Payroll

Impact of Negative Real Salary Increases on Employees in Africa

Impact of Negative Real Salary Increases on Employees in Africa

Impact of Negative Real Salary Increases on Employees in Africa

Impact of Negative Real Salary Increases on Employees in Africa

Are your employees in some African countries moaning about salaries?

During the annual salary increase cycle, clients often question why inflation is such an important input when determining an equitable salary increase for employees. Inflation plays a crucial role due to its direct impact on the purchasing power of employees. And this is especially important in Africa where a sudden, and often dramatic, increase in inflation is experienced and/or where there is a high prevailing inflation rate.

Granting a negative real salary increase can have dire consequences for employees.

A real salary increase refers to an increase in the employee’s salary that exceeds the rate of inflation, resulting in a higher purchasing power for the individual. In other words, a real salary increase means that after accounting for inflation, the employee has more money to spend on goods and services than they did before the increase.

For example, let’s say you granted an employee a 5% salary increase. If the inflation rate is 2%, then the employee’s real salary increase is 3% (5% – 2% = 3%). This means that their purchasing power has effectively increased by 3% because their salary has grown faster than the prices of goods and services.

Concomitantly, if you grant a negative real salary increase, this results in negative purchasing power which can have several adverse consequences for employees. It can lead to a decrease in their standard of living, as the employee finds it increasingly difficult to afford the same level of goods and services as before. It may also result in financial stress, as employees struggle to make ends meet due to their diminished purchasing power.

Having defined the problem and the consequences of granting a negative salary increase, it is worthwhile considering some African countries with high inflation rates.

What is now patently obvious, is that if you granted employees in the above countries a salary increases this year of less than the “Expected 2024 inflation” shown in the table above, they have received a negative real salary increase and concomitantly, they will experience a decline in their purchasing power.

Of course, other factors must also be considered which could mitigate the erosion of an employee’s purchasing power. However, these factors may also exacerbate the hardship.

For example, in Malawi, the tax tables were amended with effect from 1 April 2024 as detailed in the table below. In a high inflation environment, where we are projecting an average inflation rate of 25.5% for 2024, one would expect the tax bands increases to be correlated with inflation. Without adjusting income tax bands/ brackets and thresholds for inflation, taxpayers may find themselves pushed into higher tax brackets even though their real income hasn’t increased. This results in taxpayers paying a higher proportion of their income in taxes, effectively increasing their tax burden.

For employees earning above MWK 1,800,000, the higher limits will decrease the tax payable monthly and increase their net pay, but it will not compensate them for the erosion in their purchasing power which they will experience because of the high inflation rate and the possible negative salary increase.

While we are not saying that an employer should simply align a salary increase to the expected inflation rate, one must be cognisant of the erosion of employee’s purchasing power in some African countries. And perhaps most importantly, understand why they are moaning.

Impact of Negative Real Salary Increases on Employees in Africa Read More »

Payroll Integration

Payroll Integration

Payroll Integration

Payroll Integration

Different ways payroll integration can be achieved

In today’s fast-paced business environment, efficiency is paramount. For companies to stay competitive, integrating various systems into their payroll software can streamline operations, reduce errors, and save valuable time and resources.

Here’s a closer look at the different ways and systems that can seamlessly integrate with payroll software to create a more efficient, effective, and user-friendly experience.

1. Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS)

Why Integrate?

HRMS integration with payroll software automates the flow of employee data, reducing redundancy and errors. This integration ensures that any changes in employee status, benefits, remuneration awards, workforce planning, or recruitment are instantly reflected in payroll processing.

Key Benefits:

    • Real-time Data Synchronization: Automatically updates payroll with new hires, terminations, and changes in employee information.
    • Enhanced Accuracy: Minimizes manual data entry which reduce the risk of errors.
    • Streamlined Onboarding: Simplifies the onboarding process by automatically enrolling new employees in payroll.

2. Time and Attendance Systems

Why Integrate?

Integrating time and attendance systems with payroll software ensures that employee hours are accurately tracked and paid, avoiding discrepancies, and ensuring compliance with labour laws.

