Payroll outsourcing vs payroll software in Singapore: which is right for you?

Payroll outsourcing vs payroll software in Singapore

Payroll outsourcing vs payroll software in Singapore: which is right for you?

The past few years have seen dramatic changes occurring across the globe. Business operating models have evolved. The regulatory landscape has become stricter, and most organisations have shifted to hybrid working models.

These changes have all had a profound impact on payroll. Organisations are under more pressure than ever to deliver accurate, timely payroll services while still complying with changing regulations.

This is leading many businesses to rethink how they manage their payroll function. Two common efficiency-boosting options for companies in Singapore are payroll software or outsourcing payroll. But which option is most suited to your company’s requirements?

Both methods offer advantages, which can make it difficult to evaluate the one that is best for you. Plus, the number of payroll software options in Singapore seems to be limitless, increasing decision complexity.

The right option for you will depend on several factors, including your company’s:

  • size;
  • growth strategies;
  • compliance requirements; and
  • operating model.

To help simplify the decision process, this article explores both payroll outsourcing and payroll software in Singapore, and provides guidance on deciding which model is right for you.

What is outsourced payroll?

Outsourcing payroll involves hiring a specialist payroll company to handle some, or all, of your payroll functions. An outsourced payroll provider usually offers a wide range of services, so businesses can choose the options that best suit their specific needs.

    payroll-outsourcing-alt-3

    Some typical services that payroll outsourcing providers in Singapore offer include:

    • computing gross to net salary and CPF;
    • providing payroll detail, variance reports and payroll journals;
    • disbursing net salary and CPF via bank accounts, and issuing confidential payslips;
    • preparing year-end IR8A forms and appendices;
    • preparing IR21, GML, NS MUP, CPF refund, government statistics forms, etc. per the Singapore Employment Act; and
    • electronically administering employee leave and expense claims.

      Outsourcing payroll is a well-documented way to improve HR efficiency and reduce costs. Additionally, outsourcing your payroll function can help you to:

      • Save time: outsourcing your payroll enables you to keep managing your core business operations without having to maintain staff to handle day-to-day payroll functions in-house.
      • Increase cost visibility: one of the major benefits of outsourcing is the ability to limit cost fluctuations. You maintain complete visibility over how much you spend each month. And because any additional hires come at a pre-determined rate, you can more easily plan hiring costs.
      • Easily maintain compliance: an outsourced payroll specialist should maintain a team of experts with experience in payroll regulations. This significantly lowers your risk of financial penalties for non-compliance.
      • Increase productivity: handing over your payroll processing reduces the administrative burden on your team, freeing them up to focus on growth and profitability.
      • Enhance security: in a world rife with data security breaches, reputable outsourced payroll providers offer multiple servers, backups and other security systems and processes. These features protect employees’ sensitive personal data and grant you peace of mind as an employer. Additionally, outsourced payroll providers should have robust internal processes that comply with rapidly changing best practices around personal data protection rules.

      What is payroll software?

      While many companies in Singapore outsource their payroll function, others choose to implement some form of dedicated payroll software. Compared with manual processes like Excel spreadsheets or paper records, these options streamline your payroll process and offer the opportunity to automate certain aspects.

      Of course, you still need people – usually your internal HR or finance team – to input wages and hours worked into the software. But once it has the data, the software uses it to automatically perform calculations, deduct withholdings and execute routine payroll tasks.

      As mentioned earlier, companies have many options when it comes to payroll software in Singapore, and benefits can vary extensively between them.

      payroll-services-imgg

      However, a high-quality payroll solution can help your company to:

      • Greatly reduce the chance of human error: a payroll system can automatically calculate bonuses, expenses, holiday pay, etc. with minimum effort. Compared to someone manually entering data into a spreadsheet or system, this can significantly reduce errors.
      • Automate processes: a payroll solution helps to save time and resources by automatically performing manual processes such as generating payslips and year-end reporting.
      • Secure data: reliable payroll software encrypts data and saves it securely on dedicated cloud-based servers.
      • Save time: moving from manual payroll processes to a payroll software system can reduce the need for team members to perform many time-consuming tasks.
      • Gain insights: modern payroll platforms provide real-time reporting capabilities, efficiently streamlining payroll reporting compared to clunky legacy systems.

      Which is right for you? Two important factors to consider

      There are as many advantages of outsourcing payroll services as there are of using SaaS (software as a service) payroll software. The right option is an individual decision that depends on a variety of factors.

      However, we recommend focusing on two considerations as you weigh up your options.

      1. Your company size and growth trajectory

      Payroll software can provide a simple, straightforward payroll processing solution, which can be particularly appealing for smaller companies and start-ups. Purchasing payroll software and employing someone to manage it can also be a cost-effective way to manage payroll in-house.

      Beyond this, you can typically maintain greater control over in-house payroll processes and management, since you can dictate your own process and then change it when required.

      However, as your business grows, so does your payroll complexity.

      If your internal teams are already stretched to the limit, asking them to manage payroll can present a real challenge. You know that a late pay run can result in unhappy employees. You also know that a rushed pay run may have errors. The last thing you want is for a simple payroll mistake to generate costly fines or lawsuits.

      Additionally, if your staff numbers are increasing, a good payroll outsourcing provider can help you to keep up with the changes. Partnering with them early in your expansion journey also enables them to get to know the ins and outs of your company as you grow.

      As a bonus, they may also be able to advise on and help coordinate other aspects of your business such as tax, accounting, corporate secretarial and employee share plan services.

      2. Your regional footprint

      The past year has demonstrated that given the right tools and technology, employees can successfully work from (almost) anywhere. However, this flexibility means you’ll need to consider a payroll option that factors in the new remote nature of work.

      Because SaaS payroll platforms are hosted in the cloud, accessibility is a major benefit.

      SaaS payroll platforms also give you access to information anywhere there is an internet connection, so your payroll staff can work from any location. And if the software offers self-service tools for your employees, such as accessing payslips or logging leave, they can use these remotely as well.

