How Lulalend plans to use its latest round of funding to help South African SMEs

How Lulalend plans to use its latest round of funding to help South African SMEs

Reading Time: 2 minutes

We’re excited to have completed our recent round of funding with IFC and Quona Capital, and are committed to using the funds to help support and grow  SMEs across South Africa via quick and easy access to financing.

Eradicating the challenge of access to capital

We know that access to finance is the single biggest challenge for small business owners.

That’s why we’ll continue to invest in technology to improve our customer experience & increase the speed of our lending decision making –  allowing us to offer even faster and easier access to finance.

“We want to be part of the solution that breaks the cycle of limited access to finance. SMEs should be able to grow and expand without the worry of where and how they are going to get the finances they need to seize new opportunities. This is possible through technology and the right mindset of wanting to help these businesses.” Trevor Gosling, Lulalend co-founder and CEO

Growing our loan book and increasing our lending opportunities is another focus area that the new round of funding has made possible for Lulalend. Being able to offer larger loan sizes to businesses whose affordability allows them to qualify for up to R2 million is part of where we are placing the funds we’ve raised. Over and above this we want to see more businesses taking advantage of our credit facility, so that they can draw down from their funds without the hassle of applying every time they need access.

 

Building on the success achieved so far

Lulalend has already assisted thousands of businesses in South Africa, across all industries, with immediate access to business funding. We’ve been able to put the control back into the hands of business owners by allowing them to use the funding for their specific needs. 

As a result, business owner Noel Ehrenreich from New Earth Recycling has been able to purchase raw materials which allowed him to take advantage of new opportunities.

 

 

Mondisa, founder of The Kids Cooking Club, was also able to get funding so she could she could expand into larger premises business. Without the funds Mondisa would have had to keep turning away new business.

 

 

We want to keep contributing to the success of businesses like these because we believe they are the backbone of the South African economy. We’re looking forward to using our latest round of funding to do just this! We can’t wait to add and highlight more success stories like these. This is what drives us to keep working hard, day in day out, to make the challenge of access to finance a thing of the past.

 

 

Lulalend’s financial FAQs

Lulalend’s financial FAQs

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Financial Questions

 

What is Yodlee?

Yodlee is a leading data aggregation and data analytics platform powering dynamic, cloud-based innovation for digital financial services. This advanced technology makes it easy for clients to upload documents, knowing that their information is protected.

 

How does Yodlee work?

Yodlee collects data on Lulalend’s site through screen scraping: a technique which collects data and sorts them into categories. After entering the details into Lulalend’s site, it gets encrypted from that point, to ensure that your details cannot be viewed by third parties. Your credentials are securely stored on Yodlee’s system and cannot be accessed by Lulalend

 

I don’t trust Yodlee, can I send you my bank statements?

Yodlee is trusted and used by many major companies such as PayPal, Amazon and many global banks. We use it to get a read-only view of your bank transactional history. This allows us to process your application automatically, avoiding time consuming validations that are required for uploaded bank statements. Yodlee is totally secure and your bank credentials are never viewed or stored by us. Alternatively, you can upload your latest 3 months formal bank statements (Please be advised that scanned copies do not help much as it does not allow us to extract the data automatically).

 

What Lulalend Learnt from Fintech in China

What Lulalend Learnt from Fintech in China

Reading Time: 7 minutes

China is currently undergoing a digital revolution of an unprecedented scale never before seen. The rollout of digital financial services to all sectors of their vast population is nothing short of incredible. China has many similarities to the African story as well as many differences. Could some of what China is doing to achieve financial inclusion be used in the African context to bring digital financial services  to the huge unbanked and underserved population there? I was fortunate enough to be invited on a trip to China to explore this further. The trip was very generously arranged by the Mastercard Foundation Partnership for Finance in a Digital Africa  (FiDA Partnership).

In this short blog I focus on some highlights from the trip, namely:

  • How tech platforms have leveraged their user base to drive adoption of digital financial services (DFS)
  • The innovative ways that financial services are offered to SMEs
  • How Chinese tech companies are delivering financial services to rural customers
  • How data and AI is used to understand customers, deliver tailored products and reduce risk

Tech Platforms driving DFS adoption

The first thing that strikes you when you wander the markets, shops and restaurants in China is the lack of cash or even card transactions. The majority of face-to-face payment transactions you see in these places are done via mobile payments, namely using a QR code system.

