CNA’s new website enables consumers to purchase games, movies, music, books and more on account.


CNA has revamped its existing website ( where consumers can now purchase games, movies, music, books and more using their Edgars or Jet account card.


David Gibbons, Edcon’s e-Commerce Executive who is spearheading the group’s online retail offering, says the beauty of this solution is that account holders can purchase entertainment items online 24/7 from CNA while benefiting from store credit, making e-commerce more accessible to those who don’t have credit cards.


“The new site opens up online shopping to the Group’s almost 3.9 million account card holders. Customers will also be able to earn Thank U points on all online purchases,” he says.


The site has a new, fresh look and is easy to search with thousands of products already on offer across four product categories: books, games, movies and music, along with 10 000 eBooks. CNA is growing the site’s inventory continuously.


Online retail is growing

Recent research from World Wide Worx, commissioned by Google, indicates online retail is becoming increasingly popular in South Africa, growing around 30 percent per year with no signs of slowing down.


“Opening up e-commerce to our entire base of account holders is another positive step to growing the Internet economy in South Africa,” says Gibbons.


Gibbons says CNA’s site is secure, uses SSL security and is verified by Entrust. Purchases can be made using a credit card or account card, with a one time pin on account payments adding to users’ security. Customers with any queries can contact the customer service call centre on 0860 262 289 and return online purchases at their nearest CNA store. 


New user-friedly design and process

Along with the new design, CNA has re-engineered its entire e-commerce process.


“The e-commerce platform that powers the site is new and far more powerful than the previous system. Furthermore, we’ve changed the logistics process and will now hold stock in a centralised warehouse as opposed to distributing products from stores, resulting in a more efficient fulfllment process” he says.


Delivery will occur nationwide on average within three days. The delivery charge on all purchases over R350 will be waivered; otherwise a R55 delivery fee will apply.


The packaged water bottled on site by restaurants and other hospitality outlets, often as an alternative to bottled waters or tap water, is muddying the water when it comes to legislation and standards, and environmental concerns.

These waters are bottled and packaged on site using bench-top treatment systems utilising filtration, reverse osmosis, carbonation, refrigeration or chilling – as well as combinations of these – to bottle water on demand in re-usable glass bottles, typically closed with a Grolsch-type lid.


The water source can be municipal water (tap water), or spring or borehole water should the business have access to this water.


Concerns have been raised about this practice, specifically whether or not it conforms to South African packaged water legislation and food safety standards, and whether it offers true environmental benefits as manufacturers of these systems claim.


Asked for comment, chairman of the South African National Bottled Water Association (SANBWA), John Weaver, said the association had been in discussion with the Department of Health with respect to how these waters should be regarded under South African legislation.


“SANBWA interprets these waters as being ‘packaged water’ due to the fact that it is marketed and presented as “bottled water”.  Therefore the businesses offering water treated and packed in this way will need to conform to the same packaged water, labelling and food safety legislation as other packaged waters bottled in this country do, including:

·         Microbiological legislation: Regulations Governing Microbiological Standards for Foodstuffs and related matters, R.692

  • Treatment and chemical regulations as per R.718
  • Labelling legislation as detailed in R.718 and Regulations Relating to Labelling and Advertising of Foodstuffs, R.146


“This means they must add best before dates and correct product information on their product bottles and labels. If they don’t, according to South African law, they must cease to offer this product or offer it in jugs.”


Weaver said the Department of Health is in the process of ensuring the necessary packaged water legislation is correctly interpreted so that the consumer is not misled when it comes to these new products.


The department will also review and suggest guidelines in terms of seals, circumstance of sales, use and marketing of these products.


Until this happens, it is vitally important that the hospitality industry and those charged with ensuring its compliance with legislation are familiar with the Department of Health’s interpretation of R.718: Regulations Relating to Packaged Waters (as amended 26 May 2010) because of the confusion these new products are currently creating for the consumer of bottled waters.


He also suggested potential users of these systems carefully investigate any ‘green’ claims.