Key Benefits:

    • Automated Time Tracking: Automatically transfers clock-in and clock-out data to payroll.
    • Compliance Assurance: Helps maintain accurate records for labour law compliance.
    • Improved Productivity: Reduces administrative burden by allowing HR and payroll staff to focus on more strategic tasks.

3. Accounting Software

Why Integrate?

Linking payroll software with accounting systems ensures that payroll expenses are accurately recorded, and financial statements are up-to-date ad accurate facilitating a comprehensive view of the company’s financial health.

Key Benefits:

    • Seamless Financial Reporting: Automatically updates accounting records with payroll data.
    • Improved Financial Accuracy: Reduces the risk of errors in financial statements.
    • Simplified Reconciliation: Streamlines the process of reconciling payroll expenses with bank statements.

4. Employee Benefits Management Systems

Why Integrate?

Integration with benefits management systems ensures that payroll deductions for benefits are accurate and up to date, facilitating smoother administration of employee benefits.

Key Benefits:

    • Accurate Deductions: Ensures correct deductions for health insurance, retirement plans, and other benefits and that the correct monthly payments are made to the administrator.
    • Enhanced Employee Satisfaction: Provides employees with clear, accurate information about their benefits.
    • Streamlined Administration: Simplifies the process of managing employee benefits.

5. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems

Why Integrate?

For companies where payroll impacts customer billing, integrating CRM systems with payroll software can ensure that client billing is accurate and timely.

Key Benefits:

    • Accurate Billing: Ensures client invoices reflect actual labour costs.
    • Enhanced Client Trust: Builds trust with clients through accurate and transparent billing.
    • Operational Efficiency: Reduces the time spent on manual data entry and reconciliation.

6. Project Management Software

Why Integrate?

Integrating project management software with payroll systems can help track labour costs by project or cost centre therefore improving project budgeting and profitability analysis.

Key Benefits:

    • Precise Cost Tracking: Links labour costs directly to specific projects.
    • Improved Budgeting: Enhances project cost forecasting and control.
    • Profitability Analysis: Helps determine the profitability of projects by providing accurate labour cost data.

7. Statutory Filing Systems

Why Integrate?

Integrating tax filing systems with payroll software automates the preparation and submission of payroll taxes, ensuring compliance with local tax regulations. We can manage the most complex integration to the simplest communication with revenue authorities throughout the African continent. 

Key Benefits:

    • Automated Statutory Filing: Automatically calculates and submits payroll statutory obligations.
    • Regulatory Compliance: Ensures adherence to tax laws and deadlines.
    • Reduced Penalties: Minimizes the risk of fines or penalties due to errors or late filings.

8. Payroll Advance payments to employees

Why Integrate?

Integrating payroll with financial banking platforms will allow your employees to receive an advance of their net pay.

Key Benefits:

    • Reducing payroll administration
    • Reduced risk to lending third party.
    • Eliminating funding requirements for the employer on payroll advances
    • Improved Employee Value Proposition.

Axiomatic has significant experience integrating with other systems using API’s including the development and set-up of appropriate middleware. Previous interface projects have ranged from rather simple interfaces to custom-built solutions with a complete staging area with two bridges between various systems to ensure the data was “cleansed” and coupled with update logging, data quality validation, and consistency.

Why Integrate?

    • A tailored solution is precisely aligned with the client’s specific business needs, ensuring that the solution fits perfectly into their existing workflows and processes.
    • Customization allows for the optimization of the API to handle the unique demands of the client’s operations, leading to more efficient and streamlined processes. This reduces the time and effort required for integration and ongoing operations.
    • Custom APIs can be designed to scale with the client’s business. As the client grows or their needs change, the API can be adjusted accordingly, ensuring that it continues to meet their requirements without requiring significant overhauls.
    • Scalability can enhance performance by ensuring that the API is neither over-engineered nor underpowered, leading to faster response times and more reliable data exchange.
    • By delivering precisely what the client needs without unnecessary features or complexity, customized APIs can be more cost-effective, reducing both initial implementation costs and ongoing maintenance expenses.