The de-facto way of paying in China

Why this massive take-up of mobile payments? South Africa, where LulaLend is based, has  similar QR code based payments systems which are enjoying consistent growth but not at the rate seen in China. One key difference in China is that the mobile payment systems are generally leveraged from existing, non-financial platforms that already have huge uptake. For example, WeChat Pay is leveraged off the WeChat social messaging app (similar to WhatsApp) which has around a billion users. So iwhen WeChat Pay was released it was already accessible to a huge user base.

 The Wechat app

While this might sound impressive, WeChat Pay is not even the most popular mobile payments platform in China. That title goes to Alipay. Alipay was originally developed to facilitate transactions across Alibaba, the largest e-commerce site in China, which now has an enormous over half a billion customer base.  With such large tech players offering financial services on top of non-financial platforms, it becomes clearer why there is such a massive uptake of mobile payments.

Another benefit of leveraging financial services from an existing platform is that identity can be accurately verified which leads to much lower fraudulent rates. From our meeting with Ant Financial we learnt that less than 0.001% of transactions are fraudulent on Alipay, compared to circa 0.2% on PayPal. Lastly, the tech companies are making huge drives to grow their customer bases, and in doing so building up a bank of data on their customers. This is done by offering incentives and discounted charges on some of the services – payments commissions being one – with revenue generated from other sources such as e-commerce sales and in-app purchases. While customers benefit from really low commissions, platform providers are able to capture a lot of payment data which can be used for credit assessment and delivery purposes.

Innovative ways Chinese tech companies deliver financial services to SMEs

JD.Com is a big B2C (business to consumer) player which focuses on an Amazon-type approach thats sells directly to its 300 million customers. This means it is responsible for delivering the goods themselves and therefore has developed a vast distribution network to support this model. Its strengths lie in its customer and supplier interfaces and management systems, and its supply chain network. JD Finance is the finance segment that was spun off recently to focus on financial products.

The JD.com brand

By managing all aspects of the process, from purchase to delivery, JD.com gains access to a huge amount of data on its customers and their behaviour. The data is turned into insights and understandings, allowing JD Finance to offer unique products to the various elements of the process. For example by observing user behaviour on the platform and transaction history they are able to accurately assess the eligibility of their merchants for credit. This can be unsecured as is the case for suppliers, or secured for the merchants who use their warehousing services and have stock in them. Interests are charged at a daily rate and paydowns are generally flexible.

Alibaba is the biggest e-commerce firm in China. Their Taobao business is a B2C company that focuses on their marketplace that connects business and consumers, much like the eBay model we understand. Their finance focused arm is called Ant Financial. They too offer various merchant funding that is driven off data collected from interoperation with their site. But their main offering is Alipay, their digital payments system. The payment data from Alipay is also leveraged allowing them to segment an incredibly low risk SME base to offer funding too.

Serving the rural population

What was really fascinating and inspiring to see is how financial services are being rolled out to rural populations. This is probably the most relevant aspect to the African context. It involves extraordinary coordination and strategy between government, the banking industry, tech infrastructure companies and new internet based technology companies. The first step was a massive push to get connectivity and ICT out to the rural populations. This created the infrastructure that could essentially leverage smartphones to the majority of people.

Then, the banking industry did a massive push to get branches out as far as they could and drastically increase their number of rural customers. But what is the use of a bank account if you don’t have any money coming into it? That is where technology companies come in. Companies like Alibaba have focussed their efforts into capturing the essence of rural economy. Taobao, their eBay like site, allows any merchant, no matter how small, to sell their wares or services. This has enabled even a producer to link up to a larger supply chain and eventually deliver their goods to an international market. So the supply chains are made up of many merchants supplying goods, logistics, and brokering agents all working cohesively together using the specialist management functions of the platform. The process has become so popular that whole villages have been focussed to cater for specialities required. Rural Cuntao (Rural Taobao) is the term coined for this product. For example, we visited a Taobao village that focused on manufacturing shoes.

