Set-up

What Are You Waiting For?

by Mark J Galea

Many employers are outsourcing their payroll service to third parties, and here are some of the reasons why:

Free up time – Payroll computation is a time-consuming process. Outsourcing payroll can free up staff time to pursue more important value-added and revenue-generating activities, thus boosting productivity.

Reduce costs and boost productivity – In addition to the Payroll Administrator’s salary, as an employer you need to pay NI contributions; statutory bonuses and other entitlements; leave and sick leave (over 1 month of unproductive hours paid to an employee). The direct costs of processing payroll can be greatly reduced by outsourcing this function. In addition to enjoying great savings on the cost of employment, you will save the opportunity cost (not to mention once again the lack of productivity) spent on time dedicated to hiring any possible replacements for long absences and backfills. When, you also factor in other expenses related to the investment and maintenance of hardware and software (yearly updates, license renewals, maintenance agreements etc), you will realise that the saving you make by outsourcing payroll is actually much bigger.

Ensure confidentiality – By outsourcing this function, you are reducing the number of people within your company who are privy to information related to pay packages, pay rises, and other information that can easily be leaked to other parties within the company.

Ensure continuity – If your Payroll Administrator falls ill, or needs to take leave around the end of the month, the timely issuance of employee’s pays and salaries will disrupt other operations (it’s usually Finance that takes the hit). Pays and salaries need to go out on time in order not to demoralise your employees. When outsourcing your payroll function, you are protecting your business from these risks.

Alleviate the pain – In-house payroll is a headache at best and a nightmare at worst. By outsourcing this function, you will eliminate a tiresome source of regular pain.

Avoid technology headaches – A constant question is whether they have the latest version of their payroll software and the most recent tax and NI bands installed on their computer. Using the wrong tax computations will result in penalties and big employee dissatisfaction.

Leverage outside payroll expertise – Most business professionals tend to be so focussed on meeting targets set by ambitious budgets, that they tend to overlook constantly changing regulations (both statutory and those issued by the EU), yearly changes in NI categories, and frequent changes in tax bands.

Losing the Payroll Administrator – If your Payroll Administrator gets a new job, you will have to spend considerable time and money looking for a resource that is getting scarcer due to a number of different reasons. Consequently, salaries for Payroll Administrators are shooting up. Using an outside service eliminates that business risk.

Jobs in Financial Services – The Reality

by Cyril Chanson

Advertising many positions on the web, I realised the significance of financial job offers. Wanting to further my knowledges I researched it and you could find my research below. I hope it would be useful.

 

What are “Financial Services”?

First of all, before digging into the topic, I thought that it is relevant to explain what financial services means. In fact, this term gathers all services offered to consumers and companies from a broad range of organizations such as insurance companies, banks, investment companies. The proposed services include corporate services, financial planning opportunities and money management, as well as providing information.

The financial services has several functions such as enabling exchange of goods and services in the economy, mobilizing savings and transforming risk, just to mention a few purposes.

Malta, thanks to its location in the Mediterranean, is an interesting place for doing business. It became more fruitful since the country became an EU member and has enjoyed the benefits from this market.

 

How has the financial industry in Malta changed since joining the EU?

Since Malta became an EU member in 2004, Malta has accelerated its growth in all sectors of its financial services industry. Malta’s legal and regulatory framework met EU standards in 2004 which encouraged financial advisors to invest in a strong economy and framework. A few years later Malta adopted the Euro in 2008 and this step has made the financial services sector grow much faster.

The introduction of passporting rights has provided companies the chance to establish branches on the island, and thus many opportunities have opened up between Malta and the EU. In these days, the financial industry benefits from the EU international market of over 500 Million people and 28 countries.

Malta has set an objective to become the European financial centre and has achieved a lot towards that goal.

 

What has helped the financial market to flourish?

I was wondering how Malta could be so attractive to foreigners’ investors. After some research and questions I was able to highlight several assets. Malta owns a stable macroeconomic environment in which every streetlight are in the green. The current legal situation remains to be focused on attracting investors by the government and the status-quo is maintained. Malta is viewed as a safe country and stable one, which make the country interesting when a CEO is looking to it. The politic system is predictable and extremist parties do not have a place in it. For a financial perspective, the investors like nothing more than predictability continuity, which can be fully offered by Malta.

In January 2015 the minimum wage set up at 720 euro per month which corresponds to 50% of original EU 12 states.

The booming of Malta’s financial centre has happened due to its pro-business attitude, excellent regulation and competitive cost of doing business. The successive Maltese governments have gone about concluding double taxation treaties with 70 countries. This policy encourages trade not only with important trading partners but also with emerging countries.

The location of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea helps the island benefit from the Islamic finance as it has stronger links with North African countries such as Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. Financial companies from these countries who locate their subsidiary in Malta benefit from the EU market and an attractive and efficient tax structures.

Indeed Malta’s labour costs are comparative to the newer EU member states and lower than other established members of EU. Malta labour costs offer greater value for money than two thirds of those in the Western European countries.

 

What are the consequences on the labour market?

At a glance, the financial service market contributes to GDP up to 13% with more than 10,000 employees. In Malta, the GDP has being increasing at over 3% per annum compared to the EU average of 1.3%.

