Although COVID-19 is not the first pandemic the world has faced over the last 100 years, its effects are unique due to increased globalisation and interconnectivity which have altered the way organisations in every country operate. And, unlike before, workers on an unprecedented scale are being sent to work from home, which has clear limitations for many industries. COVID-19 is also the first global crisis that has had a major impact on corporate compliance, but thanks to cloud technologies, HR & Payroll practitioners are still able to maintain compliant and keep up with the changes the pandemic is driving.
The role of compliance departments
Compliance departments need to adapt to new ways of working, and need to ensure they are available to implement any changes as soon as new information is released. Many measures to assist businesses have been implemented, and as relief measures and regulations were announced with urgency, we needed to respond at once. Also, we needed to assist customers by supporting the changes in our call centre, by answering any questions they had as well as offering clarity on what the changes mean for their businesses in practical terms. In fact, of the 45 countries we service in Africa, 32 had major changes, with Angola, Kenya, South Africa and Namibia being the most affected. Other regions also experienced changes, but more centred around issues such as payment or submission delays.
Changes were unclear, or contained contradictory information as they had not been curated properly. Fortunately, we have access to all the statutory bodies, and are on the executive board of PAGSA, so this challenge was fairly simple for us to overcome. We also experienced that as so many people are working from home, getting hold of the appropriate people in the various regions wasn’t easy, and resulted in delays in getting information. Coupled with this, communicating with customers has kept us incredibly busy, as several countries had multiple changes that had to be dealt with. However, the moment we received the changes, it was easy to implement them almost instantly.
While many organisations are coming to terms with the new way of working, PaySpace has seen the impact of being able to roll out new legislation in a matter of hours, giving our users the benefit of implementing changes rapidly. We believe that this could see an increasing number of businesses moving to true cloud applications going forward, understanding that the ability to benefit from the relief measures offered by governments, depends largely on their software suppliers’ ability to roll out the measures in time, and with 100% accuracy.
What can we expect to see in the next few months?
Economies have stalled, and it is hard to predict what the future holds. However, most governments are trying to help small to medium enterprises with relief measures as far as possible, but these smaller entities aren’t the only ones taking strain. We are seeing large enterprises taking a big knock, and having to implement drastic measures, and even cutting their workforce in extreme cases. It is practically impossible to even estimate how long the impact will last, and in the short term the majority of organisations will have to adapt to remote working, and we believe in helping businesses adopt a more agile way of working.
More businesses will be forced to adapt and change their business models to be more technology savvy, which in turn will give them the benefits of speed, flexibility, agility and manager and employee self-service. Organisations who are already harnessing the benefits of cloud platforms are realising the benefits of having changes or updates to their software practically as soon as they happen. While others are seeing that the old way of doing things simply doesn’t work, and they need to do things differently. They need to look at ridding themselves of expensive infrastructure, and opt for cloud solutions which will cut costs in a major way.
So, what is PaySpace doing to address the challenges?
We are helping our customers across the board continue with business as usual HCM functions in real time for all their stakeholders through the true value of our cloud application. Our systems are updated on an ongoing basis, as soon as the changes are promulgated, to ensure that our customers can benefit from relief measures as soon as possible. We have had extremely positive feedback from customers that our COVID-19 TERS file submit seamlessly, which is resulting in businesses receiving their pay out within 48 hours. In addition, we are assisting our customers with their tax year end submissions to help alleviate the additional pressure they are currently under.