Accsys (Pty) Ltd
Winner of the Eskom Award for Excellence in the Management of Systems
Category for medium enterprises
Keep systems simple yet structured
“Use your best judgment at all times,” is the business maxim of Teryl Schroenn and Cathie Webb, Accsys CEO and COO, respectively, but they readily admit that other staff members might need more guidance than that. This is why little is left to chance when it comes to the ins and outs of how the company conducts its business. “We have a lot of documents for a medium-sized company,” says Schroenn.
Whatever needs to be done at Accsys, from developing bug-free software to working with customers, you can be sure the rules around it have been written down in plain English and added to the company’s Knowledge Tree for everyone to access.
“The Accsys way of handling things, such as dealing with someone who wants a credit, is set out in a one or two-page document. It’s very structured and also very easy,” says Webb. “We want everybody to know what to do in a given situation and who to speak to if in doubt, but we don’t want life to be too complicated.”
Keeping things simple yet structured is embedded in the culture of the company, which specialises in payroll and other people management solutions.
“Systems put you on a structured road and tell you if you’re going off it,” says Webb. “For example, our model for developing software includes the time we typically spend fixing bugs. It means we can measure and compare how we’re doing against the benchmark so that if we deviate we can figure out what’s changed and what we need to do to close the gaps.”
The importance of having sound systems and structures can’t be emphasised enough. “My advice to entrepreneurs is to get your structures in place early, follow the money and know what’s happening in your business every day,” says Schroenn.
While good systems should stand the test of time, they shouldn’t be cast in stone, especially in an era when technology and markets can change in the blink of an eye. “We’ve kept our models going for years and years but we tweak and modernise and rejig them constantly,” she says. “We cross-examine ourselves every day and we’re always looking at creative ideas from around the world to manage people and systems. Although we never feel we are excellent, we are working towards it all the time.”