Friday, July 30, 2010

HR - UIF (Unemployment Fund) - Part 4


UIF (Unemployment Fund) – Part 4

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC July 2010

Last week we had a look at how to collect illness benefits and this week we will focus on the ‘how to’ of claiming the maternity benefits as well as adoption benefits.

Following along from all the other collections you will need to register at the Labour office and obviously you will need to get a medical certificate from your doctor – be advised though that the doctor has to complete and sign the correct form, so make sure that you get a copy from the Labour office or alternatively get one off the website, but make sure that it is the correct one.

When you go to register, again the following documents need to be taken with you:

- A copy of your 13 digit, green bar encoded identity document
- Copies of you last 6 payslips
- Form UI19 completed and signed by your employer
- A Certificate of service from your employer
- Proof of your banking details
- A statement from your employer to evidence any money that you may have (or will be) receiving during the period that you will be on Maternity Leave.
- A fully completed and signed registration form.

When you go to the Labour Offices to register, you will also be given a Form UF92. This form must be completed and signed by your doctor and then it has to be returned to the Labour Office.

Again the benefits will be paid to you by means of a cheque which will be posted to you or where possible by means of an electronic transfer.

If you need to apply for additional benefits after the baby is born, then you need to complete a Form UF 95 (which also needs to be completed and signed off by the doctor who delivered the baby.)

If you are unemployed as well as pregnant, then you need to advise the Claims officer as you may be entitled to additional benefits.

The documents that you need if you are applying for adoption benefits are:

- A copy of your 13 digit, green bar encoded identity document
- Copies of you last 6 payslips
- Form UI19 completed and signed by your employer
- A Certificate of service from your employer
- The adoption order or legal documentation pertaining to the adoption of the child
- Proof of your banking details
- A statement from your employer to evidence any money that you may have (or will be) receiving during the period that you will be on Adoption Leave.
- A copy of your adopted child’s birth certificate
- A fully completed and signed registration form.

Please note though that adoption benefits must be applied for within six months of the adoption order being issued – after that your claim will not be registered and you will not receive the benefits.

Again the benefits will be paid to you by means of a cheque which will be posted to you or where possible by means of an electronic transfer, however a form will be issued by the Labour Office, when payment is made and this must be completed and returned to the Claims Officer at the Labour Centre.

Next week we will have a look at the “how to” collect the death benefits too.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Thursday, July 29, 2010

BLOGGING TIPS - Always Proof Read

BLOGGING TIPS – Always Proof Read

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC July 2010

Just because you are writing on a blog, or posting on twitter, or even on some of the social sites such as FaceBook, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t view or treat your writing with any less respect than if you were say, writing an article for a newspaper column or for a magazine.

I am sure that I would be absolutely on the money if I were to assume that articles of this nature would be checked, several times to ensure that the spelling was correct or, that the links actually worked, or that the language that you used was grammatically correct.

I know and understand that common sense is in really short supply these days (if not altogether a rare commodity) but logic should tell you that, at the very least, the article/post should be read over again, at least once.

For me, often the thoughts and ideas come at me in bits and pieces and usually over a period of time. Additionally ideas ‘pop-up’ while I am busy writing and rather than lose the momentum, I jot them down either on the page (if I am writing by hand) or on the screen page (if I am writing directly onto the computer). This, of course means that the piece will not flow. The sentences will not be in the right order and arguments, discussions or even points to ponder, will seem stilted, all over the place and not always make any kind of sense (except to me of course).

Obviously, I have to go back and put everything where it should be or change things around so that the story unfolds correctly.

There are times too, when perhaps an explanation needs to be expanded to make the point clearer or additional material needs to be added to make the piece complete.

Often it is only by the fourth or fifth reading that I am satisfied with the ‘unfolding’ of the story and then, although I usually correct spelling mistakes as I go along, I read it again to check for any more spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.

After this comes what I call the ‘audience test’. Here’s the thing – reading something quietly in your mind is not the same as reading it out loud, to a captive audience, where you pause at the required moment to add emphasis to what you are saying and put all the correct inflections on the words as you say them.

Forget for a moment that my ‘captive audience’ is usually my cat, who may or may not be fast asleep on the couch in my office – there are usually a few more changes to be make at this point. Changes made, the cat gets to hear it all over again and once the words roll off my tongue, without pause to correct or add something else, and the meaning is clear, then and only then, is the piece complete and ready for posting.

Think about it for a moment – you want people to take the time to read and understand what it is that you have written – not so? Then it stands to reason that you should take the time and trouble to make that reading experience an enjoyable one.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

The Power of Networking - Part 167


PART 167

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. July 2010

Who does business with someone that they don’t like or trust or respect? Na-ah – not me hey!

That’s the bottom line and for me, this is what Networking is all about – getting to know like minded people, building trust and respect and developing relationships.

To approach the whole Networking event from a logical and professional manner, firstly you have to set your intent. So, why are you going to the meeting and/or event? What do you hope to achieve? Who do you want to meet (what type of people, in which industry etc)?

Next of course, you need to put an action up against that intention – so you actually have to get up off your rear end and go to the meeting or event. You need to meet with the kind of people that you intended to meet. You have to meet your requirements, in terms of what you wanted to achieve and in order to do this you need to remain focused and not get side tracked. By the time you leave the meeting and/or event you should feel like you have achieved your intention.

Finally, and this is the most important – you have to follow up. It is considered a “Networking crime” to go to a meeting/event, meeting your objectives and then not follow up. Quite frankly, in my opinion, it is an absolute waste of everybody’s time and energy.

Rule of thumb is that you should contact everybody who has given you a card, within 48 hours of meeting them. If you attend Networking meetings/events several times a month, then it may be in your own best interests to get yourself a business card scanner as this will save you valuable time when capturing your networking contacts.

For me, Networking and all the referrals that it brings me, is the life blood of my business – without it there would be no business.

So I treat Networking in the same way that I treat life – establishing relationships, growing relationships and of course, retaining relationships.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

BUSINESS TIPS - Computer Shortcuts - Part 1

BUSINESS TIPS – Computer Shortcuts – Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC July 2010

Wow! Wow! And Wow again! By now you all know that I am a bit of a technophobe, mainly because I don’t know and/or understand the technical terms and having grown up using a typewriter (and yes I learnt on one of those old fashioned ones that you had to use the leaver to turn up a line), the shortcuts that we have on a computer up to now have just been more than I could cope with. Hell I only learnt how to cut and paste a year after I started my business – before that I just typed everything out every time (just as well I am pretty fast and accurate with typing on a keyboard hey!)

