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The Rise Of Digital In Shaping Business Terrains

There is pressure for businesses to become agile with many being pushed to innovate rapidly, and those that fail to adapt being blind-sided and left scrambling to survive.

ACCA

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The rise of digital is influencing the direction and conduct of business, large and small. It is challenging how entrepreneurs and their advisors, including finance professionals, produce and consume data.

The shift towards digital is transforming channels to market, customer preferences are shifting, product and service lifecycle is shortening and competition is merging from unexpected sources.

There is pressure for businesses to become agile with many being pushed to innovate rapidly, and those that fail to adapt being blind-sided and left scrambling to survive.

This changing business landscape is exerting pressure on CFOs and finance professionals to capture, measure, report and predict future performance in real time to support better decision making and business growth.

Related: Africa Rising: Contemporary Culture Revolution Presents Huge Digital Opportunities

It means capturing data at a granular level, processing massive amounts at the same time and visualising them to decision makers in real time through dashboards. This demands a massive shift in the CFO role to be a strategist, technologist and influencer.

ACCA has been championing research to understand the impact of digital on businesses, how emerging technologies are reshaping the economy and the impact on the finance profession. Research has identified the need to ensure that the shift towards digital is implemented as part of a broader transformation journey with clarity on how customer value is created, and how that is likely to change in the future.

Analytics, cloud, collaboration and robotics process automation (RPA) have been identified as the four pillars driving the rise of digital and bringing significant changes to how business is conducted, and will be conducted in the future.

Analytics is being spurred by the huge volumes of data generated inside and outside the organisation which is making it possible to inform evidence-based decision making.

Both businesses and consumers are generating tremendous amount of data that is easily accessible, whether free or paid, and capable of being analysed to extract insight. The rise of new technologies has made it possible to analyse huge volumes of data of all shapes and sizes including text, numbers, pictures etc in real time.

It’s making it possible for businesses to track sophisticated but useful key performance indicators. It is challenging the CFOs to understand the drivers of value, track performance and influence decisions.

A huge enabler of the shift towards digital has been the emergence of the cloud and the plethora of online applications accessible from anywhere in the world. The cloud has made it possible for small business to play in the big league without having to make the huge upfront capital investment normally associated with legacy systems. Cloud has made it possible for any business to have access to the very latest technology whether it is developed in Silicon Valley or Cape Town.

It has also transformed costs that were traditionally considered fixed into variable costs because of the revenue models of cloud based solutions. It has removed technology as a barrier to entry, creating competition and new possibilities. Business is driven by technological wave to think differently about business models, pricing and how to deal with competition.

The emerge of powerful online collaboration tools and applications, supported by improved access to broadband, has revolutionised how teams work together and made the gig economy a viable option.

Teams do not need to be housed in the same physical location to work together thereby lowering costs such as office rental and making access to skilled professionals more accessible and affordable.

Businesses can collaborate with advisors, such as accountants, online reducing consulting costs without comprising access to professional advice. On the other hand, professionals can service a lot more clients from the comfort of their office eliminating the need to frequently travel to client premises.

An emerging trend across the globe is the emergence of robotic process automation (RPA) to reduce process costs, increase control and standardisation.

While there may be moral questions around robots taking away jobs from humans in an economy with rising unemployment, the adoption of RPA can allow businesses to upscale rapidly and service more clients with the same number of resources.

While the financial services industry have taken the lead in the South African market, there is space for many industries and businesses of all sizes to adopt RPA.

Related: How To Thrive In The Face Of Digital Darwinism And Technology

The expected decline in technology costs will most likely make the cost benefit analysis tip in favour of RPA. It will challenge the world of business to streamline and standardise business processes and up skill staff.

Recent research indicates that even employees of SMEs and entrepreneurs see some good opportunities for innovation through technology. Whilst decision makers in the companies agree that technology will enable accounting and finance professionals to focus on higher value added activity.

The move towards digital raises the obvious questions around cyber-security and data protection especially customers and employees’ private information. Performing appropriate due diligence on potential partners, either for cloud or on-site options, is key as the consequences of a security breach could be fatal.  A recent example South African example is the breach of 30 million records containing sensitive information such as ID numbers‚ names physical addresses and property ownership details.

