How to outsource payroll & get quality help with employee wages

How to outsource payroll

Payroll is one of the most complex and fundamental functions of a Business. If not done meticulously, it will cost the company penalties and money and come at the cost of employees’ mistrust. One of the most efficient ways to handle this large and complex function is to outsource the payroll.

How do we outsource payroll?

The company’s size, the type of outsourcing, and the outsourced payroll provider all play a critical role in understanding Outsourcing Payroll in the UAE.

What is Outsourcing payroll?

Outsourcing payroll involves outsourcing or engaging a payroll company over the responsibility of calculating and processing employee salaries, taxes, and other deductions to a third-party service provider. Such outsourcing eliminates the need for a separate in-house payroll department. Outsourced payroll providers are cost-effective specialists whose meticulous expertise and modern payroll techniques benefit you as an entrepreneur.

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Benefits of outsourcing payroll:

The most consequential transformation you would witness after outsourcing is the absence of bookkeeping errors. This significant change will also give your company the following benefits:

  • Cost savings: Outsourcing generally eliminates the need for dedicated payroll staff, software, and training, leading to reduced operational costs.
  • Accuracy and compliance: Engage a payroll company to stay updated on complex UAE labour laws and regulations. They also ensure accurate calculations and compliance for all the outsourced responsibilities.
  • Efficiency: Outsource payroll providers have advanced tools and processes, ensuring timely and efficient payroll processing.
  • Security: Reputable providers offer secure data security measures, usually exceeding a small company’s ability.
  • Expertise: Providers such as NNCA have accumulated wisdom in handling outsourcing for multiple companies. You have access to experienced professionals for complex payroll scenarios and queries.

What to Outsource: Types of Payroll Outsourcing

How to outsource your payroll remains ambiguous if there is no clarity on What to outsource. The following are types of payroll that are options among several:

Full Payroll Outsourcing:

  • The provider takes over complete compliance and administration.
  • The provider handles all aspects of payroll: data collection, calculations, deductions, payments, reporting, and compliance.
  • It is ideal if your business has diverse employee types, complex structures, or limited internal resources.


Partial Payroll Outsourcing:

  • Partial payroll outsourcing is a mix of full-service and self-service payroll outsourcing.
  • The business is responsible for other aspects, such as entering employee information and processing payroll.
  • Only specific tasks such as payroll processing, tax filing, or benefits administration are outsourced.
  • It is suitable if your business has internal payroll expertise or particular needs, such as having control over the process.



      Co-sourcing is similar to hiring a consultant or contractor continuously. You can engage a payroll company to provide you either certain benefits of outsourcing or hire them for consultancy service


  • A collaborative approach where internal and external resources work together to manage payroll tasks.
  • For your business, co-sourcing offers flexibility and control while collaborating with external expertise. 
  • Co-sourcing provides a middle ground: You handle routine tasks like data entry while the outsourced payroll provider manages complex calculations, filings, and compliance.

          Co-sourcing Benefits:

  • Combine internal strengths with external expertise.
  • Adapt to changing needs without significant disruptions.
  • Potentially reduces costs compared to full outsourcing.
  • Maintain oversight over sensitive data and processes.


Who Should Consider Co-sourcing?

  • Businesses with some internal payroll experience.
  • Those seeking flexibility and control.
  • Companies are wary of full outsourcing but need advanced expertise.


Self-Service Payroll:

  • Employees manage their payroll information and tax deductions through a secure online portal.
  • Requires high employee technical literacy and trust, suitable for specific situations.
  • Self-service payroll (SSP) can be a good option for small businesses with a limited budget and simple payroll requirements.

How to Outsource payroll for virtual and global companies:

Alternatively, these are the specific ways to outsource functions if your company is multinational and/or has a majority of remote employees.

International Payroll Outsourcing 

There are three specific models on how to outsource payroll as a global company:

  1. In-House Global Payroll: Establishing in-country payroll teams grants total control over payroll and employee data, though it may strain HR resources and require significant infrastructure investment.
  2. Decentralised Global Payroll: Integrating payroll teams with local partners offers immediate access to cultural and legislative expertise, but managing multiple vendors across regions can lead to inconsistent reporting and fragmented data views.
  3. Centralised Global Payroll: Engage  a single payroll provider for activities ensures uniformity in language, currency, and validation processes, enhancing accuracy and streamlining reporting. However, careful vetting is necessary to ensure that promised capabilities are delivered.