Anyway, I found this whole thingymabobby that gives lists and lists of shortcuts so I will be sharing this with you over the next couple of weeks. Please note though that this does not mean that I understand all of the jargon – hopefully you guys and gals understand more than I do.

First up – Basic Shortcut Keys
Alt + F File menu options in current program
Alt + E Edit options in current program
F1 Universal help (for all programs)
Ctrl + A Select all text
Ctrl + X Cut Selected Item
Shift + Delete Cut Selected Item
Ctrl + C Copy selected item
Ctrl + Ins Copy selected item
Ctrl + V Paste
Shift + Ins Paste
Home Go to beginning of current line
Ctrl + Home Go to beginning of document
End Go to end of current line
Ctrl + End Go to end of document
Shift + Home Highlight from current position to beginning of line
Shift + End Highlight from current position to end of line
Control + <- (arrow pointing left) Move one word to the left at a time
Control + -> (arrow pointing right Move one word to the right at a time

Now that wasn’t so bad – I must admit that although I did know some of these – many I didn’t.

Then - Microsoft “Windows” Shortcut Keys

Alt + Tab Switch between open applications
Alt + Shift + Tab Switch backwards between open applications
Alt + Print + Screen Create screen shot for current program
Ctrl + Alt + Delete Reboot/Windows Task Manager
Ctrl + Esc Bring up Start Menu
Alt + Esc Switch between applications on taskbar
F2 Rename selected icon
F3 Start find from Desktop
F4 Open the drive selection when browsing
F5 Refresh contents
Alt + F4 Close current open program
Ctrl + F4 Close window in program
Ctrl + plus key Automatically adjust widths of all columns in Window Explorer
Alt + Enter Open properties window of selected icon or program
Shift + F10 Simulate right-click on selected item
Shift + Del Delete programs/files permanently
Holding Shift During Boot-up Boot safe mode or bypass system files
Holding Shift During Boot-up When putting in an audio CD, will prevent CD player from playing.

Again I knew one or two of these, but certainly not the majority and now of course I will also have to irritate the heck out of my IT guy by asking all the ‘what does . . . . . mean?”.

More next week
Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Monday, July 26, 2010

MOTIVATION - Life's Attitude to Us

MOTIVATION – Life’s Attitude to Us

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – July 2010

John N. Mitchell says “Our attitude towards life determines life’s attitude towards us.”

Since I truly believe that I usually write about the things that I most need to hear myself, clearly this one is a good swift kick up my own rear end!

You see lately I have been a bit down in the dumps. I work hard - really, really hard and lately things just haven’t been coming together as they should.

Deep down inside, in that part of you that knows the truth, I know that I am on the right road to fulfilling my life’s purpose, I know that I am doing what I am meant to be doing and believe me when I tell you that I really do love what I do and I know, that I do make a difference in the lives of many.

All that understanding and acceptance means nothing though, when I look at my accounts receivable and then look at my empty bank account. It really is way out of balance and I suppose it reflects the same sort of situation that many other people find themselves in. What it also highlights to me, is the unscrupulous behaviour of some individuals who want service/product/assistance, but who know that they cannot pay for it. People who don’t care about the damage that they may be afflicting on others as long as they get what it is that they want!

For the first time since I started my business in 2003, I have had to ‘hand over’ accounts – not only to the debt collectors but to the attorney’s who have issued summons. Two individuals have had summons’s served to them, a third is about to be handed over and there are two more in the queue behind them. Even more sad, is that these are not small amounts, each one on their own could be considered an entire month’s earnings. Not an easy decision for me to make but certainly one that has had to be made.

Yes indeed, down in the dumps is how I was feeling!

Every lead and every avenue I tried seemed to bring me to a dead end or a brick wall and I was getting to the point where I was beginning to wonder “What’s it all for? All this struggle.” I mean it really isn’t supposed to be like this!

Last week something happened though – through Networking I met a chap almost a year ago (let’s call him George) and he sent me an e-mail asking for some assistance in getting his policies and procedures in place. I met with him and last week and as we were going through what his needs and requirements were he said something that knocked the socks off me.

He told me that since he met me all those months ago, he has read my blogs on a regular basis. Maybe not every day, but certainly on a regular basis and that he learnt a great deal from them – things that have assisted him in the day to day running of his business and that is why, now that he is ready to take the next step forward and get his infrastructure up and running smoothly, he knew that I was the person to assist him.

George went on to tell me that “although you may not be aware of it, you help countless people across the country with your tips and your blogs.”

I sat there quietly, absorbing the words and their meaning and having a huge Oprah “Ah-Ha” moment.

You see, my intent has always been clear – I know what I have to do and I know what path I need to take and yes, sometimes I get distracted and I wonder off the path. Sometimes the timing is all wrong, because the earth is governed by time in seconds through to years, decades and centuries, as we know it – but the universe is timeless and it is not governed by time as we know and often I (being currently earthbound) am out of sync with the universe and can cause me great distress.

The fact of the matter is however, that no matter how down in the dumps I was, no matter how I questioned and pondered and worried and stressed – I did just keep going – my attitude was in sync with my intent.

Suddenly though, I am no longer down in the dumps as George’s words were the affirmation that I needed to hear, my mind shifted, my attitude became more positive and suddenly the world of possibilities , opportunities and probabilities opened up again – as they should.

Since that meeting – I have entered into 3 more joint ventures and signed up 3 more clients, including George.

My actions – in me continuing going forward and just putting one foot in front of the other, despite my fears and doubts, brought about the meeting with someone who’s words of affirmation changed my attitude. That change of attitude brought the work back flooding into my space.

So the message today is that even when things appear to be really bleak, don’t give up – keeping on going – try to remain positive, your attitude will reflect in what, how and when things come about for you.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Friday, July 23, 2010

HR - UIF (Unemployment Fund) - Part 3


UIF (Unemployment Fund) – Part 3

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC July 2010

So far we have established what you can claim for, or what benefits you could be entitled to and then we established what the procedure is to claim unemployment benefits from the unemployment fund.

Today we continue with the ‘how to’ of claiming your illness benefits.

