Software Africa Newsletter - February 2018



The dawn of a new era, to quote our new president Cyril Ramaphosa, whom we will watch carefully. So far, business is looking up and the Rand has strengthened. It has been raining is most places in South Africa but still not enough in the Western Cape.

Toastmasters Pathways - a new way to leadership and presentations

In business, all of us have to do presentations, speeches either prepared or impromptu and develop into team supporters and leaders. Toastmasters clubs are the most nurturing places to learn and hone the skills that you need to succeed in gaining these skills. After much research, the Pathways programme was developed recently and will be launched in late March 2018 in Southern Africa. As a Pathways Ambassador, I have been introducing this programme to  a number of clubs in Johannesburg. It is a true 21st Century skills programme. It focuses on building efficiency in blogging, running online meetings, mentoring/coaching. In addition, there are opportunities to develop teams, become a strategic or visionary leader.

What is most important, when working with a Pathway, you receive positive feedback on what you are doing well and ways to improve in areas that you are not performing as strongly. As you progress through the Paths, of which there are ten in total, you grow towards being an accomplished speaker and leader.

Unlike a short business training course, the Pathway constantly reinforces your learning. It supports your growth all the way to the top. Anyone can join an existing Toastmasters Club. Company clubs are also favoured by many corporates, who use progress through the projects as being measurable for staff assessments. To find out more go to or contact Judith.

Autodesk News

New pricing has been released reflecting the strengthened Rand against the US Dollar. There are some specials as follows:

Global Field Promotion for FY19 Q1

You can save up to 25%* on the Autodesk Suggested Retail Price (SRP) for industry collections and/or most individual products when they purchase eligible 1-year or 3-year term subscriptions with single- or multi-user access and trade in qualifying (“legacy”) serial numbers and all associated seats of R14 (release year 1998) through 2018 perpetual licenses not on an active maintenance plan (expired on or before December 31, 2017). A valid, eligible serial number must be submitted for this promotion.

·        Autodesk LT Family product licenses are eligible to be traded in for eligible 1- or 3-year subscriptions to other LT Family products only.

·        Switch back option: You are eligible to switch back to your perpetual license within the 30-day returns period or at the end of either the 3-year term, or the end of the second year of an annual term (1 year plus 1 year renewal).  

Serial numbers must be traded in by your reseller (that's us, folks!).  We have a long list of the eligible “going to” subscription products and “coming from” qualifying perpetual licenses. 

Activating your Autodesk Software

Please note that your new Autodesk software has to be activated using your account log on within 30 days. Thereafter, please log onto your account monthly to receive the latest updates, so that your software stays current. You can use your account to access training videos and support via AVA as well. If AVA can't solve your problem, it can be escalated to Autodesk Support who will phone you to sort it out. This is an exceptional development as it makes problem solving so much faster than previously.

As an Autodesk customer, you matter to them as well as to your reseller. More and more solutions are sitting on your customer account - please explore them!

Online Business Tip #16 - The VAT Rate Changes on 1 April

Making April Fools of all of us, particularly those who still support our extravagant government, to pay for essential expenditure like Nkandla, a comfortable retirement for our dear* former President, endemic government corruption, bailouts for SAA and Eskom, one of the biggest and least effective cabinets on the planet and (if there is any money left) discretionary items like hospitals, education, social grants, police and the courts, the VAT rate will rise by one percentage point (a 7.1% increase) to 15% on 1 April 2018, the first rise in the democratic era.

If you are an unpaid tax collector collecting VAT for SARS, you will need to adjust the VAT rate in your accounting system.  There are two strategies to do it:


Next month we will look at how to do this in QuickBooks.

* "Dear" in the sense of "Expensive".

Other new QuickBooks Developments

The Cloud version of QuickBooks has been launched. We are waiting to find out more about this as we were, unfortunately, unable to go to the launch.

Quick Payroll

Please contact Judith for the new KeyPlayer software and assistance in getting your data file to QuickBooks for conversion.

Green Tip

Plastic straws are one of the worst pollutants in our seas and oceans. Toothbrushes come close as do plastic eating utensils. Please encourage your local restaurants to replace the first with disposable straws and avoid using the others. We are looking for fully degradable bamboo toothbrushes and will let you know when we find some!

The 3rd Annual Building Information Modelling in Africa Conference on 14–15 March 2018, Radisson Blu, Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa

The 3rd Annual BIM conference aims to focus on challenges and innovative applications of BIM by many disciplines currently operating in a BIM environment in Africa. The theme of this event will be: “Today’s BIM champions are tomorrow’s industry leaders” This event offers an inclusive workshop for you to experience practical BIM tools. Upon completion of the workshop delegates will be awarded with an international BIM certificate from BIM Academy Africa. This event has been accredited with ECSA with 2 CPD points. SAIA accreditation is still in progress.  

What to expect in 2018 Conference;

The expert Speakers include:

If you are interested in attending please contact Collen or 021 556 9253.

Disclaimer - we are not benefiting from letting people know about this conference. We merely feel that BIM users may well benefit from attending it.

Excel Tip #162 -- What's New in Excel 2016 for Windows? New Statistical Box and Whisker Charts (II)

We are looking at what is new in Excel 2016 for Windows Desktop, compared with Excel 2010.  On the Insert ribbon, in the Charts group, the new button for the new Statistical charts produces Box and Whisker charts, which we introduced  last month in Excel Tip #161.

In the diagram on the right, we summarise exchange rate data in years.  The actual dates are not used. Rather, we have a column, "Year" and then the Rand/Dollar exchange rate (not all data shown, of course!). We select the data in the latter two columns (C and D) and, on the Insert ribbon, in the Charts group, click the Statistical charts drop-down button, choosing Box and Whisker

As we can see, for the period 2013 to 2017, the Rand was at its worst against the US Dollar in 2016 (going to around ZAR17 / USD), and at its most variable in 2015.

Note the use of text in the "Year" column. If we use plain numbers, Excel cleverly (and wrongly!) assumes that the first column is also data, instead of using it for the x-axis.

More next month.

Computius Say:

Phone addiction, you might have, if you check your mobile device for messages more than once an hour throughout the day.

Remember:  We can make your business run better by:

All the Best from the team!
Judith and Rick

Members, Communication in Action cc trading as Software Africa
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