer must issue an employee with an IRP5/IT3(a) where remuneration is paid or has become payable and from which Employees’ Tax was deducted. The IRP5/IT3(a) discloses the total employment remuneration earned for the year of assessment and the total deductions. IRP5/IT3(a) certificates must be issued to employees during the annual Employers tax season.

Related: 5 Ways to Make Your Payroll & HR Solution Pay for Itself

Seek professional advice

There is a lot to keep track of once you become and employer. It is advisable to call in an expert. You can use the services of a suitable experienced and qualified HR consultant who can help to set up the principles and processes of the above, and then work on an ad hoc basis only as and when needed reducing the cost of a full-time HR manager.

Useful resources

Related: 10 Ways to Pump Up Your Employees

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