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.


    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.


      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.

      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.

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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:


      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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      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


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


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

      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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      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 experts today to learn more about our payroll services.

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      Payroll Process: Setting your HR Team Up for Success

      Payroll processing

      Payroll Process: Setting your HR Team Up for Success

      Payroll Process: Setting your HR Team Up for Success

      Numerous studies have proven that a continuous delay in employee’s salary distribution can impact their job satisfaction. That’s why timely payments are vital in maintaining good workforce morale and can decrease turnover rates in many organisations.

      However, it’s no easy feat to keep payroll running efficiently whilst ensuring that precision is not sacrificed for prompt salary disbursements. While achieving a zero margin of error is not possible, there are still some ways that payroll processes can be enhanced to reduce the likelihood of miscalculations.

      Watch the video below where our payroll expert, Prem, Regional Payroll Associate Director, shares with us tips on how organisations can process their payroll with a low margin of error.

      Click here to play 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.

      Speak to our payroll experts today to find out how BoardRoom can enhance your payroll processing.

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      Payroll process steps in Singapore: your questions answered

      payroll process steps

      Payroll process steps in Singapore: your questions answered

      The payroll process steps in Singapore: your questions answered

      Small payroll errors can have massive repercussions in Singapore, including expensive fines, reputational damage and employee dissatisfaction. That’s why knowing the payroll process steps and understanding payroll compliance obligations is critical to operating successfully in the country.

      To help your company stay compliant, our team of payroll experts have answered your most pressing payroll process questions.

      1. What information do I need for payroll in Singapore?

      To set up employees on your company’s payroll in Singapore, you need their:

      • full name;
      • date of birth;
      • date hired;
      • immigration status;
      • identification number;
      • current job start date;
      • pay frequency;
      • pay currency;
      • pay amount;
      • self-help group contribution status;
      • payment method; and
      • bank account details.

      2. What are the working conditions and wage requirements in Singapore?

      • Working hours: employees in Singapore work either:
        • a nine-hour workday with an average working week of no longer than 44 hours, and (most commonly) two days off per week; or
        • an eight-hour workday, working six days a week.
      • Pay cycles: salaries in Singapore are typically paid monthly.
      • Minimum wages: there is no minimum wage in Singapore. Salaries are negotiated and mutually agreed upon by employees and employers.
      • Overtime, rest day and holiday pay rates: overtime is paid at 1.5 times the employee’s hourly basic rate of pay. This rate is capped at the salary level of $2,600 or an hourly rate of $13.60 (excluding manual labourers).

      Employees can work up to 72 hours of overtime per month. Rest days and public holiday pay rates vary depending on several factors outlined here.


      wage requirement in Singapore

      3. What are the holiday and leave requirements for payroll?

      • Paid holidays: there are 11 gazetted public holidays per year.
      • Annual leave entitlements: employees are entitled to between 7-14 days of paid annual leave, depending on their length of service with the company.
      • Sick leave entitlements: employees are entitled to between 5-14 days of paid outpatient sick leave and 15-60 days of paid hospitalisation sick leave, depending on their length of service with the company.
      • Maternity leave entitlements: new mothers are entitled to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave if:
        • their child is a Singaporean citizen;
        • they have previously worked for the employer for three continuous months before the birth; and
        • they have given their employer at least one week’s notice before going on maternity leave.

      Employers can submit reimbursement claims to the government under the Government-Paid Maternity Leave Scheme.

      • Paternity leave: government-paid paternity leave of two weeks is available for employees if:
        • their child is a Singaporean citizen;
        • they have previously worked for the employer for three continuous months before the birth; and
        • they are or had been lawfully married to the child’s mother between conception and birth.
      • Childcare leave entitlements: parents of Singaporean citizens are entitled to six days of paid childcare leave per year. Parents of non-Singaporean citizens are entitled to up to two days of paid childcare leave per year. However, to be eligible:
        • their youngest child must be under seven years of age; and
        • the parents must have been working with their employer for at least three continuous months.

      Employers will pay the first three days, and the government pays for the remaining three days.

      • Unpaid infant care leave entitlements: parents of Singaporean citizens are entitled to six days of unpaid infant care leave per year. However, to be eligible:
        • their child must be under two years of age; and
        • the parents must have been working with their employer for at least three continuous months.
      • Other non-compulsory leave types: Employees can also apply for the following optional leave types. They are not statutory requirements but subject to employer approval:
        • marriage leave: typically three days paid leave per year
        • compassionate leave: typically two to three days of paid leave per year
        • birthday leave: one day of paid leave per year
        • exam leave: typically two days of leave per subject
        • eldercare leave: at the discretion of employers. Public service agencies currently offer two days of paid parental care leave per year.

