Business in Africa has never been better due to a slew of new investment opportunities on the continent, and companies around the globe are eyeing Africa as an attractive prospect to grow their businesses into new markets.
A report by Deloitte revealed that the African economy is expected to grow by 7.7 per cent annually, between 2014 and 2019, roughly double the rate of advanced economies.
“However, expanding any business into a foreign country isn’t easy, and nowhere is this truer than in Africa,” says Sandra Crous, Managing Director of payroll and human capital management software, PaySpace. “Bear in mind that there are 54 countries in Africa, each of which has a unique set of rules and regulations, governmental channels, languages and cultural nuances.”
She says it is critical for any organisation to adhere to local legislation and to set up its expanding offices in line with the law of each country it operates in. “And then of course, they need to keep up-to-date with any changes. Many businesses don’t realise that local laws are updated frequently, and companies can be charged with non-compliance if they don’t make the required amendments in a timely fashion.”
Between multiple sets of rules for each region, regular amendments to these rules, changes in culture and language differences - it’s easy to see why many people feel that maintaining compliance is a daunting prospect, particularly when it comes to payroll legislation in a foreign country, she explains.
“Moreover, important statutory requirements aren’t always readily available. In fact, in some countries, there are only hard copies that can be found at regional offices. Others are more advanced, with digital infrastructures meaning that some information might be available online, but either way, it is not easy to come by, or straightforward to interpret, and making incorrect assumptions can cause major headaches for any business.”
She says some businesses choose to bring a service provider on board, who can help them overcome these challenges in each new country. “Unfortunately, more often than not, each provider will focus their support on a specific region and won’t offer a solution that covers multiple countries or regions simultaneously. The amount of red tape and administration that needs to be overcome can be a nightmare, so ideally, businesses need a single solution that can handle compliance across the board, and irrespective of where in Africa the company is situated.”
This, says Crous, is where PaySpace fits in. “PaySpace Payroll & HR offers local or expatriate multi-country, multi-currency and multi-language payroll solutions to more than 40 African countries. The software offers customers a 100% true cloud payroll and human capital management system with built-in, up-to-date, country-specific legislation and compliance.”
She says it doesn’t matter whether payroll is processed from one, central location, from decentralised offices or is completely outsourced to PaySpace, the software is accessible to all users who have internet access and a browser, via any device, making compliance in Africa child’s play.
Should the local decentralised offices decide to process payroll themselves, head office will still maintain complete transparency and report capability via direct access to the system. “Payroll processing at head office level also enables local users to draw reports for review purposes and capture Payroll input from any office,” says Crous.
To ensure payroll compliance you need to have access to the most up-to-date, relevant information in each country of operation. The PaySpace solution offers automated maintenance of country-specific legislative rules, as well as country-specific legislative reports, which are available as standard delivered reports.
“Our solution features advanced expatriate functionality, and tax management reporting of Year to Dates (YTD’s) for home country tax purposes. It offers a single company, multi-currency options, and self-service which enables employees can access their information at any time on the device of their choice.”
“While opening a new office in a different country is very exciting, it can be a challenging process too. To make sure that your organisation’s African expansion is hassle-free and rewarding, having a solution that deals with all these compliance headaches when it comes to human resources, payroll and tax, is essential,” concludes Crous.