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How the launch of three new VAT tools will assist SMEs

Global cloud accounting software provider, Xero has announced the launch of three new VAT cloud tools that aim to assist SMEs in SA.

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With the aim to resolve the tedious and traditionally costly process of processing VAT (value-added tax) for businesses, global cloud accounting software provider, Xero has announced the launch of three new VAT cloud tools.

Xero becomes the first accounting software to launch an eFiling trial with SARS

The newly developed tools aim to transform how SMEs manage VAT and will allow businesses to prepare, submit, and store VAT returns through Xero platform and to the South Africa Reserve Bank (SARS).

The new cloud service tools include VAT Return Form, VAT Late Claims functionality, and eFiling.

In an official press release, Colin Timmis, Country Manager South Africa at Xero explains that the new VAT cloud tools will assist SMEs and contribute to the digital transformation in the tax industry.

“This is a game-changer for accountants and small businesses in South Africa and will give them one simple workflow. We’ve worked closely with tax bodies in other markets – like the UK and Australia – to support their drive towards digitisation in the tax industry. These new tools will be a much-needed boost for digitisation in SA, in line with SARS’ agenda and that of the wider government. We need to make the tax process easier so businesses don’t damage their chance of survival with unnecessary penalties or interest. This innovation, along with other Xero tools like data capture tool Hubdoc, will help future-proof businesses.”

The cloud tools have been designed to improve systems for SMEs and advisors by assisting in the increase of efficiency, reducing errors, improving accuracy, and allowing businesses to gain more control over finances.

Assisting SMEs

Jeanne Viljoen, Project Director for Practices at the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) explains that the cloud tools reduce admin and transforms the way businesses operate.

“Making tax simpler is key in reducing costs associated with compliance. These VAT tools not only make it easier for businesses to be compliant but also save time. This allows business owners to focus on their business rather than the admin. Embracing technology streamlines processes and creates a collaborative working arrangement between businesses, accounting firms, and government.”

Xero claims to have 2.45-million subscribers globally and provides small business owners and its accountants the opportunity to access real-time financial data at any time on any device.

Shahied Daniels, Chief Executive of the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) comments on the importance of the cloud tools for accountants to accelerate digitisation in not only SA’s tax industry but also the general economy.

“This is a great step forward in the wider industry’s mission to set Professional Accountants up for the future and with the right tools to embrace 4IR. Professional Accountants have an essential role to play in the future of SA’s economy, and digitisation of processes like VAT will be vital in enabling this.”

Available cloud tools

The eFiling cloud tool with SARS is intended to launch in the first quarter of 2021 as it is in beta trial stages however, the VAT Return and Late Claims are accessible now.

The eFiling tool will give users the opportunity to file VAT201 forms electronically to SARS via the Xero platform. Once submitted, the forms are processed by SARS and consumers will be able to check their status the day after submission.

The VAT201 return form has been created in line with the requirements of the SARS’ version. Users are able to view the list of transactions that make up each return which will enable them to transcribe into journals if necessary.

Accountants and SMEs are able to include transactions from the previous tax period in the current tax period through the Late Claims VAT tool. The tool also eliminates users adjusting accounts or tracking invoices to claim by ensuring the invoice appears in the accurate reporting period and gets added to the next VAT return.

Mike Anderson, founder, and CEO of The National Small Business Chamber (NSBC) comments that the VAT cloud tools are accelerating the digitisation of the tax industry.

“The small business community is already facing so many challenges. As they continue to weather the storm, they need time to focus on their recovery. It’s great to see this kind of innovation helping to automate and digitise processes like VAT – keeping SMEs compliant and giving them time back to focus on the most important things. We hope to see more areas of small business going this way in the future.”

Xero provides an ecosystem that consists of more than 800 third-party apps and over 200 connections to banks and various financial partners.

The Xero VAT tools are available to accountants and bookkeepers at no additional cost via the Xero Partner Programme.

Nicole Rousseau, Head of PKF Ignite, proudly comments that the new suite of cloud services will transform consultations with clients.

“Xero’s new VAT tools are the solution we have needed for many years to help SMEs, and it will revolutionise the way we advise our clients. This move reaffirms Xero’s commitment and dedication to the small business owner, and we are proud to have been part of the testing team as Xero developed this.”

The VAT Return Form and Late Claims functionality are readily available for accountants and SMEs. The new suite of cloud services will significantly improve businesses’ administration process.

CloudConvert, the local app partner, supports the integration with SARS.

Amanda Orselli, Head of BDODrive South Africa explains that the VAT tools will assist accountants and revolutionise the industry.

