Outsourcing payroll services as a start-up company: Risky business or a smart decision?

Outsourcing payroll services as a start-up company: Risky business or a smart decision?
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Published on

15 Oct 2022

interview with wave senegal

When a start-up is growing fast and expanding to other countries, it might be smart to outsource some of the activities right from the get-go, so you can focus on your daily business. That is exactly what Wave, an organization that deals in mobile money with headquarters in Senegal, did. They outsourced all payrolling services, including software to Popay. According to Mr. Sory Kaba, Global Payroll Manager and Yna Aba, Accounting Payroll Manager, it was a decision that still saves them a lot of valuable time to this day.

On a mission to make Africa the first cashless continent
In 2017 Wave launched a mobile app in Senegal for cash deposit, withdrawal, and peer-to-peer and business payments. Now they have operations in Côte d’Ivoire, Bukino Faso, Uganda and Mali and are still looking to expand to other counties in Africa. On a continent where over half the population has no bank account, Wave is building the first modern financial network. Most Africans still lack access to affordable ways to save, transfer or borrow the money they need to build businesses or provide for their families. Wave is solving this problem by using technology to build a radically inclusive and extremely affordable financial network.

Keeping up with rapid growth
With millions of users and still growing fast, Wave made the smart and provident decision to outsource all payrolling activities in an early stage. Sory: ‘It was because of this rapid growth we were experiencing that we quickly decided to outsource payrolling. In order to prevent anything from falling through the cracks, we outsourced all payroll functions.’
Yna: ‘In the beginning there wasn’t even a payroll manager, but we expanded so fast that we wanted to keep things as efficient as possible.’

‘The people at Popay seem to know exactly how to operate
and what rules apply for each country.’

Payrolling services are key
Wave not only uses the payrolling software that Popay created and integrated with their own applications. It’s mainly the payrolling services that Popay provides on a day-to-day basis, which saves the people at Wave hours and hours of valuable time. Sory: ‘We work very closely with them. They handle a lot of different things for us when it comes to payrolling. New hires, terminations, calculating tax, overtime, bonusses. And all of this takes place against the background of working with different countries, that have different rules and regulations about tax and other calculations. It’s a very complex process.’ Yna: ‘Yet the people at Popay that we work with seem to know exactly how to operate and what rules to apply for each country, in order for us to have an accurate payroll. It saves us so much time and we gladly make use of their expertise. It’s a complex type of communication, because of all the detailed information and the different laws and rules. I can call them any time of the day for all my detailed questions.’

Jumping through hoops
When working together so closely on a daily basis and handling such important and detailed information, the cooperation between the two companies involved should be running smoothly. For Sory and Yna this is definitely the case. Sory: ‘Jolena, our daily contact for payrolling at Popay, jumps through hoops to make us happy. If necessary, we can make last-minute requests to make sure that the delivery is there. We have an incredibly good working relationship. They are extremely responsive and good to work with.’ Yna: ‘Despite the time difference, Popay is always available. Some changes in salary are especially important, and I know that if I call at 7 or 8 in the morning, I will have the correct answer on time.’

‘Instead of hiring two fulltime people,
we now have a whole team of expertise from Popay.’

Expertise and time are the biggest wins
Having a team of dedicated specialists working on your payroll for so many employees, means that you can focus your time and energy on other things. Sory: ‘Our biggest wins are definitely the time saving in terms of processing payrolls, spending time looking up laws or doing calculations. This way we can just review and accept and focus on other activities. And as far as expertise goes, instead of hiring two fulltime people, we now have a whole team of expertise from Popay!’

No hiccups in the system
Popay implemented the payrolling software which they developed at Wave, in order to process all payrolling activities. Wave uses this software for weekly or monthly reports. To the question if the software ever as any problems, Sory answers: ‘The system never has any hiccups or something like that. And if the system has to be down for maintenance, they email in advance. There are never any surprises, we always know what to expect.’

A good partnership
The people of Popay and Wave that are concerned with payrolling, have been working together for a few years now. To be able to keep focusing on the rapid growth that Wave will be undergoing in the near future, the partnership with Popay will continue. Yna: ‘Working with Popay is good. The team is always available and working together with them is very nice. Despite of the work, we have a friendly and respectful relationship.’ Sory: ‘We look forward to continue working with Popay, we really enjoy our partnership.’