You will need to register at your nearest Labour Centre. This being the ‘illness benefit’ though, means that if you are too sick to go and complete the forms yourself, a relative and/or friend can collect the forms for you and you can then sign them. The forms will have to be returned to the Labour office. Some of these forms can be downloaded off the Department of Labour website, but word of caution – I have of late, discovered that you download a form from the website only to be told when you submit it to whichever institution, that the form is ‘obsolete’ and that the infamous ‘somebody’ did not update the website, so it would perhaps be a good idea to check first to ensure that the website forms are current.

When you register you will need the following documents:
- A copy of your green, bar encoded ID document.
- Copies of your last 6 payslips
- The UI19 form that must be completed and signed off by your employer
- A certificate of service from your employer
- Proof of banking details (either a recent bank statement or a letter from the bank)
- A Statement from your employer documenting the amounts of remuneration that have been received by yourself during the period that you have been sick.
- The fully completed and duly signed registration form.

Don’t forget to submit your medical certificate as proof of your illness and your doctor will also have to complete the relevant details on the form UF86 (which also has to be signed and submitted to the UIF office). The UIF claims department will then “consider and assess” your application and if you are successful they will post you the form UF87, which again needs to be completed and signed by your doctor, before it is submitted back to the Labour office.

Should you be successful though, the benefits that are paid out to you will be from the date that the doctor booked you off, excluding the first two weeks. Also please note that you will only be paid for the period of time that you did not receive your normal wages from your employer.

It is also very important to understand that the ‘illness benefit’ will not be paid out to people who have caused their own illness through misconduct or if you have refused reasonable treatment from your doctor or if you have failed to follow the treatment instructions of your doctor.

Also, if you are both unemployed as well as too ill to work, this also needs to be communicated to the claims officer as you may be entitled to claim unemployment benefits for the period of time that is not covered by the illness benefit, provided of course that you qualify to collect as per the detail in part 1 of this series.

Again the illness benefits will be paid to you by cheque (which will be posted to you) or alternatively where possible, by internet transfer directly into your bank account.

Next week we will have a look at the “how to” collect your illness benefits and maternity benefits and depending upon the availability of space, the death benefits too.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Power of Networking - Part 166


PART 166

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. July 2010

I had an interesting experience the other day. I was invited to UJ (University of Johannesburg) to do my Networking presentation to the 3rd (I think) year Marketing students – about 200 of them.

Ok, it’s not just you – I also thought it was a very strange request, but hey – I’ve learnt not to judge.

Turns out that there is no material around on how to use Networking as your marketing and since the lecturer knows me from years ago and understands that all of my business comes from Networking and therefore all of my Marketing is in fact Networking, she called me in to do the presentation. How weird is that? I mean really, how can your Marketing not include Networking? For me that’s really bizarre!

For small businesses, who don’t have deep pockets or extremely large budgets, the simplest, most effective and cheapest way to market yourself, your product, your service is through Networking. I’ve said so before and I will most probably say it again, in my opinion, Networking is the most affordable, important and powerful business tool that is available to SMME’s (Small, Medium. Micro Enterprises).

The problem as I see it, is that people don’t know how to Network effectively. Just because you have work at this particular time, it doesn’t mean that you can stop Networking. Just because you find yourself in the middle of a recession, it doesn’t mean that you can stop Networking. Just because you don’t get to sign a deal at the Networking meeting that you went to last night, doesn’t mean that you should stop Networking. Networking should be something that is second nature to you and it should be something that you do all the time, while you’re waiting in the queue at the bank, sitting watching your kids playing sport or at a formal Networking meeting and/or event – you should be Networking.

You need to find out where you are most comfortable Networking, whether it is at a Networking meeting/dinner/breakfast or at a conference or exhibition or a workshop/seminar or what about charity events or even socially – whatever is more comfortable for you, is where you will be the most successful at Networking, as long as you are Networking.

Remember though that Networking is not about doing business, it’s about meeting people, building relationships and building trust and respect. Once those are in place – doing the business is the next natural step.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

BUSINESS TIPS - Be Careful What You Click On

BUSINESS TIPS – Be Careful What You Click On

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC July 2010

One of the things that I always try and engrave on the minds of all the delegates who go through my workshops is that it is important to have all your contracts in place. Contracts between you and your partners and contracts between you and your suppliers, contracts between your and your clients and, for goodness sake contracts between you and your staff. Contracts are really important. But what does the word ‘contract’ conjure up for you? For me it conjures up pages and pages of legalese, most of which I cannot understand and probably need a whole week to go through, line by line, in order to understand exactly what the terms and conditions contained therein mean.

We’ve all be caught, I’m sure – by the unscrupulous retailers and service providers that have ‘something’ on the reverse of their invoices. You know which ones I mean – where the writing is so small and squished together that you need a magnifying glass to read it. They are the people, when you query something, who puff themselves up and sarcastically remind you that you accepted said terms and conditions when you accepted the invoice and then very importantly fax/e-mail you the front of the invoice/document that says something along the lines of “when you accept this invoice/document you agree to all the terms and conditions on the reverse of said document”. Of course they never send you the reverse of the document and usually the end result (because its too much bother to fight the system) is that you just give up!

But what about electronic signatures? What about when we ‘click’ on that button that says agree/disagree with the terms and conditions? I mean really, do any of us even think about what that means? Can anybody hold me legally liable because I clicked on a button?

Well here’s the thing – yes they can! So if you click on the button to say that you are over 18 and yes you can go into that particular site – you know the one that your mother and father would be horrified if they knew you were going in there – you can be held accountable! And no, it’s no good glaring at me – this is according to the ‘Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 2002’, which of course means that it is the law that says so!

In effect the Act says that information cannot be considered ‘without legal force’ just because all of it of even some of it is in the form of a data message.

You see, a ‘data message’ is something that is generated and/or sent and/or received and/or stored and/or archived electronically and if they can be accessed or used for reference, then they are recognized by law as legal. Anything that can be printed or saved fills, the requirements and that of course includes Web-pages and e-mails and their attachments. Electronic data, nowadays is in fact seen as the same as paper documents. Therefore they are considered to be legal.

The Act also says “an electronic signature is not without legal force and effect merely on the grounds that it is in electronic form.” This means that whilst a physical signature is used to make a contract binding an electronic signature that can be used to identify a specific person and that indicates their approval and/or acceptance of the electronic information, is considered a ‘signature’.

