Navigating The Compliance Technology Solutions Around Work And Hire From Anywhere

Has There Ever Been A More Exciting Time To Be Working In Global Mobility?

While the last 2 years have seen many companies, especially those people in global mobility functions, face considerable challenges and stress while those leaders weaved their way through the pandemic as they faced the innumerable tax, legal and immigration challenges around temporary relocations, remote work requests and other ad hoc global mobility requests.

It has been relentless.

But it’s also fair to say that in this same time period, the role of global mobility has evolved at a rapid pace. Global mobility functions are now much more deeply connected to other functions such as legal, payroll, cybersecurity, as well as recruitment and the wider HR functions as companies have accelerated their global hiring plans.  

This sense of change and evolution has only been accelerated by innovations such as ChatGPT which has now already passed the bar exam, with some people claiming it might render lawyers obsolete.  Could it eventually make tax, immigration and employment experts obsolete?

Global Mobility Technology A Top Priority

In a recent report by the Global Mobility Executive, it was interesting to note that while 35% of global mobility and HR leaders continue to use excel to manage their programme, 47% are considering changing or implementing a new technology.

The Barriers to Implementing Compliance Technology

Some key stats on barriers to implementing compliance technology

When we look at some of the biggest barriers to implementing technology solutions, the graph above shows that cost was one of the biggest challenges, as well as the time and resources it takes to implement a solution.

The Most Important Features of Remote Work Technology

A graph showing the Most important features of Compliance Tech

When we look at the survey results on what the most important features were, ease of implementation, especially for small to mid-sized businesses, was by far the most important feature.  It is important to differentiate between Fortune 500 companies and the rest.  When we look to Fortune 500 companies, we find that flexibility and automation often feature higher on their priorities as there are simply too many forms and processes that need to be completed so automation of those processes is a key focus for that cohort. 

What has been interesting to note is the wider population that remote work focuses on is much broader than traditional mobility populations, thereby increasing the importance of ease of implementation and user-friendliness (often leading to a more intentional cross-functional and/or bottom-up approach, often with input from employees if re-engineered approval workflows are involved).

Results from Mercer's International Remote Work Survey

In the Mercer international remote working survey above, it is fascinating to see that the vast majority of companies rely on only manual tracking of international remote working. Furthermore, 89% of respondents do not have any metrics to track the success of international remote working, so it is clear that both from a technology and operational perspective there is a lot of work to do in the future.

Tackling The Technology Challenges of Work From Anywhere: Insource or Outsource?

One of the first questions anyone in global mobility needs to decide is whether they want to tackle the development of technology tools in-house or outsource it.

A lot will depend on what you’re looking for in your programme and what resources are available to you.  

A graph showing the companies offering remote work technology comparing whether they are customized or plug and play

The Four Approaches to Implementing Remote Work Technology

  1. DIY Low Tech: Namely sticking “as is” with excel the main technology platform used
  2. DIY High Tech: Some of the more ambitious programmes have decided to build their own customized technology assessment tools in house.  
  3. External Plug and Play Approach: This is where off the shelf tool(s) address the key organizational pain points and/or there is a high degree of urgency to implement technology.
  4. External Customized Implementation: In many cases, there may be a more considered, patient approach to have a heavily customized implementation so that the external tool has plenty of aspects which are (a) integrated into the company workflows and (b) built around the custom needs of the programme.

Analysis Of The Remote Work Technology Market

For external technology providers, below is an overview of some of the main international remote work technology solutions we are aware of.  We couldn’t cover every single one (e.g. there are many different Employers of Record, for example) but we have tried to cover the main ones we’re aware of.  

CompanyHire From Anywhere Assess-
ments
Structural international remote work requests
Work From Anywhere Assess-ments
Temporary international remote work requests
Traditional Mobility Assess-ments
Overseas assignments, secondments, etc.
Employer of Record Capabil-
ities
OtherCustomer/
Pricing Focus
Ease Of Implemen-tationIntegration
/Customi-zation Capabil-
ities
Tracker Software TechnologiesFord & Toyota amongst their customersEnterprise ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Equus Software
Indirectly Via Global Expansion
21% Of the FTSE & Fortune 100 companies use Equus solution. Also keep an eye out for Workia which looks interesting.Enterprise⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
TopiaDell & Axa amongst their customersEnterprise⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Mercer
But do have global experts to assist

Personal income tax calculators
Via PartnersSeen as one of the top advisors on global mobility tech with their consultancy and data services as well as their mobility products on their Mobility Management Platform. EnterpriseVaries depending on the tools⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
KPMGPEO Capabilities & Dedicated in house tax advisorsEnterprise⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Vialto
Smart cost estimates
PEO Capabilities & Dedicated in house tax advisorsEnterprise⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
MazarsPEO Capabilities & Dedicated in house tax advisorsEnterprise⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Deel
Contractor and EOR
One of the fastest growing players now broadening offering to payroll products, contractor misclassification products, etc.Traditionally scale-ups but now moving towards Enterprise⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Workmotion Workflex
Contractor versus EOR
As an EOR that offers a workation assessment tool, they’re pretty unique in this spaceMedium-to-Large companies⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
CXC Global
Contractor misclassification
Very strong operator when it comes to managing your contingent workforceEnterprise⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Work From AnywhereVia PartnersPlug and play platform focusing on the intersection of work and hire from anywhereMedium-to-Large companies⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
RhomeNew solution, not much known about them but look interestingUnknown⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Unknown
Velocity Global

