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By 2 November 2012 | Categories: news

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Softline Pastel has launched a new online hub for its cloud applications, which is intended to make it easier for small and medium businesses, to manage the financial aspect of their business.

The company explained that the site, Sage Pastel Online, provides the entrepreneur on-the-go with one central location to access the company’s bouquet of cloud-based business tools from. This makes running a small business a little easier, as the product as been designed with the always connected, mobile, smartphone and tablet toting small business owner in mind.

To this end, all accounting jargon has been changed to simple English, enabling accounting layman to manage the business’s books.

Bird’s eye view

Softline Pastel elaborated that its offering is a multi-user system with dashboards, graphs and drill-downs to source transactions that provide a bird's eye view of the business. The system allows users to manage customers, suppliers and inventory items and keeps track of sales and purchases.

It further though, enables businesses to get a quick and easy view of how their business is performing at a glance, on a monthly and yearly basis, as well as viewing who its top customers are by sales.

This ability to quickly view business critical data encourages companies to explore more, (and thus innovate faster), explained Steven Cohen, the managing director of Pastel Accounting (pictured).

Bank feeds also automatically update bank statements in the program’s bank or credit card accounts saving users from manually importing or capturing them. In addition, transactions can be mapped to automatically assign the correct accounts. My Business Online also comes with a comprehensive list of reports so that month-end management packs are quick and easy to create.

The payroll priority

Additionally, it runs alongside Pastel My Payroll Online, which is similarly a simple payroll solution that allows SME owners to pay their employees anywhere, anytime. 

The company explained that like My Business, My Payroll contains no confusing jargon, and is a SARS compliant system aligned to even the most complex legislation, including PAYE and UIF. Users can also process leave online with leave types already defined according to the BCEA requirements.

Mobility matters

While Pastel Accounting first launched its online accounting program, Pastel My Business Online, in May 2009, the company has endeavored to since bring several online innovations to the local SME market.

“Times have changed, we have entered an age where technology is pervasive, allowing us more mobility than ever - and business has to be part of the revolution to remain competitive,” stressed Cohen.

Indeed, mobility, and the rapid adoption of smartphones, was a pervasive theme of the event, and thus it came as little surprise that the company, in conjunction with Samsung, announced that selected Samsung devices will now come preloaded with the My Business Online Android app.

For its part, Pastel is a reseller of Samsung’s S3, Note and Tablet devices; all of which will be preloaded with a year’s free access to Pastel My Business Online. The devices will be available for purchase via the Pastel Webstore.

Online, integrated

The company also highlighted the importance of SMEs having an online presence on the internet as well. However, the company asserted that while 70% of SME lacked an online presence, even those SMEs that do a website, found that their marketing capabilities and integration with smartphones and social media was often limited. In a bid to address this, the company further showcased Pastel My Webspace.

This, it explained, is an online marketing engine for SMEs. It’s first feature is  an HTML5 website builder, which is able to build a clean and professional looking website without requiring users to write or learn any code.

Beyond this though, the company explained that the program is intended to provide an all-in-one e-marketing service. To this end, it incorporates functionality to provide search engine optimisation, while catering to mobile and social media integration, as well as analytics, a dynamic newsletter, and mobile campaigns.

"Moving your business applications online is a must for anyone who wants to ensure that they remain at the cutting edge of service delivery,” Cohen concluded.

To the point

With an exhaustive array of features, that, in the demonstration, certainly seemed very easy to use, it became quite clear that the Softline Pastel is offering SMEs who feel daunted by technical accounting jargon and the legislative requirements of managing their payroll something special.

Our hope is that solutions like this will lower the barrier to entry for new SMEs, which has been largely accepted as being critical for addressing the unemployment which seems to plague South Africa.   

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