The key aspects are:

  • Outsourced payroll providers handle tax calculations, deductions, and payment disbursement for employees in multiple countries.
  • Engage a payroll company to ensure adherence to local and federal regulations, including tax filings and statutory requirements.
  • Save resources by outsourcing payroll complexities, allowing focus on core activities.
  • Leverage specialised knowledge and resources for streamlined, accurate payroll processing globally.
  • Reduce the risk of non-compliance and legal liabilities associated with payroll errors.
  • Adapt payroll processes to changes in workforce size and market expansion across countries.

Virtual Payroll Outsourcing

  • It is ideal for your businesses with remote or decentralised employees.
  • Providers handle all aspects of payroll, including compliance and tax-related tasks.
  • Often less expensive than full-service payroll, businesses pay only for the services required.

Methods of Outsourcing Payroll in the UAE

In the UAE, businesses have several options on how to outsource payroll; a few of the most commonly used are:


1. Third-Party Payroll Providers: Many companies in the UAE opt to partner with third-party payroll outsourcing providers, such as NNCA, that specialise in offering comprehensive payroll solutions. You engage a payroll company to provide various services, including salary processing, end-of-service calculations, and compliance with local labour laws.


2. Professional Employer Organisations (PEOs): PEOs offer integrated HR and payroll services, allowing businesses to outsource not only payroll processing but also employee management, recruitment, and HR administration. 


3. Cloud-Based Payroll Software: Some organisations leverage cloud-based payroll software platforms that offer customisable solutions for payroll processing. These platforms provide flexibility, scalability, and accessibility, allowing businesses to streamline payroll operations while maintaining control over data and processes. Self-service payroll types usually use cloud-based payroll software as a method.

Key UAE Laws:

In UAE, compliance with the law is one of the most stringent needs of any successful business.The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE) is the primary government body overseeing labour regulations in the UAE.

The following regulations align with payrolls, whether it is outsourced or not; these laws play an influential role in the payroll functioning of a company:

  • Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021: Regulates labour relations in the private sector, outlining employee rights, wages, working hours, leaves, and end-of-service benefits.
  • Federal Law No. 25 of 2005 on Data Protection Sets out regulations for collecting, storing, and processing personal data, including employee information.
  • Cabinet Decision No. 15 of 2010 on Electronic Wages Payment: Mandates that salaries in the UAE be paid electronically through authorised channels.
  • Ministerial Decree No. 290 of 2021 on Implementing Regulation of Decision No. 15 of 2010: Specifies technical and procedural requirements for electronic wage payments.

Ensuring timely employee wage payments should be the principle policy for businesses operating in the UAE, given the stringent penalties imposed by the government for non-compliance. Engaging a trusted outsourced payroll provider is crucial. The consequences of failing to pay employees in the UAE and outsourcing payroll can mitigate risks:

  • The UAE government enforces severe penalties for businesses failing to pay employee salaries promptly.
  • Electronic monitoring initiates immediately post-default, escalating with notifications and work permit suspensions.
  • Larger establishments face legal action sooner, with penalties increasing over time.
  • Outsourcing payroll to a reliable provider ensures timely wage disbursement and regulatory compliance.
  • Benefits of outsourcing include expert payroll management, risk mitigation, and cost efficiency.

A Strategic Step: Build employee trust

Considering on how to outsource payroll system is a strategic move to strengthen employee trust. 

Enhanced Accuracy and Compliance:

  • Engaging a payroll company with expertise and automated systems minimises inaccuracies. This means employees receive accurate, punctual paychecks, fostering trust.
  • Outsourcing to a provider skilled in regulatory changes guarantees law compliance, protecting employees’ rights and avoiding penalties.

Improved Transparency and Communication:

  • Outsourced payroll providers offer employee self-service portals, allowing employees to access pay stubs, tax forms, and leave balances in real time. This transparency promotes trust by providing access to personal information.
  • Choose a provider with clear communication channels. Regular updates on payroll processes, policy changes, and essential information demonstrate transparency and build trust.

Elevated Efficiency and Focus:

  • By outsourcing time-consuming payroll tasks, HR teams can focus on strategic initiatives, employee engagement, and talent development. This demonstrates a commitment to investing in employees and fostering trust and morale.
  • When payroll burdens are lifted, businesses can concentrate on their core strengths, potentially leading to improved performance and growth. This success benefits employees directly, building trust in the company’s vision and leadership.


