Reviewing the Offerings of 5 Payroll Providers for Europe
The European Union (EU) is sometimes portrayed as one of the most complex payroll landscapes because of its diversity of practise, legislation and underpinning cultures—especially when partnered with the larger scope of the payroll requirements of the entire EMEA region. Some of the key differentiators between differing national labor environments are collective bargaining agreements, third party declarations and deductions and the issue of acquired rights. However, as ADP point out in their 2011 report (Europe at Work Atlas), “The European Union is an elaborate mosaic of different peoples and cultures with widely varying – yet rapidly converging – business practices.” In fact, the homogenizing influences of common EU legislation and an increasingly borderless workforce are producing regional commonalities that providers of payroll software and outsourced services are leveraging in order to more easily offer services tailored to European needs. In no particular order, the following five service providers or vendors represent the current offerings geared to handle the specific challenges of payroll in the European business environment.
Europe Payroll Provider #1: FMP Europe
FMP (standing for Fully Managed Payroll) aims to provide a centralized, single process service that meets the particular needs of organizations expanding internationally across and into Europe. In particular, FMP looks to address the issues that US-listed and -funded organizations are finding that the Sarbanes Oxley Act is having on how they and their suppliers are required to manage their financial affairs, including payroll. Their core business is working with international organizations currently without a presence in the required country and looking for expertise in setting up future proof payroll systems. Based in the UK, FMP supports 40,000 organizations in over 100 countries, effectively acting as their international payroll department and providing the following services:
Single (English-speaking) point of contactconfigurations and returning verification reports to the client);
Legislative compliance in all countries
Payroll client account facilities
Assistance with setting up any local entities if required.
Europe Payroll Provider #2: Bridgehead Europe
Bridgehead has been helping clients to set up and manage operations in the UK and mainland Europe from North America and other parts of the world for over 15 years. Placing emphasis on their provision of a single point of contact for clients, Bridgehead aim to offer payroll as a straightforward regular function with a minimum of input needed from clients. The service can range from the fully outsourced model to a partial arrangement in which all the relevant calculations and data are provided to enable clients to pay their own employees where this is preferred. With offices in the UK, the Netherlands and Spain and a network of associates in most other European countries, Bridgehead provide full European coverage and are equipped to comply with various national legislative compliance requirements.
Europe Payroll Provider #3: Ceridian
As a truly global payroll player, Ceridian payroll software is present in over 70 countries. Using an In-Country Partner (ICP) network that covers all EU member states, they offer ‘aggregator model’ global payroll for organizations of all sizes – from small start-ups to multinational corporations – using local expertise to process payroll and ensure legislative compliance while presenting the client company with a single interface point of contact. Ceridian aim to provide global payroll that develops alongside the client. Whether the business is growing, consolidating or spinning-off, their international payroll service offers flexibility and control, allowing the client to phase countries in and out as part of the contract. Ceridian have decades of global experience in payroll and their avowed aim is always the same: minimise cost, and add real, measurable value to their customers’ organizations.
Europe Payroll Provider #4: APS Global
As a provider of payroll services, APS Global is particularly focused on the burden of ever-changing legislation that has to be incorporated in each client’s payroll processes. Clients include UK businesses, international businesses with a UK workforce, and organizations looking to outsource their centralized global payroll requirements, no matter how many countries they operate in. APS place a premium on their value of and reputation for honesty, believing that, “In Payroll, honesty and trust are paramount - if you cannot trust us to be honest, why would you trust us to run your payroll?” Managing a network of in-country providers covering the vast majority of European member states with new jurisdictions being added as they are required, APS Global manage the set up and provide client-facing contact. In addition to the UK, APS offer particular expertise in the following payroll environments: Ireland, Isle of Man, Channel Islands, Netherlands, France and Germany.
Europe Payroll Provider #5: Payroll Services Alliance
With a view to the growing demand amongst pan-European companies for a standardized and unified method for handling their payroll and HR requirements across all the countries in which they operate, 2010 saw the coming together of a number of European payroll providers to provide a completely pan-Europe solution. The Alliance is a combination of five leading payroll companies each with complementary expertise: SD Worx (Belgium, France, Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg); Aditro (Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Estonia); Elanor (Central and Eastern Europe); Seresco (Spain); and Trianon (Switzerland). The key features of the Alliance service are:
European by nature and heart.
The second biggest vendor in Europe
The Payroll Services Alliance stands for:
Operations in 27 European countries
Over 450 M EUR in combined revenues
over 51,000 customers
over 5.5 million payslips each month
Final Thoughts on European Payroll Services
These five examples demonstrate that the European payroll outsourcing markets holds a variety of options for all requirements; from smaller, dedicated service providers, through to companies with a global reach and on to a European co-operative set up. With the continuing drive among global and multinational businesses for streamlined, centralized, and standardized payroll operations, having the right payroll provider is the foundation to realizing the benefits of genuine pan-European payroll management.
The homogenizing influences of common EU legislation and an increasingly borderless workforce are producing regional commonalities that providers of payroll software and outsourced services are leveraging in order to more easily offer services tailored to European needs”