Magnus Nmonwu is the regional director for Sage West Africa. He speaks to Peter Ugwu about the latest trends in the Nigerian business software market.
What is Sage Day West Africa 2015?
This is the first time that Sage’s three key operating entities in Africa - Sage Pastel Accounting, Sage ERP Africa and Sage HR & Payroll - are coming together to showcase our solutions. That is why we tagged it Sage Day West Africa.
Adoption of Financial and Payroll Software in Nigeria?
Compliance is getting a lot of attention from organizations and businesses operating in Nigeria. People need to report on business operations in a way that follows international standards - and to do that, they need the right business software.
All our solutions are built to enable compliance with standards such as the International Finance Reporting Standards (IFRS), the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN), and the International Public Sector Accounting Standard (IPSAS). We have compliant solutions that cut across small, medium and large enterprises. And they produce financial reports that will withstand any international scrutiny.
Sectors Feeling around Compliance
Businesses that want to grow must adopt healthy practices in governance and reporting, and also be able to made decisions faster.
Every sector has to comply with IFRS - in fact, the final milestone for compliance was January 2014. Those that fail to comply will struggle to attract investors and even international customers.
In our workshops, we showed clients what changes they need to make in gathering, analyzing and reporting on financial information to ensure compliance.
Technology makes it easier to collect accurate data and produce reports that comply with regulations and accounting standards.
Government Departments Embracing Compliance
A number of states, electricity distribution companies, and federal parastatals in Nigeria are already implementing Sage solutions such as Sage ERP X3, Sage One, Sage Evolution and Sage Human Resources Management,
They are paying more attention than ever to aligning their reporting standards, governance, and risk management with international standards, especially IFRS. Compliance to international standards will subtly compel every government agency and department to adopt software in this regard.
Sage Role in e-Commerce, e-Payment and Software Integration
We are actually playing an important role in the Nigerian e-commerce space through projects with our key customers.
Recently, we met a commercial bank that supports small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and wants to put up a platform where these SMEs can do business.
On the payroll side, we are in discussions with partners to create payment gateway for an end-to-end smooth payment process, where companies will be able to pay salaries with a click of a mouse.
Trends in the Telecommunication Industry
The network operators are open to adopting software that offers seamless and agile features. We are presently in discussions with two of the big four telecom companies in Nigeria.
They are more willing than ever to consider adopting software produced outside Europe or India.
How is Sage Different from Competitors?
In addition to our offices and partner in key African countries, we have support from team members at headquarters who understand the nuances in each country.
So, even if you are a client in Botswana, Ghana, or Nigeria, a click of a button can connect you with a consultant who can help you resolve any issues the local support team or business partner cannot address.
Secondly, we are abreast of the latest trends in legislation. Legislation drives payroll software. Often, software imported from the United Kingdom will not meet the needs of Nigeria’s tax authorities.
Sage has invested in a team that interacts with revenue authorities across all the countries where our solutions are used. If there are changes in legislation, we are quick to adapt our software.
For instance, when the Personal Income Tax (Act) in Nigeria changed, the Gazette copy was made public in February 2012 and was backdated to June 2011, Sage was one of the few companies that were able to make quick changes.
Threat of Data being Stolen or Lost as they use Accounting and Payroll Software in the Cloud
I will start by asking, if millions of Nigerians are on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, among others, have any concerns about their personal pictures and data.
My Facebook page has never been hacked. Where the data center is, you and I don’t know, but any time I want the information, it’s there and it’s secure.
A good online partner will have very strong information security in place. However, I feel there is need for legislation around datacenter and data hosting to protect people’s and companies’ sensitive data. .
Certain laws mean that payroll data cannot be hosted outside Nigeria. We need to be quick as a country to modernize our laws to ensure our businesses can take advantage of the efficiencies of the cloud. For us at Sage, we are working with partners for local hosting of a number of our solutions in the cloud and we see it as the future of business software,
Benefits of Sage ERP X3
As a cloud solution, Sage ERP X3 is aimed at businesses who value the ease of deployment, accessibility, simple management and low cost of ownership of service, without compromising the functionality and scalability of Sage ERP X3 version 7. Sage ERP X3 version 7 now has web standards, usability and mobility at its core, allowing mid-sized organisations the ability to get more done faster and on the move.
Even if the Chief Executive Officer is on holiday in the Caribbean, smartphones and other mobile devices give him direct access to the same data he can access in the office. Today, you cannot be in the office 24/7.
There are other pressing matters to attend to, such as conferences, and other engagements. Now, with your smartphone or tablet, you can check your inventories, customer data, paperwork, and so on, where you are.
Sage’s investment in Nigeria
At Sage, we have always targeted Nigeria as an investment destination. We have the view that a multinational without an interest in Nigeria, Africa by extension, is not ready to operate in this continent. Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy, and we are here to stay.
Sage Offer for SMEs
Sage is presently partnering with a number of SME initiatives in Nigeria, to assist them with their growth.
What we are doing in this regard, is that we have developed a number of solutions built with the users in mind, which would cater for the startups and small companies.
This solution is very affordable and easy to use, The users don’t require any IT hardware of infrastructure to own the software. More features can be obtained by visiting the Sage office or contacting us online.