Key Points to Remember:

  • How to outsource payroll: Carefully research and select a reliable outsourced payroll provider with a proven track record and robust security measures.
  • Engaging a payroll company: Communicate the reasons for outsourcing and the chosen provider’s benefits to employees, emphasising enhanced accuracy, compliance, and efficiency.
  • Transparency and communication: Maintain open communication channels with employees throughout the process. Address concerns and actively listen to feedback.


By strategically utilising outsourced payroll providers, businesses can build more vital employee trust through increased accuracy, transparency, efficiency, and a focus on core competencies. The key lies in choosing the right provider, clear communication, and demonstrating how outsourcing benefits everyone involved.

A World Payroll Congress study (2022) reports  

Employees of companies with outsourced payroll reported greater understanding and transparency regarding their pay and benefits. Engaging a payroll company is hassle-free for the company but, most importantly, maintains its reputation among employees.

How to Outsource payroll: possible vulnerability

To engage a payroll company is to entrust them with a crucial fundamental function of the company. While choosing your entrusted outsourced payroll providers, these are the specific vulnerabilities that you will have to internalise:

Data security and confidentiality

  • Concerns about sensitive employee data being stored and accessed offshore.
  • Lack of control over data security measures implemented by the outsourcing provider.
  • Uncertainty about compliance with UAE data privacy regulations.


Loss of control and expertise:

  • Fear of losing control over payroll processes and decision-making.
  • Concerns about the knowledge and qualifications of the outsourcing provider’s staff.
  • Difficulties in integrating the outsourcing provider’s systems with existing HR processes.


Cost and hidden fees:

  • Uncertainty about the actual cost of outsourcing, including hidden fees.
  • Concerns about the potential for cost overruns due to unforeseen circumstances.
  • Difficulties in comparing the cost of outsourcing with the cost of maintaining an in-house payroll department.


Vendor lock-in and switching costs:

  • Difficulties in switching to another provider if the current one needs improvement.
  • High costs associated with switching providers, including data migration and training.
  • Lack of transparency in contracts and service level agreements (SLAs).


Cultural and legal differences:

  • Concerns about the outsourcing provider’s understanding of UAE labour laws and regulations.
  • Difficulties in communication and collaboration due to cultural differences.
  • Uncertainty about the legal recourse available in disputes with the outsourcing provider.


Compliance with UAE labour laws:

  • Concerns about the outsourcing provider’s ability to ensure compliance with complex UAE labour laws.
  • Non-compliance liability falls on the business owner even if the outsourcing provider is at fault.
  • Difficulties in staying up-to-date with changes in UAE labour laws.


The relatively new and evolving nature of the payroll outsourcing industry in the UAE can be equally intimidating and empowering.

Hence, an SLA or service level agreement becomes critical for engaging a payroll provider.

SLA: Your Guarantee of efficient Payroll Outsourcing

In the context of outsourcing payrolling, SLA stands for Service Level Agreement. It’s a legally binding document that outlines the specific commitments and guarantees for both the business and the outsource payroll provider. They are legally obligated to uphold these terms throughout the partnership. To engage a payroll company with whom you can have a long-lasting collaboration, an SLA is mandatory:

Importance of an SLA:

  • Clarity and Transparency: The SLA sets clear expectations  how to Outsource payroll for both parties, ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding service delivery, timelines, and responsibilities.
  • Performance Guarantees: The SLA typically specifies deadlines for processing payroll, filing taxes, and resolving issues, ensuring timely and accurate results.
  • Risk Management: Defining service levels and consequences for non-compliance helps manage potential risks associated with inaccurate payroll or missed deadlines.
  • Dispute Resolution: In case of service quality issues, the SLA provides a clear framework for dispute resolution, minimising disruptions and protecting your business interests.


Critical Components of an SLA for Payroll Outsourcing:

  • Detailed explanation of the specific payroll services being provided.
  • Clearly defined standards for accuracy, timeliness, and responsiveness.
  • Frequency and format of reports provided by the outsourcing provider.
  • Data security measures and disaster recovery protocols.
  • Clear steps for addressing service issues and reporting non-compliance.
  • Quantifiable targets for key performance metrics.
  • Consequences for failing to meet agreed-upon SLOs.

The needs and expectations of start-ups, medium-sized businesses (MMEs), and large multi-national corporations (MNCs) on how to outsource payroll differ significantly. Here’s a breakdown:


  • Needs: Cost-effectiveness, flexibility, and scalability. You are managing small employee populations with simple payroll structures.
  • Expectations: Streamlined onboarding, user-friendly interfaces, transparent and predictable pricing, 24/7 support, and compliance expertise.
  • Best Packages: Outsourced payroll providers that offer Starter packages with basic features, pay-as-you-go options, self-service portals for employees, and integrations with HR software.


