Sme.Tax Youth Skills Development

How does our Youth Programme work?

We approach Youth development through the lens of Entrepreneurship. Essentially, the youth completing our programme should be sufficiently skilled to either be employed by / or contracted to a business in their area.

The first task is understanding the physical location in which we’re contracted to empower the youth, as each location offers its own unique challenges to the small businesses that operate there. Our second task is understanding what skills and services are needed by the small businesses that operate within the location. Our final task is access to market. We assist the youth by making the businesses in the area aware of their skills or services that are on offer.


SME.TAX sources franchise locations that are close to high density business zones as there are always a number of small businesses located within these areas. Many of these small businesses are often suppliers to the large corporates who have established these zones and as such would need our accounting and business management services in order to maintain their regulatory compliance needed for vendor registration.

As a result of the corporates and small businesses being located within these zones, there are always unemployed youth in the area seeking jobs.

We identify those unemployed youths that have the basic skills that we require and then train them as trainee bookkeepers, who then either get placed as employees or go on to run their own franchise.


One of the biggest hurdles to overcome within the small business sector is the fear that a business would be “stuck” with an employee that they’re unable to utilise or afford.

As most small businesses need their first few employees to have a wide range of “generalist” skills our solution of training administrative staff with an accounting interest appears to fit their requirements.

An additional benefit for small businesses, is the ability to “test drive” their new employees via the accounting and business management services we offer. This “real world work experience” gives the unemployed youth much-needed experience and confidence that they require, whilst at the same time providing the small business the comfort that their future employee is a good fit for their company.


Youth need access to meaningful employment that allows for skills to be transferred.

Small Businesses need access markets and to skilled staff in order to grow their businesses.

Without access, the ecosystem does not work.


Practice Software
Practice Operations Manual
Practice Training Manual
Business Awareness Workshops

We kick off our programme with an intensive three-month deep dive into the software that makes it all work. Without this intuitive understanding, the youth and their future clients are not going to reap the benefits the software has to offer.

We cover the following software during this period:

  1. Xero Accounting & Hubdoc Accreditation
  2. Simple Pay Payroll
  3. SARS eFiling Platform
  4. Draftworx Accreditation
  5. Microsoft Office 365
  6. Microsoft SharePoint

Our Operations Manual covers every aspect of owning and operating your accounting franchise. It’s a blueprint for quickly and seamlessly setting up and running your business.

Key areas that we focus on are:

  1. Product pricing
  2. Client sign up and management
  3. Staff hiring and management

Our Training Manual covers the actual work that takes place within an accounting practice. We have multiple guides that walk accounting staff members through the steps of completing each task.

The purpose of the Training Manual is to empower the staff to become productive without the constant intervention of the Franchise owner.

Key areas that we focus on are:

  1. Business registration
  2. Business Plan generation
  3. Income Tax returns – individual and business
  4. Shareholder Agreements
  5. Statutory registrations & submissions – PAYE, UIF, VAT, etc.

Our Business Awareness Workshops form the basis of our Adopt an SME Programme and cover a wide range of topics that aid in a business’s success.

Besides needing this information themselves, it will often form the backbone of the many management meetings they will be having with future clients.

The many topics we cover are:

  1. Business 101 – What you need to know, but weren’t told
  2. Social Media Marketing
  3. Access to Markets
  4. Business Incentives on offer
  5. Management Accounts & Taxation
  6. Types of Funding Available
  7. Legal Compliance
  8. Business Model Validation
  9. Preparing AFS & Tax planning
  10. Wrapping up a Tax year

Project Scope, Timelines and Key milestones

Systems and Software
Training Manual Implementation
Operating Manual Implementation
Actively Run Practice

Recruit, Interview, Verify qualifications & criminal status of youth

Onboarding youth and setting up computer systems and software

Intensive training on the systems and software we use

Intuitive familiarity is required if the youth expect to be successful

Regulatory and Statutory procedures

Regulatory and Statutory registrations

Regulatory and Statutory submissions

Business Awareness Workshops

Staff selection and onboarding

Client engagement and sign up

Operational Management & training

Apply teachings

Mentor participants

Feedback loop on areas of uncertainty

Retrain where necessary

Monitoring and Evaluation


The youth are monitored weekly to check task completion and evaluated for task understanding. Problem areas are quickly identified and then focused on going forward.


Weekly reports are aggregated by region and then nationally. These reports are used to highlight regional differences, if any. These differences are investigated and acted upon if deemed detrimental to the success of the programme.


Monthly reports are combined to track youth progress and leadership skills through the programme. Youth “dropout rate” is evaluated and remedies are put in place to mitigate these.

Quarterly reports are shared with the client and additional interventions, if needed, are highlighted and discussed to ensure a positive outcome for the youth as well as the programme.


Businesses are registered and the youth are evaluated and assigned “employer” and “employee” roles.

We also begin tracking the following metrics – clients engaged, services provided, income earned, etc. and reporting these on our management dashboard.

Market Access and Absorption


From day one, the youth are made aware that the success of this programme is measured by the number of businesses formed or the number of youths absorbed into gainful employment.


With these objectives in mind, the youth will be encouraged to engage small business owners within their communities with the view to find out the following:

  • Are these businesses formally registered or sole proprietors?
  • Do they know which Regulatory and Statutory registrations need to be complied with?
  • Do they use a bookkeeper or accountant?
  • Are they aware of available incentives for small businesses?
  • At what price point would make use of an accountant add value?
  • What skills are required within these businesses?
  • What skills are required externally by these businesses?
  • The answers to the above questions are extremely helpful in gauging the following:
  • What internal skills are the most urgent?
  • Which external skills can become future businesses?
  • Would prices need to be subsidised to encourage adoption?

With the above knowledge, not only can we ensure a greater degree of success, but we can also direct future youth programmes to fulfill direct needs within the business community.


Towards the end of year one, it becomes clear who amongst the youth will be business owners (employers) and who will be employees. This will determine how many businesses we register going forward.

All new businesses will be encouraged to register as vendors with the corporates in their regions.

Many would qualify as enterprise or supplier development candidates on the other ESD programmes run within their regions as they would be able to offer their services to the corporates running these programmes.

It’s at this point where corporates begin to see that their YES programme, is in fact the seeds of future ED / SD programmes.

When corporates understand what skills are needed by their ED / SD beneficiaries, then YES programmes are able to be tailored to capitalise on this knowledge and full employment becomes a reality.

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