      However, companies that operate across borders will need an international payroll solution to ensure they correctly pay their people in multiple locations. Consider a payroll platform that can handle multi-currency pay runs, so no matter where your people are, you can pay them on time, in the correct currency.

      Flexibility may not equal simplicity

      While remote working is wonderful for employees who want more flexibility in their lives, it has caused more complexity for payroll teams.

      According to EY’s 2022 Global Payroll Survey, remote working policies and their impact on multi-jurisdictional payroll withholding is the number one payroll consideration resulting from the pandemic.

      Payroll legislation also changes frequently, so keeping up with new regulations takes time and sometimes specialist knowledge. If you are managing payroll in-house, you will need someone to stay on top of Singapore’s local regulations and update your payroll system accordingly to ensure you remain compliant.

      Similarly, if you choose to outsource your payroll, it’s worth checking in advance whether your provider has people with the right local knowledge to navigate the changing landscape.

      Regional payroll takes specialist knowledge

      If your organisation is expanding across the Asia-Pacific region, compliance tends to get complicated.

      For example, companies operating in markets with complex labour laws and regulations, such as Malaysia and China, might lack access to local expert knowledge. Without this specialist knowledge, they may struggle to operate with peace of mind.

      This is where an outsourced payroll provider can really add value.

      Outsourcing payroll to a reliable vendor can reduce the burden of worrying about fines or potential lawsuits due to misunderstanding complicated payroll requirements.

      Handing over your payroll management to a trusted third party enables you to redirect your HR team’s resources into other business-generating activities. They can spend less time becoming familiar with the different laws across each country in which you operate – and more time focused on strategy or revenue building.

      Finding a trusted payroll partner

      If you know you need help with your payroll function, it’s worth choosing a partner with experience in, and knowledge of, both outsourcing and payroll software.

      Not only can they advise you on the best solution for you, but they can also help you to adapt your payroll strategy as your company’s needs change – perhaps as you:

      • grow your headcount;
      • expand into other countries within Asia-Pacific; or
      • move to an incorporated company structure.

      At BoardRoom, we offer both payroll outsourcing services and an all-in-one cloud-based HRMS payroll solution, Ignite. Ignite helps to boost the efficiency of your regional payroll processing, giving your leaders more control and foresight for future planning.

      Ignite offers:

      • a complete HRMS solution with multi-country payroll, leave and claims processing;
      • full statutory compliance with local legislation in nine countries across Asia;
      • a flexible automated leave solution and automated payroll processing;
      • an intuitive mobile app for instant employee access to payslips, claims and leave application and submission;
      • attendance-clocking technologies, a shift calendar and a staff rostering system; and
      • a dedicated account manager who provides one easy point of contact.
      Ignite-payroll

      I still can’t decide. Can my company use both?

      Many of our BoardRoom clients use a combination of the two solutions. They might initially come to us needing payroll software; but then as they grow and expand, they decide to outsource their payroll to us.

      A trusted corporate services provider can guide you on best practices and identify key risks and potential problems. They can also provide practical solutions that save your team time and resources – not to mention, helping you to avoid costly non-compliance issues.

      And the benefit of partnering with a trusted full-service provider like BoardRoom is that we can handle other aspects of your business such as:

      Our centralised services offer assistance in multiple fields, providing access to in-depth knowledge of local payroll legislation across the region while also streamlining your outsourcing processes. And you only ever deal with one point of contact, no matter how many jurisdictions you operate in.

      That makes your work life – not just your payroll processes – simple and painless.

      Speak to our payroll specialists today about how we can help streamline payroll services for your company.

      If you decide to engage a full-service firm to handle your tax, they will already be familiar with your business structure, operations and working style. This will enable them to seamlessly move to support you in other areas of your business.

      Benefits of consolidating multinational taxes with one firm

      Benefits of consolidating multinational taxes with one firm banner

      Benefits of consolidating multinational taxes with one firm

      Managing accounting and tax in your company is a complex task. It is one of the most critical business processes to manage, so there is simply no room for error. For organisations that operate in multiple countries within the region, regulations and compliance requirements can be even more involved.

      According to Deloitte’s 2021 Asia Pacific Tax Complexity Survey, 80% of respondents believe tax regimes in the region have become more complex over the last three years.

      For many tax and accounting executives, finding an international tax advisor in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong or China, who can handle all your accounts at a local level is ideal. But this doesn’t happen for most organisations. At least, not from the start.

      Instead, as companies grow organically, they might add offices across the Asia-Pacific region, each with different tax specialists to deal with their country’s specific needs. Perhaps this seems like a smart idea – after all, these specialists will have a deep understanding of the local tax regulations. But managing multiple specialists can quickly raise its own set of problems.

      This is why many tax leaders in multinational firms find themselves grappling with:

      • Communication siloes: getting multiple tax specialists to coordinate their operations can be challenging, especially with language and cultural differences at play.
      • Staff turnover: the great resignation is upon us, which means as more employees are leaving, there are more people to train.
      • Technology challenges: each country has its own system and method of communication, which may not feed into each other.

      If you are facing similar challenges, it might be a good time to think about consolidating your tax operations with an international tax advisor in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong or China. This advisor can then help coordinate your tax efforts across the region while having one single point of contact, regardless of your base location.

      Here is what you need to know about why to consolidate your taxes with one company, and how to choose the right provider for your business.

       

      Do not underestimate the power of local expertise

      The tax landscape in Asia-Pacific is constantly changing, with governments regularly introducing new regulations and laws.

      This means partnering with a trusted tax advisor to help you navigate the complexities of local tax regulations is crucial for successful operations. Singapore itself has many complicated tax regulations, such as Goods and Services Tax (GST), which need expert local knowledge to understand. Also having a partner that can help you with certified tax planning, financial accounting, and compliance services will help during reporting season, allowing you to maximise tax incentives and benefits.

