South African group Softline – makers of the popular Pastel accounting and HR software products – will officially become Sage from 4 February. 
The Softline group, which was formed by entrepreneurs Steven Cohen, Ivan Epstien and Alan Osrin, was bought out by UK-based Sage 10 years ago. It has been known as Softline Sage in the interim, but the new identity will kick in within the next few days.
The company has also announced a significant new product offering.
Sage Netcash, has integrated with Sage Pastel Payroll & HR software to provide the South African market with payroll security functionality which will increase day-to-day business efficiency and cut costs, making it ideal for SMEs.
“The strategy is to provide Sage Pastel Payroll & HRs existing desktop users with a hybrid solution that allows desktop applications to absorb online services,” says Sage Netcash MD Charles Pittaway.
“Sage Pastel Payroll & HR is the first of the Sage South Africa Group to take these new payroll security services to market, but our goal is to also integrate Sage Netcash online services with other companies within the Sage South Africa Group,” says Pittaway.
“The main aim of the integration of these security services is to provide Sage Pastel Payroll & HR customers with a single secure payroll system, directly from the payroll software,” says Philip Meyer, technology director of Sage Pastel Payroll & HR.
Sage Pastel Payroll & HR will initially launch six security services, which include identity number validation and verification services; bank account validation and verification services; credit checks and secure salary EFT payments.
Bank account and identity number validations are offered free of charge exclusively to Sage Pastel Payroll & HR customers. Verifications, credit checks and secure EFT payment are offered as a payable service, however the first 10 bank account and ID number verifications are offered at no charge.
Bank account validation and verification ensures that a valid bank account has been entered into the payroll system and that it is in the name of the employee specified on the payroll. This eliminates one of the most critical areas of payment fraud which occurs when an employee’s salary is paid into the fake or erroneous bank account of another individual, eliminating paying ghost (fake) employees.
Sage Pastel Payroll & HR will validate employee banking details with the following banks: ABSA, African Bank, Capitec, First National Bank, Mercantile, Nedbank and Standard Bank.
The validation and verification of ID numbers on the payroll will provide customers with peace of mind that an employee has provided a valid ID number and that the ID number has been verified as belonging to the associated employee and is recorded on the Department of Home Affairs list of official ID numbers.
Credit checks provide valuable information on existing and potential employees including judgments, defaults, notices and alerts, fraud listings and indicators, marital status and spouse detail, including all residential address details. Reports are sourced from the three main credit bureaux in South Africa, namely TransUnion, Experian and XDS.
Salary payment batches are created automatically within the payroll system and forwarded directly to Sage Netcash. This improves efficiency and eliminates another potential area for payroll fraud.
Traditionally, when creating the bank transfer file in the format of the payroll system, the file could be edited once created. Making use of the secure EFT payment functionality the EFT payment file cannot be tampered with. In addition, business owners, HR managers and payroll administrators will no longer receive bank rejections that stall EFT salary payments.
“By combining monthly employee ID number validation and verification with monthly bank account validation and verification, together with the Web service driven Sage Netcash payment services, companies can ensure not only that they are paying the correct employee through the correct bank account and that the payment is expedited in the most secure manner possible; but they can do all this at a fraction of the price of traditional bank transfer fees,” says Pittaway.
“Overall, the new payroll security functionality will provide Sage South Africa customers with increased efficiencies in the capturing and verification of data, cost savings and the mitigation of risk due to increased fraud prevention,” he says.