When it comes to considering the future of fintech and where the sector is headed in both the short and long term, one of the most influential and important voices beings to Eynat Guez, co-founder and CEO of Papaya Global.
In the years since it launched its platform in 2016, Papaya Global has completely transformed the world of global payroll and workforce management.
Created in order to streamline all of the processes associated with managing a global workforce, including onboarding, engaging freelancers, payroll and compliance, Papaya Global supports enterprises in a variety of ways, and has come to be seen as an essential tool when taking care of the needs of a diverse workforce who are based in multiple locations simultaneously.
Offering both an employer of record (EOR) and global payroll solution Papaya Global’s platform has been designed to enable companies of all sizes to more efficiently and cost effectively expand operations into new countries and territories
The fact that major international corporations (including Microsoft, Toyota and Shopify), SMEs and start-ups all use Papaya Global’s services highlights both the platform’s flexibility, and the fact that payroll technology is assuming ever-growing importance in an increasingly globalised world, where workforces are no longer located in the same country, let along the same building.
The Times spoke with Eynat Guez at the company’s headquarters in Israel in early 2023, in order to discuss both Papaya Global’s services and how they meet the needs of both employers and workers alike, as well as what development she expects to see in the world of fintech, and global payroll in particular.
How has the world of employment changed in the last few years?
It is clear that developments in technology, combined with changing attitudes to how we work, have meant that hiring the best global talent has become more of a reality even for startups and medium size enterprises, not just major corporations. It has also made it much more feasible to hire workers located in different cities, countries or continents simultaneously.
At the same time, for freelancers, independent contractors and others working in a range of (often digital) industries, this has also meant that there are more and more opportunities to work for a diverse range of enterprises, no matter where in the world they are based. National borders are no longer a barrier, either literal or metaphorical, and people increasingly want opportunities to work where they want, and when they want.
Accordingly, retaining the best freelance talent and employees has become increasingly challenging for employers, as a global labor market in effect means that there are so many worldwide opportunities open to them at any one time.
In addition, what can be termed the employee experience is increasingly being seen (by both parties) as just as important as the customer experience, marking a significant change in the way enterprises have hitherto tended to think in this area.
Is payroll technology the future of fintech?
The inherent challenges in managing a disparate workforce, plus the fact that freelancers and other remote workers increasingly demand a high degree of reliability, regularity and efficiency when it comes to payments (in lieu of the other communal benefits of working as part of a physical team offers), combine to create an environment where employee retention, both globally and locally, can at times be difficult for enterprises of all sizes.
Therefore, payroll technology is not only progressively removing the barriers to onboarding and managing diverse teams who are outside the realms of your home country, it also helps to facilitate and significantly enhance the employee experience — a key to retaining and maintaining the best team possible, especially in the case of freelancers and remote workers.
It needs to be borne in mind that what may be termed ‘fintech savvy’ employees and freelancers fully expect that their work is always properly compensated, payments are hassle free and made on time, every time, in the correct currency, deductions are made as required, and leave and PTO is efficiently managed.
Payroll tech facilitates all of this and more, across multiple locations simultaneously if required, and also enables employees and contractors alike to be paid using methods that are most convenient to them, rather than the company employing them.
It als ensures that employees and contractors are being paid properly and local labor laws are being complied with, without having to set up a dedicated HR team on the ground in every location where a company has workers.
What cross-border payroll services are you providing?
In response to the growing need for payroll tech to meet the needs of both organizations and workers based in different countries, Papaya Global is significantly expanding the range of cross-border payroll services that we provide.
As a result of our purchase of Azimo in 2022 and the subsequent acquiring of a money transfer license (unique among global payroll companies), we can now make payments to employees and contractors in around 160 countries across the world, usually within 72 hours and in many cases as little as 2 hours.
In addition, companies unison our payroll platform are able to ensure that they are compliant with regard to tax, benefits, and other deductions, irrespective of the jurisdiction in which they are operating, giving peace of mind to both employers and employees that workers are being properly classified and local labor laws are being adhered to.
Cross-border payroll is such an important part of our offer to clients, because not only do we work with companies all over the US, Europe and the Middle East, but our clients have head counts ranging from 500 to 50,000 or more, and so our cross-border payroll tech needs to be flexible and able to cope with as broad a range of international payments as possible.
In the future, we are also looking at ways of being able to partner with banks so that we can offer financial services to employees, and markets through their employers.
What will be the impact of your recent partnership with JP Morgan?
We have recently integrated JP Morgan’s payment processing products into our payroll tech, enhancing the security and visibility of our international global payroll services.
This partnership, along with our money transfer licensing arrangements, means that we will be able to deliver seamless, compliant, and secure international payroll payments significantly faster than other providers in the cross-border payments space, and all via one end-to-end platform.
In addition, this facility will also mean that Papaya Global is the only provider in the global payroll sector that is able to offer insourced international payroll payments. This will undoubtedly improve the employee experience in terms of the speed, regularity, and visibility of the payments to which they are entitled.
What kind of financial services for employees are you planning on being able to provide?
Our acquisition of Azimo and our partnership with JP Morgan opens up a range of exciting opportunities to provide financial services to employees, wherever in the world they are based.
For instance, we are anticipating being able to offer a range of cheaper financial products for workers as a result of their leveraging balance sheet liabilities, such as paid time off or severance payments, enabling them to secure borrowing at lower rates than might otherwise be accessible. Enabling payments in an individual’s choice of currency could also mean there are opportunities for them to capitalize on currency fluctuations.
We are also anticipating being able to deliver payments in a variety of different ways, such as to digital wallets or in the form of digital assets, as a means of giving workers greater choice and flexibility, which can be especially important for workers in countries where there may potentially be liquidity issues.
Pay on demand, where remote workers and/or contractors can gain access to wages early rather than adhering strictly to (usually monthly) pay cycles, will not only be more convenient for workers, but is also a means of ensuring remote workers and freelancers, in particular, are not having to obtain expensive credit while they wait for an extended period to be paid.