      Choosing a global provider with local offices will give you a premium service at a regional level.

      A reliable tax advisory service can also help you drive long-term success in your business by maximising your tax incentives and benefits. Without expert local knowledge, it can be easy to miss out on tax breaks and exemptions that your business is entitled to.

      If you’re purely a Singapore-based business, managing all this in-house may be achievable. But multinational organisations need to deal with cross-border issues and any complexities regarding tax compliance that may arise. This can quickly become unmanageable if you don’t have the right partner to help you navigate through it.

      So choosing an international tax advisor in Singapore who has connections in other countries, can significantly streamline this process and ensure the business continues to operate safely across the region.

      One contact, or many?

      When selecting a tax partner, check whether you’ll have a single point of contact or deal with different individuals in each country. If the latter is true, you may be no better off than you would with managing your teams.

      Ideally, you want access to a connected ecosystem of tax advisors while only dealing with a single point of contact. That way, you get all the benefits of local tax expertise without the headaches that come with managing in-house teams.

      Another important factor to consider when managing tax in multiple countries is dealing with cultural nuances. The Asia-Pacific region is home to a diverse mix of cultures, religions, languages and customs.

      woman standing in front of her business team discussing tax compliance

      Having people who understand, and can sensitively navigate, cultural complexities is an important part of doing business and maintaining a well-functioning team.

      A dedicated international tax advisor in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong or China, can help you to navigate all of these issues, and advise you on the best approach for each country in which you operate.

      Tax compliance matters more than ever

      As regulations tighten, tax activities are attracting more and more attention from authorities. No executive wants their company to be the subject of a tax compliance audit. At the same time, however, finance and accounting teams are under pressure to do more with less, as budgets and teams are scaled back.

      Organisations are also dealing with a workforce in transition. Many employees are seeking a ‘next role’ that offers higher pay or better working conditions – reducing available resources and stretching teams beyond capacity.

      Nevertheless, businesses cannot ignore compliance requirements. Singapore has some very strict tax laws, it’s critical that your company does everything it can to follow them by paying taxes correctly and on time. Any business that does not follow tax compliance is doing so at the risk of breaking the law.

      Even something as small as overlooking a detail in tax law or inaccurately calculating taxes owed can result in non-compliance.

      And maintaining compliance with changing tax laws can be particularly challenging for multinational organisations with business partners all over the world.

      business meeting with six colleagues discussing tax notes international

      Having a team of professionals that understands not only the tax laws in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China but also those across the entire Asia-Pacific region, can free your business to focus on its core business. The team can help you to navigate the changing tax laws across the region, and assist you in adjusting your tax reporting processes accordingly.

      And of course, if tax compliance issues arise, the team can deal with them swiftly and accurately.

      But most importantly, having a trusted team to manage tax compliance services can ensure in-depth analysis of your business structure, before providing industry-leading advice on the best long-term tax solutions. After all, it takes skilled knowledge to structure your business divisions to understand and be able to take advantage of tax benefits.

      Seek value with service

      One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing your tax function is cost savings. ‘Time is money’, and increased efficiency can substantially improve your bottom line.

      However, simply going with the cheapest option may be a false economy. When looking for a business tax advisory service, carefully consider their reputation in the market.

      Here are some questions to ask:

      • How long have they been operating?
      • What is their client footprint?
      • How many staff do they have? And more importantly, how well do they retain their employees in the long term?
      • How solid is their track record? Do they have measurable results they can share?
      • How big is their regional and international footprint? Can they support your growing business?

      To find an international tax advisor who satisfactorily answers all these questions, you will likely need to choose a premium provider.

      The good news? Partnering with an established business tax advisory service gives you complete peace of mind that they will handle your tax matters efficiently, accurately and professionally.

      Choosing a premium provider such as BoardRoom also means:

      • Low error rates: we have over 50 years of experience in the Asia-Pacific region and a proven track record of performance.
      • Fast service: we maintain high staff retention rates, so we always have the right amount of people to efficiently handle our clients’ needs.
      • Skilled staff: our staff are highly trained and keep up to date with changes in local regulations.

      Think beyond where you are today

      While planning for your current tax activities is crucial, any smart leader knows that planning for tomorrow is just as important.

      If your business already operates in multiple countries within the Asia-Pacific region, you may be considering expanding even further. This means, of course, even more legal, compliance and cultural differences to navigate.

      Therefore, it is essential to check with potential providers about their global capabilities.

      For example, BoardRoom is part of Andersen Global, a worldwide network of tax and legal professionals operating in 315 locations. As such, we are well-versed in a range of international company taxation and tax planning issues.

      In short, partnering with an international tax advisor ensures that wherever you grow your business, they have people on the ground to deal with the local tax regulations.

      Look beyond just tax

      When choosing a tax advisory service, it is also worth checking whether they handle other aspects of corporate advisory and management.

      As your company expands, you will need to navigate the issues that lead back to the important issue of tax and tax compliance. You will also need to consider company incorporation and corporate secretarial services.

      Partnering with a corporate advisory service that offers a full spectrum of corporate services, can help make expanding simpler. It is also more efficient, cost-effective and allows the business to focus on its core operations.

      man with calculator tax compliance meaning

      Streamlining your operations often becomes more important the bigger you get. Once you start to see the benefits of outsourcing your tax to a trusted firm, you may consider other areas in which they could help, such as:

      If you decide to engage a full-service firm to handle your tax, they will already be familiar with your business structure, operations and working style. This will enable them to seamlessly move to support you in other areas of your business.

      Cut the complexity by consolidating

      When you consider the cost and effort of coordinating individual tax specialists across the region, the benefits of consolidating with one partner quickly add up. Having people with an in-depth understanding of the local tax incentives and benefits your company is entitled to can create significant savings each financial year.

      But the benefits extend far beyond mere cost savings into making business simpler.