“This is a significant step forward for the accounting industry, giving us one platform to monitor and manage VAT compliance for our clients. This speaks to the future of our industry and the role digitisation can play in improving efficiencies and streamlining workflows. It will help us to equip small businesses with the right tools to free them up from admin, so they can remain focussed on growth.”

Read more: Local fintech startup aims to financially assist SMEs
Read more: Google launches initiatives to assist small businesses

Featured Image: Oleg Magni va Pexels

“This is a game-changer for accountants and small businesses in South Africa and will give them one simple workflow. We’ve worked closely with tax bodies in other markets – like the UK and Australia – to support their drive towards digitisation in the tax industry. These new tools will be a much-needed boost for digitisation in SA, in line with SARS’ agenda and that of the wider government. We need to make the tax process easier so businesses don’t damage their chance of survival with unnecessary penalties or interest. This innovation, along with other Xero tools like data capture tool Hubdoc, will help future-proof businesses.”

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2020/12/how-the-launch-of-three-new-vat-tools-will-assist-smes/

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Startup partners with Telkom to launch translation platform for SA languages

Telkom has partnered with SA startup Enlabeler to launch an AI platform that translates speech into text and provides transcription services for local languages.

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Telkom has partnered with South African startup Enlabeler to launch an AI platform that translates speech into text and provides transcription services for local languages.

The platform, called izwe.ai, was unveiled at the AI Expo Africa 2021. It is described as “a multi-lingual technology platform that transforms your audio and video data to text, captions or subtitles in your local languages”.

Telkom and Enlabeler collaborated to create the platform, with the aim of providing a way to bridge the language gap in a variety of industries.

“With Enlabeler, we have built a solution that can offer a seamless transcription experience with highly localised and reliable outputs, which help us deliver as a strategic partner for our clients,” Telkom Executive of Data Science Stefan Steffen said in a statement.

“Working with an agile startup like Enlabeler has helped us accelerate our long-term plans to unlock this market segment. ”

Enlabeler

Enlabeler is a data labelling and annotation solutions provider.

Founded in 2019, the company describes itself as Africa’s first remote data labelling community. It employs people around the country to augment and train the AI solutions and services provided by the company.

The company provides video and image annotation services, computer vision and object detection models, entity extraction from text datasets, as well as translation and transcription services.

The izwe.ai translation platform

According to Telkom, the izwe.ai platform has a unique ability to interpret South African accents. It also uses machine learning to constantly improve its translations.

The aim of the platform is to provide transcription and translation across a range of industries. These include education, academia, legal services, and media production.

“This technology can be a game-changer in business, as well as education, government, and healthcare delivery,” Telkom head of Innovation Dr Mmaki Jantjies said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Telkom Foundation CEO Sarah Mthintso highlighted the education benefits of the service.

“STEM subjects are the foundation for the careers of the future, but to truly drive digital transformation in South Africa, we need learners to be able to learn in their home language,” Mthintso said in a statement.

“That’s where AI-driven speech services are so important.”

Translation and transcription service launch

The service will be launched in a phased approach. The first phase includes the launch of izwe.ai and the collection of information from potential clients via survey.

The service is offering five hours of free machine transcription in exchange for the completion of the survey.

The second phase will include the release of the machine transcription model.

“In release 2 you will have access to a market-leading machine transcription model to transcribe your files with a click of a button,” the service says on its website.

The third phase will include the implementation of human input into automatic transcription outputs. Finally, phase four will include the launch of additional services.

You can find out more about the platform on the izwe.ai website.

Feature image: Ventureburn

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Read more: African global business services sector to grow to $19.8 billion by 2023 – research

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/09/startup-partners-with-telkom-to-launch-translation-platform-for-sa-languages/

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South African startups helping to solve the global challenges

A new generation of entrepreneurs are not only incubating solid startups but are contributing to help solve some of the world’s greatest challenges

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South African entrepreneurs are known for many things: optimism in the face of adversity, thrifty creativity, the ability to pivot when circumstances change, and above all, their tremendous resilience.

Across the startup landscape, one finds these nimble thinkers who defy the odds. Now, a new generation of entrepreneurs are not only incubating solid startups but are contributing to help solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.

Hypernova Space Technologies

If you thought South Africa was not contributing to space exploration, think again. Cape Town-based Hypernova Space Technologies builds cutting-edge electric propulsion for small satellites. Their plasma thrusters are based on over a decade of research and development in vacuum arc thruster technology.

