Deel - International Payroll Software Review

Harry Newell Wise
Harry Newell Wise
I've recently started using Deel, the payroll software, as a contractor. I've been really impressed with the quality of the product, the functionality and the overall experience of using this software as a contractor. so I thought I would do a quick review of the software, how it works and how people might like to take advantage of it.

Table of Contents

How Can Payroll Software Help?

Many people will have heard of the different types of payroll software available typically through major platforms like Quickbooks. In fact anyone who's ever been paid a monthly salary from their employer would likely have done so using a platform. But something which was once the domain of finance and HR and is now a crucial tool for small business owners looking to automate their payment processes, and run their business using smart software. If you run a small/medium business with international employees, frequently use contractors, run payroll in multiple currencies or face compliance issues then Deel can help. 

International Payment Difficulties 

Whilst the world is very much getting used to remote work, distributed teams, and flexible hiring - Governments often lag behind. Employment laws and employment practices are complex across the world and International hiring (as well as contracting) can cause many headaches for legal and HR teams. One of the clearest examples of this is where companies previously had to have an entity based in the country which they were looking to employ people. For example if I run a New York-based business and I'm looking to hire someone in France I will need to set up a separate French company.  For many people this simply doesn't make sense and can dissuade people from hiring abroad and even taking on foreign contractors.

“Legal are taking a look…”

The worst phrase you can hear as a prospective hire or contractor. I have been involved in 2 situations where the legal team needed to check on the implications of hiring me (one USA based, one Germany based) both times the job fell through as a result of what they came back with. In each case the concern was about the local entities and how this would affect the business. 

Local Entities 

What makes this so complex is the concept of local entities which I looked at above. Essentially companies are hugely wary of having their business appear to be operating (i.e. employing people) in multiple countries as it has many complex implications for where tax is paid, social security for business and employees, ownership structures, grants and funding, business licenses and a lot more. How Deel handles this is with their own network of local entities which companies can use - Local entities as a service. Deel has a presence in 50+ countries and handles all the legal implications through their own network of specialists. 

Speed & Automation

What I think Deel have done well is look at the pain points in the hiring and payments process and build software that is designed to reduce these. Automation is a clear one. Most people onboarding at a business will have the same basic contractual agreements with minor changes for job specific details like salary and title. I can’t tell you how many times I have been sent a contract as a word document with the expectation that I will happily print, sign and re-scan in order to return it - yes this still happens in 2021. A complete waste of time and paper. 

Why Deel?

Once you have set up your business and set your requirements the platform is remarkably straightforward to use. Keeping updated Data Processing Agreements or employee records is simple. No need for long email chains with documents attached or digging through spreadsheets to find the right records. One thing that is also really attractive for employees/contractors is that they can decide on how they receive payments and change details in seconds. They can even choose currencies or to be paid with cryptocurrencies via a Coinbase account. This type of end-user self service takes the onus away from HR teams when it comes to minor updates to payment details. Which leaves them able to spend more time on the things that matter like effective record keeping and speedy onboarding.