      There is no doubt that tax complexity is on the rise. Having a trusted tax advisor to help you coordinate your growing operations within the Asia-Pacific region while navigating the changing regulations can reduce this complexity.

      Speak to our tax experts today about how your company could benefit from consolidating your taxes with one partner.

      A Guidebook for Businesses to Excel in a Remote Working Environment

      Remote working guide

      A Guidebook for Businesses to Excel in a Remote Working Environment

      Remote working is one of the most significant changes brought about by the pandemic. Research have shown that more than 70% of workers across Asia want flexible remote work options to continue as part of the ‘new normal’.

      As a people-focused organisation, BoardRoom proactively embraced this new preference and took on the challenges in transitioning to a hybrid working arrangement for our employees.

      Through our experience, we’ve gained new perspective and tips in ways to navigate the remote working arrangement and even multiply our productivity.

      To encourage more companies to join us on our journey and share our experience with our clients and others, we have compiled a comprehensive remote working guidebook which details the important considerations from both employee and management’s opinion.

      Some of the areas covered, together with key take-aways and tips, include:

      • Navigating hybrid work
      • Organising time
      • Managing distractions
      • Juggling work and family
      • Supporting mental wellbeing
      • Maintaining physical health

      Do take a read and download our Remote Working Guidebook today to capitalise on our experience and lessons learned.

      We hope that your journey into hybrid working will be a pleasant and favourable one like ours

      Juggling with family and work

      Juggling with family and work

      Maintaining physical health

      Maintaining physical health

      Navigating hybrid workforce

      Navigating hybrid workforce

      Organising time

      Organising time

      Supporting mental wellbeing

      Maintaining physical health

      Singapore 2022 Budget

      Singapore 2022 Budget

      Singapore 2022 Budget

      The 2022 Singapore Budget revealed a number of key initiatives that revolved around investing in new capabilities, renewing & strengthening social compact, advancing green transition, and building a fairer and more resilient tax system. As always, there will be tax planning implications for your business. We’ve distilled down the main changes that you’ll need to be aware of in order to maximise the benefits for your company.

      You can download the full Singapore Budget 2022 Report below to understand the implications on your corporate tax planning.

      If you have any questions relating to any of the information contained in this report, please contact our tax advisors via email or call us at +65 6230 9788.

      Corporate Income Tax

      Corporate Income Tax

      GST rate increase delay

      GST rate increase delay

      Enhanced financing support for business

      Financial support for business

      Investing in Digital Capabilities

      Investing in digital capabilities

      Property Tax

      Property Tax

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      Why employee engagement strategies matter

      employee engagement strategies

      Why employee engagement strategies matter

      What exactly is employee engagement?

      Despite being a popular concept in HR and management circles, the term ‘employee engagement’ is often misunderstood. It tends to be mistaken for either employee job satisfaction or happiness.

      Employee satisfaction is about meeting your employees’ fundamental needs so that they feel content with their job and working conditions. Employee engagement, by contrast, is more about how connected your people feel to your organisation, and whether they are willing to go ‘above and beyond’.

      Discovering how to improve employee satisfaction in an organisation is certainly important. However, implementing effective employee engagement strategies could prove invaluable for your company. Below, we explore why, before outlining some ways that your company could increase employee engagement.

      Why is employee engagement important?

      Employee engagement is a win-win for both companies and their employees. According to one expert, “People who are highly engaged at work not only provide greater value to the organisation but also experience a better quality of life at work.”

      As it turns out, engaged employees create a significant amount of value for the companies they work for. In 2016, researchers at Gallup reviewed existing employee engagement studies and found that “engaged employees produce better business outcomes than other employees do – across industries, company sizes and nationalities, and in good economic times and bad.”

      More specifically, the Gallup researchers identified that, compared to their less engaged counterparts, engaged teams had:

      • 41% lower absenteeism;
      • 17% better productivity;
      • 24–59% less turnover;
      • 10% better customer ratings;
      • 20% more sales; and
      • 21% higher profitability.

      In short: the research found that employee engagement significantly affects almost every business success metric.

      what is employee engagement

      The latest trends in employee engagement

      Knowing all of the potential benefits of increasing employee engagement is one thing. Actually making it happen can be more complex (and the best strategy can vary for different companies). To help your company find the right approach, here is an overview of some of the latest trends in employee engagement strategies:

      01 Providing managerial support to employees

      According to The State of Employee Experience 2021 research report by EngageRocket, the most impactful way to influence engagement in Singapore is to provide managerial support to employees. Specifically, employees want to feel comfortable discussing work-related problems with their managers. Training managers to use empathy and openness may help to facilitate these types of conversations, and ultimately, help to improve relationships with employees.

      02 Giving clear, regular feedback to employees

      Another impactful way to influence engagement identified in the EngageRocket research is to regularly provide clear feedback to employees. Ensure that managers in your organisation schedule regular one-on-one meetings with employees so that providing feedback simply becomes part of the workplace routine. Make KPIs for employees straightforward too, so that they can receive more precise feedback.

      03 Listening to employees and acting on their feedback

      93% of survey respondents in the 2021 Singapore Employee Experience Trends Report believe that it is important for their company to listen to feedback. However, only 21% of respondents said that their company acted very well on feedback. Help the managers in your organisation to develop concrete action plans for incorporating feedback, and regularly report on progress to both employees and senior management.

      04 Rewarding and recognising employees

      ‘recognition for good work’ was one of the top five drivers of employee engagement identified in the 2020 Singapore Employee Experience Trends Report. Implementing an Employee Share Option Plan (ESOP) can be an effective way to motivate employees and increase employee engagement.

      latest trends in employee engagement

      How ESOPs can improve employee engagement

      An Employee Share Option Plan (also known as an Employee Stock Option Plan) gives employees the option to purchase company shares at a future date for an agreed price. ESOPs differ from Employee Share Plans (including ESASs and ESPPs) in that they only give employees the future option to buy shares. In an ESAS or ESPS, employees either receive fully paid-up shares or can purchase them outright.

