Payroll: breaking new barriers
Tuesday 12 September 2017
By Stevie Christian, Head of Integration – Europe
If we start with the basics of understanding payroll as a service, most providers offer a fully-managed service for clients which includes electronic payslips, payment at varying frequencies and pension calculations, among others, it can be very complex and of course essential to get right!
Equiom offers payroll services from our Japan, Hong Kong and Scotland offices and Equiom Scotland forms the foundation for our European payroll offering, currently servicing UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands payroll operations. The majority of Equiom Scotland’s clients were historically hotels and other small businesses which were typical users of the management accounts service. This original client base grew larger when statutory accounting was added to the suite of services offered. We began dealing with clients from new disciplines such as fish farms and retail outlets, and larger firms with up to 2,000 employees.
Payroll, once merely an add-on, became a service in its own right. We started attracting clients through this and now offer a full service package to many of these businesses, with now more than 350 payroll clients in Scotland. We have our own Bacs Bureau which enables us to cut down on the time it takes to process a payment and be more flexible in terms of payment options without the need for rigid deadlines and cut-offs. We also provide this payment process as a stand-alone service, collecting Direct Debits and executing payments for clients. Because we provide services to a lot of chains and franchises, we are used to providing payroll in several different UK based locations all at once. Expanding this service further is therefore quite natural for us, but not necessarily straightforward. We pride ourselves on accuracy and client service.
More recently, we have started offering payroll services to clients in our Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man locations. For the future, we are working on options to expand our services to jurisdictions such as the Netherlands, Germany and France, where our clients are also operating. We have done the necessary training and are taking the next steps towards establishing the costs of new payroll software packages for these locations. One additional area where we may be able to expand our service is the yachting sector. Equiom Jersey has been offering payroll to seafarers as part of our crewing service for a number of years. The benefit of providing this service through our Jersey office is that employees enjoy a full gross salary with no deductions. For example, a yachting employee that spends 185 days outside the UK qualifies for a 100% reduction in income tax, and there are no requirements for any NI or social security deductions at source (the seafarer remains responsible for their own tax and contributions in this regard).
Equiom's future for payroll
Where we see further opportunities is within the EU where the majority of superyachts are built. By providing payroll to crew in these onshore locations, we would be able to service a new market of shore-based employees. We are working on development in this area in conjunction with the yachting team with a view to providing a full service to this market in the future. As we look to expand into new territories, this service will hopefully continue to grow, extending our payroll offering even further.
Payroll has evolved a lot over the past few years with new legislation for real-time reporting requirements, the introduction of e-payslips and further plans for changes to payroll, auto-enrolment and pension requirements. There could be significant effects on payroll each time a new budget is announced in each jurisdiction and similarly with a change in the minimum wage or rates and levels of income tax. All of this needs to be communicated to clients and updated in the system in time to be reflected in the next payroll. In order to provide a high quality service across the globe, we need to stay ahead of these changes and our experienced team in Inverness are always ahead of any changes and legislation, to ensure excellence in client service in a constantly changing landscape.
We have a strong team in place with significant predicted growth in the next few years and some interesting new jurisdictions on the horizon. Having recently been shortlisted in three categories - Service Provider Team Award, Rising Star Award and Best Leader Award - in the Reward Strategy Awards 2017 for our payroll services, we are proud of our offering and confident we have the right resources and expertise to both continue to deliver for our clients, and take this service to the next level.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your situation, please contact Stevie Christian.