5 Payroll Service Providers in the Asia Pacific Region
Average rating: 3.5 (from 51 votes)
By Dave Foxall
Reviewing the Offerings of Asia Pacific Payroll Providers
When it comes to the Asia Pacific Payroll landscape, Towers Watson research (Everything Is Possible; Nothing Is Easy, What You Need to Know About HR Service Delivery in Asia) points to a telling conclusion: “To meet the complex, fluid and rapidly changing Asian operating environment, technology solutions must be easy to adopt and quick to deploy, with a strong end-user interface and complete country localization.” Certainly these are features which any market segment would expect, but the Asia Pacific region carries hallmarks such as frequently unsophisticated HR practices; extreme diversity in regards to languages and cultures, staunch cost-consciousness; and incredibly demanding (and involved leadership)—all issues that any provider of payroll software (or outsourced payroll services) must take into account. As such, it seems fitting to briefly review those payroll vendors that specialize in the Asia Pacific region. In no particular order then, the following five service providers represent the current offerings geared to handle the specific challenges of payroll in the Asia Pacific business environment.
Asia Pacific Payroll Provider #1: Zealous Asia Pacific
Malaysia-based Zealous Asia Pacific (ZAP) is a family business that focuses and specializes in providing payroll and human capital solutions exclusively to clients operating in the Asia Pacific region. The belief is that by working solely within this region, ZAP has been allowed to build both deep regional expertise and relationships through an extremely personalized service offering. Defining payroll as, “a series of systematic processes with timelines and clear deliverables”, ZAP offers a basic but solid payroll solution; handling:
Monthly submissions of HR-Payroll movements by the client;
Processing & Verification services, so as to check for obvious errors before processing (using pre-tested configurations and returning verification reports to the client);
Report generation and preparation of pay-slips and submissions for regulatory compliance;
Payment of salaries; and
General Ledger (GL) reporting to Finance for accounting system integration.
Asia Pacific Payroll Provider #2: Talent2
Talent2 identify themselves as the leading BPO (business process outsourcing) provider in the Asia Pacific region; a claim supported by recent Nelson Hall research that identifies the company as the top regional payroll provider (14% market share). Perhaps this accolade is unsurprising given that Talent2 currently service 29 countries through 10 operational hubs in the region, combining local knowledge with a regional perspective. Payroll services can be integrated with the Talent2 HRIS (Human Resource Information System) offering; carry multi-currency and multi-language capabilities; and offer scalability from one to 100K+ employees. Citing the company’s future direction, Managing Director Mary Sue Rogers says, “Talent2 has a deep heritage in local markets as well as the global HR industry. We understand the skills shift that is occurring in businesses across the Asia Pacific region and look forward to meeting the evolving impacts of globalization, technology advances, and the ongoing economic uncertainty.”
Asia Pacific Payroll Provider #3: Pay Asia
Formed in Singapore in 2006 to address the payroll service needs of small to medium-sized enterprises in the Asia Pacific region (something that the founders felt that multinational payroll service providers expanding into the region were unable to do), Pay Asia has quickly grown and now has offices in India, U.A.E and Thailand. Today, Pay Asia is a significant player in the Asia Pacific payroll outsourcing arena, supporting 18 countries for clients in most major industries. While outsourced payroll administration remains the company’s core service offering, key features of the Pay Asia product suite include:
Management of all employee data related to payroll;
Gross to Net calculations;
Reporting to meet requirements of HR and finance;
Banking solutions to streamline the process of funding through to employee pay;
Approval processes to maintain segregation of duties; and
Maintenance of statutory compliance regulations.
Asia Pacific Payroll Provider #4: Advance Payroll Services
Advance Payroll Services (APS) are focused exclusively on the Australia payroll market, providing services to small and medium-sized businesses using payroll and online systems developed in-house. Though strategically aimed at offering complete flexibility for their client needs, it should be noted that APS does not offer services for the rest of the Asia Pacific region. Rather, APS’s main selling point is that they are specialists who can navigate the complexities of Australian superannuation requirements and other local conditions. While decidedly singular in their approach, APS has built an impressive solution based solely on Australian legislation and employment conditions, rather than adapting to an existing foreign or global system.
Asia Pacific Payroll Provider #5: Tiger Consulting
With a mission is to make it easier for companies to successfully expand into Asia and grow their business (while remaining compliant with local laws and regulations), Tiger Consulting offers HR and payroll outsourcing services in locations across the Asia Pacific region; including Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam—locales well known for their localized regulations and customs. That said, even though Tiger Consulting’s payroll service has been refined over 20 years (and is tailored to each client’s payroll cycle and other requirements), the solution’s approach is incredibly basic—focusing mainly on the common features of checks, balances, multiple reviews, and formal sign-offs to manage due diligence.
Final Thoughts on Asia Pacific Payroll Services
For any organization expanding into the Asia Pacific region, underpinning that expansion with a payroll function that truly understands local and regional conditions and practices is fundamental to success. Of course, one of the simplest (and oft-used) solutions for organizations is to outsource payroll to a provider with existing expertise in the region. However, as the five providers above show, the Asia Pacific outsourcing market offers a range of payroll service options, from a single-country focus (an extreme example of Towers Watson’s “country localization”) to region-wide solutions (even expanding into the neighboring area and payroll practices of the EMEA region). As such, careful consideration of what is needed from a payroll provider must be determined if organizational success in the region is to be solidified.
The Asia Pacific region carries hallmarks such as frequently unsophisticated HR practices; extreme diversity in regards to languages and cultures, staunch cost-consciousness; and incredibly demanding (and involved leadership)—all issues that any provider of payroll software (or outsourced payroll services) must take into account.”