Winner of the Excellence in the Management of Technology award for 2018, category for medium enterprises

Six out of six is hard to beat

Talk about making a clean sweep. Payroll and people management company Accsys entered six tt100 award categories in 2018 and walked away with all six, including excellence in the management of technology.

“We were surprised,” admits CEO Teryl Schroenn. This is not because Accsys is a newcomer to winning awards – it received one tt100 award in 2017 and four in 2016 – but rather because it had just emerged from a challenging period.

Transaction Capital acquired Accsys in December 2017 after it had spent several years in the Telkom/BCX fold. “As a subsidiary, we had been hampered by corporate restrictions and it was only quite recently that we felt we were back on track,” says Teryl.

Six tt100 awards seem to confirm that, but truth be told, Accsys’s business and technology model is built for resilience across short-term wobbles. As payroll veterans who have seen more change than most, Teryl and her COO Cathie Webb know that nothing is more important to people than their salaries. Being paid the right amount, on time, is non-negotiable, and a payroll provider worth its salt makes sure that if there’s one thing its clients’ employees can bank on, it’s their salaries.

So the backbone of Accsys’s business is extremely reliable technology. However, that’s not enough. This technology also has to be highly flexible so that all those deductions can be made, error-free, and salaries paid via whatever channels the client and its employees prefer. For the most part, 21st century employees receive their salaries electronically but there are still many  unbanked people in Africa (Accsys’s clients are active in 19 African countries) whose salaries are paid in cash.

Teryl says Accsys is able to adapt its proprietary software relatively quickly and easily to cater for those preferences, not to mention the differences in various countries’ tax frameworks, employment laws and data privacy requirements.

The company is also keeping a close eye on the rapid changes in the world of work, where digitisation is ushering in new types of employment, embodied by the gig worker who chooses to work here, there and everywhere. Such trends are bound to change what, when and how people are paid, with major implications for the future of payroll.

Here, systems integration and data protection are key requirements, she says. “Software, while having to be protected to ensure data confidentiality, must still be able to contribute data to other products and accept data from other products.”

“The digital economy is still in the embryo stage but we need to be agile enough to adapt to whatever it brings,” says Teryl. “We have a team of bright young people adding depth to our very experienced team, looking at things to add on or take off what we are already doing and making it cutting edge.”

No one knows quite how payroll will change or even what currencies will exist in the digital future, but when people need to be paid, Accsys is putting its money where its mouth is.