      One of the fundamental mechanisms behind the success of ESOPs as an employee engagement tool is the concept of ‘ownership culture’. Essentially, ESOPs allow employees to become part-owners in the company they work for. As a result, employees tend to feel valued at work and become invested in the company’s long-term success, which in turn increases their share prices and dividend payments.

      Beyond increasing employee engagement, ESOPs can also help to improve staff retention and wellbeing. In 2020, a Rutgers University analysis of employee attitudes towards ESOPs found that “employees with greater psychological ownership are less likely to leave and experience burnout.” A second, subsequent study found that companies with ESOPs had “dramatically outperformed” non-ESOP companies during the pandemic in job retention and maintaining employee work hours and salary.

      In short, ESOPs can create a win-win for both employees and their companies. They are a great way to reward and compensate employees, which helps to boost engagement while at the same time freeing up cash for your company. And ultimately, better employee engagement could lead to significant increases in profitability.

      Keys to a successful ESOP

      However, ESOP success relies on how well a company communicates the plan’s value to employees and manages plan administration. Making it easy for staff to accept offers, track benefits, exercise options and sell shares in real-time means they are more likely to find value in an ESOP. One way to give employees this type of ESOP visibility is through a self-serve platform such as EmployeeServe.

      Demo of EmployeeServe platform

      Demo of EmployeeServe platform

      Another key strategy to boost employee participation in ESOPs, is to develop a comprehensive staff communication plan. This plan must clearly explain the purpose of ESOPs and their value before the company begins to implement an Employee Share Option Plan. Our experienced employee share plan team can help your company communicate all the ESOP benefits to your staff and answer any technical questions.

      In addition, there are a wealth of administrative processes required to successfully maintain an ESOP. You must ensure that your company has adequate resources to administer the plan. Instead of allocating in-house resources to do the time-consuming ESOP admin work, our dedicated employee share plan team here at BoardRoom can take care of it all for you. Our systems and processes are entirely flexible, allowing us to tailor a solution to meet your needs.

      How BoardRoom can help you implement your ESOP

      While ESOPs have many advantages, they can also be challenging to implement without the right tools and expertise.
      Speak to one of our experts today about how we can help your business to implement and administer a successful Employee Share Option Plan.

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      Introducing Ignite All-in-one Payroll HRMS

      Introducing Ignite All-in-one Payroll HRMS

      Having a fuss-free, user-friendly Human Resource Management System (HRMS) is half the battle won when it comes to maximising efficiency of your HR team and even your workforce in general.

      Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect when you outsource your payroll processing to an experienced regional payroll service provider like BoardRoom, supported by our HRMS platform Ignite to streamline your HR administrative process. Click the video below to view some of Ignite’s key features.

      A Quick Glance on Ignite's Key Features

      BoardRoom supports payroll processing in 17 countries across Asia Pacific including Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Australia, Japan and more. By entrusting us with your payroll, you’ll get exclusive access to our HRMS platform, Ignite.

      Ignite cloud-based HRMS system is designed to meet even the most stringent payroll compliance & statutory requirements and offers up to 11 different languages (English, Traditional Chinese, Traditional Chinese Hong Kong, Simplified Chinese, Bahasa Indonesia, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, French and Spanish), ensuring true multi-country payroll processing. Coupled with a full suite of convenient self-service functions, Ignite enables your employees to carry out standard HR tasks without draining resources from your team.

      Ignite HRMS comes with 5 core HR modules:

      Payroll
      Personnel
      Leave
      Attendance
      Claims

      Ignite 5 modules

      Ignite also comes with an intuitive mobile application designed for mobility to empower your workforce to stay connected 24/7, with instant access to their payslips, claims and leave application, anytime, anywhere.

      Ignite, Mobile App

      Flexible user interface with Ignite, Mobile App

      Payroll Module

      Monthly payroll processing can be a tedious and stressful affair. Ignite payroll helps make these a breeze by eliminating the need for manual calculation from your payroll processing equation.

      With its advanced automation function and the ability to process complex statutory compliance calculations in 10 countries across Asia, Ignite ensures utmost accuracy and efficiency for your HR team.

      Ignite payroll processing

      Payroll processing on Ignite desktop

      Personnel Module

      Whether you’re a manager or a HR representative, Ignite can help you keep track of important employees’ details. Crisis management is a whole lot easier when you can access emergency contacts and roster information in one single platform to make the necessary calls. That’s lesser downtime for your operations and a burden off both management and employees’ shoulders.

      Ignite Personnel Module

      Ignite desktop, featuring employee details management

      Leave Module

      Managing leave is as simple as a tap of your finger. Employees can easily calculate their leave balance without consulting the HR team and effortlessly apply for annual, sick, maternity leave and more. They’ll also be able to upload supporting documents such as medical certificates the moment they apply for leave, reducing the need to remind them to send in their documents.

      Ignite Leave Application

      Ignite mobile, apply leave on the go

      Managers can also view their employees’ leave requests – even for staff that are under a different jurisdiction’s payroll – and approve them on the go.

      Ignite Leave Approval

      Approve leave on both Ignite desktop and mobile app

      Attendance Module

      Keep track of your roster changes in real-time and notify your employees of new or updated shifts instantly. Arranging shifts or calling in back-up can be as easy as consulting the calendar on your Ignite app – you’ll have a bird’s eye view of who’s available for call and how many shifts they’ve done to optimise the scheduling process. You can even set up automated notifications to back-ups and supervisors to inform everyone of who’s on urgent leave which cuts down time needed for someone to coordinate and notify those affected.

      Ignite Attendance Module

      Ignite desktop showing daily attendance management

      Offshore or remote working attendance clocking can be easily tracked with the use of Ignite’s GPS technology. Additionally, the integration of iBeacon Bluetooth function enables employees to clock in/out using their smartphones. All attendance data is then automatically recorded on Ignite all without the need for any manual steps.