“Laudably, restuarants and other businesses in the hospitality industry are, like many others, trying to be more responsible corporate citizens when it comes to environmental matters,” he said.


“They’re changing to energy saving light bulbs, they’re encouraging guests not to expect towels to be changed on a daily basis, and they’re electing to replace the bottled water they serve with that packaged on site using one of these systems.


“Unfortunately, given the amount of water these systems could use to properly clean and sterilise the re-usable bottles, it is unlikely that they’ll achieve a reduction in their water footprint, and they’d therefore do well to consider this before banning bottled waters.”


Bottled water production in South Africa is a very water efficient business in that it has an extremely low ‘water usage’ factor, a factor that Weaver believes the bench-top systems will struggle to attain.  


“The term ‘water usage’ refers to how much water is used (volume) to make a finished product.  This measure – sometimes called ‘water footprint’- includes both direct and indirect water usage (in the bottled water industry, that would be water for rinsing and sanitising bottles, plant and general cleaning and sanitation, vehicle washing, floor washing, toilets etc.) and includes water from boreholes and municipal source,” he said.


“The total South African bottled water industry benchmark is 1.8:1, and there are plants that achieve ratios of as low as 1.3:1 – 1.4:1 by recycling their bottle rinse water. This 1.8:1 usage of water by the bottled water industry equates to 22.7 litres/second. 


“To put this into perspective, just one golf course uses 1 litre/second per hole or 18 litres/second for an 18 hole golf course. This means that the total amount of water used by the bottled water industry just slightly more than the equivalent used by one golf course. Similarly, the fruit export industry uses 0.5 litres/second/hectare, making the bottled water industry’s use equivalent to that of just one 45 hectare farm.”


Weaver concluded by asking potential users to not fall victims to urban myth when making their purchasing decision.


“One of the arguments against bottled waters is that carcinogenic substances leach into the water from the plastic. This is incorrect, and stems from a concern about phthalates and BPA, which do not exist in PET (polyethylene terephthalate).


“PET is used for numerous types of packaging for many foods, including everything from ketchup, peanut butter, soft drinks, and juices to beer, wine and spirits, yet no-one discourages people from consuming of any of these products.


“PET is approved as safe for food and beverage contact by the FDA and similar regulatory agencies throughout the world, and has been for over 30 years. PET itself is biologically inert if ingested, is safe during handling, and is not a hazard if inhaled, according to the International Life Sciences Institute Report (ILSI) ‘Packaging Materials 1. Polyethylene Terephthalate PET for Food Packaging Applications’ (2000).”


Box 1:


SANBWA adheres to the following interpretations:

·         Bulk water: tanker – distributed to rural areas = public water supply and not within the scope of packaged water legislation

  • Bulk Water: office coolers = packaged water (and, as per Europe, hermetically sealed, just a bigger bottle) when seal broken and on cooler = drinking water
  • Re-filling into consumer’s containers = drinking water not within the scope of packaged water legislation
  • Benchtop treated waters and shop-floor treated waters bottled on site = packaged water that should be hermetically sealed with a tamper evident component


Box 2:


The following definitions are adhered to by the Department of Health:

·         Packaged Water – R.718: ‘Packaged water’ means water that is packed in hermetically sealed containers of various forms, capacities and approved safe and suitable materials and which is indented as a foodstuff for human consumption.

  • Milk and Milk Products – R.1555: ‘Hermetically sealed container’ means an unopened container which cannot be opened without breaking or damaging such container or seal, adhesive label or other part of or attachment to such container and which is intended to protect its contents against the entry of micro-organisms.





For further information contact: 

Petra Peacock

+27 11 7944665; +27 83 3031778

The City of Cape Towns Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Environment and Spatial Planning, Alderman Belinda Walker, has launched the Cape Town Activa Web Portal. The portal boasts a vast array of online resources, tools and links for those who want to start and develop a business or secure employment in Cape Town.