It actually goes even one step further because if you reach an agreement on say e-mail for example – that agreement will be considered legal and binding at the time and the place where the offer/agreement was accepted and our e-mails are pretty much ‘date and time stamped’.

Clearly that means that when you click on the required spot or you agree to ‘terms and conditions’ on a website, you are committing yourself to a legal and binding contract, which in terms of South African law, which can be enforced.

Be careful where you click people!

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Monday, July 19, 2010

MOTIVATION - Powerful Words - Part 5

MOTIVATION – Powerful Words – Part 5

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – July 2010

I have, in my opinion, left the two most powerful words until last. The first of these of course is the word “Action”.

We all need to understand that nothing and I mean absolutely nothing, happens without some sort of action. Let me put it another way, without some sort of action – nothing with happen.

We all have them I’m sure – you know those thoughts of ‘when is ……. going to happen’ or ‘why is . . . . happening to me’? Yes, I can see all of those heads nodding! The fact of the matter is that things happen (or don’t) because of an action that has taken place, so if something is not happening in quite the way that you want it to, you will need to adjust your actions or at the very least, have one!

Irrespective of what your doubts are, or whether you are feeling blue and invisible, you have to keep going and doing. By your very actions, something with start happening and it may seem like it is the smallest of twitches, but that small ‘twitch’ will motivate you. Sheer tenacity is often all that is need to get through it all and when you least expect it, the floodgates will open and you will be awash with everything that it is that you need. Lying in bed and bemoaning your fate will never help the situation (and quite frankly, after the first few minutes I am bored with my own inactivity) but getting yourself up and doing something proactive will certainly be a step in the right direction to change your circumstances. It works every time!

Finally, the most powerful word for me (and it is one that we very rarely use for ourselves) is reward.

Rewards are often what we give to others, but very seldom what we give to ourselves. That’s just crazy! Think about it for a moment – we strive and work towards a goal – but be beat ourselves up on a daily basis because we haven’t achieved what was on our list of ‘things to do’ for the day. We work 18 hour days , sometimes seven days a week – yet we berate ourselves at every opportunity and we very seldom stop and look around to see how far it is that we have come and what we have achieved that wasn’t even on the list.

Rewarding yourself for a job well done from time to time, will often be the greatest motivation that you could ever give to yourself. Subconsciously it tells you, that in your book – you’re ok, you’ve done well and that you have been successful. It’s a wonderful feeling and it’s afterglow will stick around long after the reward has been given and taken and it will spur you on to greater achievements.

Whenever you feel down in the dumps or you feel that you have hit a brick wall and don’t know which way to turn – have a look at these words, pick one and match it to your particular challenge of the moment – I have no doubt that it will pick you up, put you back on the path and back on track towards getting and/or achieving your goals and allowing you to be the best that you can be.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

HR - UIF (Unemployment Fund) - Part 2


UIF (Unemployment Fund) – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC July 2010

Last week we looked at the “what can” be claimed from UIF and this week we will have a look at the “how to claim” in terms of the benefits.

So, how do you, as an employee claim benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)?

Firstly you would have to physically go to your nearest Labour office and there you will be required to sign the unemployment register. Be warned though it is a slow, tedious procedure and I would suggest that you take a book along with you as you could be in the queue for several hours, just to get to the help desk. You will need to sign the register again every four weeks to evidence that you are still in need of the unemployment benefits and you will be told when the next date is that you are required to return.

If you are wanting to claim the ‘sick’ benefits you will need to take your doctors certificate with you each and every time that you go to sign.

You will be given a white card (or a card of some sort) that you need to take with you, each time you go to the Labour offices and the UIF officer that is dealing with you will sign the card evidencing that you have in fact been to the office.

If you have met all the requirements, you should start receiving your money after eight weeks (from the time that you originally signed) and thereafter every four weeks until such time as your benefits have been used up.

You will receive paperwork every time you receive a benefit which will have the amount that you have received recorded on it as well as what you can still expect to receive.

You will need to take the following documentation with you when you go to register for benefits:

- A copy of your 13 digit bar coded identity document – your drivers licence is insufficient as it often only records your initials and not your full names.
- Copies of your last 6 payslips
- Form UI19 – this you must get from your employers as it will confirm, amongst other things, the amount of time that you were employed as well as the rate of earnings etc.
- A certificate of service from your employer
- Proof of registration as a work seeker (so that means confirmation from where-ever you have registered i.e. employment agencies etc., showing that you are in fact trying to find work).
- A Fully completed registration form – which you can get off the Department of Labour’s website or that you will be issued with when you go to the Labour Office.

Be warned though, the UIF official may ask you to do some things that you will have to be prepared to do – these are (but not limited to):
- Go for training and/or career counselling
- Be available for work. If the official offers you work, you have to be ready to accept it.
- Go to various companies to ask for work. If you are requested to do this, you will be given a form that will have to be signed by a person at the company that you visited to evidence that you did apply for work but that there were no jobs available at that time.

You have to collect your unemployment benefits from the Labour Centre (or if possible they may decide to make the payments electronically into your bank account) and they can only be collected on the date that they tell you come to the offices and they can only be collected by yourself and you must take your white card and you ID document.

Next week we will have a look at the “how to” collect your illness benefits and maternity benefits and depending upon the availability of space, the death benefits too.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Thursday, July 15, 2010

BLOGGING TIPS - The Content - Part 11

BLOGGING TIPS – The Content – Part 11

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC July 2011

As promised here is the final article on the “Content” of blogging. I will certainly write some more articles on blogging at some stage, but this is it for now.

I think it is really important to understand that as bloggers, we are not just about blogging or about our blogs. We are (usually) business owners who are passionate about our businesses and what it is that we do and the value that our readers gain from reading our blogs comes from our experience – not only the experience gained from our businesses, but the experiences that we have gained from life. It’s about all that knowledge that we share about our lives, where we have been and what it is that we have lived through. It’s about the little things that have touched our lives and grabbed our interest and the big battles that we have fought and won (or lost) and why and how we won (or lost) them and how to do it better/faster/easier next time around.

So does this mean that we have to travel and trawl the four corners of the earth (strange that we say that don’t you think, when the world is actually round ) to find new material and new experiences to share – of course not! Fact is, we mostly have so much information that we already have and that we continue to harvest on a daily basis, that doing this is not necessary.