      4. What social security and statutory contributions must employers make?

      • Central Provident Fund (CPF): employers and most employees (Singaporean citizens or permanent residents only) must contribute to the CPF retirement benefits scheme.

      The CPF contribution rate for employees varies depending on their monthly salary, whereas the employer contribution rate for employees aged up to 55 years is 17%.

      • Self-Help Group (SHG) Funds: these are voluntary employee contributions to less privileged and low-income households of the communities that each employee is a part of. There are four SHG funds:
        • Chinese Development Assistance Council Fund (CDAC);
        • Eurasian Community Fund (ECF);
        • Mosque Building and Mendaki Fund (MBMF); and
        • Singapore Indian Development Association Fund (SINDA).

      Employers deduct the SHG contributions from employee wages. The contribution rates vary per fund but range from $0.50–$30 per month.

      • Skills Development Levy (SDL): employers are required to contribute SDL for all their employees (irrespective of their immigration status) up to the first $4,500 of each employee’s total monthly wages.

      The levy rate for SDL is 0.25% or a minimum of $2 (for total wages of $800 or less). This supports training and workforce upgrade programs.

      • Foreign Worker Levy (FWL): this levy applies to foreign workers with a Work Permit or S Pass Holders. It does not apply to employees under Employment Pass (EP).

      The FWL rate varies depending on:

        • industry type;
        • whether the employee has a Work Permit or an S Pass;
        • employee skill level; and
        • the number of foreign workers employed within the company.

      More information on the FWL is available here.


      Social Security Payroll

      5. Are payslips mandatory in Singapore?

      Yes. According to the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore, “employers must issue itemised payslips to all employees covered by the Employment Act.”

      6. Is ‘13th month pay’ mandatory in Singapore?

      No. 13th month pay is not mandatory in Singapore, but it is the cultural business norm.

      7. Do all employees have to be on payroll?

      All employees covered by the Employment Act must have payslips; therefore, they must all be on payroll.

      8. Can I do payroll myself?

      Of course. However, the process is a lot easier, simpler and more accurate when you outsource payroll to a specialist provider like BoardRoom.

      9. Do employers pay taxes on payroll?

      Employers in Singapore are not required to withhold taxes from an employee’s salary. However, employers must withhold tax for foreign workers for at least one month if they cease working in Singapore, or if they leave Singapore for longer than three months.As discussed above, employers must also make social security and statutory contributions for their employees.

      In addition, many employers also offer some form of private health insurance for their employees. While this is not mandatory it is a cultural business norm in Singapore.

      Singapore Payroll

      Want expert help in processing your company’s payroll in Singapore?

      As you can see from the information above, many complexities surround the payroll process steps in Singapore. This makes it extremely challenging for companies with offices in the country to remain compliant.

      Moreover, payroll compliance regulations change frequently, so staying up to date can be complicated and time-consuming, especially if your company has a high-volume payroll.

      We can help you to create an efficient, accurate and compliant payroll process.

      Speak to our specialist team today to organise a free payroll health check and find out how to reduce payroll costs and compliance risks for your company.

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      Boost employee satisfaction with an HRMS payroll solution

      Boost employee satisfaction with an HRMS payroll solution

      How the right HRMS payroll solution can increase employee satisfaction and boost HR efficiency

      Time is a finite resource. As a busy Human Resources (HR) manager, you know this better than most. It may well be the reason you’re reading this article right now. You’re looking for solutions to reduce your team’s administrative burden so they can focus on improving employee satisfaction.

      Adopting a payroll solution with an integrated Human Resources Management Software (HRMS) platform is one way to make this happen. Although, given how busy you and your team are, you may think that you simply don’t have the time to upgrade or change your HRMS.

      The good news is that engaging an outsourced payroll partner can make the process seamless.

      How? Let’s break it down.

      The payroll challenges you are facing

      At the moment, you might be working with a legacy payroll system that’s not flexible enough to do what you need it to do quickly and effectively. This makes it challenging to:

      • generate reports from data across payroll and HR;
      • easily sync your current system with other platforms and apps;
      • meet the current demands of employees if your system doesn’t have mobile capabilities;
      • access and store data from a system that is not fully integrated across key HR and payroll modules such as time and attendance, leave and claims; and
      • process multi-country pay runs.

