Durban - Three Durban women have developed a calculator “app” which, they say, will make complex broad-based black economic empowerment scorecard compliance a “piece of cake”.
BEE legislation experts Brigitte Brun and Linda Ngcobo, from Africandi Business Solutions, and computer programming company owner Chantal Elgie-Peters say the score calculator app, a first for the country, has turned a complex set of calculations into a simple step-by-step process.
Introduced by the government in 2003 to incentivise the inclusion of black South Africans in the economy, the BEE codes of good practice, said Brun, had become complicated and unwieldy, with businesses and the government grappling with the legislation.
“There are hundreds of different calculations and permutations of those calculations. But it is good corporate governance to comply,” said Brun.
While big business tended to employ staff specifically to manage compliance and the annual verification process, companies which turned over between R5-million and R35m were lagging.
“The bulk of South African firms are in this (medium-sized) bracket and, with the legislation not an imperative, you find many ignoring it, or they submit their returns at the last minute,” she said.
BEE scorecard submissions were retrospective, she said.
“That means that for the next 12 months a company might not be able to grow or apply for those choice tenders because last year’s scores don’t meet the targets,” said Brun.
Ngcobo said many black company owners did not realise they too had to comply, as they assumed they were compliant.
“They don’t see the bigger picture,” she said.
While they might be compliant on ownership, there are other elements to BEE.
“For example, what about skills development in the wider community or upliftment programmes? Firms score points for training employees and for social development. So this year employees are trained up, and maybe next year or the year after. But then what?” Ngcobo asked.
Computer program developer Elgie-Peters said the scoring process on the app was broken into bite-sized chunks.
“You just have to press ‘next’ to move on to the next screen. It is really very simple and has been specifically designed with small and medium-sized businesses and the large corporate in mind. The information is then stored in Cloud, which means it can be accessed from any device.”
Brun said the creation of the calculator app included many hours of formulae development to ensure the correct scores. She said it would suit the individual wanting to calculate just one element of the scorecard to the small business using it as a tracking mechanism to the large corporate wanting to keep up-to-date scores at its fingertips.
“Businesses can also promote the calculator by having a link on their own website to the app site. If someone buys the app using that link, then the company gets commission on the sale,” she said. - The Mercury