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  • Writer's pictureBartley Joseph

INTERNATIONAL PAYROLL PRICING LACKS TRANSPARENCY

Payroll remains a significant responsibility of employers. For those employers with employees and contractors in different countries, finding the right international payroll service provider is an important decision. Central to this decision is the pricing of these services. A review of the pricing on offer from major players in the market, reveal little consistency in the prices on offer.


Before delving into the price structures, it is important to realize that payroll providers seldom reveal all the details, and one can be found wanting if you are not familiar with the key aspects of global payroll. Here are some key pointers:


1. Most providers have different pricing structures for employees and contractors. Some providers offer only payroll for employees and do not cater for contractors. Others are better at paying employees than they are at paying contractors and vise a versa. Proving services for the payment of independent contractors is usually more expensive. This is so because of the additional checks and complications associated with the correct classification of contractors. On the other hand, paying employees may require additional administration such as the keeping and processing of attendance records and benefits administration, ausing providers to quote higher prices than they do for contractors.

2. Not all payroll service providers are able to offer Employment of Record (EOR) services needed to pay employees in foreign countries. An EOR dispensation s necessary if your company does not have a legal presence in the destination country. A payroll service with an EOR underpin allows you to employ people legally in the foreign country and becomes legally responsible for payroll, employment taxes, insurance, visa applications, immigration forms, etc.

3. It is not always clear from the onset, the degree to which the service provider is able to offer workforce management capabilities beyond the processing of the payments. Many providers claim to be able to offer additional services such as Employee onboarding, benefits administration, timekeeping, and leave administration. It is wise to check whether the pricing on offer includes the administration of these additional services.

4. Today, we are blessed with a wide range of technology platforms for the administration of payroll and related services. Not all these technologies are equal and while some providers claim to have the edge, the truth is that many platforms are still in development. Others are quite rigid in the amount of customization they are prepared to undertake. It is best to make sure that your service provider is running on proven and established technology platform. More so, make sure that the pricing includes the cost of technology.

5. In-country expertise and support may be on offer, but can the service provider really deliver on all fronts? The fact is that in-country regulations differ markedly across the globe and for one service provider to claim that they are full up to date on all all in-country regulations is a massive feat. Keeping abreast of the ever-changing in-country regulations requires a huge investment in legal and domain experts in many countries, something that will reflect in the pricing. In addition, being a global 24/7 service provider means that the lights are always on, adding more costs to the business. Sometimes, it is better to opt for a country-specific specialist to ensure that the pricing is affordable and that the risks are reduced.


To the extent that the recognised major payroll service providers are transparent in their pricing, one should expect to pay the following for their international payroll services:


Payroll processing for employees: $20 to $43 per employee per month.

Payroll and Administration for Employees: $249 to $399 per employee per month

Full payroll and EOR services: $500 to $645 per employee per month.


Contractor payment processing: $25 to $49 per pay per cycle.


*Prices assume a minimum of 1000 employees per month



The good news is that there are much more affordable options on offer from in-country boutique companies who because of their high degree of specialisation, do not carry the cost of infrastructure required by the larger international players to stay abreast of local regulations and to provide technology systems. Using local players comes with the bonus that these in-country experts are typically better placed to read and conform to local customs and regulations. The pricing in offer is as follows:


Payroll processing for employees: $10 to $15 per employee per month.

Payroll and Administration for Employees: $100 to $149 per employee per month

Full payroll and EOR services: $250 to $350 per employee per month.


Contractor payment processing: $20 to $35 per pay per cycle.


*Prices assume a minimum of 1000 employees per month


It pays to shop around and consider local service providers.


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