Conclusion

Integrating various systems with payroll software is not just a trend but a necessity for modern businesses aiming for operational efficiency and accuracy. By creating a seamless flow of information between payroll and other essential business functions, companies can reduce administrative burdens, enhance accuracy, and ultimately, improve employee and client satisfaction. Investing in these integrations can lead to significant time and cost savings, positioning your business for sustained growth and success.

With our extensive expertise in both African payrolls and powerful technology and tools, we truly believe we can deliver a single scalable solution for your integration environment in Africa.

If you would like to discuss integrations with us, please:

Payroll Integration Read More »

GPA Announcement

GPA Announcement

GPA Announcement

GPA Announcement

Axiomatic is proud to announce

We have been shortlisted for the prestigious Global Payroll Association’s Regional Payroll Supplier of the Year Award 2024.

Our entry was bolstered by our ability to run payrolls in 44 African countries using a cloud-based ISO 27001 accredited system. Further, our capabilities and track record of completing integrations with SuccessFactors, Workday, and other related systems, using API’s, certainly contributed to the shortlisting.

THE GLOBAL PAYROLL AWARDS 2024

27th June 2024 - Athens, Greece
gpa-logo
The Global Payroll Association is an international organisation for global and in-country payroll professionals. Our competition for the nomination was therefore other international payroll providers covering several regions.

We would take this opportunity to thank our clients. We are fortunate to have awe-inspiring and progressive forward-thinking clients, and it is easy to aspire to our mantra of providing a WOW and world-class service for our clients. The reason that we “stood out from the crowd” is the result of you pushing us to deliver constant innovations, improvements, and world-class solutions.

We would also like to thank our Axiomatic colleagues. Their hard work, dedication, and constant commitment to going above and beyond for our clients resulted in marvellous client testimonials that played a large part in our shortlisting.

GPA Announcement Read More »

Zimbabwe ZiG Currency

Zimbabwe ZiG Currency

Zimbabwe ZiG Currency

Zimbabwe ZiG Currency

ZIMBABWE, WHAT THE #@*^ IS GOING ON and WHAT’S A ZiG?

Clients with operations in Zimbabwe will know that curve balls are a normal phenomenon and should be expected. In April 2024 we received another curve ball – a new currency was introduced

The previous currency, the ZWL, commenced trading in 2019 at 2.5 to the US$ and by April 2024 had depreciated to 30,718. The depreciation was pronounced over the last year, where it slumped from 977 in April 2023 to 30,718 in April 2024.

The government has introduced several measures to shore up the currency’s slide. Gold coins have been introduced, monetary policy tightened, and this is the 6th iteration of the currency; all to no avail. So, a new currency has been introduced- meet the ZiG – short for Zimbabwe Gold. The ZiG will be fully anchored and backed by a basket of reserves. Initially this will comprise of 2.5 tons of gold and $100m foreign reserves.

The authorities have effectively revalued the Zimbabwe currency from more than 30,000 per US dollar to 2,500.

Interesting, the ZiG started trading on Monday 8 April 2024 at 13.56 to the US$ and has remained steady and in fact has strengthened slightly, with the last available price of 13.41 to the US$. This is both surprising and welcome, given that the US$ has been strong against all other currencies. There does appear to be some cautious optimism regarding the new currency. If the currency continues to be backed by reserves, which will restrict the government’s ability to indiscriminately print money, it will curb money supply (M1), reign in credit extension and ultimately temper future inflation (see below).

Most of the financial institutions linked to national payments platform Zims witch, are now able to process ZiG payments, to transfer funds in the unit and bank cards work at ATM’s. Importantly, banks will automatically convert all ZWL balances to ZiG at 2,498.7242

However, the biggest problem is that the physical ZiG notes are not yet available; they will only be circulated by 30 April. The central bank has stated that the old ZWL notes will remain legal tender until the end of the month. However, the ZWL notes are being rejected by many retail stores and traders as they are unconvinced that they will be able to deposit the ZWL notes with banks until 26 April 2024 deadline.