What we do have to do though is ‘keep it fresh’. If you want to keep your current readers or grow your followers, you have to keep it interesting, you have to introduce new material all the time. You have to engage with people all the time.

In order to do this, for me, is to read, read and then read some more. Many of my guests laugh at me when they visit me at home – I usually have between 5 and 8 books next to my bed – all being read at the same time and all at different parts of their particular stories. I have magazines and books in both my toilets and also a book in the car (and no I don’t confuse the stories). I love to read and usually live vicariously, through the characters in the books – it makes for an interesting life and I have no doubt that this has stood me in good stead as I continue to write my stories and articles for posting on my blog.

I have discovered that the more I write, the more I want to write and the more topics open up to me, stories and experiences just begging to be written and shared with people who are like minded and who enjoy engaging in the story being told and who learn the lessons (or not) or who just read for the enjoyment of reading.

My friend GiGi always says “Everyone has a story to be told” and for me the magic is in the telling of that story, in the learning and in the sharing.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Power of Networking - Part 165


PART 165

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. July 2010

Karl Smith, a business networking and referral coach says “The Ability to connect with others through small talk can lead to big things.”

Ain’t that the truth! Who would think that a casual meeting with someone, where there were no expectations, perceptions or hidden agenda’s can turn into something so much bigger.

Last year I attended several Intra-Africa Executive Breakfasts that were hosted by Upbeat Marketing, that were a platform for people to Network for ‘across border’ opportunities. I met people from all over Africa and also South Africa. I dined with Ambassadors and High Commissioners and CEO’s of big Corporate Companies here and there, and also ordinary folk like you and me and I learned a lot. I spoke to random strangers that somehow ended up sitting next to me or sitting at the same table as me and learned about different cultures, different African cultures – it was illuminating!

I met a chap by the name of Richard from SAFM and through him ended up being interviewed on SABC International and because of that got calls, e-mails and messages from friends and family all over the world, who watched me being interviewed – that’s a biggie for me. To see that interview go to or my website on and scroll down to “In the Media” on the right hand side of the front page.

Sure, me being an introvert, made it really difficult to make conversation or chit chat with total strangers, but here’s the thing – small talk opens the door to getting friendships going. Small talks breaks the ice before people get serious enough to start discussing business. Small talks starts the whole process of building relationships. Small talk got Richard and I talking and that small talk lead to a big thing in my life.

So what is ‘small talk’ exactly?

Generally speaking, ‘small talk’ is considered to be ‘light’ conversation about every day common variety type happenings – so don’t be talking about politics or religion or sex – those will just get you into a huge mess. Its about interesting things that you read in the paper or in a magazine – things that don’t require too much research to too much thought. Nonsencesickle (is that even a word) things that are amusing (as long as you are not disparaging anyone), that bring a smile to a face or that are topical to what is happening around us at the moment (I wonder what else we can talk about now that the World Cup has had it’s 15 minutes of glory?) It’s the type of conversation that people engage in at a cocktail party or the office party.

You see the thing is, it’s not always appropriate to talk about business. Meeting someone for the first time at a wedding for example, and launching yourself into your full business presentation, is not a good idea – chances are that by doing that you will ensure that that particular person may never want to see or even speak to you again. But telling a light antidote of something that was really amusing at the last wedding that you attended, to a table full of strangers who are sitting silently – shy to talk to each other because they have never met, is sure to get a conversation going as others start to tell of funny experiences that they may have had at weddings or birthday parties.

Sadly most people are not really any good at ‘small talk’ and when they have nothing to add to the conversation, they retreat even further into their shells – afraid to come out in case they make a fool of themselves. Even sadder is the fact that engaging in ‘small talk’ with someone usually gives them a first impression, a very accurate picture of who you are as a person. It reveals things like (but not limited to) – do you listen attentively when someone talks to you? Do you express yourself eloquently or do you speak in dis-joined words that confuse? Do you join in or hold yourself apart? Do you have an opinion that you are willing to share with others or do you just follow every one else’s opinion (even when there are some that hold opposing positions)?

From the way that you handle yourself with ‘small talk’, people will automatically perceive how you would go about the ‘business talk’.

So how do you go about becoming proficient at ‘small talk’?

Well some of the tips, I have already given you – read, read, read – the newspaper, magazines (and for goodness sake not the heavy financial ones – rather look at the gossip ones, Paris Hilton’s latest antics usually bring out a smile to two). The internet is also always a huge resource of information. If you know you are going to meet a particular person – Google them, try and find out what their interests are and then hone up on that.

Remember though, conversation is something that happens between two or more people. It’s not a dialogue for one – let others also have a chance to say something or add to the conversation. This can be done by asking a question that doesn’t necessarily require a ‘yes or no’ answer, like a ‘what do you think of . . . . .?. Then step back and listen to the answer as well as the opinions of everyone else.

Making ‘small talk’, like everything else in life, takes practice, the more you practice the better you will become and the better you become, the more confident you will become.

So invest a few minutes every day in reading something light and/or interesting that you can share with someone. Get yourself engaged in ‘small talk’ with someone today and you’ll be sure to reap the benefits of something that could be really big in the future.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

BUSINESS TIPS - Measuring Ourselves

BUSINESS TIPS – Measuring Ourselves

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC July 2010

Incredible as it may seem – we all use about 10% of our mental processing patterns in the conscious part of our brains. That, of course, means that around 90% is stored in our sub-conscious or unconscious minds, and these are responsible for activating our day to day habits.

This means, that if we are not constantly measuring and adjusting, only some of the things that we are doing will actually end up being productive and/or effective and a lot of the things that we do automatically will just be completely ineffective and quite frankly, just a waste of time and energy.

So it stands to reason that feedback is essential that if we are completely aware of what we are doing that we are able to measure it too.

So – how do you measure?

Well the first thing that you need to do is put a plan into place. Then you need to track your results and take score.

Once your plan is in place, and you have set up what your time frame is, you have to ensure that you are very clear about what actions are required and that your attitude is correct (in case you meet any challenges along the way).

Now you have to ask yourself the following questions from time to time. These are (but not limited to):

a) Am I on track to achieving my goals and desires?
b) Is what I am doing taking me in the right direction in terms of me getting closer to my goals
c) What variables have come into the situation and does that mean I have to change and/or adjust what I am doing in order for me to continue going in the correct direction?
d) If an adjustment must be made, what is it and what do I have to put into place to ensure that I meet the requirements to ensure that I continue on the correct path?
e) Will these changes still bring about the results that I require and in the time frame that I have set – if not, what do I have to do to adjust it to meet the time frame requirements?

