5 Payroll Service Providers in the Middle East Region
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By Dave Foxall
Reviewing the Offerings of 5 Payroll Providers for the Middle East
As HR transformation activities have increased in the Middle East over recent years, organizations operating in the region have focused on forging a more strategic identity for HR. This requires a consolidation of HR resources that can only be achieved by reducing the administrative burden of core HR functions (including payroll) and thus freeing up resources for ‘higher level’ contributions. The resulting trend is one of automation of payroll functionality (often using self-service technology) and a rise in outsourcing payroll entirely to third party service providers. Indeed the 2010 Mercer report, HR Transformation in EMEA [Payroll] concluded that shared services and outsourcing are key to achieving the desired strategic HR role and research from ADP in the same year, found that 84% of respondents were actively considering outsourcing their payroll operation. 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 Middle East business environment.
Middle East Payroll Provider #1: Farahat & Co.
Farahat & Co. was established in 1985 in the United Arab Emirates as a Certified Public Accountants and Audit firm. Their expansion over the last 20+ years has broadened their services to include business establishment, software development, business & legal consultancy, system design, and, of course payroll services. The company focuses on small to medium-sized businesses in the area and offers the following services:
Initial setup of the payroll database
Advice on local work contracts
Monthly processing, taking in account salary entitlements, other benefits and all required deductions such as loans
Maintaining a monthly payroll register for submission for compliance purposes
Monthly pay slips
Calculation of statutory gratuity payments
Annual salary certificate for each employee
Farahat also offer their own branded payroll software for clients wishing to manage payroll in-house with simple calculation, processing, payslips and direct deposit functionality.
Middle East Payroll Provider #2: PayME
PayME is a joint venture between Pay Asia and Eresource International, to provide outsourced payroll solutions to small and medium-sized enterprise clients across the Middle East and Africa. The headquarters in Dubai is the central point of contact, however, to ensure that the service meets local requirements and to provide geographically spread business continuity, PayME deploys satellite offices or dedicated on-site support, as necessary. Outsourced payroll administration is the company’s core service offering and the key features include: Management of EDR’s (Employee Detail Records)
Gross to Net calculations
Reporting to meet requirements of WPS, HR and Finance
Banking solutions to streamline the process of funding through to employee pay
Approval processes to maintain timelines.
The services offered have a strong focus on compliance with the changing government statutes and regulations from the Labour Ministry, Central Bank and WPS among others.
Middle East Payroll Provider #3: Gulf HR
Gulf HR is a web-based, comprehensive, flexible and localized HR and Payroll software solution from Dubai software development company, Gulf Solutions Group. The system was developed in the Middle East and tailored specifically for GCC (Gulf Corporation Council) and MENA (Middle East & North Africa) conditions and requirements and is aimed at businesses operating in the region who wish to automate their in-house management of payroll. The product’s key features include:
Various implementation options which can be applied across multiple industries, locations and business environments utilising multiple currencies
Scalable for headcounts ranging from as little as 30 employees up to as much as 22,000
Open source license allows access to and amendment of the system’s source code
Employee ‘self-service’ portal
Middle East Payroll Provider #4: Middle East Bankers
Middle East Bankers is an Egypt-based BPO provider operating across the region. The core business is recruitment and headhunting for banks and financial institutions but over time, the company has expanded its operations to include payroll together with organizational development and training. The stated benefits of their payroll services include:
access to the latest technology without the need for software upgrades or a direct investment
Middle East Payroll Provider #5: Workers’ Equity Holding
Workers’ Equity Holding (WEH) is a payroll processor operating in the United Arab Emirates and is part of the Kuwait-based Arabi Holding Group. Uniquely focused on employers of the UAE’s migrant worker population, WEH manage a unique payroll system by which employees are issued with ATM cards with which they access their salaries via a private network of ATM machines operated in partnership with the Al Bader Exchange bank. The key purpose of the system is to continue to pay migrant workers in cash while complying with the UAE’s Wage Protection Scheme which requires all employers operating in the country to transfer their employees’ wages electronically through banks, exchange houses or other third party agents.
Final Thoughts on Middle East Payroll Services
As organizations based or operating in the Middle East seek to refocus their global payroll and HR functions and free up resources by outsourcing payroll, it is clear that in addition to the long-standing global service providers, more local payroll options are becoming available. While there is a degree of variation on the market – including innovation in response to local labor circumstances and the need for legislative compliance – what emerges is a concentration in the United Arab Emirates and a bias towards the requirements of doing business in that country. This is perhaps unsurprising, given its business, economic and political dominance in the region, but operators in other parts of the Middle East may encounter less choice in their search for a payroll service provider.