Cape Town Activa is a City initiative that aims to develop a world-class ecosystem for entrepreneurs and that will transform Cape Town into a city that is open for business and attractive to outside investors. Cape Town Activa was established to create an enabling environment for enhanced collaboration among public and private sector stakeholders interested in entrepreneurship. 



With the launch of the online portal,, the City’s vision to become a lucrative economic centre for entrepreneurship is now one step closer to being realised.


Cape Town Activa seeks to lobby issues facing entrepreneurs, ultimately giving them a unified voice, and provide a first stop solution to anyone operating in this space. From an individual with a business idea, but no plan to get it off the ground; to an entrepreneur in the first few years of operation requiring access to an incubator environment; or entrepreneurs looking to take their venture to the next level it just got a whole lot easier with the development of the new online resource.


Lavendra Naidoo, General Manager of The Business Place eKapa, and the Implementing Partner of the Cape Town Activa initiative, commented on this latest announcement that will see technology driving economic development:

Every internet caf, public library and smart phone just became an Activa branch, thanks to the new user-friendly web portal. We are very excited that this resource-rich portal will now be accessible to anyone with an internet connection, negating the need to catch a train or take a taxi to an Activa centre.


By connecting entrepreneurs to organisations keen to support their endeavors, exciting business potential is maximised. Cape Town Activa bridges the gap between where these entrepreneurs are currently and where they want to be. In addition, the initiative seeks to contribute to the development of human capital by creating a mechanism to make job-seekers in the city more employable and direct them towards support services wherever possible.


A key component of this business ecosystem is the support organisation network. These organisations provide a myriad of skills, training, information and tools for entrepreneurs that offer a catalyst to economic development. For any organisation looking to offer such support and become involved in a dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem mandated by the City, the possibility of an exciting partnership awaits by registering on the web portal to ensure the best possible service offering to the citizens of Cape Town.


Alderman Belinda Walker said, “Cape Town is positioning itself as an Opportunity City for entrepreneurs and we continue to work at removing barriers to entry. Cape Town Activa is one of our chief initiatives that will create the enabling environment to allow entrepreneurs to seize these opportunities.”


All players in this exciting space are encouraged to get connected and explore the potential for renewed business prospects in Cape Town and for citizens to make use of the information and support provided by the web portal, Alderman Walker added.


Cape Town Activa ultimately aims to develop a world-class entrepreneurship and job-seekers ecosystem that transforms Cape Town into the entrepreneurs city of choice on the continent and a city open for business for outside investors. With the launch of Cape Town Activas new web portal, the initiative is one step closer to reaching this goal. Visit


Join the other online conversations with Cape Town Activa on Facebook at or on Twitter at @ctactiva





Media enquiries: * Alderman Belinda Walker, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Environment and Spatial Planning, City of Cape Town, Tel: 021 400

1314 or

Cell: 083 629 8031, E-mail:


* Adri Senekal: Stakeholder Relations and Communication, Cell: 082 944 4455 or E-mail:



About Cape Town Activa:

The establishment of Cape Town Activa forms part of the City of Cape Towns strategic objective to put the city on the map. Through a partnership network that seeks to provide an enabling environment for better collaboration between public and private sector stakeholders interested in entrepreneurship, the initiative is a catalyst for economic development.


As the first stop solution for entrepreneurs and business owners at different stages of business development, Cape Town Activa seeks to cut through the red tape, fostering vibrant and dynamic entrepreneurial growth.

Key stakeholders are entrepreneurs and business owners, as well as support organisations that provide the critical resources required by them, including access to shared information, a range of aligned products, tools, programmes and industry events.


The launch of the web portal is exciting news in terms of accessibility to the resource-rich ecosystem. Valuable online tools, tips and techniques, as well as a comprehensive list of the support organisations communicating their education, networking and information sharing events are features on Also included is a blog page populated with daily articles on market trends and industry news to keep business owners at the top of their game. Cape Town Activa can assist job-seekers in becoming more employable too, by providing critical insights from industry leaders and experienced mentors on job hunting, creating a winning CV and interview skills.