Understand though, that if you do not take the time to ask and answer these questions, you will fall right back into your old habits as these are governed and controlled by your sub and/or unconscious mind.

So – make the decision and make the choice to become a participant in your own life.

Remember always to measure and adjust.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Monday, July 12, 2010

MOTIVATION - Powerful Words - Part 4

MOTIVATION – Powerful Words – Part 4

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – July 2010

Networking for me, is one of the most powerful words, for my business. It conjures up meetings with new people and that always gives me the perception of new business and an abundance of new opportunities.

Networking is where I meet people who are like minded, who share the same goals as I do and who are serious about business.

Remember though that Networking is something that you have to do on a continual basis and not just when you need new or additional business. It’s easy when you are busy, not to Network, but that is when you need to Network the most – that is how you stay ‘busy’.

Refresh/Rebirth/Revitalize/Re-invent – whatever word you use to describe what it is when you change or add to what it is that you do in your business is also a very important word. Looking back on my business I can see that it has morphed into something similar, but also very different to what it originally was and that’s not a bad thing. You see as Entrepreneurs we have to move and change with what the market requires or needs from us or we will wither and die. Being able to change, quickly and often in a completely different direction is an Entrepreneurs greatest strength. It ‘stretches’ your mind, it makes you ‘think’ and it makes you ‘see’ and become aware of all the different opportunities and options that are available to you.

Next week we will have a look at the final two powerful words, until then remember to have fun!

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Friday, July 09, 2010

HR - UIF (Unemployment Fund) - Part 1


UIF (Unemployment Fund) – Part 1

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC July 2010

Of late, I have been inundated with questions around the issue of UIF (and remember this applies to your domestic worker and gardener who work for you for more than 24 hours a month too), so here are a bunch of ‘cans and can’ts).

In order for someone to be entitled to claim from UIF, they have to be registered as an employee with the UIF fund and both themselves and their employers will have had to pay the monthly contributions into the fund.

It is incumbent upon the employer to deduct the employees portion of the monthly contribution from their salary (currently 1% of their gross salary) and then pay their employer portion of the contribution (currently also 1% of the gross salary) as well as the employees portion over to SARS by means of the EMP 201.

It is also incumbent upon the employer to register themselves as employers and then to register their staff (as and when they are employed) as employees.

Whilst it is the responsibility of the employer to register the employee and to pay the monies across, the employee also needs to understand that if the money is NOT paid across, they are not covered. So if, as an employee, you get a pay slip that does not show a deduction for UIF – you are not covered and your employer is in direct contravention of the law. It’s as simple as that!

UIF does not only cover people who are unemployed, you can also claim for:
- illness
- maternity
- adoption
- death

Remember though, if you have resigned from your job, you cannot claim. You can only claim the unemployment benefits if you have been dismissed, retrenched or if your contract has expired and it has not been renewed.

If you have been contributing to the fund for four years or more, you can claim up to, but not more than 238 days. If you have contributed or been employed for less than the 4 years, then you can claim 1 day for every 6 days that you were employed and that you were contributing to the fund.

You can claim if you have been sick for a period that is longer than two weeks.

You can only claim for maternity benefits if you are pregnant and you are only covered from four weeks before the expected date of delivery of the child and up to (but not more than) six weeks after you have delivered the child. You can only claim for a maximum of 121 days.

You can claim for adoption benefits provided that you legally adopt a child under the age of two and you leave work in order to take care of that child. Be warned though – only one parent per adopted child can claim for this benefit.

Death benefits can only be claimed by the surviving spouse or a minor child. Again be warned – this benefit can only be claimed if the person who dies was contributing to the fund at the time of their death.

Next week we will look at the ‘how to’ of going about claiming these benefits.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

BLOGGING TIPS - The Content - Part 10

BLOGGING TIPS – The Content – Part 10

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC July 2010

I think that one of the things that is truly visible in my writing is the fact that I really enjoy writing. Sure it can become a pain in the rear end, especially if I am pressed for time or I don’t have anything prepared and I am running around like a mad person trying to get everything done – pretty much like today - but generally speaking, I really do enjoy writing!

Working on my own often means that days go by, were I don’t see anyone, let alone speak to anyone. Don’t get me wrong – I have set it up that way and I do like and enjoy it that way. What this means though is that when I write and watch the words appear on the paper, I am engaged in dialogue – the fact that it is dialogue with myself is an entirely another matter and I am sitting here with a very big smile on my face as I can just imagine the thoughts going on inside the heads of some of you.

The bottom line though is that as time goes by I am getting better at writing, at the way that I express myself, at the way that I look at things and also the words that I use. I know that you, the reader, can see that I have having fun and that I really enjoy that I am writing and that is always contagious. I am pretty sure that the minute the writing of my blogs lost it’s magic for me, the reading of my blogs would lose it’s magic for you.

So, if you are really consistently not enjoying the writing – don’t do it. Rather give it to someone else who loves to write.

Never forget though, that as a ‘blogger’ you are one person giving out information to a (potentially) large number of people! There are times when your blog, specifically the topic that you have written about, will inspire someone and when that happens to me – it is absolutely stunning. You have to remember though that by writing and posting that article, you have opened the door to a conversation and that means that you should continue to take part in that conversation. So try and respond to each person’s comments. Irrespective of whether you agree with what they have had to say or not, the fact is that they have taken the time and trouble to read your blog and respond. Respect them for that!

And now . . . . for the not so lovely part about blogging – the spammers! In my opinion spammers are the most vile, reprehensible people on the fact of the planet – they are lower than the low and certainly lower that shark Sh*t! They are the people who ruin a perfectly good blog and/or website with their inappropriate postings of offers for Viagra or porn related video clips. Because of them, your blog and indeed your website, needs to be constantly monitored and you need to delete all of their rubbish on a daily basis.

Next week we will have the final episode on the content of your blog – until then – happy writing!

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

The Power of Networking - Part 164


PART 164

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC. July 2010

We’ve all heard (and indeed should know), that honesty is the best policy and yet how often do we not even think of that when we go about our daily business? When we celebrate our ‘little’ victory over the taxman or we deny that we were speeding when we know that we most certainly were – do we think about honesty being the best policy then? Yet I have no doubt that we all consider ourselves ‘honest’ individuals.