      This cuts down time needed for manual submission and verifications of timesheet for the convenience of users.

      Ignite Clock attendance

      Employee attendance clocking on Ignite mobile

      Claims Module

      Claims are also a piece of cake with BoardRoom’s Ignite. Application, processing and approval all takes place on the platform. It also supports the uploading of supporting documents, even on your mobile so that you can apply for claims at your convenience.

      Ignite Claims Management

      Submit claims on the go with Ignite mobile app

      Ignite is the right fit for organisations of all sizes with its all-in-one functionality including Payroll, Leave, Claims, and Time & Attendance. Your employees and HR teams will be able to benefit from the intuitive self-service features of the platform, enjoy the accessibility of a cloud based HRMS, all through the convenience of a mobile app.

      Contact our payroll experts today to learn more about Ignite’s functions and how it can empower your HR team’s payroll processes.

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      Considering online company incorporation in Singapore?

      1. online company incorporation Singapore

      Considering online company incorporation in Singapore?

      Is it best to use online company incorporation services in Singapore?

      Singapore consistently ranks as one of the best places in the world to do business because of its strategic central location, attractive tax structure, highly competitive economy and political stability.

      Therefore, it’s unsurprising that the city is also a leading global start-up hub. As the number of new start-ups has grown, online company incorporation services in Singapore have increased.

      While these service providers offer speed and convenience for straightforward setups, businesses with more complex structures will benefit from engaging an expert incorporation services provider.

      What ‘self-serve’ online incorporation services offer

      Many online incorporation companies have appeared in recent years. They usually offer ‘self-serve’ incorporation model services. Essentially, they take care of the basic company incorporation paperwork and administration for you, including:

      • checking and reserving a company name;
      • preparing registration forms (based on information that you provide through online forms);
      • filing with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA);
      • drafting the company constitution; and
      • preparing the corporate compliance kit (share certificates and registers).

      Incorporating online is a modern trend offering speed and convenience. For example, local businesses can be incorporated within three hours using the ‘self-serve’ method. As a no-frills service, it’s an attractive, affordable option for companies with simple business structures.

      However, there are some pitfalls to be aware of when incorporating your business online. Typically, online incorporation services don’t provide advice and guidance on how best to set up a business in Singapore to meet your specific needs. Without expert incorporation advice, your company risks increased costs and non-compliance as a result of:

      • selecting the wrong business structure which has significant long-term implications for tax and personal liability obligations;
      • overlooking important local statutory requirements such as obtaining work permits; and
      • missing out on the valuable corporate tax incentives available in Singapore.
      risk of incorporate business online

      Why engage an expert incorporation service provider?

      There’s a lot more to incorporation than paperwork. While the ‘self-serve’ model takes care of the simple administrative aspects of business registration, it doesn’t optimise your company setup for ongoing growth and profitability.

      Unlike the majority of online incorporation service providers, professional services firms like BoardRoom focus on the bigger picture for your business. In addition to taking care of the business registration paperwork for you, our team of certified professionals can assist you with all aspects of incorporation, including:

      • tailoring the ideal setup and business structure for your company to minimise tax and personal liability obligations;
      • flagging any potential compliance risk oversights;
      • applying for any relevant tax incentives;
      • providing advice on and applying for work permits, residency passes, dependant passes and permanent residency;
      • establishing an efficient, automated payroll process and accounting system for your company; and
      • providing a nominee director, a company secretary or a local registered office, where required, to meet your statutory incorporation requirements.

      Which incorporation service is right for your company?

      Larger companies or those with complex structures are more likely to benefit from working with an expert incorporation service provider such as BoardRoom. Our team of incorporation professionals can guide your company on the most suitable setup and ensure that all compliance requirements are taken care of.

      Using the ‘self-serve’ option may be more appropriate for smaller businesses, particularly those with a limited budget. Additionally, online incorporation can be done relatively quickly when company structures are less complex because the process is more straightforward. For example, you could save a good deal of money if you complete the company incorporation process yourself if you are:

      • a Singaporean citizen wanting to set up your own business; and
      • the only shareholder and do not intend to add more shareholders.

      However, your needs will be very different if you are part of a foreign company looking to enter into the Singaporean market, especially if:

      • you already have several entities in other countries; or
      • you are part of a consortium of businesses looking to incorporate.

      In these cases, your organisation will likely need expert guidance on the best way to set up and structure your new company in Singapore.

      online incorporation services

      Set up your company for long term success with our incorporation experts

      Online incorporation using the ‘self-serve’ model is a good starting point. However, to set yourself up for success long term, it’s worthwhile investing in a more sustainable and holistic approach that leverages expert knowledge.

      From commencement to completion, BoardRoom’s team of experienced, certified professionals can guide you through incorporation, so it’s done correctly for your type of business.

      For over 50 years, we have helped businesses like yours thrive through using our company setup, incorporation and company secretarial services.

      Speak to one of our incorporation experts today to find out how we could take your business further, faster.

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      BoardRoom People Expertise: Payroll Case Study

      Payroll Expertise

      BoardRoom People Expertise: Payroll Case Study

      Client Profile

      The Client is a multinational company that owns some of the world’s most iconic beverage brands that are enjoyed globally.

      The Asia-Pacific branches make up almost one-fifth of their operations, where BoardRoom is currently the payroll outsourcing provider for 10 countries – Singapore, Australia, Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar. In total, we are responsible for 100% of their APAC workforce, which totals 1687 employees.

      Payroll Challenges

      One of the challenges MNCs face when expanding or maintaining payroll operations within Asia-Pacific is the lack of understanding between subtle nuances across labour governance frameworks in the region.

