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 Either way, outdated payroll processes that are unable to proactively detect fraud put your business at risk.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Outdated payroll processes that rely on Excel spreadsheets and manual accounting are easy to manipulate and defraud.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.
News fatigue shifts Google searches in SA
Google search trends in South Africa reveal a startling insight into news appetite, writes BRYAN TURNER.
The big searches of the year no longer track the biggest news stories of the year, suggesting a strong dose of news fatigue among South Africans.
“People ask, why are the Guptas not on the list of Google’s top searches?, says Mich Atagana, head of communications and public affairs at Google South Africa, “The Guptas are not on the list because South Africans are not actually that interested. South Africans are looking for things they don’t know. From a Gupta point of view, we’ve been exhausted by the news and we know exactly what is going on.”
Google South Africa announced the results of its 2018 Year in Search, offering a unique perspective on the year’s major moments.
“Four years ago, there were almost no South Africans on the personalities list,” says Atagana. “Over the years, South Africans have gotten more interested in South Africa, in searching on Google.”
That isn’t to say that international searches – like Meghan Markle – are not heavily searched by South Africans. But they feature lower down on the lists.
From the World Cup to listeriosis, Zuma and Global Citizen, South Africans use search to find the things they really need to know.
These are the main trends revealed by Google this week:
Top trending South African searches
- World Cup fixtures
- Load shedding
- Global Citizen
- Winnie Mandela
- Black Panther
- Meghan Markle
- Mac Miller
- Jacob Zuma
- Cyril Ramaphosa
- Sbahle Mpisane
- Kevin Anderson
- Malusi Gigaba
- Ashwin Willemse
- Patrice Motsepe
- Cheryl Zondi
- Shamila Batohi
- Mlindo the Vocalist
- How did Avicii die?
- How old is Pharrell Williams?
- What is listeriosis?
- What is black data?
- How old is Prince Harry?
- How much are Global Citizen tickets?
- How to get pregnant?
- What time is the royal wedding?
- What happened to HHP?
- How old is Meghan Markle?
Top ‘near me’ searches
- Jobs near me
- Nandos near me
- Dischem near me
- McDonalds near me
- Guest house near me
- Postnet near me
- Steers near me
- Spar near me
- Debonairs near me
- Spur near me
- Winnie Mandela
- Meghan Markle
- Sbahle Mpisane
- Aretha Franklin
- Khloe Kardashian
- Sophie Ndaba
- Cheryl Zondi
- Demi Lovato
- Lerato Sengadi
- Siam Lee
The Year In Search 2018 minisite can be found here.
Smartphones dip in 2018
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to decline by 3% in 2018 before returning to low single-digit growth in 2019 and through 2022.
While the on-going U.S.-China trade war has the industry on edge, IDC still believes that continued developments from emerging markets, mixed with potential around 5G and new product form factors, will bring the smartphone market back to positive growth.
Smartphone shipments are expected to drop to 1.42 billion units in 2018, down from 1.47 billion in 2017. However, IDC expects year-over-year shipment growth of 2.6% in 2019. Over the long-term, smartphone shipments are forecast to reach 1.57 billion units in 2022. From a geographic perspective, the China market, which represented 30% of total smartphone shipments in 2017, is finally showing signs of recovery. While the world’s largest market is still forecast to be down 8.8% in 2018 (worse than the 2017 downturn), IDC anticipates a flat 2019, then back to positive territory through 2022. The U.S. is also forecast to return to positive growth in 2019 (up 2.1% year over year) after experiencing a decline in 2018.
The slow revival of China was one of the reasons for low growth in Q3 2018 and this slowdown will persist into Q1 2019 as the market is expected to drop by 3% in Q4 2018. Furthermore, the recently lifted U.S. ban on ZTE had an impact on shipments in Q3 2018 and created a sizable gap that is yet to be filled heading into 2019.
“With many of the large global companies focusing on high-end product launches, hoping to draw in consumers looking to upgrade based on specifications and premium devices, we can expect head-to-head competition within this segment during the holiday quarter and into 2019 to be exceptionally high,” said Sangeetika Srivastava, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.
Though 2018 has fallen below expectations so far, the worldwide smartphone market is set to pick up on the shift toward larger screens and ultra-high-end devices. All the big players have further built out their portfolios with bigger screens and higher-end smartphones, including Apple’s new launch in September. In Q3 2018, the 6-inch to less than 7-inch screen size band became the most prominent band for the first time with more than four times year-over-year growth. IDC believes that larger-screen smartphones (5.5 inches and above) will lead the charge with volumes of 947.1 million in 2018, accounting for 66.7% of all smartphones, up from 623.3 million units and 42.5% share in 2017. By 2022, shipments of these larger-screen smartphones will move up to 1.38 billion units or 87.7% of overall shipment volume.
“What we consider a so-called normal size smartphone has shifted dramatically in a few short years and while we are stretching the limits with bezel-less devices, the next big switch to flexible screens will test our imaginations even further,” said Melissa Chau, associate research director with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. “While this category of device is still nascent and won’t see major adoption in the year ahead, it’s exciting to see changes to the standard monoblock we are all so used to carrying.”
Android: Android’s smartphone share will remain stable at 85% throughout the forecast. Volumes are expected to grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.7% with shipments approaching 1.36 billion in 2022. Android is still the choice of the masses with no shift expected. Android average selling prices (ASPs) are estimated to grow by 9.6% in 2018 to US$258, up from US$235 in 2017. IDC expects this upward trajectory to continue through the forecast, but at a softened rate from 2019 and beyond. Not only are market players pushing upgraded specs and materials to offset decreasing replacement rates, but they are also serving the evolving consumer needs for better performance.
iOS: iOS smartphones are forecast to drop by 2.5% in 2018 to 210.4 million. The launch of expensive and bigger screen iOS smartphones in Q3 2018 helped Apple to raise its ASP, simultaneously making it somewhat difficult to increase shipments in the current market slump. IDC is forecasting iPhone shipments to grow at a five-year CAGR of 0.1%, reaching volumes of 217.3 million in 2022. Despite the challenges, there is no ambiguity that Apple will continue to lead the global premium market segment.