A typical production element for this type of supply chain

Perhaps in the African context this is not yet possible due to the still relatively low penetration of smartphones. But companies like Huawei are developing innovative ways of increasing access in rural Africa at a much lower cost than previously. This involves new communications technology to optimise usage across the frequency band and much more efficient infrastructure (e.g. much smaller tower networks needed to support this than previously).

Huawei showcasing some of their technology goods

Summing up

It was fascinating and inspiring to see how fintech in China is being used to offer digital finance, and how funding products are offered to all areas of the populations. Below are summed up keys of what we would like to pervade our thinking going forward:

Scale. The awe-inspiring size of the audience Chinese digital finance companies reach and the pace with which they are growing is staggering.

Data and AI. The use of data and AI to understand all aspects of this customer base and enable in-depth offerings at incredibly low default rates.

Innovative lending products. Drawing on the vast amount of information available to focus specific credit products to specific sectors.

Reaching rural communities. The coordination of all sectors to reach out to the underserved and provide innovative products to get them onto the platforms. Then providing the supply chain management to keep them on.

A new approach to data sharing. Customer data is seen as an asset that can be shared with competitors to improve your own offering and the value to the customer.

Understanding customer needs. Constant focus on what customers use in their everyday lives and adding platforms and products around this.

Cool, but how does this affect my business?

At Lulalend, we are looking forward to using these insights to add to and shape our strategic thinking to offer a better experience to the SME owner. A lot of the concepts we saw are already incorporated on some level in our platform so it was amazing to get insight into the most advanced platforms. Lulalend are on the forefront of championing digital lending in South Africa and a lot of what we have seen will result in direct improvements or those inspired by the strategies seen:

  • Increased refinement and accuracy of our machine learning models to assess a business.
  • Increased use of AI technology to drive down fraud and risk, so that better rates could be offered to customers.
  • Pragmatic usage of AI in the application and onboarding process, including serving customer queries. Being a data driven company, a big part of what we do is around handling and processing data, and there were some great lessons to see how truly big data is being handled.
  • Deepening the relationships we have with our partners to compliment and leverage different services.
  • Increasing the potential base of the local SME ecosystem by focussing on alternative methods of credit assessment, rather than being totally reliant on credit bureaus for this.

 

How to Drive Sales Through Customer Retention

How to Drive Sales Through Customer Retention

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Marketing to new customers is important for the long term growth of a business. However, in order for the acquisition cost to be viable, customer retention is vital.  There is no point in continually filling a leaky bucket and an acquired customer is worth two in the bush. In this blog, we cover ways you can drive repeat engagement and sales from current customers.

Here are the top marketing tactics to drive sales through customer retention and repeat purchases.

Direct marketing through SMS and email
Direct marketing is a tried and tested method of retaining customers, which is why it’s a good idea for businesses to have a clear direct marketing strategy. How you will acquire customer details, what channels you will use to speak to them, how often, and about what.

You need to remember that you should not spam your customers. Don’t send multiple emails and SMSes every week – think about how you want your business to be perceived and how you would like someone to communicate with you if you were the customer. With each interaction, you should have a clearly defined purpose. When customers give their details, make sure to inform them about the type of content you will be sending them.  Use clear calls to action if you do want a customer to buy a product/ submit a query etc.

Consider WhatsApp Business
If you’re using your and your staff members’ cell phones for business-related communication, you should consider using WhatsApp Business. It’s ideal for communicating with customers, as it’s not as intrusive as phone calls, and yet is a medium that most people frequently engage on. Your customers can inquire about what stock is available, and you can let your loyal customers know about sales and promotions through this medium.

WhatsApp Business requires a separate phone number so customers won’t be able to contact you or your employees on WhatsApp Messenger after hours. It’s simple, quick and highly affordable to use as a way to retain customers.