      About BoardRoom

      17
      Countries

      We provide Payroll Outsourcing services across 17 countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Hong Kong & Mainland China

      24,000
      employees

      We take care of the payrolls of almost 24,000 employees across Asia Pacific

      100%
      first-time accuracy

      100% first-time accuracy for payroll processing

      01 Ensuring Compliance to Latest Payroll Regulations

      With its diverse cultural landscape, Asia-Pacific is well-known for its intricate payroll needs that often require specialised knowledge. Payroll regulations change frequently, which can prove challenging for HR teams to keep track of, especially if they’re unfamiliar with the country’s labour laws. This lack of knowledge can negatively impact companies through payroll fines and dissatisfied employees that experience payroll miscalculations.

      This is especially challenging for larger companies due to their diverse employee payroll profile which requires an in-depth knowledge of the different payroll calculations and deductions for each employee. As a result, some HR teams in MNCs can struggle to ensure payroll compliance while also performing administratively heavy tasks such as checking and dispersing wages.

      02 Impact on Productivity

      When operating across multiple countries, payroll processing can often be done in siloes by individual payroll teams resulting in a lack of standardization across processes and workflow. Moreover, as companies expand into new markets, it can be challenging for the HR management to maintain oversight with every country and or states unique legal and social landscape. This can reduce productivity of HR teams as more effort is required to check errors and ensure accuracy.

      Companies with rapid expansion plans might find it hard to build their HR administrative operations within the quick timeframe required to meet growth ambitions. The Client recognised this fact and identified the need for an experienced regional payroll outsourcing partner who could support their growth across Asia-Pacific.

      The Solution

      With the above challenges in mind, BoardRoom focused on how we could streamline their payroll operations. With our expertise in processing payroll for large multi-national companies across the Asia-pacific region, we support them as they continue to grow.

      01 Ready Access to Regulatory Advice

      The first step was ensuring that they could access the depth of regional knowledge and expertise that the BoardRoom team possesses. Companies spanning multiple jurisdictions require timely guidance on regulatory updates or necessary deductions, which BoardRoom provides. From advice on ad-hoc bonus payouts and the deductions required or what reliefs for payroll-related taxes that the company can qualify for, BoardRoom has the expertise to advise accordingly. In addition, our team’s experience and expertise enables us to analyse existing HR frameworks and optimize processes for the best payroll performance.

      02 Standardised Framework

      Next, we looked into centralizing standard payroll operations across the APAC branches, meaning they were able to shift away from siloed payroll processing. Through analysis of existing structures, BoardRoom made informed recommendations to assist in streamlining of processes. This helped boost efficiency of their regional payroll processing and provide more control and foresight for planning.

      Capitalise on BoardRoom’s Asia-Pacific payroll experience today

      As a global company, payroll compliance is challenging to maintain consistently across the APAC region. That’s why picking the right payroll outsourcing partner is essential to keeping your payroll processing as compliant as possible. A reliable partner like BoardRoom will be able to:

      • Guide you on specific local payroll advice across the region
      • Advise you on regulatory concerns and relevant updates
      • Help you standardize processes across the region

      Are you interested in engaging our expertise to optimize your regional payroll processing? Reach out to us to discuss in greater detail how you can capitalise on our experienced regional payroll experts.

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      How to Start a Business in Singapore

      how to start a business in Singapore

      How to Start a Business in Singapore

      How to Start a Business in Singapore

      Thinking of starting a business in Singapore? You’re not alone. As the legal landscape in Hong Kong continues to evolve, many companies are choosing to set up second headquarters in Singapore. And it’s easy to see why when the country is:

      • consistently rated by the World Bank as the best country in Asia to do business and the second best nation in the world to do business;
      • ranked first in the world for political and operational stability in the Global Innovation Index 2020; and
      • ranked first in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region and fifth in the world for economic competitiveness by the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2021.

      Expanding into a new international market is exciting for any business, but it also presents its own set of significant challenges. For many executives, the first hurdle is understanding how the company formation regulations and processes work in the new jurisdiction.

      Our guide below gives you an overview of everything you need to know about how to start a business in Singapore.

      Singapore Market Profile

      Office rental pricing: Average monthly rent for grade A office space in Singapore was $SGD 9.90 per square foot for the second quarter of 2021.

      Average office space density: 10m2 per person

      Fixed internet download speed: 256.03 megabits per second in July 2021

      Mobile internet download speed: 85.93 megabits per second in July 2021

      Gross Domestic Product US$ bn: 340

      Population (million): 5.70

      Official languages: there are four official languages spoken in Singapore including:

      • English;
      • Chinese;
      • Malay; and
      • Tamil.
      what language is spoken in Singapore

      Benefits of setting up a company in Singapore

      As one of the largest business centres in Asia, Singapore offers many benefits to companies looking to establish a presence in the region, including:

      • Attractive tax structure: Singapore’s corporate tax is fixed at a competitive rate of 17% on chargeable income, whether a company is local or foreign. There are several corporate tax relief schemes available, including:

      Tax Exemption Scheme for New Start-up Companies

      Qualifying companies are given the following tax exemptions for the first three consecutive years of assessment (YAs) where the YA falls in:

      YA 2020 onwards
      • 75% exemption on the first $100,000 of normal chargeable income; and
      • A further 50% exemption on the next $100,000 of normal chargeable income.
      YA 2010–2019
      • Full exemption on the first $100,000 of normal chargeable income; and
      • A further 50% exemption on the next $200,000 of normal chargeable income

      Partial Tax Exemption for all companies

      All companies, including companies limited by guarantee, can enjoy the following tax exemption:

      YA 2020 onwards
      • 75% exemption on the first $10,000 of normal chargeable income; and
      • A further 50% exemption on the next $190,000 of normal chargeable income.
      YA 2010–2019
      • 75% tax exemption on the first $10,000 of normal chargeable income; and
      • A further 50% exemption on the next $290,000 of normal chargeable income.