We are of the opinion that the ZiG, if the value remains relatively stable, will gain acceptance. However, cognisance must be taken of the fact that between 80% to 85% of the transactions in Zimbabwe are executed using US$’s. This US$ dominance will continue and while the said percentage may reduce over time, the US$ will remain the “currency of choice” well into the future. The Governor of the Reserve Bank recently stated (hoped) that, “It is my wish that if we get to the year (end) at 70-30, next year 60-40, the year after 50-50”.

For our clients, there are some additional considerations:

 

April salaries

Where employees are paid in US$’s, nothing will change.

Where employees are paid in local currency, in April they will have to be paid in ZiG. The Minister recently clarified that civil servant payments this month would be paid electronically in ZiG. Further, all future payments to ZIMRA in respect of PAYE must be made in ZiG. There are however two complications:

    • ZIMRA have not published ZiG tax tables and if no announcement is forthcoming, we suggest that the current ZWL tax tables are divided by 2,498.7242.
    • If pay day is the 25th, employees will not be able to withdraw ZiG notes until the 30th.
Inflation and future salary increases

Originally inflation was measured by surveying a basket of goods based on ZWL prices.

A household survey by ZimStat in January 2023 found that 76,56% of people’s spending was in US$, with just 23,44% in ZWL. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) then decided to measure inflation using an arithmetic blended weighted average of items priced in ZWL and US$’s.

In September 2023, ZimStat announced it had adopted a “geometric aggregation method” of calculating inflation and not the arithmetic blended weighted calculation, which it adopted in February 2023

Given that there will no longer be a ZWL basket of goods, one can only presume that a new geometric method, using a ZiG basket of goods, will be produced.

Who knows what the correct inflation rate is?

Inflation is an integral input factor into salary increase deliberations and any “new” inflation rate will only lead to additional complications.

Already, and without the complication of a new currency, Comp and Ben practitioners have struggled to determine what inflation rate should be used when considering salary increases.

Assume we “believe” the latest inflation rate of 55.3% and the company is:

paying employees in US$, then the inflation rate applicable to them (the erosion of their disposable income) is significantly less than 55.3% – included in that figure is 20% ZWL inflation which is significantly higher.
paying employees in ZWL, the inflation rate applicable to them is significantly higher.
paying employees, a portion of their salary in US$’s and a portion in ZWL, their applicable inflation rate depends on the percentage spilt between the two currencies.
Katy Perry sang, ”… there will be curve balls, you just have to dodge them every once in a while.”

Those of us that have been exposed to Zimbabwe are by now expert dodgers and this new development simply reiterates that we need to keep our eye on the ball, be flexible and pivot when necessary.

Zimbabwe ZiG Currency Read More »

Payroll Integration using API’s

Payroll Integration using API’s

Payroll Integration using API’s

Payroll Integration using API’s

In the past, payroll was considered a “legacy sector” – a sector stubbornly resistant to change and dismissive of any innovation. Concomitantly, payroll was no more than an administrative function using outdated technology, incorporating a raft of manual processes, which in turn made strategic data reporting impossible. How things have changed.

Over the last few years, payroll has been capitulated forward to incorporate and embrace disruptive technology, and automation, and is now recognised as a strategic system because of the value of the data it houses. Some of the major latest trends are:

axiomatic-intergrations-payroll-trends-24
In this article, we will concentrate on integrations and benefits that companies can obtain with APIs.

Our Approach to Integration

Axiomatic has significant experience integrating with other systems using Application Programming Interface (“API”) including the development and set-up of appropriate middleware. Previous interface projects have ranged from rather simple interfaces to custom-built solutions with a complete staging area with two bridges between various systems to ensure the data was “cleansed” and coupled with update logging, data quality validation, and consistency.

Using API functionality, as well as middleware, Axiomatic can integrate with most systems which ensures the shift from transactional human capital management (HCM) to end-to-end experiences which improve the Employee Value Proposition while simultaneously ensuring data accuracy and security.

Globally there is a drive for both efficiency and the automation of procedures by utilising integration between the HRIS system, other related systems, and the payroll platform. This is easily achieved in more developed countries – however, Africa has always presented a challenge due to the lack of technology, outdated IT infrastructure, and multi-country coverage.