The Home Tester Club, a social community review and ratings site born in South Africa and being exported internationally by the Buchanan Group, has signed up its 25th thousand member in South Africa, showing growth of more than 200% over the past eight months. The rapid growth has doubled the size of this social community over the past six months.


The Buchanan Group, known for its retail marketing tools such as Brand Power, Zoot Review and Medifacts, launched The Home Tester Club ( just over a year ago in a bid to allow FMCG retail brands to tap into the power of social media and the subsequent rise in the importance of online and web-influenced offline sales, which already accounts for 42% of total retail sales in the US. The Home Tester Club allows consumers access to a platform where they can rate and review new FMCG products on a safe, trusted and uncensored platform.


Building a community of interest around product reviews and shared shopping advice was the brainchild of Buchanan’s South African operation headed by Buchanan Group Africa, India and Middle East CEO Steve Cragg. The social platform has since been exported to India with plans afoot to roll it out into various international markets.


New FMCG products brands can use the network to distribute samples to The Home Tester Club community members who not only rate and review the product but also serve as brand advocates by handing out product samples to friends, family and neighbours.


The reviews and ratings posted on the Club allows fellow shoppers access to unbiased opinion and recommendations on new products and also serves marketers with consumer insights outside formal focus groups, while gaining unforced traction through word-of mouth in the social media space for brands who ultimately can also choose to these use consumer recommendations in its marketing communications.


“Clients are starting to see the value in what the club and specifically the Word of Mouth Advocacy has to offer,” says Cragg. “To date we have run Word of Mouth Advocacy Sampling campaigns for Unilever, Nestle, Kraft and Pioneer Foods and more brands are signing up.”


One such campaign, for Comfort Fabric Conditioner, saw 833 club members receive 10 000 samples to use and review as well as to distribute to their personal networks. A special Facebook site was set up and linked to a travel prize where consumers receiving samples were directed to and asked to share their experiences. Within four weeks the page received over ten thousand ‘Likes,’ reached 54 655 consumers virally and served up 982 158 page impressions. The cherry on top was that 75% of HTC trialists surveyed had bought new Comfort Fabric Conditioner after it had been passed on to them to try.


Ultimately the Club will expand beyond the internet and onto mobile devices for use in the actual retail environment taking the community much closer to the actual transaction. Quick Response (QR) codes will allow club members to view new product ratings at the point-of-purchase and then decide whether it’s worthwhile or not.


The Home Tester Club in India is also growing rapidly with over 10 000 members signed up onto the platform and 17 000 fans on its Facebook page.


For more information log onto or contact Craig Melling-Williams on 021 424 2310.

Merchant West has put the power back in the hands of business with the launch of Price Tag, a unique tool for verifying whether you are getting a fair deal on your office automation agreements

Merchant West, an authorised financial services provider specialising in business finance and advisory services, has launched Price Tag, a tool that allows users to calculate theactual costs associated with the leasing of multifunctional printers and copiers. This allows for greater flexibility and profitability in a historically uncertain market.

Merchant West also advocates the separation of the roles played by equipment suppliers and financiers, eliminating all hold that the supplier may have over the business. This ensures that the consumer is not penalised when upgrading to different brands or seen by suppliers as a means to making additional margins through outrageous rentals or inflated settlements. The resulting transparency ensures market-related pricing from the supplier and competitive interest rates from the financier.

“Many companies spend thousands of Rands on the hire of multifunctional printers and copiers but the contracts and related costs are never fully verified making it difficult for the company to recognise whether or not they are getting a fair deal,” says Sabine Stevens, a director of Merchant West. “Given the lack of transparency and un-accessible data around the cost of this equipment, the company has no other option but to take the supplier’s word for it.”

This is where Price Tag comes in. Merchant West has leveraged its experience in the industry and knowledge of available brands to collate a comprehensive list of mutlifunctional printer and copier prices and related contract costing structures available in South Africa. For a sense of what Price Tag is capable of consumers can register and log on to the website and make use of four tools to give them the information needed to make the right decision about officeautomation agreements into which they will be tied for the foreseeable future. Although online access is limited a full audit can be arranged through Merchant West. The tools available are :


1.     Price Verification on new equipment – Does the price you have been quoted for a specific make and model of equipment fall within the industry floor and ceiling price?