Contractor versus EOR
Strong reputation as an EOR for pro-actively managing permanent establishment risksMedium-to-Large companies⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Benivo
But can introduce to third party experts

Smart cost estimates
Not directly but can integrate partnersNot directly but can integrate partnersBenivo are one of the global mobility tech leaders and have really nice cost estimates tool in association with VialtoMedium-to-Large companies⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Certino
But can introduce to third party experts
Certino have a strong shadow payroll platform which is a big pain point for work and hire from anywhereMedium-to-Large companies⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Centuro Global
For global expansion

Via tool and third party experts

Via tool and third party experts

But can introduce to third party experts
Centuro Global focus strongly on the global expansion decisions (e.g. which countries to expand to)Medium-to-Large companies⭐⭐⭐⭐Unknown
AIRINC
Assignment costs
AIRINC have statistical income tax and social tax models for over 280 countries to calculate assignment cost estimatesMedium-to-Large companies⭐⭐⭐⭐Unknown
ECA InternationalIndirectly via TST aboveIndirectly via TST above
Cost calculators
ECA provides cost estimates and tax calculators both as standalone tools and integrated into mobility tech.Medium-to-Large companies⭐⭐⭐⭐Unknown

The above data includes a sample of the major providers based on our understanding of the market, their offering and from our discussions with over 300+ different companies.  Have we missed any key technology players?* Then feel free to let us know.

*Note: We have included just a sample of the Employers of Record, however there is a very large selection of employers of record on the market.  This is a separate framework for how you assess whether an Employer of Record is the right fit for your programme which will depend on a number of factors, such as the contractors / employees mix in your workforce, your risk appetite and whether the Employer of Record works mainly via their own legal entities or through partners. A useful report we’d highly recommend reading is the PEAK matrix of Employers of Record which you can access here.

Choosing The Right Global Mobility Technology Provider

Whether you’re looking primarily for a hire from anywhere solution or a remote work or more traditional global mobility assessment tool, choosing the right provider is critical, so below we have outlined some of the key considerations you should take into account.

Traditional Mobility vs Work From Anywhere vs Hire From Anywhere

A graph showing the companies offering remote work solutions comparing Work From Anywhere vs Hire from Anywhere vs Traditional Assignments

The first is understanding whether you’re veering towards a more traditional set of requirements (e.g. traditional mobility) or whether you’re looking to move towards a solution which is more focused on the emerging markets such as hire from anywhere or work from anywhere.

The Technology Trade-Off: Customization vs Pricing

A graph showing the companies offering remote work technology and how customized they are compared to their pricing

The next step is looking at the degree of customization you’re going to require as well as the budget you have in mind.  

When calculating the budget and/or building a business case, it is critical to take into account impactful business metrics such as:

  • Existing number of scenario requests
  • Existing spend on external advisors who manually prepare risk reports
  • Time spent by global mobility and other internal departments to research various scenarios
  • Time spent by employees processing approvals which for large companies can be a considerable amount (again pointing to the higher emphasis on workflow automation in larger companies)

Ease of Implementation & User-Friendliness

A graph showing the companies offering remote work technology and how easy they are to implement as well as their user friendliness

Another key aspect to think about is the degree of user-friendliness of the tool as well as how easy it is to implement the solution.

If you have a high degree of customisation and want the tool to integrate into the workflow of existing systems such as SAP or Oracle, this will by its nature mean that the ease of implementation will take longer, be more complex and involve more resources during the planning and implementation phase.  The advantage of doing that approach is that once you have invested in this, you should see organizational efficiencies and ROI once the platform is implemented.

The Opportunity Cost of Customization

There is no right or wrong answer to customization, just simply an understanding that there is an opportunity cost which means the implementation is likely to take longer and cost more, the more customized a solution is.

It is vital to engage in cross-functional discussions to list your key features and customization requirements, only then can you properly assess what solution is the right fit for your needs. You’ll likely need input from your internal tax, legal, finance & HR teams. The beauty with implementing the right solution is that you create the opportunity to make life easier for multiple departments beyond global mobility.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Global Mobility Technology Solution

Are you an extremely fast-growing company quickly hiring low-PE (permanent establishment) roles internationally in countries where you don’t have legal entities?  Then an employer of record is a great place to start.

Are you a Fortune 500 company with a large budget and heavy customization requirements?  Then Equus Software, Tracker Software Technologies, Topia or one of the Big 4 could be a great fit.

Are you extremely worried about contractor misclassification risks? Then speak to a Deel, Velocity Global or CXC Global (or any of the large EORs such as Globalization Partners, Oyster, Remote, and many others).

Are you looking for one of the global mobility technology leaders which integrates with tax and other third parties? Then Benivo might be the best fit for you, keep an eye on their remote work technology roadmap here which combined with their free client advisory services makes them one to watch.

It all depends on what you’re looking for when building your programme.

Shop around, speak to the different providers, and at the very least you’re likely to learn about future trends and also get some inspiration from your own programme.

Are you struggling with the competing challenges of both work and hire from anywhere, but want an automated solution to help speed up decision-making and reduce advisory costs? Then what we’re doing at Work From Anywhere might be a great fit.  Feel free to reach out to us and we’d be happy do discuss further.

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John Lee Co-founder Work From Anywhere

John Lee

John is Co-founder of the Work From Anywhere team, a platform to help companies execute a hire or work from anywhere strategy.  John is a Chartered Accountant who speaks 6 languages and was previously the senior finance leader of a €4 billion division of FTSE-listed CRH Plc.  John and his family are passionate about travelling and his eldest daughter, Rosa, while only 5 years old has already travelled to 25 different countries.

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