Axiomatic Consultants Payroll Services
We can now offer true integration in 44 African countries.
Axiomatic utilises the Payspace payroll platform which is a true cloud-based system, it is ISO27001 certified, single instance and the uniformity in set-up across countries reduces the costs in integration due to the ability to globally map templates. In addition, we guarantee full legislative delivery in all 44 African countries.

This powerful payroll functionality combined with pivotal middleware enables companies of all sizes to overcome data silos by creating powerful Applications, Data, and API integration on-premise and in the Cloud, from a single interface.

System Overview

Full system specification available on request.

User Interface

The custom user interface allows traditional long-standing payroll protocols to still be followed while not losing the efficiency gained by interfacing. Our methodology retains the ability for payroll resources to maintain strict audit controls developed over many years to ensure proper review of data and proactively manage changes between systems. Productivity and leveraging technology may be the order of the day but one can never downplay the importance of key internal audit controls of a finance-related process.
A full user Manual is available on request.
Payroll Trends - Integration With Success Factors

Why use Axiomatic?

We are an independent company that specialises in furnishing a diverse range of services relating to employee benefits, strategic remuneration consulting, strategy consulting, and payroll services in Africa.

In any API integration implementation project, the role of a Payroll Business Analyst is pivotal in ensuring smooth collaboration with third-party developers. The Business Analyst serves as a liaison between the payroll system stakeholders and the developers, bridging the gap between technical requirements and business needs.

Initially, the Business Analyst works closely with stakeholders to understand the existing payroll processes, identify pain points, and define the objectives of the integration project. They gather and document detailed requirements, ensuring clarity and alignment with business goals.

In collaboration with third-party developers, the Business Analyst translates these requirements into technical specifications, outlining the data exchange protocols, security measures, and system architecture needed for seamless integration. Throughout the development process, they facilitate communication, address any discrepancies or challenges, and ensure that the final solution meets the specified criteria.

Moreover, the Business Analyst plays a crucial role in testing and validating the integration, working with developers to conduct thorough quality assurance checks and user acceptance testing. They also provide ongoing support post-implementation, monitoring system performance, troubleshooting issues, and facilitating any necessary adjustments or enhancements.

Ultimately, the relationship between the Payroll Business Analyst and third-party developers is characterized by collaboration, communication, and a shared commitment to delivering a robust, efficient, and tailored API integration solution that optimizes payroll processes and enhances business operations.

Payroll Services

Additional information regarding our African payroll offering

Conclusion

There can be little to no doubt that integrations are the future of the industry. Our experience and acumen extend to Workday, SuccessFactors, SAP, and a multitude of other systems including Time and Attendance and/or Finance systems.

With our extensive expertise in both African payrolls and powerful technology and tools, we truly believe we can deliver a single scalable solution for your integration environment in Africa.

If you would like to discuss integrations with us, please:

Payroll Integration using API’s Read More »

Budget Speech 2024

Budget Speech 2024

Budget Speech 2024

Budget Speech 2024

Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana’s, Budget Speech 2024

The Finance Minister delivered the last budget of the sixth democratic administration in his Budget Speech on 21 February 2024.

“The point, Madam Speaker, is that the size and quality of the national pie is what informs, and ultimately determines, the realisation of our political imperative of redistribution.”
Enoch Godongwana’s
Minister of Finance

The Minster announced that the Government would use the Gold and Foreign Exchange Contingency Reserve Account (GFECRA) to reduce its reliance on borrowing. This is on the back of debt-service costs absorbing more than 20% of revenue.

Social grants will go up, but there will be no inflationary adjustments to the Personal Income Tax brackets and medical aid credits. In addition, sin taxes will increase.

Retirement Reform

The Budget contained a short summary of the two-pot reform. The Revenue Laws Amendment Bill, containing the two-pot system changes to the Income Tax Act is progressing through Parliament. It is through the National Assembly and will now go to the National Council of Provinces.  The Revenue Law Second Amendment Bill was issued on 21st February 2024 and contained small technical amendments to the two-pot system.