2.     Pricing analysis on existing equipment – Have you been offered a fair price on your existing contract in relation to industry standards?

3.     Settlement computation – Is the settlement you have been quoted fair?

4.     Rental calculator – What should your monthly repayments be on the brands, makes and models that you have selected? 

“Access to this information puts the power back into the hands of the business consumer,” says Stevens. “It allows companies to calculate the fair cost of office automation, giving them the tools necessary to negotiate and secure the most cost effective arrangement

 Reputable suppliers are also being placed in a negative light by those that are unreasonably inflating their prices and the reputation of the entire industry is being tainted by the few who put their high margins ahead of fair customer interaction.

Price Tag’s unique verification tools are accessible electronically to any registered user. Visit to register for free. The website is simple and user friendly, and the information is immediate. 

eBucks cements partnership with as eBucks online shopping spend grows by 30%


eBucks, FNB and RMB Private Bank’s rewards programme, has announced a new spend partnership with leading South African online retailer,, further extending the rewards programme’s footprint in the online retail environment.


With over six million products available, will significantly contribute to the selection of products eBucks members can purchase online, using their popular eBucks rewards currency as a form of payment. 


“eBucks members are ahead of the curve when it comes to shopping online in South Africa,” says Jolande Duvenage, eBucks CEO. “Nearly 22% more eBucks members used their rewards currency to purchase items from our range of internet partners in 2011 than in 2010. This growth is significant, especially when you consider that the number of active South African Internet users who use the Internet for shopping, only grew by 5%* over the same period.”


She says that eBucks members are also spending more online, with eBucks noting a 30% growth in online purchases made through its existing internet partners, and a 15% growth through the eBucks online store in the last year.


“We’ve found that as online shopping grows in South Africa, our members are increasingly embracing this convenient shopping practice by purchasing more of their gifts and luxuries through various online stores,” says Duvenage.


The trend towards online shopping is largely driven by members finding the safety and convenience of online shopping to be more appealing, coupled with the fact that they can easily shop around for great deals, Duvenage says. 


“We continually work to find ways for our members to stretch their wallets by using their eBucks to purchase items that they would otherwise possibly not be able to afford.  Partnering with was the perfect addition to our portfolio of Internet partners as it offers a wide range of sport, home,  baby, electronics, beauty, books  and other products  that I’m sure our members will enjoy shopping for,” says Duvenage.


Members are able to purchase items on by redeeming their accumulated eBucks, or by using a combination of eBucks and Rands, should the total cost of their desired purchase exceed their eBucks balance.


“eBucks is one of the most established and well-recognised rewards programmes in South Africa, so this collaboration was a logical next step for us. By including eBucks on, we are able to cement our offering of simple, safe and secure online shopping,” says Kim Reid, CEO of “We are really looking forward to being able to offer eBucks as yet another payment option for shoppers.”


*The latest MasterCard Worldwide Online Shopping Survey revealed that the number of South Africans shopping online has steadily increased over the past two years, with 58% of respondents in a survey of active Internet users saying that they use the Internet for shopping. This is an increase from the 53% that said that they shop online in 2010, and the 44% that gave the same answer in 2009.


Sales of Xerox A4 laser printers and multi-function devices grew by a stunning 71% during the first quarter of 2012, as compared with the same period in 2011. This growth is all the more remarkable given the fact that the total laser printer market in South Africa shrank by some 28%, according to IDC figures.


“Xerox’s growth in the A4 laser segment is important not only in itself but because it shows our strategy of gaining brand share in both the consumer and small to medium-sized business space is starting to pay off,” says Peter Vieira, divisional manager: Xerox Channels at Bytes Document Solutions, the authorised distributor for Xerox in South Africa. “We are already well established in the enterprise space, and are aiming to achieve similar success in these additional market segments.”