      Corporate Income Tax Rebate

      Given to all companies:

      YA 2020 onwards
      • 75% exemption on the first $10,000 of normal chargeable income; and
      • A further 50% exemption on the next $190,000 of normal chargeable income.
      YA 2013–2019

      In addition, there are many corporate tax incentives available to foster economic growth within the country. Our expert tax team here at BoardRoom can advise you on the tax incentives your company may qualify for.

      Singapore does not tax capital gains on the sale of fixed assets or foreign exchange on capital transactions.

      However, companies (irrespective of tax residency) operating in Singapore are taxed on income sourced in the country and foreign income when remitted to and received in Singapore.

      But, as the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) states:

      Companies that are Singapore tax residents can enjoy tax breaks on foreign income as follows:

      a. Upfront exemption or reduction in tax imposed on the foreign income, when foreign income is derived in a jurisdiction that has an Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) with Singapore;
      b. Tax exemption of specified foreign income such as foreign-sourced dividends, branch profits and service income; and
      c. Foreign tax credit for the taxes paid in the foreign jurisdiction against the Singapore tax payable on the same income.

      Singapore business competition
      • Highly competitive economy: Singapore is one of the most competitive economies in the world, ranking first in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region and fifth in the world for economic competitiveness by the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2021.
      • No foreign ownership restrictions: 100% of the shares of incorporated companies in Singapore can be owned by foreigners or foreign companies (except for broadcasting and domestic news media). There are no export tariffs and foreign exchange controls in Singapore, but there are import tariffs on:
        • intoxicating liquors;
        • tobacco products;
        • motor vehicles;
        • petroleum products; and
        • biodiesel blends.
      • Bilingual business communication: English is widely used in Singapore, making it easier for foreign investors to establish companies within the region.

      How to establish a company in Singapore

      Here is our step-by-step guide for how to register a business in Singapore:

      01 Choose a company type

      The two most common company types for businesses operating in Singapore are:

      1. Limited Liability Company: This entity type means that a business is set up as its own legal entity. Foreign investors often prefer this type because it offers limited liability for business owners. Companies can be limited by shares or by guarantee.
      2. Foreign Company Office: Foreign companies can register in Singapore as either a representative office or a branch office. Neither option creates a separate legal entity, however, so all liability extends to the parent company.

      02 Give your company a name

      Your company must avoid choosing a name that is:

      • the same as an existing business name already approved by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA);
      • undesirable ie., names which are vulgar, obscene or offensive; and
      • prohibited by order of the Minister for Finance.

      You can search the online business and company name register in Singapore, BizFile, to check if your preferred name is available.

      03 Set up your company structure

      Next, you need to determine the structure of your company per the following requirements:

      • Directors: a minimum of at least one person. One director needs to be a natural person (ie. an individual). Directors must be aged 18 years or older and be either:
        • a Singaporean citizen; or
        • permanent resident; or
        • a person with an Employment Pass; or
        • a person with an Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass).

      To satisfy your local director requirements in Singapore, we provide a nominee director service.

      • Shareholders: a minimum of at least one shareholder. 100% of shares can be foreign-owned.
      • Company secretary: a sole director must not act as the company secretary. To register a company in Singapore, you must appoint a natural person who lives in Singapore as a company secretary.

      We provide expert company secretarial services so that your company can meet all of its statutory obligations in Singapore.

      • Share capital: the minimum issued capital must be at least $SGD1.
      • Registered address: must be a physical address in Singapore, not a P.O. Box. If your business does not yet have local office space, professional service firms like BoardRoom can provide your company with a registered office location.

      04 Submit company registration application

      A foreigner looking to operate a business in Singapore that is venture-backed or owns innovative technologies is eligible to apply for an EntrePass. This will allow them to submit their application online through BizFile. However, foreigners without an EntrePass should consider engaging with the services of a registered filing agent, such as BoardRoom.

      05 Make other permit and business licence applications (if applicable)

      Depending on the type of business you operate, you may need to apply for other permits and business licences. Find more information about permits and licences here.

      how to open a business in singapore as a foreigner

      How to successfully open a business in Singapore

      While it can be complex, the process of opening a business in Singapore as a foreigner doesn’t have to be difficult. Our team of company incorporation experts at BoardRoom can guide you through every step of the incorporation journey to make it as smooth and seamless as possible.

      Not only can our team help you incorporate with ease, but we can also take care of your company secretarial needs.

      Speak to one of our specialists today to get started in setting up your business in Singapore.

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      Payroll Compliance: Keeping Abreast of the Evolving APAC Landscape for Global Organisations

      Payroll Compliance APAC

      Payroll Compliance: Keeping Abreast of the Evolving APAC Landscape for Global Organisations

      Payroll Compliance: Keeping Abreast of the Evolving APAC Landscape for Global Organisations

      Compliance is more than just a box-ticking exercise – it is the building block of credibility and reliability for organisations, particularly companies with a multinational presence who are subject to greater scrutiny.

      Our Payroll Associate Director, Prem, deep dives into the various strategies you can implement today that mitigate your risk of non-compliance when processing payroll across multiple jurisdictions.

      Key takeaways from the video includes:

      • What questions organisations should ask when assessing payroll outsourcing vendors to determine they are keeping up with changing regulatory landscapes.
      • How global organisations can stay up to date with evolving payroll needs.
      • Which countries in APAC have the most complicated employment requirements.

      Click here to play the video

      More about Prem

      Prem V. Kumar has over a decade of experience in payroll management across APAC.

      His expertise lies in organisation and he has a gift for breaking down the specific talents and roles needed to optimise the efficiency of payroll processing. As the Regional Payroll Associate Director, he is responsible for ensuring a seamless regional payroll processing experience for clients who operate across several jurisdictions.

      Some of the key projects that Prem was responsible for includes the end to end overseeing of a regional payroll project of over 12,000 headcounts. Today, he has cultivated a well-rounded regional payroll team who are responsible for some of our bigger clients.

      Are you interested in learning more about navigating through the complex payroll requirements in the APAC region? Reach out to our payroll experts today to learn more.

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