Businesses need a resilient cyber strategy to thwart and contain possible threats.

The rise of digital is here and the impact on businesses and the finance professionals will continue. What is certain that those who want to survive and remain relevant will have to adapt, fast.

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. It offers business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

Company Posts

4 Ways to Stop Worrying in 2019

If you’re a bit of a worry-wart, you have to acknowledge this and get proactive about managing your stress, anxiety and worrying levels. Here’s how.

Fedhealth

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What if I can’t complete that piece of work in time? What if my home gets burgled while I’m on holiday? We all worry – some people more than others. A few of these worries are genuine concerns, but most are completely out of our control and are most likely never to materialise.

But still, they occupy our minds. And with the digital world now occupying even more of our time, we’ve been given even more material to worry about. Famines in far-away countries, children orphaned by a flood, if we simply turn on our TVs or look to social media, we can become completely overwhelmed by what we see. And it’s making us all desperately unhappy.

So, what do we do? If you’re a bit of a worry-wart, you have to acknowledge this and get proactive about managing your stress, anxiety and worrying levels. Here’s how:

Monitor and limit social media

social-media-management

We all know our phones are an addiction. And scrolling through Twitter or Instagram, you can compare your life to everyone else’s and add another huge worry to your ever-growing list: I’m not good enough/my life sucks. Which is why there’s a growing trend among Generation X-ers (and even some Millennials), to quit social media altogether.

“It was like breaking an addiction for the first few days, where I felt I was missing out, but after a few weeks I realised that the world carries on, and I was still in touch with those people I actually wanted to connect with. I felt lighter and happier,” says Caryn White*, a mother-of-two and small business owner. If you can’t quit social media for work reasons, then take it off your phone, and only access it on your desktop at specific times of the day.

Limit news

We’re not advocating sticking your head in the sand: just limit which channels you absorb news from, and how often you do it. The last thing you need is to open up your phone on waking up and read about the latest catastrophe, which you are powerless to do anything about.

Pick a few trusted news sources and check them at specific times. Avoid the news on the radio in your car; rather listen to fascinating audio books or podcasts that lift your mood instead of making you worry.

Assumption or fact?

This simple concept is incredibly helpful when faced with a worrying situation. Your child has a strange rash, you’ve Googled it and you’re pretty sure it’s chickenpox. Now the whole family is going to get it, you’ll miss work, your boss will be angry, and you may lose your job. Is the fact that your child has chicken pox an assumption or a fact?

Is losing your job a fact or an assumption? They’re both assumptions. So, take your child to the doctor, get a proper diagnosis and then take the next steps from there (a good medical aid can also help ease the stress of the financial cost of doctors’ visits). This approach is a simple way to deal with worries that start to spiral out of control in your mind.

Write them down

Worrying can seem insurmountable if it’s all in your head. Instead, try this strategy from Qualified FAMSA Counsellor Lynette Blomfield:

  1. Take a few deep breaths with your eyes closed, until you calm down.
  2. Once you’re calm, write down the five most stressful things on your list. It could be increasing expenses, like a huge jump in medical aid costs per month.
  3. Brainstorm what you could do to change or eliminate the worry/problem (maybe you can move to a medical aid company that charges less each month?). If necessary, ask a good friend or colleague for advice.
  4. Focus on making progress, not ticking all your worries off and striving for ‘perfection’.
  5. Stay on course and come back to your list regularly.

Dealing with worrying is about being proactive. You’re the only one that can begin the process of reducing anxiety, so now’s the time to take some steps. If you don’t know how to begin doing this on your own, it may be best to see a qualified counsellor or therapist to get you started.

*name has been changed

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Cash Flow

Benefits Of Automated Cash Management

Every entrepreneur knows that cash is the lifeblood of a business, but few realise that the way one manages cash, can be the difference between success and failure.

Cash Connect

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Automated cash management has become a vital component of every cash-centric business, particularly in the retail trade. As much as the use of credit cards and online banking is encouraged, consumers remain sceptical and nervous of internet fraud and cybercrime and continue to prefer hard cash as the primary means of transacting.

