Fintech Solutions Drive 72% Increase in Compliance Among SMEs

Non-compliance remains a significant challenge for South African SMEs, but the introduction of fintech solutions has led to a remarkable 72% increase in adherence to basic legal requirements, according to the latest report from the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).

Costly Consequences of Non-Compliance

Non-compliance exposes companies to penalties, legal fees, and director liability. Shockingly, the CIPC’s annual report reveals that 72% of the 3.1 million companies in South Africa fail to submit annual returns, thus failing to meet these fundamental legal obligations.

Requirements for Active Status

To maintain active status and continue trading in South Africa, registered companies must fulfill certain obligations. These include submitting annual returns, notifying the government about changes in company, director, member, and officer information, maintaining a shareholder register, and keeping various company records. Failure to comply can result in penalties and deregistration. In fact, the CIPC recently deregistered over 640,000 companies for failing to file annual returns.

New Requirement: Beneficial Ownership Information

In addition to existing obligations, the CIPC recently announced that companies must submit information regarding their beneficial ownership by 1 October 2023, further complicating the compliance landscape.

The Role of Fintech Solutions

While companies can fulfill their obligations through the CIPC’s website, many choose to employ the services of professional company secretaries. However, these services can be costly, contributing to the low compliance rate. Recognizing this gap, a startup has developed proprietary software to help companies achieve CIPC compliance starting from just R199 for an annual return.

Simplifying Compliance with Fintech

InfoDocs, founded by Joshua Alexandre, offers a user-friendly software solution that simplifies company secretarial services for directors and shareholders. The platform allows users to import data directly from the CIPC, generate professional templates, and securely store company records online. Even professionals utilize InfoDocs to streamline their operations.

Addressing New Laws on Beneficial Ownership

South Africa recently implemented new laws concerning beneficial ownership, spurred by the country’s greylisting by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). While the Companies Act already requires a register of individuals who own or control 5% or more of a company, the spotlight on South Africa has heightened the importance of compliance. Companies have until 1 October 2023 to submit this information to the CIPC, which will maintain a centralized database.

Cost-Effective Compliance Solutions

InfoDocs allows companies to capture their share register and other relevant changes at no cost. Nominal submission fees are only charged for specific transactions. By using InfoDocs at affordable rates, companies can effortlessly mitigate the risks associated with penalties, legal fees, and director liability.

Collaboration with CIPC

InfoDocs closely collaborates with the CIPC, supporting the commission in fulfilling its mandate. Over 30,000 companies already rely on InfoDocs to submit annual returns, maintain statutory registers, and submit documents using high-quality templates. The software provides alerts and notifications for submission deadlines, enabling companies to conveniently file returns and securely make payments directly to the CIPC through the user-friendly dashboard.