Make use of loyalty programmes
Aside from quality products and value for money, few things encourage customer retention quite as well as a loyalty programme. This could take the form of an instant discount on a current purchase, a free item after a certain number of purchases, a private preview of new ranges, or free samples of certain products. Keep in mind that people often find immediate reward much more satisfying. so getting one free coffee after 10, is less psychologically compelling as R2 off your next coffee. Whatever you choose to offer your customers to encourage repeat business, ensure that it is of value to your particular target market. Do your market research and speak to your regular customers about what they enjoy about your business.

Loyalty programmes tie in neatly with SMS and email marketing, as well as WhatsApp Business customer service and communication. You can make use of these mediums to let your customers know about the latest offerings available to those who are part of the loyalty programme.

Engage with your consumers on social media
Social media is a great medium to let your customers speak to you and to give them additional valuable information.

The most important consideration is keeping your content relevant to your audience. And ultimately remember that social media platforms provide you with the opportunity to have a conversation with your audience. While you’re providing them with useful information like upcoming promotions ahead of the season, they can also provide you with valuable content in the form of reviews and pictures of happy customers using your product. Don’t forget to let them know about your latest sales and specials. Letting them know in advance is great – as is giving them a reminder a day or so before.

New business matters and it’s important to attract more customers. But it is equally as important to retain the customers you have. After all, the customers you already have are the people who understand the value and quality of your offerings.

For more advice and information which could benefit your retail business, visit our blog.

 

 Stacey Vermaak

Chief Marketing Officer, Lulalend

Performance focused marketer who is passionate about helping businesses grow.

Retail marketing step by step

Retail marketing step by step

Reading Time: 7 minutes

How to increase web and foot traffic with online marketing

As 2018 comes to an end, it is clear that businesses that want to grow need to know how to make use of online marketing in order to drive revenue. There are a few online marketing tools that your retail business can use to get people purchasing on your website or through your store’s front door. And what better time is there to start making use of these tools than during the festive season?  Or while planning your growth for 2019.  Read on for more information on how you can use online marketing to drive web and foot traffic to your retail business.

Why aren’t all businesses using online marketing?

By now most owners are aware of how impactful digital marketing can be but many haven’t started with it themselves. Some of the main issues we hear from businesses when it comes to marketing are:
They don’t know where to start
They don’t know how much to spend
They don’t know if they are spending their money well

This article aims to address these concerns. We start with the easiest/ highest return channels for you to begin with and move on to the more advanced.

What’s Covered:

  • Making the most of GoogleMyBusiness
  • Facebook and Adwords for retail
  • Getting a return on your marketing budget
  • Tracking your sales

GoogleMyBusiness listing

Be sure to set up your GoogleMyBusiness listing for both your online and brick and mortar stores. Make sure you accurately select your type of business so that when people search for example “shoe stores sea point” – your store location shows up.

Your listing will show up when someone searches for a product you have listed as selling and the searcher is close to your business. It will also show when someone searches for your store name. And don’t worry if you don’t have a physical store location – you can set up your online store as a service area business. You can use keyword research to add keywords to your retail store’s online description. Just make sure you don’t use too many keywords as this is considered “keyword stuffing”. Once a month GoogleMyBusiness will send you updates on the number of searches and traffic generated from your listing.

Add simple posts to your listing to showcase some of your products. Add photos to help give people an idea of what to expect and drive additional feet through the door.

If you are sending to an online website then don’t forget to add UTM tracking code (discussed below) to your links so you can see which sales came through GMB.

This is the one free piece of advertising you can get on Google’s search results so you really should make use of it.

Facebook advertising and boosted posts.

Although Facebook often has lower ROI than Google Adwords it is much easier to get started with as most people are used to creating posts on the platform already. Deciding to start with Facebook or Adwords is, therefore, a tough decision to make – if you have the time/ money to invest in getting Adwords set up properly then this is definitely the recommended started point.

You can, however, start with using things like boosted organic posts and posts on Facebooks Marketplace.  As people are using this more and more to search for products it is becoming a really good and free option for getting your product in front of people. This works particularly well for niche/ local products.

You can also create posts on your page and boost these to people you want to target.

Make sure to use good quality, clear photos and have a clear call to action e.g. Buy it online, or get it in store today. In order to not waste money, it is important to think carefully about your tracking and your targeting.