What about when we attend Networking events or meetings – do we impart the truth about who we are, what we do and how we deliver – or do we embellish the truth? A few little white lies won’t hurt anyone – right? Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Truth is that you will probably get away with it the first time – often even the second and third time too, but at some point the house of cards will come crashing down and all the lies that you have told and all the people you have cheated or misled or let down will be looking at you and holding you accountable, often publically and most certainly privately. Don’t forget the ‘word of mouth’ thing either where you will be tried, judged and sentenced, without you even being present.

The world is not such a big place anymore! The internet, e-mails, facebook and more specifically ‘twitter’ have made it very, very small and it has made you, the individual, extremely visible.

So when you are Networking, be it at an event, or individually, make sure that the words that come out of your mouth are truthful, that you are who you say you are and that you can do what you say you can do and that you deliver on time.

Yes indeed – honesty is the best policy – your business will depend on it!

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Thursday, July 08, 2010

TAX - EMP 201 & EMP 501


EMP 201 & EMP 501

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting July 2010.

Has anyone else been struggling with the SARS e-filing? I know I have. It has been an absolute nightmare to try and navigate!

Firstly, there was the whole change around the monthly EMP 201 submission. Suddenly the form format changed and although I managed to submit the form it didn’t automatically debit my bank account.

Phoning SARS offices was also a nightmare! Firstly to get through to a living, breathing human being in itself was a huge challenge. After listening to the whole electronic voice guide of ‘if you want to …. Press this ….’ Etc, I ended up being the 213th person in the queue. Needless to say I ended the call! What’s with that anyway? Surely when you change something of this magnitude you really do need to have the support structure in place to deal with the fall out. Obviously SARS did not think about this at all.

Three weeks and many calls later I eventually got through to a living, breathing person . . . . . who could not help me! It was a simple question right? I mean all I asked was “how do I get the payment from my bank account into the SARS bank account”? She could not assist me and insisted that I go to the SARS offices for assistance. So off I went, waited in the queue for parking, waited in the queue at reception, only to be told . . . wait for it . . . . they couldn’t help me! Yip, you got it, they couldn’t help me, but to their credit they did give me an e-mail address, written on a scrap of paper, of someone by the name of Busi – who would be able to assist me.

Irritated beyond belief, I went back home and sent off an e-mail to one Busi. Two days later I got a response with an easy to understand step-by-step instructions on ‘how to’ do everything that needed to be done with the EMP 201 and what’s more, it’s incredibly easy. So why on earth did they not put some sort of tutorial on the SARS site to assist people through the whole exercise? Who knows, but I am sure it would have assisted many without them having to go through the whole irritation that I went through.

My faith in SARS efficiency restored – I faced my next SARS challenge – the EMP 501 (or for us older folk the IRP5). Seeing that I had had so much assistance from Busi, I contacted her again to ask for the ‘step-by-step’ method on how to complete and submit the EMP 501. I was not so lucky this time around. Mails went backwards and forwards with me getting no closer to the solution and the ‘cut of date’ loomed even closer and even worse, I could not now get into the SARS site to download the new ‘easy file’ application. Busi eventually advised that I should go to SARS on a Tuesday or Thursday for training – no mention of how long it would take, the time of the training, nothing – just go to SARS!

Great, they have training – being a small business owner and only having one employee (being me) means that I am often booked up weeks in advance – but hey, why should SARS care about that? I should just drop everything and get my butt off to do some training! Off I duly went and there I was, one of several people who were then taken step-by-step through the whole EMP201 requirements by two gentlemen who actually even offered to come to our businesses to assist if we should need any help – only with the forms EMP201 though. They could not assist with anything to do with the EMP501 – we had to wait for Busi to arrive.

Eventually Busi arrived and went through the whole process and even I, technophobe that I am, kind of sort of get it! Part of the problem is that although I am registered on e-filing, I do not use an accounting package and that means that although it gets submitted electronically, it is still done manually (on the system as opposed to being done electronically through the accounting package) – confusing – pretty much. When I queried the fact that the SARS site was not accessible at this time I was told “please give me your flash-drive and I will load the program onto that for you”, by said Busi. Now who goes to a training session on how to fill in a form, armed with their flash-drive – not me? Apparently they did have CD’s but the demand had been so great that they had run out! Go figure – you change a system that affects every single business in the country and you don’t expect a huge demand on the ‘how to’ do it? My faith in the efficiency of SARS plummeted again!

A long story short, it took another month for me to be able to get hold of Busi (no-one else could assist according to her office) to get the program put onto my flash drive – all of this for a monthly payment to SARS of R80.00. It must have cost me around R20 000 in time, fuel costs, not to mention irritation to get to this point.

Now we come to the fun part – not for me, because I actually do have a tax number, but for all the other business owners out there who employ staff. Irrespective of whether your employee earns enough to submit a tax return or not, you – as the employer are responsible for ensuring that the staff member has a tax number and an ID number. If they don’t have a tax and ID number, you need to get them registered, because if you do not put their tax and ID number on the form, it will not allow you to submit it and if you don’t submit it you will be fined!

One of the ladies at the training who does payroll administration tried to explain how difficult it is for her to get information like this from some of her clients, who often just employ ‘casuals’ for a day. She visits her client once a month to get their information, so she does not control what documentation is presented. The response from SARS “well I suggest you get new clients!” What does that tell me – well, loud and clear, the message is that SARS doesn’t give a continental about SMME’s and even more clear is the fact that SARS has no clue about the challenges that small business owners face. Getting the money at any cost , irrespective of whether they close you down with what I consider as unreasonable requirements, they don’t give a damn – Yip - that’s the message I got from SARS!

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Monday, July 05, 2010

MOTIVATION - Powerful Words - Part 3

MOTIVATION – Powerful Words – Part 3

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – July 2010

Here we are at week three on this particular series – powerful words and how they motivate us. Already they have had a profound effect upon me . . I wonder how they have impacted (if at all) on you?