This growth is not predicted to decrease due to positive actions by the government to encourage the sector to prosper. For instance, the annual expansion of Malta’s financial sector stands at 25% meaning many new positions are appearing into the work market.

Furthermore, ranked the third lowest unemployment rate of the EU with 5.1% -behind Germany and the Czech Republic- Maltese workplace is highly active. For a decade, focus has been made by the government on the academic front. More than 60% of Maltese students are going to further education, although it is an English speaking nation, people are also trained to different professional such as Italian, Arabic, Spanish or French.

With a low unemployment rate, companies and especially HR firms are faced with the shortage of candidates; they have to find highly qualified people to fit their positions. In fact, integrating the EU has facilitated the mobility of EU workers; employers now have access to a much larger pool of workers than before. Actually, to attract further foreign talent Government offers 15% off on flat tax rate to highly qualified persons into key positions within those industries.

 

Why are professional HR firms better placed at handling this growth?

I interviewed Simon Casolini Operations and Recruitment Manager for Quad Consultancy’s Malta branch  in order to further my knowledge about the move appearing in the Financial Service field.

In fact the work market is currently changing, the global rapid growth from the EU’s companies in the Financial Sector in Malta has created a lot of new positions but the pool of candidates isn’t big enough.

 

Outcomes from my interview

First of all, the sector has seen much more movements than previously, many new positions have emerged and wages have been incressing steadily for the last 3 years. Indeed, applicants are in a stronger position nowadays than they were in the past.

At the same time, the requirements, including experiences and qualifications has been going down due to the scarcity of talent. For example, where companies previously sought candidates with a specific degree and 5 years’ experience, they are now seeking people with a related degree and 3 years’ experience. Companies are reducing their requirements due to a lack of employees.

By reducing requirements, moves have been observed in terms of certifications related to the financial service. In this field, background in banking, accountancy as well as financial compliance is needed by companies without degree; certifications in those fields would be of advantage for candidates.

A good candidate with a moderate experience has now several advantages that applicants had not before. The wages have been going up and applicants have more opportunities within several companies.

Nowadays, employees are exposed to more duties and areas of competence compared to the past when they spent much more time focused on functions in one or two areas. Therefore, they are increasing their employability skills and general responsibilites.

This new trend is interrelated with the growing of Head-hunting. Moving people has become an issue especially because the market is small and people physically know each other and companies provided services.

It is at this stage that the professional Consultant comes into the process. By “professional Consultant”, I mean HR professionals who are able to fit position on behalf of companies. The professional Consultant has various assets such as a great database of candidates which can serve the demand effectively and professionals who are very well connected. Using a reputable HR firms allows companies to save time and money, such as advertising expenses and CV screening.

As the professional Consultant, having a very strong network of valid candidates, knowledge of their background and professional expectations is a great benefit. HR firms are able to offer an efficient and effective way of helping the client to find perfect fit, and providing their manpower needs.

They make sure the candidate understands what the company is looking for, going deeper than just the job description, giving them the background required about the company and ensuring that they have the right cultural fit. Therefore candidates are better prepared, and both of candidates and clients are reducing the risk.

Give Ubuntu A Try

by Mark J Galea

If you’re setting up a new business, my advice is give Ubuntu a try. It is a real and tangible risk for individuals to go on “autopilot” mode – especially when you’re juggling with a 1,001 tasks to get your business up-and-running as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I fell into that trap myself.

When Windows started playing up on my Lenovo Core i5 laptop, I decided to replace it with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) and I am more than satisfied with this change. So much so that I have decided to share my experience with you.

First of all, the Operating System is extremely reliable, light on resources (hence super fast), and – most important of all – FREE of charge. That’s right. A great OS together with a very good office package (Libre Office) plus a good email client (Evolution) come free of charge. So, back to my starting point, if you’re setting up a new business, you can actually use an “aged” PC (I’m also running Ubuntu 14.04 on my Quad Core PC at home and it’s performing far better than the highly unstable Windows 8) together with smart office applications without any added expense. In money terms, this can easily translate into a saving of a minimum of €1,000. The money you save here can easily be transferred to your marketing budget. Don’t you think?

Furthermore, the fact that all our applications are cloud based (the Recruitment database, the CMS of this website, the office shared drive) made the switch so much easier. Ah! Did I mention that there are virtually no viruses on Linux? So with all those people sending us the members of our teams opening CVs and other emails and saving docs on the share drive all the time, this is a big plus for us as our infection prevention was as good as our antivirus.

But wait. It gets better. If you’re still not convinced to give Ubuntu a try, you can actually run it from a pen drive or CD. You can also choose to install it alongside your other OS and then choose the system you’d like to run just after you boot up your system.

And if you think that you’re not computer literate enough to run a system that is different to the one you’re used to, think again. The online support is phenomenal. Information about running Ubuntu is widely available. All you need to do is Google your query and….hey presto! Your questions are answered. There are millions of people using Linux (especially Ubuntu) out there, and because the system is an open source, there are millions of great developers playing around with it and constantly coming up with tweaks.

Needless to say, the advantages also apply for existing businesses and ones that are bigger than just a start-up. In fact, a number of big international business are using Linux or Ubuntu their servers.

So. Having read the above (plus many other articles on the web and videos on YouTube), what is stopping you from giving Ubuntu a try?