PAYSPACE’S SANDRA CROUS – BUILDING ON PASSION

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PAYSPACE is a leader in true cloud-based payroll and human capital management software. PaySpace offers streamlined payroll and human resource management solutions that will increase data accuracy and processing efficiency. PaySpace is developed to provide multi-country, multicurrency and multi-language payroll and human resource software and services to organisations of all sizes and industry.

SAprofessionals.com spoke to PaySpace Managing Director Sandra Crous, about her personal and professional journey over the years to date.

Sandra sees her journey as coming from the payroll and human resources space in 1983 where payrolls were done manually via a carbonated copy by a system called Kalamazoo to businesses moving into a digital cloud space called Payspace. I have been part of that transition and journey, with all its frustrations to finding solutions for our clients, and answering the pertinent question: how do we make a difference in people’s lives from the desktop version of things to the analytical cloud space where I have a bird’s eye view of the payroll and human resource activity in different locations of any business. Payspace since 2001 is empowering businesses to be agile and handle their business efficiently via cloud-based technology.

Tell us about professional development up to this point.

My father was a primary school principal who truly believed that the best job one could possibly find was being a teacher. He believed the career was life-changing, most fulfilling and rewarding. He studied part-time and got his qualification because he loved children. I wanted to go into politics so I registered for an International Politics and Human Resources Major degree at University of Pretoria. In my third year of studying, one of my close friends passed on in an accident. I was devastated and didn’t want to study anymore.

I applied for a job at SA Permanent Building Society and started on the enquiries desk. Soon I was feeling frustrated about the work I was doing and what I had studied so I requested a transfer to the human resources division where I attended to the salaries function.  I started doing salaries and wages and implemented a few computerised payroll systems at different business when in 1989; I saw an advert for a support role to implement payroll systems. . I joined a start-up company of seven employees. I did telemarketing for four months and luckily, I knew the exact frustrations of manual systems and had the right answers and solution to offer. In the first month of getting leads, I sold four payroll systems a week and that was a massive learning journey.  This was a fantastic experience given the people I worked with. I was surrounded by great entrepreneurs.

I had a 27-year run at VIP Payroll and eventually Sage Africa. I also held positions in the education sector, which I was fervently passionate about, most recently as CEO of both Damelin Online and the London College of International Business Studies. I was appointed PaySpace Managing Director effective 1 April 2019.

What does your current role at MD mean to you?

I love picturing what success will look like and getting people onto the same page. With over 4,100 customers across 40 countries and more than 65 industries, how do we take this business to the next level and become a household name? How do we attract new talent in the industry to aspire to work for PaySpace? We want to build a space where colleagues reach their full potential

Digitisation of Payroll and HR processes has been so much a part of my career from the very beginning and the thought of helping to innovate on a cloud-based, tech-first product really got me excited. Timing is everything and the match between my own career and the aspirations of this rising player in the payroll industry could not have been better.

My focus at PaySpace will be increasing the business’s market share throughout Africa. With more African businesses embracing digitisation and doing more cross-border business than ever, the legislative and compliance hurdles faced can be a serious risk. PaySpace has proven itself as a software supplier with successful statutory legislation across Africa, meaning that legislative compliance is assured, no matter where you are situated. This product really does cater to every market, and that’s what growing African economies need.

You have had several professional achievements please list them and indicate which one stands out for you and why?

My joining a start-up and eventually becoming MD at Sage VIP. I went through the ranks, and that is the best grooming and foundation you can ever ask for. For me, you need to focus in your career and make sure you become a specialist in what you do – you will become difficult to replace   . Find your passion, build on it and you will always be a valuable resource.  I fulfilled diverse roles including Sales Director, later taking up the helm as Vice-President for Midmarket Africa and Middle East. Over this period, I oversaw significant revenue growth in the entire mid-market segment, augmenting the company’s reputation and client base in the Africa and Middle East, and managing both direct and indirect sales teams across the region.

Have you had any challenges as a woman professional that you think differ from your male counterparts? How have you tackled them?

I feel everyone has similar challenges regardless of the career you are in and gender. Tap in on the tenacity, nurturing and caring traits that you have as a woman professional and you will succeed. With the right skills, training, and spending time on growing and improving yourself, you will get ahead. Life is not easy for anyone; it is tough. It helps that I am an optimist. I am able to get perspective, re-gain my energy and stay positive.

What advice do you have for younger professionals who are looking forward to joining the profession?

Always invest in developing yourself. See the time during your tertiary education as a first step of a hundred steps ahead. When you start your first job, take that as starting from scratch and build from there. It is life-long journey of investing in yourself.  Take the first step and show your employer what you aspire to reach. . . Show your passion and ambition and remember as an individual you do not need to be a manager to influence and play a leadership role. Your role will not determine your success but your influence will make a difference with every individual you interact with and colleagues will remember that.

What principles and values do you think are important for any professional and why?

Treat everyone with respect regardless of their role in the organization. Have absolute and authentic integrity from your heart and people will trust you. . Humility is important; one should talk about ‘we’ and not ‘I’ because the business is bigger than any individual. I surround myself with colleagues that are specialists in their fields and, embrace the diversity.

Explain what contribution you have made to your current company since joining it?

In my first 100 days at PaySpace, I experienced a lot of passion and pride. . My role has been to help unleash that potential in everyone so we can grow market share and expand across Africa. I am fortunate to be surrounded by a group of colleagues that are equipped to take PaySpace global. We have an extremely strong team and I have managed to channel our focus into an expansion and growth strategy with common goals and a strong vision. . .

Who stands out for you as a role model and why?

I have always been surrounded by phenomenal business leaders that were willing to share their insight and knowledge with me, allowing me to grow and excel in my career.

Where do you want your career to be in 10 year’s time?

I will never be able to completely retire, but.. I hope to be spending more time with my family and grandchildren.

What is your management and leadership philosophy?

I understand that people follow people so you must walk the talk. Inspire people, give them hope, and make an impact. I give my colleagues the opportunity to grow. I believe in empowering people and getting them to take ownership with confidence. I want colleagues to know they can reach their goals It was my own experience as an employee. I had leaders that saw potentials and believed in me, encouraging me to be my best. .

What are you passionate about/keeps you awake at night/makes you tick?

Business is meant to be a win-win situation for all. We should not let the bottom line be the only measure for success and forget about people. I lie awake about ideas and not problems. I prefer getting energy from the new and fresh ways to improve business.

Do you think your organisation is a great company to work for? If so, please elaborate in detail what makes it different from others in its field?

Yes, we have many ways we attract talent, our technology enables our colleagues to work from anywhere. At PaySpace we are developing and investing in our colleagues to growth and expand their careers.   There is recognition for jobs well done. And finally, it’s fun working for young owners as there is a great energy in the business.

When you not at work, what do you get up to, including family life?

The best memories are made from experiences shared with loved ones and I treasure spending time with my family

Where can people follow you online?

To follow me on LinkedIn and follow PaySpace social channels.

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