For targeting Facebook allows you to specify:
Location – you can drop a pin and specify people within a certain distance from your store
Age
Demographics including education level, parental/ relationship status
Interests including business, entertainment, family, fitness etc.
Behaviours – the device used, anniversary, consumer classification (people who prefer high-value goods etc)
And of course, whether someone has liked your page

You can dig into these and see what works for you. You can also upload email address/ cell phone lists and use these to target people.
For driving traffic to a store make sure you are using location targeting. Facebook allows you to drop a pin at your store location and target within a radius of this. This allows you to create very local messaging around a store location. Even better because people’s locations are tracked via their phone location you can track how many people actually make it to your store using store visit campaigns.

For traffic, to websites, we suggest adding UTM tracking (you can read more about this below) in order to verify facebook numbers using your google analytics account.

Google Adwords

Google Adwords allows you to reach people who are searching for the kinds of products you offer. While opening and managing an account full time can be time-consuming – it is a great way to drive direct sales for your business. Learning how to use it and setting it up to get the best return requires some experience and many businesses use agencies to help with this. Google does offer online training in the form of videos and tutorials and you can reach out to the Google Adwords support team when creating your first campaign. Neil Patel has written a great introduction here. As he says investing in Adwords spend is an investment in your business and most businesses spend huge budgets here and receive a very good return.

The main form of targeting on Google Adwords is keyword targeting. You select the keywords that apply to your business e.g. +mens +adidas, [mens running shoes] etc and use these to show your ad in front of people searching for what you offer. Match types on your keywords allow you to say how closely a search must match your selection.  You can overlay this with many other types of targeting including radius location targeting for physical stores.

Google Adwords is a phenomenal channel for getting a return on ad spend (ROAS) particularly for e-commerce stores as it allows you to match how much you pay for traffic to how much you earn from it fairly easily.

For retail, shopping campaigns can be particularly useful as they let users view your products before clicking through to your site.

Working out what to spend and how much to pay per conversion

Conversions are the actions you consider valuable and that you want site visitors or people to complete in order for you to make money. For an online store, this would be purchasing an item. In this instance, it is fairly easy to work out how much you want to pay for each conversion. You can work out how much of your profit margin/ per good you are willing to pay to make a sale.
Things get a bit more complicated with a campaign like a store visit campaign. You need to factor in the likelihood that someone visiting your store will buy something. This can be an immediate purchase or one in the future. You can also factor in lifetime value if you have an idea of how often a customer generally returns and how much they spend. Even a rough figure allows you to say that your marketing is working for your business or allows you to see if it is too expensive the current way that you are implementing it, or in your businesses current format. Both marketing and your business can be optimized to make your marketing spend more profitable but we won’t get into that here.

What you do need to do to be able to judge this is to use tracking – either UTM for GoogleMyBusiness, email, and social sites. Or conversion tracking for Google Adwords, Facebook, and other social sites. Google Adwords must be directly linked to Google Analytics. Other social sites and other platforms require additional UTM tracking.

Conversion tracking pixels can be found in all the various platform interfaces and should be implemented on your conversion completed page e.g thank you page.

Tracking and working out your return on ad spend (ROAS)

In all marketing tracking is vital. This lets you see:

  1. What marketing works for you
  2. How much revenue is generated by what marketing channel
  3. Where you can put more money and still grow profitably.

You can then use this to work out your cost per sale, and how much money you make for each channel vs how much you spend on it (In marketing we call this Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), or Return on Investment(ROI)).

Tracking Your Online Marketing
For websites – Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) codes

What is it?
This is a tracking string added to URL’s that send traffic to your site. E.g. the bold sections in the urls below:
www.mywesbsite.com/?utm_source=googlemybusiness&utm_medium=mainlisting
www.mywebsite.com/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=boostedpost&utm_campaign=blackfridaysale

What does it do?
It allows you to see where your website traffic comes from and to calculate the return on your ad spend from different campaigns.

What do you need to use it?

  1. A google analytics account correctly setup (including e-commerce and/or goal tracking)
  2. Tracking code which you can easily generate using the Google’s URL Builder.
  3. To add this code to all your posts e.g for facebook, GoogleMyBusiness, emails you send out.

