South African companies need to be cautious about sourcing a local payroll solution from a predominantly international offering such as Google’s.

Anton van Heerden, MD of Softline VIP, cautions: “South Africa has an advanced tax system subject to frequent changes. A DIY payroll, accessed within the cloud, would simply not meet the complex and ever-changing needs of local businesses."
He says that a payroll product utilised from Google Apps Marketplace is also not agile and will not be able to respond to local statutory requirements.
“SARS does not always allow for a three-month grace period in terms of tax changes. Often we have to react quickly to ensure our customers operate within the legislated tax laws.  Google could simply not accommodate this level or complexity of changes.”
There is merit in a web-based automated payroll solution and Van Heerden says the company has plans to launch an offering aimed at the small to medium-sized enterprise market by mid-year.  “The difference is that this will be a web-based offering of a strong local product. We will offer all the usual support and will be able to effect any legislative changes speedily.”
According to Van Heerden, to succeed in the HR, payroll and tax software market, and provide local customers with the appropriate product and level of service, you need to be focused squarely on this sector and have an in-depth knowledge of the local tax legislation.
“A payroll system is not an extension of an office suite of products, nor should it ever be treated as such,” advises Van Heerden.  “Local is still lekker, especially when it comes to a payroll solution.”