      As a result, your HR team could be:

      • taking longer to process payroll because of having to do manual calculations or reconciliation;
      • overwhelmed by servicing employee requests while trying to juggle payroll support and processing; and
      • spending too much time generating individual reports specific to each non-integrated system. The information in delayed reports may become irrelevant which reduces reporting accuracy.
      Outsource payroll in Singapore

      How an overall payroll solution with the right people, systems and processes can help

      Payroll difficulties can be easily overcome by adopting an overall payroll solution that combines the right people, systems and processes. What do we mean by this?

      By outsourcing payroll to the right people, you’ll have a team of experts by your side, like our specialists here at BoardRoom, who can take care of all aspects of payroll for you. But, you also need to have the right systems and processes in place to manage payroll efficiently and effectively. That’s why outsourcing to a professional payroll outsourcing provider with an integrated HRMS payroll platform, such as BoardRoom, offers a fundamental solution to any payroll problems you might be encountering.

      More specifically the right payroll solution can help you and your team to:

      01 Save time with employee self-service functions

      Imagine how much time your HR team would save if employees could check their own leave balances, access payslips and update their own personal information on a mobile app using employee self-service (ESS) functions.

      Not only can ESS functions increase HR efficiency, but they can also improve employee satisfaction. Managers can easily sign-off on their team members’ timesheets and leave requests. Staff can avoid the inconvenience of having to contact HR team members to perform simple actions like submitting timesheets, claims and leave requests or accessing payslips and rosters. It also means that staff can receive timely, detailed advice from HR teams when they have more complicated and complex requests.

      02 Make reporting quicker and easier for better decision-making

      Without the right payroll solution, generating reports that combine payroll and HR data is time-consuming. For example, to create a report on employee salary and rewards, you might have to hunt down the information you need from:

      • different systems;
      • Microsoft Excel spreadsheets;
      • databases; or even
      • individual emails.

      In contrast, a good payroll solution means all of your regular reporting is taken care of by a team of payroll experts. Plus, any ad-hoc reports you need can be generated at the click of a button.

      Beyond this, securely storing all of your HR and payroll data in one platform with the same outsourcing provider makes it quicker and easier for your team to generate reports based on the most up-to-date information, enabling them to make more effective decisions, faster.

      Better yet, your team can use the time they once spent generating reports to now focus their efforts on what really matters, such as increasing employee satisfaction.

      03 Process multi-country pay runs accurately and efficiently

      In the APAC Region, payroll regulations are complex and frequently change. It’s hard enough for even the most experienced HR teams to stay up-to-date with the payroll regulations of one country, let alone those of multiple countries. Combine that with a legacy payroll system that makes adjusting payroll formulas and data inputs for each nation’s unique regulations difficult, it’s easy to see the benefits of a good payroll solution.

      An overall payroll solution with the right people, systems and processes minimises your exposure to these compliance and regulatory risks. It means that an experienced and knowledgeable team takes care of payroll compliance for you. This includes updating payroll formulas correctly into an advanced HRMS software solution that has the capability to easily process multi-country pay runs.

      Looking for an outsourced payroll partner with an all-in-one, integrated HRMS payroll solution?

      When coupled with an expert outsourced payroll provider like BoardRoom, our integrated, cloud-based HRMS payroll solution, Ignite becomes even more powerful.

      Our superior payroll solution combines the right people, systems and processes to empower your employees, reduce your administrative burden and ultimately increase HR team efficiency by:

      • eliminating the need for multiple payroll systems;
      • providing unparalleled reporting for better decision making; and
      • processing accurate multi-country pay runs for you to maintain compliance.
      All-in-one HRMS System Ignite
      All-in-one HRMS Solution, Ignite

      Speak to our team of payroll experts today about how we can meet your company’s specific payroll needs.

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      Outsourcing payroll improves HR efficiency and reduces costs

      Payroll efficiency

      Outsourcing payroll improves HR efficiency and reduces costs

      How outsourcing payroll can improve HR efficiency and reduce costs

      As a Human Resources (HR) manager, you want your team to focus on strategic HR imperatives, not back-office administrative tasks. But all too often, your team has to spend precious hours on time-consuming jobs like processing payroll instead of focusing on strategic priorities like employee engagement or talent management.