Vieira attributes the growth to three factors. “We have increased our range and depth of channel partners to allow us to reach new segments of the consumer and small to medium-sized business markets, including people who had previously not owned printers. Xerox is developing the value-for-money products they are looking for, backed up by resellers that hold adequate stock and offer good support. All of these factors deliver the kind of experience that builds brand loyalty to both our channel and end-user customers,” he says. “A great team at Bytes Document Solutions is driving the whole process.”

During 2011, Xerox sold some 17 400 A4 laser units in the South African market. This represents a growth of 51% as compared with the previous year. Many of these are first-time buyers and are thus, says Vieira, beginning to build a relationship with the brand and its service offering.

“For first-time buyers, these devices represent a relatively low investment and so they give us the opportunity to gain new customers, and start building their confidence in the Xerox brand,” says Vieira. “We have seen rapid and sustained growth over the past two years, with total sales in excess of 33 000 units. We see all of these customers as potential brand ambassadors for Xerox’s entire product range.”


About Bytes Document Solutions

Bytes Document Solutions is Africa’s leading technology and services company which offers the widest portfolio of offerings through three independent business units, namely Xerox, LaserCom and NOR Paper/PaperGeni, A wholly owned division of JSE-listed Altron, Bytes Document Solutions is the authorised Xerox distributor in 26 sub-Saharan countries and a division of Bytes Technology Group.  



Tanya Moodley, Bytes Document Solutions (011) 928 9111,

Karen Heydenrych, Communikay, 083 302 9494,

The Pioneer Foods Group has reconfirmed its commitment to “feeding the nation” through the launch of Limani, a project that will donate permaculture food garden kits to various schools. The project is being launched at the Shikati School in Limpopo on the 16th of June 2012.


Limani is executed in partnership with Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA), the first and only South African social enterprise addressing sustainable development through climate change action, food security and greening, with a strong focus on environmental and global warming education and awareness. “The Limani project is important to the Pioneer Food Group, as it addresses sustainability and food insecurity challenges. Availability of and access to food, as well as the effect of prices on certain sectors of the South African community are huge problem areas. The Limani project provides the opportunity to create food gardens and will at least ensure that the children in the participating schools are food secure,” says Lulu Khumalo, executive of corporate affairs and sustainability at Pioneer Foods (Pty) Ltd.


“According to the FAO’s State of Food Insecurity in the World 2011 report, high food prices are likely to continue and volatility may increase in coming years, making farmers, consumers and countries more vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity. It is therefore clear that programmes such as Limani are of utmost importance to South African communities,” adds Khumalo.


Khumalo confirms that the Limani project will support the development of natural food gardens for specially selected schools. This will not only introduce a form of practical food gardening education for scholars, but will provide food for schools and surrounding communities, as well as create entrepreneurial opportunities for parents at the schools, as extra vegetables not needed or used by the school can be sold. The Limani project is modelled on other successful FTFA initiatives where schools are clustered so that their communities, including many unemployed parents, work together while sharing knowledge and resources in an effort to improve lives and livelihoods; another of Pioneer Foods’ passions.


In addition, Khumalo believes that this project will assist in improving the results of the learners at the schools; “Schools in underprivileged areas tend to experience a drop in concentration in students, as many of them have very little to eat on a daily basis. These vegetable gardens will be an important source of basic foods for those enrolled in and living near the school.”


FTFA has been chosen as partner in this strategic project due to their long standing experience in the permaculture food gardening field. The name permaculture is derived from permanent agriculture and is described by Simon Henderson as “the use of ecology as the basis for designing integrated systems of food production, housing appropriate technology and community development. It offers a practical, creative approach to the problems of diminishing resources and threatened life support systems now facing the world”.


