Image processing is being developed around the world for the manufacturing environment, but a South African research team is pushing the boundaries and finding ways in which the technology can be used to provide better healthcare. Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, the chair of systems engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand, says his passion for science became deep-rooted when he won the National Youth Science Olympiad in 1989.
South African companies have been accessing markets throughout the African continent since the country regained admission into the world trading community. While there have been some less than stellar ventures into Africa, most companies have developed successful African business models that allow them to expand into these new markets and deliver profits to their shareholders.
South Africa exports goods and services to about 53 African countries. Last year this amounted to R53,1billion. Steven Matthews, CEO of FNB International Banking, says the 2006 exports represent a 16% increase on the value of exports in 2005 (R45billion). “Zambia was the top African destination for our exports last year, up from third place the previous year," says Matthews.
Demand for accounting systems is on the rise in South Africa as companies realise the importance and value of running their businesses in a more efficient manner. Gary Epstein, MD of QuickBooks, says businesses are waking up to the necessity of running their operations in a professional manner.
The small and medium enterprise sector is seeking accounting solutions that meet the needs of the high-pressure environments in which they operate, according to David Greenleaf, commercial director at Ability Solutions. "They want integrated solutions in which they capture a document once and the information automatically flows through to every appropriate area of the system.
A desire to focus on core business activities, together with increasingly complex administrative issues, rising costs and a shortage of appropriate skills, is causing many companies to move in the direction of outsourcing their payroll function. Marina Nolte, national outsourcing manager at Softline VIP, says the payroll outsourcing market is growing rapidly.
The barrier between human resources departments (HR) and payroll administration has disappeared in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), thanks to new developments in payroll software that cater for changing demands. New legislation and more expansive requirements from the South African Revenue Service, have led to payroll administration taking on data capture and complex reporting functions that were previously the domain of HR.