It is 10 o clock at night in South Africa
To all our clients all over the world. An open letter from a payroll company processing payrolls on behalf of clients in America, United Kingdom, Europe and India. We love working with you. We enjoy the interaction and the intercultural learning experience. It is fantastic to call people all over the world our clients. 10 years ago this would never have been possible. Unfortunately, it has it challenges.
I would like to share some insights of running a payroll with overseas partners. Don’t misunderstand me, it is not a moan session. This is a heads up, an eye opener and I hope an insight into a payroll company based in Cape Town, South Africa, coping with the requests from around the world. Here are 5 challenges we face regularly.
1) Time zones:
Time Zones do exist. When it is 7 am in India, it is 4 am in South Africa and 10 Pm in America. It is 2 am in England. We do work long hours and yes, we try to meet deadlines. But when you phone us at 2 pm your time from the USA and ask us if we can have it back to you by the close of business the same day, please understand that we are working way into our night to meet your deadline. (our clients will tell you that is what we do). So please be nice when you are dealing with service providers from another continent. We are working long hours to deliver.
2) Language and Culture:
We are different. We see things differently. We even have different words for the same thing. A trunk in America and a boot in England and South Africa mean the same thing. But a boot in America also means a boot in the rest of the world. When you communicate with us please understand that we do our best to interpret what you require. We are not trying to be difficult when we ask for clarification. For us Please and Thank You is a very important part of everyday business. If we sometimes forget under pressure and come across really business – like, forgive us. Our culture one of trying to deliver.
This is a sensitive one. Work needs to be done on time and accurately. We all understand that. There is also only so much we can do. When our Receiver of Revenue says 21 days turnaround time, then no matter what your expectations are, there is nothing we can do. Shouting at us and putting pressure on us to get an answer does not work. We do understand that in your part of the world that would be unacceptable and you would get an answer a lot quicker. Sometimes we cannot meet your expectation through no fault of our own. (our clients will tell you we do move mountains where we can).
It is a fact that infrastructure differs from country to country. Lightening fast internet is a given in certain countries. A postal system that works is another given. For a while a stable consistent electricity supply was a big challenge to South Africa. We all have different environments we are working in. We Know that a deadline is a deadline. But when the internet has gone down and you are working on a shaky 3G connection it takes a bit longer. A simple word of understanding sometimes goes a long way to keep us motivated to go that extra mile to make sure your accurate payroll is delivered on time.
5) Legal process.
As in your country, we too have laws that govern our payroll. We have laws for basic conditions of employment, we have minimum wages (depending on your industry) and tax laws that we need to apply to your payroll. At Paymaster we do not break the law. We will be legal and make sure all our clients are legal. Please understand when we say NO, we think that should not be done. We are only trying to look after your best interests.
Thank you for listening.