      If your HR team is already stretched to the limit, managing payroll can be even more of a 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 to generate costly fines or lawsuits for your company because of a simple payroll mistake.

      The solution for many companies in Singapore and the APAC Region has been to outsource their payroll.

      Let’s look at how outsourcing payroll could improve HR efficiency while also reducing costs.

      Save valuable time while preventing costly compliance errors

      HR team responsibilities have grown significantly in recent years from day-to-day personnel management and administrative tasks to now delivering key company objectives. In between scheduling interviews, running performance appraisals, and processing payroll, HR professionals can struggle to find the time for core strategic imperatives.

      This means essential but non-urgent goals like strengthening company culture and employee experience often suffer. It’s no wonder that many HR teams are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. And when HR teams are overstretched, payroll errors may happen.

      Small payroll mistakes can have big consequences for your company, including:

      • Costly non-compliance fines and even employer jail time: as just one example, employers in Singapore who fail to pay Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions for their employees correctly and promptly can be taken to court. If they’re convicted of late CPF payment offences, employers face up to $5,000 in fines per offence and up to six months’ imprisonment for a first offence.
      • Reputational damage: payroll errors can generate negative publicity for your company, resulting in distrust from both clients and investors. In turn, this can reduce profits and lower the value of your company.
      • Employee dissatisfaction: getting paid correctly and on time is a basic expectation for every employee. Repeated payroll errors can lead to employee dissatisfaction, which can ultimately reduce productivity and increase staff turnover.

      Payroll outsourcing vendor

      In the APAC Region, payroll regulations are complex and change frequently, making it more difficult for HR teams to stay up-to-date. If your company also operates within multiple countries, payroll compliance becomes more difficult as your team needs to stay abreast of each nation’s unique regulations.

      Outsourcing payroll frees up the time your HR team previously spent attempting to keep up with changing compliance regulations and doing tedious, repetitive payroll processing tasks. It gives them the capacity to properly concentrate on core strategic activities that add more value to the business.

      Enhance productivity by streamlining processes and making data analysis easier

      Expert payroll outsourcing vendors use advanced, all-in-one Human Resource Management System (HRMS) solutions to automate and streamline payroll processing. This eliminates the need for manual calculations or data input, which can significantly increase the speed and accuracy of your pay runs.

      More streamlined payroll processes also enhance productivity by enabling your HR team to spend their time and energy on core strategic business activities. Beyond this, your company would no longer need to purchase the latest HRMS software upgrade or maintain the cloud security to support it – generating yet more savings.

      Additionally, outsourcing payroll can improve HR efficiency by making data easier to analyse. Different types of advanced HRMS software used by payroll outsourcing vendors can provide unparalleled reporting capabilities and workforce visibility. Detailed reports can be generated at the click of a button, providing business insights faster and more easily. Armed with these insights, your team can make better strategic decisions for your company.

      All-in-one HRMS System Ignite
      All-in-one HRMS Platform, Ignite

      Access to a team of experts without the salary costs

      Finally, outsourcing to an expert payroll service provider gives your company access to a pool of HR knowledge specialists without the expense of retaining them in-house. Our team of payroll experts here at BoardRoom have worked across multiple industries, and in multiple countries and situations, which means they can:

      • guide you on best practices;
      • identify key risks and potential problems, and provide practical solutions that save your team time and resources;
      • ensure your company remains up-to-date and fully compliant with all relevant payroll regulations; and
      • provide regular reports and valuable insights for your business.

      Not only that, but you can also take advantage of the wealth of knowledge that our team of professionals at BoardRoom have across a range of business disciplines, including:

      Our centralised services enable you to receive assistance in multiple fields while streamlining your outsourcing processes.

      "Outsourcing payroll makes sense"

      If your HR team is feeling the pressure to do more with less, now is the time to consider outsourcing payroll.

      Our team of payroll experts at BoardRoom can take care of payroll for you, freeing up your team to refocus on delivering strategic HR imperatives like strengthening company culture and increasing employee engagement. Essentially, this means increasing your HR team’s efficiency, while reducing costs as outlined above.

      That’s why outsourcing payroll makes sense for so many companies in Singapore and the APAC Region. Speak to our payroll specialists today about how to outsource payroll services for your company.