This way you can analyse the traffic from each platform and see how much revenue they are driving on your website. This will allow you to pull back or invest more in different channels.

Conversion pixels, tracking codes, and Google analytics
So far we have discussed :
tracking using UTM codes in order to know where traffic to your site is coming from and
store visit tracking on facebook.
Linking Adwords direct to google analytics

In addition to these if you have a website you will want to add Facebook, Google Adwords and Google Analytics tracking to it when you use these channels.

These codes will tell you what your traffic is doing once they get to your site.

Google analytics can tell you which pages they visit and how long they are there for.

In order to know more, you need to set up goals/ e-commerce tracking in google analytics and conversion tracking from the various platforms you advertise from (Facebook/ Adwords etc).  Setting up google analytics correctly to track e-commerce sites can require professional help in order to track through your payment gateway.  Adwords and other platform conversion tracking need to be placed on your goal completed pages. For retail, this is generally the page someone reaches once they have completed a purchase. It may also be a view store location page.

With a conversion pixel, you’ll enter a pixel code into the backend coding of a specific page on your website. For example, the page after someone has made an online purchase and you’ll be able to track where that lead came from, whether it was Google AdWords or social media. This way, you can tell which medium is driving more conversions and the type of content or search terms that caught the buyer’s attention.

Online marketing is incredibly important, especially for retail stores during the festive season. So, increase your revenue by using these tips.

If you’d like to read more about taking your retail business to new heights, have a look through our blog page where we have plenty of other useful, actionable suggestions.

 

 Stacey Vermaak

Chief Marketing Officer, Lulalend

Performance marketer who is passionate about helping businesses grow.

Your business tax questions answered!

Your business tax questions answered!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

How to Make SARS Work for Your Business.

Including everything you could, and should be claiming for

We know tax season can be daunting with many businesses scrambling to get what they need together in time, and in the rush potentially leaving money on the tax man’s table. We partnered with Tax Tim to give you all the information you need to handle your business tax like the BOSS you are so you can do the preparation now and finally make SARS work for you.

We Cover:

  • The dates you need to know (and should add to your calendar now!)
  • What information you need to keep for tax returns
  • Which business expenses are tax deductible?
  • How business tax is calculated
  • What is the small business tax threshold?
  • What happens if I switch from sole proprietor to pty ltd
  • How does PAYE work?
  • What resources and tools are available to make business tax filings easier?
  • What other potential tax benefits are there?

What are the important dates I should be adding in my calendar?

Sole Proprietor (non-registered business):

August – 1st provisional tax return
February – 2nd provisional tax return
31 January after tax year end – ITR12 Annual tax return

Company (registered business)

6 months into the year – 1st provisional tax return
Company’s financial year end – 2nd provisional tax return
12 months after Company’s financial year end – ITR14 Annual tax return

What important information should I keep throughout the year that will impact my tax return? – see blog

https://www.taxtim.com/za/blog/what-supporting-documents-do-i-need-to-submit-to-sars-

Which business expenses are tax deductible?
Business expenses, also referred to as operating expenses, are those expenses incurred in the operation of the business. Don’t forget expenditure must be ‘in the production of income’.

Typical overheads could include:

  • Accounting and bookkeeping costs.
  • Internet: Costs to run and maintain the system.
  • Insurance costs.
  • Licences: Those that apply to the business.
  • Legal fees: Costs incurred when obtaining legal advice.
  • Maintenance and repairs.
  • Motor vehicle costs: Maintenance, repairs and licences (costs should be allocated between personal and business usage based on mileage).
  • Postage including stamps and mailing expenses.
  • Printing and stationery: Letterheads, business cards.
  • Delivery and freight.
  • Depreciation: For business assets that lose value while in use by a business.
  • Entertainment: Expenses – normally food and beverages paid for by the business to entertain people important to the business, such as customers and suppliers.
  • Electricity and water: Costs associated with the business’s premises and the equipment use.
  • Rent/Rates and taxes: For leasing your business’s premises.
  • Rent: For any leased equipment, signage used by the business.
  • Research and Development.
  • Security: Costs for security services such as alarm monitoring, armed response, armed guards.
  • Subcontractors: Other parties that have provided services for your business related to the product, services and sales.
  • Telephone and Fax/Communication: Fixed line and cellular phone costs.