Health. Oh dear, I can see that I am going to be in the depths of the brown smelly stuff again today. I really don’t take as good care of myself as I expect and motivate and yes, even moan, at loved ones to take of themselves. I don’t get enough sleep and I certainly don’t get enough rest and last week it was plain enough that I don’t get enough ‘me’ or ‘dream time’. Exercise is something that I used to do in my youth and my diet – well perhaps we shouldn’t even go there! Here’s the thing though – in order for us to work optimally it is important that we get some exercise (and no, I am not talking about spending 3 hours a day at the gym – moderate exercise is all that is required). It is important to eat not only well, but also healthy foods (and for goodness sake, that does not mean going on any of those fad diets and always check with the doctor first to ensure that you do what is best for your particular body type). Get enough sleep! Yes I know that some people need more sleep than others – you know what is good for you and try and say “no” to a chemical induced sleep (whilst it allows you to sleep it comes with it’s own set of consequences)! Where possible try and sleep naturally and on your own steam! Not getting enough rest and down time means that your judgment will probably not be as clear as it could be and this could also have an impact on your decisions and they way that you execute them. You need to look after yourself first before you are able to take care of anyone else or anything else.

Organization. This one I must admit is also another favorite of mine. For as long back as I can remember, when I sit down to work (and this started at junior school level) I had to have all the utensils that I may need. My pen, pencil, ruler, rubber, sharpener, book, notepad etc. I could not get started until everything was within sight. Trying to work with even one of those items missing was a nightmare, as my mind keep coming back to the question ‘where is . . . ‘. Nowadays, I just don’t mess with that particular emotion and keep a set of everything on my desk, in my carry-bag and downstairs (where I sometimes work while I am watching TV), it just makes life easier.

The same can be said when I need to do something – all the research notes and articles and whatever other requirements that are needed for the particular article or the project must be present and accounted for. I make copious amounts of lists and as each task is completed it gets ‘ticked off’. It really is so gratifying to see each list with rows of ‘ticks’ down the side – it gives me a certain sense of accomplishment.

Most people get quite a fright when they see my desk – it looks like a mound of paper, disorganized, cluttered and a mess! I know that my domestic helper always smiles at me, each week when I say to her “don’t touch the desk” and when she does clean (and I have seen her do this), she does it in sections, careful not to move anything too far out of its original position. You see, whilst it may look like a disorganized clutter and mess to you – I know exactly where everything is. I have piles of material that can be used for the articles that I write, piles of information that will be used to write policies and procedures, piles of work in order of priority, and notes of things that need to be done or people that need to be contacted – yip, it’s all very logical to me. Many people need a clean clear desk on which to work – that for me would be intimidating! You need to find what works for you, then organize yourself and your space into what is most comfortable for you to work in. Only once you are comfortable in your space and in yourself will you be able to ‘let go’ and get on with what needs to be done. If that means using a favorite pen, or listening to a specific type of music (or not), indulge yourself and then see how quickly, efficiently and effectively you get on with getting on with your short-term and long term goals.

Next week we will have a look at a few more powerful words, until then be gentle on yourself, you will find that you accomplish a whole lot more!

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Friday, July 02, 2010

HR - Trapping and Entrapment


Trapping and Entrapment – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC July 2010

Last week we had a look at what is considered legal (trapping) and what is considered illegal (entrapment).

Just to make sure that you are really clear on the difference (because it is really easy to get confused between the two), I am going to tell a story, so let’s bring in the protagonists. Mike owns a small retail stand outlet in a busy square and George is one of the sales staff. Mike’s store sells sweets and cold drinks as well as biltong and dry wors and some burgers and/or sandwiches type fast food. Mike is experiencing a huge shrinkage problem that only started when George started working at the stand. Mike suspects that George is either giving stock to clients without ringing it up and/or helping himself to stock for his own consumption or taking it home. Mike hires a new staff member, let’s call him Tim who is an ex-policeman. Tim will pose as the new employee and who will ‘keep an eye’ on what George is doing and will ‘learn’ from him.

Tim watches what George is doing and thinks that he can see that stock is sold to clients without being rung up on the till. Tim also watches to see if George consumes biltong, dry wors or sandwiches and burgers without paying for them. Tim, still pretending to be ‘learning from George’ asks George to show him how to serve the customers without putting it through the till. George refuses. Tim then makes himself a burger and also one for George and does not pay. Both men eat the burgers. Tim then reports this to Mike and George is disciplined for theft and summarily dismissed.

In this case, Mike (through Tim’s actions) had set up a situation where George was pressured into eating a burger that was not paid for. You see although George may have helped himself to a burger without paying for it, by himself – without Tim’s encouragement he may not have taken it at that time. Mike would be found guilty of ‘entrapment’ in this case.

Trapping an employee is, however perfectly legal. In the above case, if George had agreed to show Tim ‘how to’ serve a customer without putting through the till and even shown him how to do it with the next customer that came in – this would have been considered as legal trapping, but because George helped himself to the burgers and ate one himself that the line has been crossed.

Actually it reminds me of a TV program that I once watched where a policeman was under ‘deep cover’ in the mob and he was called upon to “kill” someone by the mob boss (as a token of his loyalty). He was in a really bad space because if he did kill the person anything that he (or the police) tried to pin onto the mob boss would be considered ‘entrapment’.

So be clear on what it is that you are doing when you set the trap up for the employee as the lines can often be quite blurred and if you are in any kind of doubt, seek professional assistance.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Thursday, July 01, 2010

BLOGGING TIPS - The Content - Part 9

BLOGGING TIPS – The Content – Part 9

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC July 2010

My being a specialist in terms of being an Internal Auditor means that I am a ‘generalist’ in most of the other fields that I write about. Does that mean that I don’t have a clue about what I am talking about when it comes to those articles – of course not! What it does mean though is that I will usually have to do some research in order to check my facts.

There are occasions where I may want to (or indeed need to) quote from something that someone else has written or base my writing upon an article that I have read. When I do this, I obviously need to give recognition to the person who either wrote the article or the person who I am quoting. Come on people – it really is the right thing to do. I know just how angry I would be if I found something I had written under someone else’s name – that’s just not right!

If you are going to be writing blogs that are technical in nature, it is very important to list where you did the research as well, particularly if like me, you are a bit of a technophobe. That way, not only will you give yourself that added bit of credibility but you also allow the reader to familiarize themselves with your source – and that is always a value add to both.

If what you are writing is merely an opinion and not necessarily a fact, then that also needs to be documented – clearly. There’s nothing worse than taking what someone has written to be absolutely gospel (and then sprouting off at the mouth about it) only to find out later that it is a load of nonsense and that they were merely voicing their opinion.

Next week we will look at some additional points on the content of your blog.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or