Making an impact through teaching accounting skills

As a growing business, Axcelerate is passionate about making an impact and transferring skills and empowering others. Axcelerate, powered by Sage has been hosting a selected individuals to attend the sage Skills Empowerment  bootcamp. The Bootcamp has been a success and yielded positive following the bootcamps being held in the two cities in Gauteng (Johannesburg and Pretoria) between August and November 2021.

The bootcamp covers various modules such as bookkeeping fundamentals, Sage Business Cloud accounting, Sage Business Cloud Payroll and Sage Cloud Payroll Professional. This year Axcelerate successfully trained 85 candidates, who have all completed the programme. “I just want to extend my gratitude to Axcelerate team for their investment in me, you guys changed my narrative, a month after the bootcamp I am employed in the global mining company, I aced three interviews and I was the one to decide where to go”, one of the beneficiaries testified.

“Given the state of unemployment in South Africa, hosting these workshops help young graduates and matriculants to gain skills. Reducing the unemployment rate in South Africa through education and skills transfer is part of Axcelerate’s mission”. We exist to curate and train new finance and payroll professionals , and we need new minds and talent to improve the sector, Managing Director Refentse Masha (CA) SA said.

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Axcelerate’s value is being able to empower others to be astute professionals in the sector in areas of business management software, accounting, tax, financial management and reporting. These are skills that can help them in their future as well as increase their chances of employment prospects.

All bootcamps are funded by Sage, thus increasing capacity within the Finance and ICT sector.

Cash flow management is a crucial part of the business

Money is an essential part of ensuring a successful and sustainable business. After profits and making revenue, management of those finances needs to follow. For a small-medium enterprise, having an accountant as part of the team is an investment.

Cash flow management can be explained as tracking every single transaction coming in and out of business. This can be done by interrogating the business’s income and expenditure statement, and each transaction should be kept in a ledger for tracking purposes. This ultimately assists the business to know where it could potentially face financial woes.

How often does this happen?

For a small start-up, reconciling an expenditure and income statement should be a weekly exercise. As the business grows, one can employ a monthly system and implement checks and balances to track transactions. As invoices are paid, other incomes are made, and cash is flowing in, it is equally important to keep track of the expenses accrued in the business at the end of the month. A weekly system allows the business owner or accountant to know if the company will meet its monthly obligations.

How does cash management keep a business afloat?

Keeping cash inventory is one of the key business pillars of building a sustainable business. According to the online learning platform, inc.com, “cash is king”, which means that the business cannot operate or fulfil its purpose without cash. Making money is a very big part of keeping the business and more importantly sustaining the business. However, the life and durability of the business over the years relies heavily on the management of the cash injected. Therefore, there needs to be a balance between the money coming in and the money going out. Ideally, a business owner should separate themselves from their business, in other words separating business and personal finances and kept in separate accounts.

Small businesses need to get into the habit of saving and investing profits back into the business. In the first three or five years of the company, the profit made should not be paid out to directors or shareholder. Taking the decision to re-invest the profits will do things for the business, one, compound the revenue made in the business, and secondly grow the business, allowing it to survive in tough seasons.

The business primarily exists to service its core clients that have a personality of their own and are somehow attached to the businesses.Poor cash management leads to various challenges for businesses, and these include inability to meet daily operations, dishonouring services and contracts with services providers, bankruptcy and business rescue for big firms. Small firms have the advantage of a few overheads, however good financial management also involves chasing invoices and following-up with clients for payments.

Good cash flow management allows the business to earn a good credit score with its creditors (the bank) and other investors. When you maintain cash flow management, you can build a good credit rating. This means that it will be easy to access credit lines with the banks and access funding, loans, and grants from potential investors. Managing your cash well shows investors that you can safeguard cash flow and manage your expenses — a measure of good financial management any investor is always looking for in its returns.

How to position your business for growth: Advice by Axcelerate

The advent of Covid-19 is no different from the global economic crisis in 2008, which led to most companies, banks, and other institutions closing shop. Today’s situation, however different it may be in its merits, still poses the same threats and has the same effect on business.

On the contrary, in his book “Built to last” Jim Collins posits that most lucrative and big businesses as we know them to be today were built during the 2008 global crisis, the likes of IBM for example. Today, entrepreneurs have emerged from the pandemic across the globe, building companies that will inevitably outlast the pandemic. This essentially infers that there can be opportunities for businesses during a crisis, and in fact, a crisis is the best time to start a business, but where do you start?

  •  Find a problem and seek to solve it: Each business has a vision and mission set to position the company for growth beyond making returns and profit margins. When seeking to start a business, especially as a start-up, look for a problem that exists in society and let your business be the solution to solve this problem.

