Why Singapore is becoming a payroll-processing hub for ASEAN firms Why Singapore is becoming a payroll-processing hub for ASEAN firms

Why Singapore is becoming a payroll-processing hub for ASEAN firms
18 Apr 2018

Located in the heart of Southeast Asia, Singapore is an attractive destination to centralise payroll processing and regional HR functions for those employers keen to either enter one of the Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) markets or expand their current operations.

The city-state has good connections with the other ASEAN member states and offers digital and communications infrastructure that equals global standards. The high number of regional company headquarters already based there makes it an even more attractive destination. 

In addition, the country’s unique history makes it well-equipped to maneuver the very different cultures of Southeast Asia, Europe, and North America – an important skill when teams are required to collect information from offices in Asia and communicate it to regional and overseas headquarters.

The Singapore advantage

Singapore’s bustling seaport and airport offer efficient and reliable transport links throughout Southeast Asia. The city-state’s location means it is never more than an hour and a half ahead or behind other ASEAN member states, which makes same-day communication practical between regional staff and offices elsewhere. 

Strong ASEAN links

Singapore has a history of facilitating cross-cultural trade and commerce. A former British colony, the island-republic has served as an important trading hub for much of Southeast Asia for many years. Its seaport is the second busiest in the world.

Most residents are bilingual in at least two of the country’s four official languages: Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, and English.

Moreover, regional proximity and strong business and political relations with its neighbors lend local companies a deeper understanding of the legal and regulatory landscapes of other ASEAN states. This means that professionals generally have an in-depth knowledge of regulations across the region.

Technological benefits

As a key Southeast Asian business and technology hub, Singapore has the best digital connectivity of all the ASEAN states. It also has robust cyber-security laws in place, reliable digital infrastructure as well as a technically-proficient labour pool. This makes it less likely that personal information will be stolen or lost. 

English as the language of business

English is the main language of the workplace, and having a payroll team fluent in it makes communication with head offices based outside of ASEAN states easier. It also makes it easier for foreign managers to follow paper trails in the case of disputes or discrepancies, all of which can save companies money in the long-run.

Efficient business environment

Although labour costs are typically higher in Singapore than in other ASEAN states, the investment tends to pay off. The country boasts world-renowned universities and business centres. It has a competent, highly-skilled workforce with an international perspective, which meets global standards in terms of quality and reliability.

Moreover, it is one of the most stable regimes in Southeast Asia. Singapore’s business-friendly regulatory landscape is also based on transparency, which means the government is unlikely to start enacting laws that create difficulty or confusion when processing a foreign company’s payroll.

 

Editor: Bradley Dunseith, editor, Dezan Shira & Associates.

This article was first published on ASEAN Briefing

Since its establishment in 1992, Dezan Shira & Associates has been guiding foreign clients through Asia’s complex regulatory environment and assisting them with all aspects of legal, accounting, tax, internal control, HR, payroll and audit matters. As a full-service consultancy with operational offices across China, Hong Kong, India and ASEAN, we are your reliable partner for business expansion in this region and beyond. For inquiries, please email us at info@dezshira.com. Further information about our firm can be found at: www.dezshira.com.

 

Located in the heart of Southeast Asia, Singapore is an attractive destination to centralise payroll processing and regional HR functions for those employers keen to either enter one of the Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) markets or expand their current operations.

The city-state has good connections with the other ASEAN member states and offers digital and communications infrastructure that equals global standards. The high number of regional company headquarters already based there makes it an even more attractive destination. 

In addition, the country’s unique history makes it well-equipped to maneuver the very different cultures of Southeast Asia, Europe, and North America – an important skill when teams are required to collect information from offices in Asia and communicate it to regional and overseas headquarters.

The Singapore advantage

Singapore’s bustling seaport and airport offer efficient and reliable transport links throughout Southeast Asia. The city-state’s location means it is never more than an hour and a half ahead or behind other ASEAN member states, which makes same-day communication practical between regional staff and offices elsewhere. 

Strong ASEAN links

Singapore has a history of facilitating cross-cultural trade and commerce. A former British colony, the island-republic has served as an important trading hub for much of Southeast Asia for many years. Its seaport is the second busiest in the world.

Most residents are bilingual in at least two of the country’s four official languages: Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, and English.

Moreover, regional proximity and strong business and political relations with its neighbors lend local companies a deeper understanding of the legal and regulatory landscapes of other ASEAN states. This means that professionals generally have an in-depth knowledge of regulations across the region.

Technological benefits

As a key Southeast Asian business and technology hub, Singapore has the best digital connectivity of all the ASEAN states. It also has robust cyber-security laws in place, reliable digital infrastructure as well as a technically-proficient labour pool. This makes it less likely that personal information will be stolen or lost. 

English as the language of business

English is the main language of the workplace, and having a payroll team fluent in it makes communication with head offices based outside of ASEAN states easier. It also makes it easier for foreign managers to follow paper trails in the case of disputes or discrepancies, all of which can save companies money in the long-run.

Efficient business environment

Although labour costs are typically higher in Singapore than in other ASEAN states, the investment tends to pay off. The country boasts world-renowned universities and business centres. It has a competent, highly-skilled workforce with an international perspective, which meets global standards in terms of quality and reliability.

Moreover, it is one of the most stable regimes in Southeast Asia. Singapore’s business-friendly regulatory landscape is also based on transparency, which means the government is unlikely to start enacting laws that create difficulty or confusion when processing a foreign company’s payroll.

 

Editor: Bradley Dunseith, editor, Dezan Shira & Associates.

This article was first published on ASEAN Briefing

Since its establishment in 1992, Dezan Shira & Associates has been guiding foreign clients through Asia’s complex regulatory environment and assisting them with all aspects of legal, accounting, tax, internal control, HR, payroll and audit matters. As a full-service consultancy with operational offices across China, Hong Kong, India and ASEAN, we are your reliable partner for business expansion in this region and beyond. For inquiries, please email us at info@dezshira.com. Further information about our firm can be found at: www.dezshira.com.