“We are excited to work with Pioneer Foods on this project which will benefit so many and hopefully be a precursor for more of the same,” says Verena Wagner, FTFA programme manager. “The Limpopo conditions for growing food are good and the Nutrition Directorate of the Department of Education in Limpopo is very active, making it much easier to execute the programme. Each school will receive plant materials, gardening tools, educational resources and practical permaculture workshops to help them to develop their food gardens. The primary aim is food security and improved nutrition for the children. Any excess food can be used to create entrepreneurial opportunities for community members. The garden will also serve as a living laboratory for the schools themselves, where children can experience their connection to the earth and food, gaining an understanding that lettuce doesn’t come from a supermarket.” 


Adding excitement to the Limani launch will be Dreamfields, an organisation working towards soccer development for children under the age of 12 and ‘spreading the joy of playing soccer’. A round robin soccer tournament will be held at the launch, in which 15 of the schools taking part in the Limani project will play. These all boy teams will each play two matches of 20 minutes a side on a half field.  Twelve of these 15 schools taking part in the tournament will receive kits including boots, socks, shin guards and soccer kits for all 15 players. The team coaches will receive a t-shirt, a whistle and three soccer balls with a pump.


The tournament will end with a prize-giving ceremony where all schools will receive participating medals, while the winners and runners-up will receive trophies. “Our ultimate vision is to develop a soccer league in the Limpopo area,” says Linda Khuzwayo from the Dreamfields project. “At the launch of Limani, however, we just want the children to have fun and play soccer. We are in full support of the Limani project; to develop good athletes, the correct nutrition has to be available. It is opportune that the Limani pilot project is also aimed at primary schools”.


One of the 16 schools in this pilot project will be developed into a resource centre where others can access learning and materials and receive support. Eventually the seven best schools will become resource centres. The immediate vision for the project is to expand to 75 schools, but it is hoped that eventually all schools in South Africa will have permaculture food gardens.


The long-term vision for the Limani project is to develop a model that can be replicated to address food security needs of schools nationally. As climate change takes effect and price increases are diminishing the quality of life of all communities, there is a need for home grown food and Pioneer Foods, in partnership with FTFA, is committed to doing its part in solving the problem for the communities of South Africa.


First National Bank’s Instant Accounting solution which enables business owners to produce full management accounts using information pulled automatically from their bank statements has undergone a major facelift in recent months, aimed at making it more user friendly for the small business owner. 


When it was launched in 2008, Instant Accounting was the first product of its kind to be offered by a bank in South Africa.   It is still the only product of its kind which uses data directly from the customer’s bank statements and eliminates the need for any manual file downloads or imports.


FNB constantly monitors best practices in accounting solutions and other online software packages around the world. After a recent review of this nature and taking into account feedback received from existing users, FNB effected various enhancements to keep Instant Accounting at the forefront of accounting packages.  The idea was to make the solution more intuitive and visually appealing for users.


Some of the key new features of Instant Accounting include: a new user-friendly look and feel; a new quick-start guide which provides four easy steps on how to get started; an activity monitor which shows how far you have progressed on the system and what steps you need to take to progress further; a new menu layout; faster category assignments including a rule creation wizard; and a new user-friendly and a visually appealing dashboard with sub-menu tabs to keep track of where you are.


“The creation of an enabling environment for entrepreneurs in South Africa is crucial to the country’s economic development.  Through a variety of innovative offerings FNB strives to provide entrepreneurs with the necessary tools to have the best possible chance of success. Instant Accounting can simplify the business owner’s accounting function and lead to considerable cost saving on accounting fees” says John Botha, head of value-added services for FNB Business Banking.


Instant Accounting is supported by a dedicated and specialised in-house support centre and  is free of charge to FNB customers.  It can generate a variety of useful reports, such as income statements, cash-flow statements, debtors and creditors’ reports and financial dashboards.


“We have already received some positive feedback on the enhancements from existing users and we expect take-up to increase rapidly in coming months.  To many business owners the thought of taking on the management of their business’s accounting function might seem like a daunting task, but once they register for the new and improved Instant Accounting and familiarise themselves with its easy to use interface, they will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to produce accurate management accounts for their business in a short space of time,” concludes Botha.


First National Bank is a division of First Rand Bank Limited. An authorised financial services provider


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