The advantage of the pandemic is that it created many problems and exacerbated others that existed long before Covid-19. These problems are also business opportunities. The opportunities of scale that exist during this time will allow most businesses to establish themselves as sustainable companies.

  • Be clear on your goal as a business: Defining your why is what Author Simon Sinek refers to in his book Start with Why. Defining your why allows you to understand reason your business exists and who it is intended to serve, and in what way. If you are set on establishing a small business, your focus should be to grow the service your business offers, no matter the size of the market. However, should you wish your business to grow in scale, your focus should continue capturing market through your product and offering.
  • Identify a target market: Your target market is what is referred to as the niche. These are a group of individuals that will be your consumers of product or service. It is important to be intentional as a business in defining who you will be servicing. This allows for you to focus and not derailing for your primary mission to serve your clientele. The business primarily exists to service its core clients that have a personality of their own and are somehow attached to the businesses.
  • Create value: There are many businesses that will be in your market or sector/industry. It is important that you set yourself apart by creating value through your company. This will be your unique trademark and your unique value proposition that will either grow your business or retain or attract new customers. One of the best investments customers make towards your business is returning after the experience with your product or service because of the value to add it added their lives.

“A business is more than just an idea, a service or a company; it is a purpose for which it exists to serve in society”, said Axcelerate’s Executive Director Tshepiso Sekudu. Businesses become institutions that live long after their founder’s lifespan seizes. Therefore, make sure you build a business that exists for a purpose larger than yours, he added.

How to spring clean your finances

September ushers spring as a new season and is a new month. This time of the year is often likened to cleaning up, clearing up and creating space for new things. This includes arranging our finances accordingly. Often at the beginning of the year, people sign up for things such as gym, subscribe to platforms and attach themselves to new debt. Spring is regarded as a time for one to turn over a new leaf and set their house in order, but what does this practically look like?

Amongst the most basic steps one can take to clean their finances is for one filing for outstanding SARS submissions/VAT returns, review their budget, cancelling unused subscriptions and commitments that no longer serve them.

Filing your tax returns

Filing your tax returns can save you money through refunds as well as avoiding penalties where you may owe the South Africa Revenue Services (SARS) money. This is also beneficial for taxpayers who have paid towards medical aid contributions, a retirement saving product, or a tax-free savings account. These are all ways you can begin to savour money that you have “spent” towards contributions in the year. In addition, you can also claim for your Pay-as-you-earn (PAYE), as you are required to pay up to 10% of your salary through PAYE and you can then claim for up to a maximum of 27.5% of your taxable income, with a cap of R350,000 per annual.

If you run a business, being tax compliant through your tax filings is important. This means that you need to ensure that all your tax-related paperwork is in order. As a business owner, you can also claim for Value-added Tax (VAT). This is what you would have paid on most inputs and expenses you have incurred with added VAT.

Cancel your unused subscriptions

At the beginning of the year, you may have set financial goals and some of them you have reached and others you have not. This could be due to a number of reasons, including oversubscribing to platforms such as Netflix, movie sites, joining the gym but not training, and signing up on music platforms such as Apple Music or Spotify you never use. When one looks at the accumulation of how much their entertainment bill accounts to and other unnecessary expenses tally up to, they would be shocked. If you find yourself spending R50 to R100 or more on each entertainment platform yet, you are not using it, which means it is time to cancel the subscription. If you have signed for gym membership and have not gone to the gym no more than three months regularly, then you need to review. Saving R50 or R100 may sound like it is not much when it is in actual fact, that is cash that you could put to good use or save towards something.

Reviewing budget

There are a lot of expenses that go unnoticed on our budgets, especially when you look at your bank statement. Make reviewing your budget monthly a good habit to adopt. This way, you can plan better for items you spent on promptly as well as items you may not have needed yet overspent on them. This could not only save you money but also help you to budget appropriately for more important things. Align your budget with your priorities and always aim to pay off your debt first, save and invest. This is not the only way to advance your financial goals and financial standing, however, it does improve your financial freedom. Debt is one of the number triggers of stress and once you manage to reduce their debt obligations, builds your savings portfolio, this will free up cash to allow you to invest in different asset classes and help you compound your wealth.

Axcelerate’s Managing Director, Refentse Masha CA (SA) advised that keeping to a healthy and prudent financial status should be a year long process and not only a spring project. “It is important that we always check in with ourselves financially, weekly, monthly, quarterly and of course annually.” This means that we grow in line with our financial goals, added Masha.