The days of physical cash are not numbered. Current cash in circulation is approximately R140 billion, having grown from R119 billion in 2014, according to the South African Reserve Bank and according to a recent banking report, cash represents close on 90% of all transactions in South Africa.

If you run a business, some of this cash will find its way into your cash register (or, heaven forbid, the envelope you hide in the fridge until you make the trip to the bank). As a business owner, it is your responsibility to keep your cash safe, not just in the interests of profitability, but in the interests of the welfare of staff and customers who could be caught in the cross fire of armed robbers who almost always, get to know what you have been up to!

According to Richard Phillips, joint CEO of Cash Connect Management Solutions, cash automation is the way to go. “Automated cash handling saves money and time, allowing retailers to focus on their core business and greatly improves their risk profile,” he says. And don’t think your enterprise is too small to automate, as cash, whether small or large in volume, remains high on the criminal agenda.

But the real commercial advantages of cash automation are often hidden by safety and security considerations. The advantages of an automated cash handling solution are and should, do much more than giving your cash a safe ride to the bank. Just have a look at what the Cash Connect solution, arguably the most advanced of its kind in the local market could do for you:

1. Increased business efficiency

Bill Gates once said that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. It is certainly true for automated cash management. It’s fast, accurate and error free. It eliminates all staff touch points associated with manual reconciliations and banking, which gets rid of shrinkage and double count supervision. It lowers insurance and other overhead and back-office costs, along with your exposure to crime, both in store and en-route to the bank.

2. Improved cash flow

With the right solution, your cash will reflect in your bank account on the same day that the cash-in-transit company collects from your premises. Cash Connect goes even further with its Instant Access feature, which allows access to the cash while still in the vault, converting the retailers’  cash into value whenever they need it.

3. Business continuity

Cash Connect guarantees the cash from the time it is deposited into the cash vault, whilst in transit and until the cash reflects in your bank account. This means that from a cash flow point of view, your business can not only survive most crises, but that business continuity is guaranteed.

4. Cost savings

In a manual cash handling environment, the combination of all the elements required to give effect to realising value in one’s bank account will vary with the actual monthly cash turnover; But on R1,5 million of cash receipts a month, the cost will be somewhere in the region of 135 basis points.

A corresponding integrated automated cash management service will cost in the region of 70 basis points.

As a matter of interest, card transactions cost the retailer anything between 300 and 500 basis points – reinforcing why, for the retailer, cash is the preferred medium of payment.

5. Access to alternative funding options

Imagine applying for a business loan, getting funding approval in one hour and having R1,8 million paid into your bank account within 24 hours. Far from a pipedream, this is what Cash Connect recently did for one of its retail supermarket clients under its Cash Connect Capital offering. You too can get fast, flexible, hassle-free, and unsecured growth finance when you need working capital to boost your business.

Having grown Cash Connect from an entrepreneur’s start-up to the success it is today, the Cash Connect team remains driven by the desire to empower and enable South Africa’s SME community and retail sector, by creating a trading environment that takes businesses from a place of safety to a place of growth.

And in today’s modern world, that is exactly how entrepreneurs should think about cash management solutions and how they can improve business efficiency and cash flow.

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Business Landscape

How To Get A Tax Clearance Certificate In South Africa

This post is for you if you need a Tax Clearance Certificate from SARS. We explain everything you need to know about Tax Clearance Certificates in South Africa: from why you need one to apply for most Tenders, Contracts or RFQ’s to how to get yours as quickly as possible.

Company Partners

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When applying for Tenders, Contracts and RFQ’s in South Africa, chances are you need to submit a Tax Clearance Certificate. In this piece we’re explaining the why, the how and the where on getting a Tax Clearance Certificate in South Africa.

We’ve asked our team of specialists at Company Partners to answer frequently-asked questions they get from South African entrepreneurs on Tax Clearance Certificates. Company Partners is a local company who specialises in fast-tracked company documentation like Tax Clearance Certificates.

Here are the questions SA entrepreneurs have on Tax Clearance Certificates and our expert’s answers (you can just skip to the FAQ’s you’re interested in):

  1. The definition of a Tax Clearance Certificate
  2. Why do I need a Tax Clearance Certificate for Contracts, Tenders or RFQs?
  3. How to get a Tax Clearance Certificate in South Africa
  4. Where to get a Tax Clearance Certificate
  5. Is a Tax Clearance Certificate compulsory in South Africa to apply for Tenders?
  6. The fastest way to get a Tax Clearance Certificate in South Africa.