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      How to test a payroll system vendor’s compliance-readiness

      Payroll system

      How to test a payroll system vendor’s compliance-readiness

      2 Essential Questions to Test your Payroll Outsourcing Vendor’s Compliance-Readiness

      Most HR professionals know not to overlook the quiet achievers in their company. These are the industrious individuals who consistently deliver quality work on time without demanding your attention. So often, it’s not until they’ve left the company that you realise their value.

      The same is true when it comes to smooth, seamless payroll processing. Usually, payroll is the quiet achiever of HR and finance departments, but when things go wrong, the whole company suffers. Payroll errors can result in hefty non-compliance fines, reputational damage or employee dissatisfaction.

      That’s why it’s vital to evaluate payroll outsourcing vendors on all of the qualities needed to efficiently process a compliant pay run. It’s especially important to assess how well they stay up to date with the ever-changing payroll compliance requirements in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

      To help you decide on the best payroll outsourcing vendor for your company, we’ve outlined some of the key considerations relevant to payroll in the APAC region. We’ve also introduced two must-ask questions to test vendors on how compliance-ready their payroll management really is.

      Payroll compliance challenges in the APAC region

      The APAC region is a dynamic, fast-paced environment to do business in. Labour and tax laws are constantly evolving which makes staying compliant more difficult.

      Adding to the challenge is that many APAC countries have at least four regulatory bodies that influence payroll processing rules.

      So you might think that you’ve updated your payroll system to factor in all of the recent tax, insurance, wage and pension legislation changes. Then you discover that an extra governing body (perhaps one you weren’t even aware of) just changed its employee record-keeping requirements. It’s enough to give anyone a headache.

      Finally, add to this the APAC region’s extra layer of payroll complexity in the form of cultural business norms. While these customary norms aren’t legal requirements, you might find it difficult to source and retain talent if your HR department fails to meet them. For example, it’s common in Singapore payroll processing to include ‘13th-month pay’ – a single annual payment on top of an employee’s total annual wage. Again, this payment isn’t mandatory, but it is the cultural norm.

      Payroll Singapore

      Another cultural norm is to bring pay run dates forward for significant holiday periods. For example, a company might have a regular pay date on the 25th of every month. In one year, however, Chinese New Year (also known as Lunar New Year) might fall on the 20th. In this case, a company will typically bring forward their pay run to an earlier date – for example, the 18th of that month.

      Without the right processes, it can be easy to miss both important cultural and regulatory payroll requirements. It can also be easy to make mistakes in translating written legislative changes into a formula that your payroll system understands.

      That’s why it’s crucial to ask two questions as you evaluate the compliance-readiness of any payroll outsourcing vendor.

      01 What’s the vendor’s relationship with local authorities, and how do they maintain it?

      When it comes to evaluating payroll outsourcing vendors, understanding the vendor’s familiarity with existing local payroll compliance rules is fundamental.

      Every country has its own quirks and nuances. For example, part of payroll tax compliance in Australia involves withholding personal income tax from employees at source via payroll throughout the year. In contrast, employees in Singapore are responsible for filing and paying their personal income tax directly to tax authorities at the end of the year.

      While it’s obviously essential for an outsourcing vendor to understand current compliance requirements, vendor evaluations all too often stop there without questioning compliance abilities any further.

      Given the state of flux and complexity surrounding payroll regulations across the region, evaluators need a more accurate view of a vendor’s competency. They need to know how vendors stay up to date with changing payroll compliance requirements.

      As you evaluate a vendor, ask them how they connect with local authorities to get updates on statutory changes that impact payroll. You want to understand their exact process for getting accurate, timely updates from all relevant authorities. You also want to understand how they communicate these changes to their staff.

      A working knowledge of present compliance is one thing. A thorough process to stay on top of payroll updates and then translate them into accurate formulas for payroll systems is something else. And the latter can be the difference between a mediocre vendor and an excellent one. You want to work with a vendor who not only ensures that your company is compliant, but that it stays that way too.

      02 How has the vendor dealt with previous non-compliance matters?

      Everybody makes mistakes. It’s part of life. The best payroll outsourcing vendors are the ones who are happy to talk about any mistakes they’ve made and the lessons they’ve learned. You want transparency and honesty, because you’ll need both qualities if either they or your company makes a mistake.

      Ask vendors how they’ve handled any statutory non-compliance in the past, and what the implications were for their client’s company. Experienced vendors will be willing to talk openly about this with you.