The changes to the Pension Funds Act were published by the Minister of Finance at the end of January 2024. The Pension Funds Amendment Bill is also going through Parliament at the moment and is scheduled for the National Assembly at the end of March. The changes to the Pension Funds Act are mostly to align it with the two-pot system, but there are also some additional changes. We will issue a publication about this legislation shortly.

Treasury estimates that R5 billion is likely to be raised in 2024/2025 from tax collected as fund members, from 1 September 2024, access savings withdrawal benefits from their savings pots as a result of the once-off starting balance (seeded amount) in the savings pot. The seed capital transfer is a once‐off event, so this revenue will not continue into the following years.

Treasury states that policy research and engagement continue on the outstanding auto-enrolment, mandatory enrolment, and consolidation retirement reforms. The industry is waiting to see Treasury’s finalised auto-enrolment policy proposals. “Consolidation” appears to be a reference back to Treasury’s December 2021 paper entitled “Governance of umbrella funds”. The proposals included mechanisms to ensure funds were delivering value for money and to require consolidation where they were not.

Treasury will develop a national strategy on financial inclusion in 2024, based on its policy paper, entitled ‘An Inclusive Financial Sector for All’. The stated aim is to deepen financial inclusion for individuals, improve access to financial services for small, micro, and medium-sized enterprises, and enable diversification, competition, and innovation in financial services.

At the end of 2022, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) published a discussion paper, entitled ‘A Framework for Unclaimed Financial Assets in South Africa’. In order to make recommendations about the high levels of unclaimed assets, including unclaimed benefits in retirement funds. The FSCA is going through comments on the paper and will provide its response this year. The framework will concentrate on the identification, monitoring, management, and reporting of unclaimed assets, including tracing owners.

Currently, a pension or provident fund member who is over the early retirement age of 55, but has not retired, can transfer tax-free to, among other funds, a pension or provident fund, where this transfer is involuntary (for example a section 197 transfer of business requires the member to transfer to another fund). Currently, transfers in these circumstances, from one retirement annuity fund to another retirement annuity fund are not allowed tax-free. This is proposed to be amended to allow such a transfer.

At the end of 2022, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) published a discussion paper, entitled ‘A Framework for Unclaimed Financial Assets in South Africa’. In order to make recommendations about the high levels of unclaimed assets, including unclaimed benefits in retirement funds. The FSCA is going through comments on the paper and will provide its response this year. The framework will concentrate on the identification, monitoring, management, and reporting of unclaimed assets, including tracing owners.

Social grants are up

Treasury estimates that social grants will cost 3.6% of GDP in the 2024/25 financial year.

    • The old age grant, war veterans grant, disability grant, and care dependency grant: increases by R90 in April 2024 and another R10 in October 2024.
    • The foster care grant: increases by R50 in April 2024.
    • The child support grant: increases by R20 in April 2024.

The Minister stated that efforts are presently being made to enhance the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant (SRD grant) by April of this year, but for now, it will remain at R350 per month.

Individual taxes remain the same

Personal tax tables (natural persons) remain the same as no Inflationary adjustments have been made to the personal income tax tables and medical tax credits for the year.

Below are the personal income tax rates for 2024/25, as well as the rebates and thresholds (which are all unchanged):

Table: Personal income tax rates and bracket adjustments

Also remaining unchanged for the 2024/2025 tax year, are the monthly medical scheme tax credits.

A new global minimum corporate tax

The Minister invited comments on the following minimum tax proposal, which will bolster the corporate tax base: “Multinational corporations with annual revenue exceeding €750 million will be subject to an effective tax rate of at least 15%, regardless of where their profits are generated.”

The tax is designed to limit the channels that multinational companies use to shift profits from high- to low-tax countries.  The Draft Global Minimum Tax Bill will contain more details on these proposals and an opportunity for public input.

Limited resources

The Finance Minister reminded South Africans that “…the message they should take from this Budget is this: government is making the most out of very limited resources.”

Budget Speech 2024 Read More »

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