INTERVIEW: Michael Pedersen on ezPayslip, the next revolutionary app after Uhasibu

PlusPeople Kenya Limited is one of East Africa’s leading providers of business solutions to enterprises. The firm has forged a reputation for developing systems useful for micro-businesses in the region.

The firm’s cloud-based accounting system Uhasibu has enabled businesses to end dependency on imported software. With the growing success of the application, the firm has launched another, called ezPayslip, which it says is capable of revolutionising payroll management and tax filing returns across the region.

HumanIPO caught up with Michael Pedersen, the CEO of PlusPeople Kenya, to see what he had to say about ezPayslip.

HumanIPO: What is ezPayslip?

Michael Pedersen: ezPayslip is a Software as a Service subscription-based full payroll management system complete with simple HR functionality. The app is fit for SMEs, corporate firms and government institutions to simplify tax returns.

For most people, the “payslip” is the end-result of doing your payroll, it is easy to forget all the back office work that has to happen before you can actually present your employees with a payslip. ezPayslip helps you easily get to the payslip by making back office work super simple, that explains the name.

Which firm is behind the app?
Pluspeople Kenya Limited is behind the ezPayslip. Having launched Uhasibu, our award winning cloud-based accounting system, in 2011, we are now ready to launch ezPayslip to complement it.

What inspired the app?
With our work on Uhasibu, we get in contact with a lot of small and medium companies, as well as the accountants that are running them. A large number of clients and accountants have requested payroll functionality within Uhasibu, so in essence, you can say that the inspiration is a direct result of the market feedback we have received from launching Uhasibu.

Any funding yet?
Funding is not a goal in itself – ezPayslip is funded directly by Pluspeople Kenya and the resources available here. We are however in the process of identifying external investors to come onboard to help us accelerate our growth.

What problem are you solving?
There are 150,000 registered companies in Kenya, without a doubt the majority has employees, paying these employees require that you calculate PAYE taxes and other statutory requirements. ezPayslip helps these companies with this process, and more importantly with submitting these reports to the required organisations.

What is your business model?
ezPayslip is a cloud based Software as a Service offering, this means that it follows a subscription model. Companies pay a small monthly fee through mobile payment or credit card and in return get access to the system. Essentially, it is a numbers game – for the business model to make sense we need a certain amount of paying users.

How does it work?
We describe the main flow of the system as “prepare, submit, remit”. It is build around the concept that in a small business, either it is the manager doing the payroll himself, or he has an accountant/assistant who prepares it then he approves the payroll before actual disbursement.

So the process is simple, you chose the employees you need included in your payroll and the system prepares all the numbers and payslips for you in accordance with legislation and the information you have registered in the system.

Once done it then generates all the reports that you need to deliver to KRA/NHIF/NSSF you just print it and you are ready to submit your reports.

Finally, if you don’t like to queue at those various offices then the system can also submit the reports directly for you essentially saving you loads of time.

Any competition at the moment?
Yes, there are is a lot of competition. Many software companies in Kenya, have a payroll system. However, the existing payroll systems in the market generally focus on the “calculation” part of the payroll process, leaving you to do submissions manually.

ezPayslip looks at the entire process from adding up individual commissions to the actual submission of reports to the relevant official organizations. For example, the system is integrated with KRA’s system and will submit the tax report on your behalf with just a click – without you having to use/learn how to use KRA’s system yourself.

Any partnerships?
We are in close talk with a number of the accountants that we already work with in regards to Uhasibu. But in essence, we are all anxiously awaiting for the system to finally launch before we can start “really” working together on this.

What’s next on your plate?
There are a large number of “special situations” that ezPayslip is not yet able to handle, once launched, we will need to spend some time improving in these areas and then there are always more improvements to be made on Uhasibu.

You can say that we generally evolve our systems based on the customer feedback we receive. So our next direction is very likely determined by market demand, we won’t know for sure until after the smoke has cleared after ezPayslip.

Expansion plans?
Yes, it is our clear goal to expand our systems to support the entire East African region and not only Kenya as they do now. This, however, is not a small task and before this can happen, we need to increase our Kenyan market share so that we have a robust platform to expand from.

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