The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) lists payroll fraud as one of the costliest examples of asset misappropriation affecting businesses around the world. This is partly due to the fact that payroll fraud tends to go undetected for longer – as time passes, the scheme grows, and your business suffers exponentially. Sometimes, payroll fraud can be traced back to human error but more often than not, it’s an opportunistic criminal act. Either way, outdated payroll processes that are unable to proactively detect fraud put your business at risk.
Africa is a vast continent, full of opportunities but not without its challenges. Many government departments, as well as private businesses, have fallen victim to unethical payroll administrators falsifying employee benefits, paying ‘ghost’ employees and miscalculating expenses. In South Africa, for example, a 2016 PwC survey reveals that 28% of local companies have suffered as a result of fraudulent HR and payroll activities.
Moving up the continent, the governments of Liberia, Kenya and Nigeria have all reported incidents of payroll fraud. These include administrators paying themselves salaries long after retirement, paying salaries to people who no longer work for the government, and paying salaries to non-existing or ‘ghost’ employees.
In April 2017, Ghana’s finance ministry conducted an audit of civil servants, identified non-existing ‘ghost’ employees and removed close to 27,000 names from the payroll. A national census removed just over 23,000 names, reducing the enormous wage bill substantially and saving the country over US$50mn in 2017 alone. On the back of this, the Ghanaian government is now looking into outsourcing its payroll to ensure a more efficient management system that improves visibility and speed, while also ensuring compliance and accountability.
Outdated payroll processes that rely on Excel spreadsheets and manual accounting are easy to manipulate and defraud. However, the following three technologies can provide your business in Africa with better payroll protection, keeping your operations fully compliant and safe.
- The cloud
Cloud-based, mobile payroll software gives payroll managers, administrators and employees easy access to relevant payroll information on any device, anywhere and at any time. The information is fully transparent, and access is clearly tracked and recorded. If certain information is particularly sensitive like medical and financial data, then different access controls can be assigned to different employees.
Management can use real-time cloud analytics to filter data-points according to relevant fields, generate daily activity reports with little effort and thus, spot any payroll fraud fast. When people know measures are in place to identify and catch a criminal, they are less likely to commit a crime. Transparent company data that makes use of the cloud is crucial.
To reduce the risk of payroll fraud, you need to reduce the need for human oversight and intervention. Modern payroll technology eliminates the need for manual intervention, automating these five important functions:
- Leave management – an employee self-service authorisation process automatically inputs leave dates into the payroll system. If an employee applies for more leave than they are entitled to, the system will send a notification.
- Commission allocations – a built-in company specific commission calculator ensures that employee commissions are worked out and paid correctly.
- Data integration – seamless integration with accounting software, further reducing the amount of human errors.
- Earnings and deductions – automatically process recurring employee earnings and deductions.
- Bank account and ID number verification – confirm new employees’ details quickly.
- Workflow authorisation
A modern payroll system helps you combat fraud by sharing authorisation responsibility across departments. If, for example, HR adds a new employee’s ‘master’ information like name, surname, ID number and address, it then directs the task to payroll to load the employee’s earnings and deductions. With this additional oversight and multiple authorisations, it’s much harder to create ‘ghost’ employees.
Unfortunately, there will always be dishonest people looking for an easy way to make more money – and some of them may end up working for you. Don’t give them the opportunity to commit occupational fraud under your roof. Put modern automated payroll technology to the test and protect your African business’ from costly fraud.
TikTok looks for SA talent
The fast-rising short-video platform has launched a #PickMe campaign to discover local stars.
TikTok, which claims to be the world’s leading destination for short-form videos, launches its first PickMe campaign, an effort to discover creative talents and provide a stage to express themselves in South Africa. Starting March 1, TikTok kicked off a month-long search through participants’ 15-second videos under hashtag #PickMe.
TikTok says it is committed to investing in South Africa and discovering the local talents. The PickMe campaign is supported by its local partners like Huawei, MTV Base and Digify Africa.
Local stars, including comedian and singer Lasizwe and singer Nadia Jaftha, have joined the campaign and called for users to show their talents on TikTok.
