Michael Chevalier: Payrolling by numbers Michael Chevalier: Payrolling by numbers

Michael Chevalier: Payrolling by numbers
03 Jan 2018

Payroll and HR software company Nmbrs - deliberately spelt without the U and E - currently services around 70,000 businesses and pays approximately 313,000 employees a month with their software. CEO and founder, Michiel Chevalier, talks to Dawn Gay about the latest developments in the Netherlands and Sweden

Tell Purely Global readers how the Nmbrs story began…

When I started my company in 2003, it was an HR and payroll processing company. We wanted to keep up with the latest state of the art software that was available. In 2008/9, we started building our own web-based payroll solutions and converted our company from a processing and advisory company to a real software company. It was a big transaction because we really wanted to focus on building software for our business customers and other payroll providing companies, like accountants and specialised payroll processing companies.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the Nmbrs software?

We have a software tool that can service a company, its employees and HR and payroll processes, so they can calculate payslips and get information on contracts. There’s a leave of absence module, so it’s really an HR payroll system, but the beauty of it is that payroll professionals can provide services on this programme and all the payroll and HR settings can be managed at a global level.

Is it a system that can be used outside the Netherlands?

We did only have an engine for the Dutch market, but we have just launched our Swedish HR and payroll system. Our HR features can be used in countries where we also provide our payroll engine service. We have a strategy to do this on a pan-European scale, so that we can focus on the European market and we are researching the countries we want to work in next.

Why is Nmbrs more cutting edge than other payroll and HR software providers?

We don’t just embrace the cloud - we are built on top of it. We started in 2009 and it was only then that the cloud was ready to support this type of complex software product, but we built it in the cloud in one go.

It’s quite different from the normal payroll vendor software, which is built on a local machine first, then converted to the cloud. We have a strong opinion that employees or employers should be able to input their own data. So, if an employee changes address they can fill out the forms themselves. Companies can enter their own data and the HR office or lawyer can input. This philosophy and a ‘shared in the cloud’ concept, where everyone can manage data, was one of our first ideas. This made us stand out as a Dutch software payroll vendor.

We build for the payroll professional that is managing multiple companies, moving from a data entry type of business to an advisory type of role. We also knew that we had to build a layer on top where they could manage their global settings and this was something new in the Dutch market.

How do you integrate intricacies like Dutch legislation?

We were Dutch advisors ourselves, so we already knew about the legislation over here, so we could implement it quite easily. Of course, there are a lot of different companies that do processing so you need to have all the branches.

In Sweden, we had to do it all over again, as gross net payments are done differently, as are the HR processes from country to country. It’s very challenging adapting our products to a new country every time. We are specialists and fanatics so we really want to know how this works - as every country has their own differences when it comes to payroll and HR.

Do you think people are still cautious of using cloud-based products because of security in your region?

We try to do everything to the highest possible standard. The cloud market should be more mature as people start to realise the importance of using the cloud to store their data. In Holland, it’s not questioned anymore because we know we are not the only ones using the cloud. But in Sweden, there are not many cloud vendors, so the security issue is raised again and again.

If you had a local installation of your bank account software to manage your bank account, would it be safe to only have it on your computer? If the computer crashes, your bank account is gone. I would never have it just on my computer as we could risk losing thousands of dollars. The same can be said for having a local version of your payroll software created on your computer. In the early days, we could build software easily as we only had to create a nice piece of code, put it on a CD and send it out to the world. Hosting and installing it was somebody else’s problem. But nowadays, as a cloud vendor, we are responsible for the security of data in the cloud. We invest a lot in trials and security. I think we can say we are as good as it gets - it will never be perfect.

What does the future hold for Nmbrs?

We are working on some pan-European accountancy software that can provide payroll to different branches in different countries. We are also investing a lot in our HR tools. We are building a revolutionary type of HR system, which looks more like a CRM system where employees (the customers) can link into their emails.