Founded by Jonathan Lun, who won a SingularityU research grant a few years ago, the company pioneered the world’s only commercial electric propulsion designed for in-situ resource utilization, that will see its first flight to space in 2022.

Hypernova’s breakthrough technology uses resources that are found in abundance throughout our solar system as fuel with the result that the company is now recognized by some of the space industry’s most forward-thinking players.

Resolute Robotics

The world is moving forward, and now more than ever we need to give future generations every opportunity to leverage the power of modern technology and thrive in the digital age.

Startup company Resolute Robotics has made it their mission to do exactly that. Students in schools (grades 1-12) and tertiary institutions can now complete their courses as part of their school curriculum, or as an extra mural, via their online academy.

They’ll get taught critical thinking, creative thinking, complex problem-solving skills and coordination with peers, as well as the three essential pillars of technology—engineering, data sciences, and computer sciences.

In this way, youth can get the foundation they need to pursue a career in coding and robotics.

DataProphet

While the world is becoming familiar with artificial intelligence in business, one South African startup is embracing the opportunity that this has for business.

DataProphet specializes in optimizing the complex manufacturing processes of key industrial verticals with state-of-the-art machine learning. Their AI-driven solutions leverage the existing data streams from your plant’s production line equipment to identify process efficiencies.

The startup identified the opportunity that high-impact adjustments can make and guarantee ROI in the first year of deployment. Their AI-driven prescriptions aim to help clients improve quality targets, reduce scrap and defects, and achieve manufacturing process optimization – ahead of real-time.

Longiveme

Addressing a more health-related challenge, aging is a phenomenon that humans grapple with every day on physical, aesthetic, mental, and emotional levels.

One South African doctor, Johannesburg-based Tamara Pheiffer, has realized that the solutions lie in unconventional thinking. She built her practice Longiveme to offer patients treatment based on precision medicine and biohacking.

Furthermore, this business is unlocking the potential of genetic testing to offer patients custom wellness solutions.

2021 SingularityU South Africa Summit

Leaders and founders from these companies will be speaking at the prestigious upcoming SingularityU South Africa Summit taking place online from 12 – 15 October 2021, where you can learn from their insights and expertise via various keynote talks, workshops, and discussion panels alongside global thought leaders.

Click here for more information or to book.

Read more: Innovation Edge calls for pitches for SA ventures focused on positive parenting by fathers

Read more: Kenyan tech startup secures $475 000

Featured image: Lagos Techie via Unsplash

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/08/south-african-startups-helping-to-solve-the-global-challenges/

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Naspers invests R120 million in Joburg-based insurtech startup Naked

Naspers has announced it has invested R120 million in Johannesburg-based insurtech startup Naked in a Series A funding round.

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Naspers has announced it has invested R120 million in Johannesburg-based insurtech startup Naked in a Series A funding round.

Announced on 4 August, the multinational company made the investment through its early-stage tech investment vehicle, Naspers Foundry.

The investment is the foundry’s second insurtech investment in the last month.

Launched in 2018, Naked is an AI-drive insurance app that provides users with coverage for their homes and cars.

It is also the foundry’s biggest investment to date.

The funding round raised R160 million in total with the balance contributed by other investors such as Yellowwoods and Hollard.

“We’re excited to support Naked in their journey of pioneering a new generation of insurance, giving consumers access to convenience, control, and savings with its end-to-end digital processes,” Naspers Foundry CEO, Fabian White, said in a statement.

“This fits in with our focus of backing purpose-driven technology businesses.”

In April, the foundry announced it had invested R34 million in local insurance advice app, Ctrl. It said it is committed to investing a total of R1.4 billion in South Africa’s early-stage tech ecosystem.

Naspers investment to help Naked reinvent insurance

Launched in 2018, Naked is an AI-drive insurance app that provides users with easy-access coverage.

Through the mobile and web apps, users can immediately receive a quote for their place of residence, its contents, and standalone items such as cars in a short amount of time.

The app also lets them switch and pause their coverage without having to engage with call agents.

“Our ambition is to build insurance that people love by offering an experience that is affordable, convenient, and transparent,” Naked Co-Founder, Alex Thomson said.

“We are excited to have an investor of Naspers Foundry’s calibre onboard to work with us as we expand our team, continue to invest in the technology that puts customers in control, meet the insurance needs of a growing portion of the SA market and enter into international markets.”

Read more: Catalyst Fund names Inclusive Fintech startups, three from Africa

Read more: SA agritech Khula! launches app after closing R20m funding round

Featured image: Luis Villasmil via Unsplash

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/08/naspers-invests-r120-million-in-joburg-based-insurtech-startup-naked/

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