      For example, there may have been a situation where tax was underpaid or overpaid. Let the vendor explain their process for addressing non-compliance issues, including:

      • when they first discovered the problem;
      • who they spoke to;
      • what remedies they applied; and
      • what measures they put in place to ensure that it wouldn’t happen again.
      Payroll Tax Compliance
      Choosing a compliance-ready payroll outsourcing vendor

      Payroll compliance can be challenging for inexperienced outsourcing vendors in the APAC region for several reasons:

      1. Regulatory changes that affect payroll happen at break-neck speed.
      2. At least four different authorities per country make these changes.
      3. You need to factor in cultural business norms, not only to create successful, compliant pay runs but to attract and retain future talent.

      This means it’s critical to quiz vendors on more than just their working knowledge of payroll compliance requirements. You also need to ask them about how well they understand local, cultural business norms, and how they stay up to date with, and then implement, any regulatory changes.

      Learn more in our video on the evolving payroll compliance landscape in the APAC region.

      Finally, when outsourcing something as sensitive as payroll, you want to work with sincere, transparent, open vendors who will tell you if something is wrong. Ask them about any mistakes they’ve made and the lessons they’ve learned.

      If you’re looking to change vendors or are worried about payroll compliance in the APAC region, get in touch with our payroll solutions experts today.

      They can help you to ensure your payroll management complies with all relevant legislation and customs in the areas in which you do business.

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      Why your Business Needs a Payroll Health Check

      Why your Business Needs a Payroll Health Check

      Why your Business Needs a Payroll Health Check

      Why your Business Needs a Payroll Health Check

      Just like human beings, businesses require regular check-ups on their processes and systems to ensure that any potential risks are promptly dealt with before any issues escalate. One such system prone to going unchecked is payroll. A regular payroll health check helps to identify and prevent the possible risks that can be resolved before they become a serious problem.

      Payroll is the backbone to most companies: essential yet unnoticed, often overshadowed by revenue-generating operational and business units. Generally, low efficiency of payroll can divert precious resources in a business. This can result in the Human Resources (“HR”) department appearing as a cost centre when in reality, an efficient HR team can value add much more to a company’s growth.

      We’ll explore how payroll inefficiency can cost businesses and why a health check of current systems can assist in more efficient business planning.

      Effects of Payroll Inefficiency

      As a business, payroll processes are often determined and then untouched for years, the mindset of “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” can be prevalent. In addition to this, many companies use legacy payroll systems that don’t offer the wealth of benefits technology has enabled in this space. However, as companies continue to grow and mature, what works for a small business is not necessarily suitable for larger organisations, or for those who are expanding overseas.

      Some pain points of payroll that might surface as a company grows are:

      • Resource Strain – Time and talent are wasted on tedious administrative tasks instead of business generating activities such as talent management, employee engagement and strategic planning. As the business grows, the resulting increase in administrative tasks can lead to a greater burden on the HR team.
      • Compliance Risks Leading to Potential Penalties – Constantly evolving and vast differences in rules between countries can result in the difficulty of complying with legal requirements. For example; in multi-state countries like China, there are distinct sets of laws governing wage, employee tax and insurance that are specific to the respective province. HR teams need to have an in-depth awareness of the various regulation differences per state and stay up to date with the changes. This can cause an increase in workload and open your company up to risk for non-compliance.
      • Inconsistency of Reporting – Different countries might use diverse templates which could lead to unnecessary frustrations when analysing data across various offices.

      A prompt & regular payroll health check could uncover if your current practices are costing your business valuable time and resources.

      Benefits of a Payroll Health check

      A payroll health check is an assessment that should ideally be conducted by independent payroll experts to identify key risks and potential problems in a company’s payroll practices.

      A professionally executed payroll health check can help to:

      • Garner an independent assessment on how your payroll can be better managed
      • Analyse what your business’s payroll is costing your company
      • Identify a high-level payroll process flow
      • Ascertain the payroll issues exposing your business to risk
      • Tailor payroll solutions to your specific needs
      • Address your concerns about payroll

      Like any other health check-ups, delaying them will make the recovery process longer and more painful than necessary. Catch any risks early and engage a payroll health check right now!

      BoardRoom is currently running a 100% FREE health check to help you maximise the efficiency of your payroll, sign up here now for this exclusive offer before it expires!

      BoardRoom offers payroll services to businesses in Singapore in beyond to ensure your processes are optimally set up.

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