However ONLY business-related expenses are allowed to be claimed as a tax deduction. A lot of people have expenses that are part-business and part-personal – such as cell phone, rent, and petrol – and try to claim these in their entirety as a deduction. SARS is on the lookout for these claims and will heavily punish any chancers, so make sure only business expenses are claimed.

For those expenses like petrol and cell phone which are mixed, you will need to identify exactly what portion relates to business use and which portion is personal. Ideally, a written record or logbook (in the case of a vehicle) should be used for the calculation because SARS might one day want you to prove your estimation. If no records are available you can just make an educated estimate. Once you have decided on the ratio of business to personal use for a particular expense, you can claim the business portion in your tax return and in doing so reduce your taxable income 🙂

How business tax is calculated?

It depends on the legal status of your business:

Sole proprietor:
The sole proprietorship itself is not separately taxed on its income. Instead, the sole proprietor reports business income and expenses on his or her own tax return. Therefore the business Owner is taxed on the profits at their applicable personal income tax rate.

Registered Company:
Company profits are taxed at a flat rate of 28% (unless if qualifies as a Small Business Corporation (SBC) or micro business registered for turnover tax.

SBC:
If the business’s turnover is less than R20m per year and it meets all other criteria which you can check here then it will be taxed according to the special tax rates for a Small Business Corporation.

Micro Business registered for turnover tax:
If the business’s turnover is less than R1m per year and it meets all other criteria which you can check here the business’s turnover will be taxed according to the special tax rates for micro businesses registered for turnover tax which you can check here.

What is the tax threshold for small businesses?

Sole proprietor – this would be the same for individuals which are R75,750 for 2018 and R78,150 for 2019 (if taxable income is less than this in the tax year, then tax is nil).

Registered Company: Tax is levied at 28% on taxable profit (there is no exempt portion)

What is the tax implication in switching from a sole proprietor to a Pty Ltd.? (there is no simple short answer for this, the tax regimes for each are completely different)

Individuals are taxed on a sliding scale, which means that the rate of tax you pay increases as your earnings increase. This is called a progressive rate of tax and applies to any individuals earning more than R75,000 per year.

As an individual, you benefit from the general tax rebate, which brings down the amount of tax you owe by a flat amount, depending on your age. If you’re under 65 years, this is called the primary rebate. There’s a secondary rebate for those over 65 years and a tertiary rebate for those over 75 years.

In a company, profits are taxed at a rate of 28%, irrespective of value. In addition, dividends tax is levied at 20% on profits retained in the company and distributed as a dividend in the future.

More clarification and examples of the difference between the two here.

How does PAYE work from a business owner perspective?
If the business owner employs staff, then it would need to register itself as an employer with SARS in order to deduct PAYE and UIF from its employees’ salaries and pay it over to SARS on a monthly basis. This applies to a sole proprietor as well as a registered company.

You can use Tax Tim’s handy calculator to work out the monthly PAYE deduction.

What resources and tools are available to make business tax filings easier?

Consider using an accounting software package to make your record keeping easier and more efficient. Remember, at the very least, you will need a detailed listing of your business’s income and expenses in order to compile its tax return. If you have a registered company, then you will need a set of financial statements as a starting point (Income Statement and Balance Sheet) and this is where an accounting package can be very helpful.

Tax Tim’s business tax return product will guide you through all the steps required to complete and submit a tax return for your company, in the intuitive and simple manner you have come to expect from TaxTim.

TaxTim will ask you easy to understand questions, in plain English (no tax knowledge required!) and convert your answers into a fully completed tax return, ready for submission to SARS. Our built-in calculations for depreciation, capital gains, doubtful debts and prepaid expenses amongst others make completing your company return quick and easy.

What other tax potential tax benefits are there?
Please see our blog here for a list of potential deductions which can save you tax.
https://www.taxtim.com/za/blog/tax-break-for-all

For more helpful information on business finance and more, visit our blog for the latest updates.