There are 5 categories of video shooting in the campaign, namely dance, acting, comedy, singing and cosmetics. Participants need to shoot a 15-second video using TikTok using #PickMe and tag @tiktok_africa to participate in the challenge. The finalists will be selected based on their video performance. The most popular and talented participants will have the chance to win prizes like Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphones, a day at MTV Base, and a once-off-presenter opportunity and attendance at an intensive video production workshop delivered by Digify Africa.
“TikTok has definitely evolved into something that everyone loves and uses. It’s given creators a space to create more unique content and also help the creator gain a whole new kind of fan base, ” says Preven Reddy, Imbewu The Seed TV-star and Megazone radio host who is also a TikTok user.
Says TikTok video creator Mihlali Nxanga: “As a young South African working towards being in the entertainment industry, TikTok has given me the platform to grow my following tremendously. Within 6 months, my fan base has grown by a whopping 90 000, and not only from South Africa, but the whole world. For me, TikTok is not just a content platform, it is a global community.”
The campaign will wrap up on March 31. The list of the finalist will be announced in the app and on official Instagram @tiktok_southafrica. For more information, please visit the TikTok app.
Rugby fan experience transformed by digital platform
The South African Rugby Federation has embraced digitalisation as a key enabler of its strategic aspirations. It has worked with Accenture to transform fan engagement for Springbok supporters with the launch of a digital fan platform.
“Digital technology and social media have transformed how modern fans watch, support and engage with their favourite teams,” says SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux. “To maintain our relevance amid this new market dynamic, and grow our fan base, we’ve acknowledged the vital need to digitally transform our organisation.”
Wayne Hull, managing director for Accenture Digital in Africa, says: “SA Rugby’s ambition to pivot to a more fan-centric strategy requires digital design, content, platforms and insights because modern consumers, including loyal Springbok supporters, engage predominantly via mobile digital channels and expect hyper-personalised experiences.”
Accenture Digital’s development process started with quantitative and qualitative research, which informed the user experience (UX) design guidelines and content strategy for the digital fan engagement platform.
“To know what fans want, we needed to understand the fans themselves,” says Hull. “The Accenture Digital team mined the research data and identified multiple fan ‘personas’, which all have different content consumption, platform functionality and engagement preferences.”
The platform development team focused on three critical elements to meet these requirements – the customer experience (CX), the engagement engine and cloud-based deployment.
“To deliver a memorable and engaging CX, Accenture Digital leveraged leading digital experience software,” says Hull. “The result is a fully integrated and responsive platform that creates seamless, personalised digital fan experiences across SA Rugby’s content, commerce and digital marketing initiatives in a manner that makes fans feel recognised and connected to the players and the game.”
The new platform will serve as the first point of call for any rugby fan who wants to get their data fix with exclusive statistics, analytics and insights. The platform’s content style will include more visual elements – videos and images – with more concise articles that are easier to digest, in accordance with evolving content consumption preferences on mobile screens. This will complement long-form thought leadership and insight pieces.
In addition, fans will enjoy exclusive access to player-related content, such as behind-the-scenes footage and game and training performance stats. SA Rugby will also benefit from the ability to track comments and mentions via the Sitecore analytics platform Accenture Digital implemented, to respond and engage in the conversations Springbok fans are having on social media about the game, the teams or the players.
To do this, SA Rugby required a consolidated view of the customer. However, data resided in disparate sites across ticketing providers and SA Rugby’s e-commerce and online magazine databases. This information will be consolidated into the CRM system, with multiple integration points available to leverage this data.
The CRM system’s functionality will help to reveal insights such as fan communication preferences and their likes and dislikes, which will place hyper-relevance at the core of SA Rugby’s fan experience and engagement strategy.
The final element in the platform development was cloud deployment, which allows fans to access the platform from any device that has an internet connection. The platform is hosted within the Microsoft Azure environment, which is stable, secure and fully redundant. It gives SA Rugby the flexibility to manage the platform themselves, with the option to integrate or scale additional functionality down the line.
Based on the outcome, Hull believes that Accenture Digital has successfully reimagined, built and delivered a world-class, modern and mobile-friendly digital fan platform that creates a fun, immersive and engaging experience for fans.
“It’s a major step towards helping SA Rugby realise its ambition to become a fan-centric, forward-looking and nimble organisation, and we look forward to building and developing the platform further with the team as their digital fan engagement requirements evolve,” says Hull