Expert tip: if you’re interested in getting a fast-tracked Tax Clearance Certificate, just call Company Partner’s toll-free number 0800 007 269 or visit their Tax Clearance Certificate page here.

1. The definition of a Tax Clearance Certificate

A Tax Clearance Certificate is essentially a piece of official documentation that your business can get from SARS as proof that you have no outstanding Tax at SARS. Having a Tax Clearance Certificate in South Africa means your business is in good standing with SARS.

Related: What Should I Know About Dealing With Tax When It Comes To My Business?

2. Why do I need a Tax Clearance Certificate for Contracts, Tenders or RFQs?

You want to partner with credible companies, right? The same goes for companies looking for contractors. That’s why companies want to check if their potential contractors are in good standing with SARS.

You cannot skip your SARS payments and get a Tax Clearance Certificate. You need to “clear” all Tax matters first before you can get the certificate.

In short, that’s exactly why you’ll see most Tenders, Contracts or RFQ’s asking you to provide a Tax Clearance Certificate in your applications/bids. It’s essentially a form of administrative security to ensure you don’t have bad debt with SARS.

3. How to get a Tax Clearance Certificate in South Africa

SARS is the only entity who can issue legal Tax Clearance Certificates in South Africa. However, there are various way to get a SARS-issued Tax Clearance Certificate.

The first method is using eFiling and navigating SARS’s e-portal by yourself.

The second is queuing at a local SARS branch.

The third, and the easiest method is asking a Tax Professional to assist you. This can either be a Tax Accountant, or a fast-tracked company service provider like Company Partners. They have a team of Tax Experts who communicate directly with SARS on your behalf.

Their team specialises in assisting South African businesses to get their SARS-issued Tax Certificate as quickly, and with as little effort as possible.

This is one of the easiest methods to get your Tax Clearance Certificate simply because you don’t need to figure out what, how and where you need to submit your details and the required documentation. Company Partners knows exactly what SARS wants – and also how and where they want it.

This process is also much faster and easier because it’s online and completely rules out queuing and unclarity.

south-african-tax

4. Where to get a Tax Clearance Certificate

As mentioned in the previous answer, there are three ways to get a Tax Clearance Certificate. Although all three approaches entail a SARS-issued Tax Clearance Certificate, the third way is by far the easiest and the fastest.

The first method is applying online and DIY via SARS’s eFiling site. This might be complicated and time-consuming if you don’t know exactly what documentation you need to submit and in what formats.

The second method is visiting a local SARS branch for assistance.

The third option is using a Tax Accountant or a professional service provider like Company Partners.

Related: 7 Direct And Indirect Taxes You Should Consider Before Registering Your Business

The Company Partners process is simple: 

Step 1:  

Sign up for their Tax Clearance service here. A dedicated expert will give you a call and walk you through everything. Alternatively, you can call them directly on their toll-free number 0800 007 269.

Step 2:

Follow the easy steps your dedicated Consultant gives you telephonically and via email. If you need any assistance, just contact your Consultant.

Step 3:

They make sure you get your Tax Clearance Certificate in record-breaking time. It’s as simple as that.

5. Is a Tax Clearance Certificate compulsory in South Africa when applying for Tenders?

Usually, yes.  Any credible company or government institution will probably request a Tax Clearance Certificate.

A Tax Clearance Certificate issued by SARS is the only proof they have that you don’t have any outstanding debts payable to SARS.

6. The fastest way to get a Tax Clearance Certificate in South Africa

The fastest way to get a Tax Clearance Certificate in South Africa is using a professional to assist you. Before you opt out in fear of the associated cost, there really are cost-effective options for you.

You could use a part-time Tax Accountant to assist you or you could use a service provider like Company Partners. At Company Partners they specialise in offering online and fast-tracked company administration.

Using a professional cuts out the time you’re going to spend queuing at a local SARS branch or trying to figure out what and how you need to submit the required documentation.

You can call Company Partners on their toll-free number 0800 007 269 to start.

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