Association to push the power of payroll at Conference


The South African Payroll Association (SAPA) has devised a strategy to emphasise the critical role that payroll administrators play in business. .

To this end SAPA has scheduled a two-day conference in Johannesburg on 05 and 06 September, as well as two half-day regional conferences in Cape Town on 11 September and Durban on 13 September.

In the past the Association has presented an itinerary for the event that offers value to a broad audience including HR managers, payroll administrators, CEOs, CIOs and other stakeholders.

"The focus this year is primarily on payroll,' says James McKerrell, Chairperson of the Association.

"We have made this decision based on feedback from our members. In the past we have catered to a mixed audience of payroll practitioners, decision makers in finance and representatives from other areas of business. With our more focused approach, we hope to attract more payroll practitioners.'

According to McKerrell the current market requires that businesses adopt a stringent and cautious approach to the use of resources - and there is a clear necessity to organise the payroll environment to save time, enhance efficiency, improve productivity and reduce costs.

"Payroll processing is a time-consuming and detailed task. Most companies pay on a weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly, or monthly pay cycle. Before the cheques are printed, hourly wages must be entered into the system and benefits or deductions must be calculated. Whether you are using a manual, computerized or external payroll system, it should be designed to reduce the amount of time spent calculating these amounts. For example, with the help of payroll software, the employer can rely on the software to compute most of his calculations. This saves the employer a lot of manual work, allowing him/her to devote more time to other tasks,' he explains.

The conference will also focus on system development and application of the latest technology to improve payroll processes and procedures.

Directors at SAPA explain the correlation between a credible, effective system and a more structured payroll environment.

McKerrell says there are several payroll documents (payroll registers and statutory information) that need to be filed on each pay date being processed.

"A payroll system allows for an organized filing system. Paper files should be stored in cabinets that are designed solely for payroll purposes. Computer files are stored in the system, eliminating unnecessary paperwork and filing. Additionally, the payroll software will store employee personal information, such as tax registration number, address and birth date,' he explains.

Part of SAPA?s mandate is to monitor international best practices within payroll administration and how best to apply these in the local market.

According to McKerrell the Association does its best to attend at least two international conferences per year to ensure that it understands what is happening globally and also to forge alliances with other associations.

"The local payroll industry is definitely more mature. In many instances it is ahead of international trends and best practices - this is mainly due to the fact that legislation, compliance and governance is very high on the SA agenda and the industry has had to "keep up and ahead'. The relationships we have with international organisations is reinforced by the fact that we have a joint focus and interest in "professionalising? the industry and integrating global standards relating to payroll qualifications,' he concludes.