Within five to 10 years, we will also be launching artificial intelligence on our platform. We also have a secret project called the ‘Liandra module’, which is a fully automated payroll expert.

 

Payroll and HR software company Nmbrs - deliberately spelt without the U and E - currently services around 70,000 businesses and pays approximately 313,000 employees a month with their software. CEO and founder, Michiel Chevalier, talks to Dawn Gay about the latest developments in the Netherlands and Sweden

Tell Purely Global readers how the Nmbrs story began…

When I started my company in 2003, it was an HR and payroll processing company. We wanted to keep up with the latest state of the art software that was available. In 2008/9, we started building our own web-based payroll solutions and converted our company from a processing and advisory company to a real software company. It was a big transaction because we really wanted to focus on building software for our business customers and other payroll providing companies, like accountants and specialised payroll processing companies.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the Nmbrs software?

We have a software tool that can service a company, its employees and HR and payroll processes, so they can calculate payslips and get information on contracts. There’s a leave of absence module, so it’s really an HR payroll system, but the beauty of it is that payroll professionals can provide services on this programme and all the payroll and HR settings can be managed at a global level.

Is it a system that can be used outside the Netherlands?

We did only have an engine for the Dutch market, but we have just launched our Swedish HR and payroll system. Our HR features can be used in countries where we also provide our payroll engine service. We have a strategy to do this on a pan-European scale, so that we can focus on the European market and we are researching the countries we want to work in next.

Why is Nmbrs more cutting edge than other payroll and HR software providers?

We don’t just embrace the cloud - we are built on top of it. We started in 2009 and it was only then that the cloud was ready to support this type of complex software product, but we built it in the cloud in one go.

It’s quite different from the normal payroll vendor software, which is built on a local machine first, then converted to the cloud. We have a strong opinion that employees or employers should be able to input their own data. So, if an employee changes address they can fill out the forms themselves. Companies can enter their own data and the HR office or lawyer can input. This philosophy and a ‘shared in the cloud’ concept, where everyone can manage data, was one of our first ideas. This made us stand out as a Dutch software payroll vendor.

We build for the payroll professional that is managing multiple companies, moving from a data entry type of business to an advisory type of role. We also knew that we had to build a layer on top where they could manage their global settings and this was something new in the Dutch market.

How do you integrate intricacies like Dutch legislation?

We were Dutch advisors ourselves, so we already knew about the legislation over here, so we could implement it quite easily. Of course, there are a lot of different companies that do processing so you need to have all the branches.

In Sweden, we had to do it all over again, as gross net payments are done differently, as are the HR processes from country to country. It’s very challenging adapting our products to a new country every time. We are specialists and fanatics so we really want to know how this works - as every country has their own differences when it comes to payroll and HR.

Do you think people are still cautious of using cloud-based products because of security in your region?

We try to do everything to the highest possible standard. The cloud market should be more mature as people start to realise the importance of using the cloud to store their data. In Holland, it’s not questioned anymore because we know we are not the only ones using the cloud. But in Sweden, there are not many cloud vendors, so the security issue is raised again and again.

If you had a local installation of your bank account software to manage your bank account, would it be safe to only have it on your computer? If the computer crashes, your bank account is gone. I would never have it just on my computer as we could risk losing thousands of dollars. The same can be said for having a local version of your payroll software created on your computer. In the early days, we could build software easily as we only had to create a nice piece of code, put it on a CD and send it out to the world. Hosting and installing it was somebody else’s problem. But nowadays, as a cloud vendor, we are responsible for the security of data in the cloud. We invest a lot in trials and security. I think we can say we are as good as it gets - it will never be perfect.

What does the future hold for Nmbrs?

We are working on some pan-European accountancy software that can provide payroll to different branches in different countries. We are also investing a lot in our HR tools. We are building a revolutionary type of HR system, which looks more like a CRM system where employees (the customers) can link into their emails.

Within five to 10 years, we will also be launching artificial intelligence on our platform. We also have a secret project called the ‘Liandra module’, which is a fully automated payroll expert.