  • Needs: Efficiency, reliability, and compliance with diverse employee types and complex structures. You are balancing cost with advanced features.
  • Expectations: Scalable solutions to accommodate growth, multi-currency support, automated tax filing, comprehensive reporting, and secure data storage.
  • Best Packages: Engage a payroll company offering Mid-tier packages with automation features, dedicated account managers, customised reporting, and integration with existing systems.


  • Needs: Global reach, robust security, comprehensive service offerings, multi-lingual support, advanced analytics. You are Managing large, diverse workforces across different legal jurisdictions.
  • Expectations: Enterprise-grade solutions with international compliance expertise, secure data centres, employee self-service options, advanced reporting and analytics, and dedicated teams for complex needs.
  • Best Packages: International outsourcing with High-end packages with customisable features, global payroll processing, robust security protocols, industry-specific compliance support, and integration with advanced HR systems.


Specific industries may have additional compliance requirements to consider.

Your company, regardless of size, should prioritise data security when engaging a payroll company. Seamless integration with existing HR and accounting software can further boost your company’s efficiency. Choose an outsourced payroll provider that can accommodate your potential growth.

Understanding the Cultural Context

UAE is a significant business hub, with multiple government policies that benefit Entrepreneurs and their companies. With our decade of experience as outsourced payroll providers, we have absorbed the cultural context businesses are set in. With the wisdom of UAE business culture, we are the perfect solutions on how to outsource payroll

The UAE’s unique blend of tradition, innovation, and international influence shapes the business culture. Key cultural considerations relevant to outsourcing payroll include:

1. Respect for Hierarchy and Authority: UAE culture strongly emphasises hierarchy and respect for authority figures. When outsourcing payroll, businesses should ensure clear communication channels and demonstrate respect for the expertise of payroll service providers.

2. Commitment to Excellence: The UAE business community values excellence and precision in all operations. Outsourcing payroll allows businesses to tap into the expertise of professionals who specialise in delivering accurate and efficient payroll services, aligning with the cultural expectation of excellence.

3.Adaptability and Innovation: With the UAE’s rapidly evolving business landscape, adaptability and innovation are essential traits. Outsourcing payroll enables organisations to adapt to changing market dynamics and leverage innovative technologies for streamlined payroll processing.

Why NNCA is the best outsourcing payroll provider for you:

Having a detailed understanding of laws, limitations and payroll functions, we aim to serve our clients with meticulous bookkeeping. As one of the leading Chartered Accountancy firms in the UAE, we understand the complexities and challenges associated with payroll processing. We work with you to create payroll solutions that succeed in functionality for your enterprise.

What we offer:

1. Professional Expertise: Payroll management is a complex task that demands meticulous attention to detail and compliance with federal regulations. Our team of payroll specialists will ensure accurate calculations, timely disbursements, and adherence to regulatory requirements.

2. Partnering your Business Growth: NNCA, as an entrusted partner for your company’s payroll functions, ensures that these functions do not hinder progress and is committed to helping you grow.

3. Technology-based Solutions: We leverage advanced technology and state-of-the-art payroll software to streamline payroll processes, enhance efficiency, and minimise manual effort. 

4. Comprehensive Support for Compliance: At NNCA, we provide seamless support for complete compliance, staying updated on Mainland and Free Zone regulations to ensure that your payroll processes align with legal mandates and industry standards.

5. Timely Disbursal and Additional Services: We understand the importance of timely disbursal of payments and payslips to employees. With NNCA, you engage a payroll provider who can count on punctual payroll processing and accurate reconciliation by company policies. Additionally, as your outsourced payroll provider, we offer additional services for employee leave management, database maintenance, and other payroll-related tasks to streamline HR operations.

6. In-depth knowledge of UAE geographical Regulations: how to outsource payroll in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or any other emirate remains a needless worry.

With years of experience serving businesses in the UAE, NNCA has in-depth knowledge of local payroll management regulations. Our expertise ensures that your payroll processes remain compliant and efficient, mitigating risks and maximising operational effectiveness. 

At NNCA, we pride ourselves on delivering flexible, reliable, cost-effective payroll solutions that empower businesses to thrive in the competitive UAE business hub. By choosing NNCA for payroll outsourcing, you gain access to a trusted partner committed to your success with a track record of excellence, integrity, and client satisfaction.

Partner with NNCA for all your payroll functions. Contact us today to discover how our payroll outsourcing services can make a real difference. 

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