Interview with Ralph Wilbers of WePayroll
Personal, Quality & Flexibility. These are three defining elements of WePayroll’s mission statement. We recently spoke to Ralph Wilbers, the founder of WePayroll, a leading small-scale payroll provider in The Netherlands. High quality should be exactly what you’d wish for in a payroll provider, but it can be a pleasant surprise just how diligent one provider can be. We discussed how he got into the business, payroll in The Netherlands, as well as WePayroll’s views on remote work.
Based in Eindhoven, WePayroll was established in 2009 when Ralph decided he wanted to work for himself. Ralph laughed, “No one in payroll has ever thought of becoming a specialist since birth.” He described perhaps ending up in finance or HR administration and getting into the business from there. The pipeline for Ralph started when he worked at a small rental car company and saw an ad for a job with a lighting company in the quality support department. “I thought if I had a job like that it would be fun to talk to my friends about what I did” – something many of us, especially recent graduates, can relate to. He found a great combination of facts, personality, and practicality in offering support to payroll specialists and worked there for four years before deciding he wanted to become self-employed.
He began selling his services as an independent consultant to larger companies, ending up with his own clients by 2010, as a result of his earlier networking efforts. Within his first year as an entrepreneur, he had acquired clients of around 50 employees, increasing to 200-250 by the second year, along with an office and 2 employees. Now, as of the end of 2021, WePayroll has around 20 solid, large clients, as well as 6 payroll specialists and an office manager on staff. Today, their typical client has anywhere from 50-500 employees. WePayroll offers a full scope of payroll services, from salary administration to consultancy on implementing and migrating to the Nmbrs payroll software, even if you currently do your own administration.
These services are fully encompassed in all-in fees with no added extras, something straightforward that employers find simple to digest. Whilst on the topic of the functions of their payroll services, we discussed what payroll in The Netherlands looks like:
- Foreign employers do not need to be fully incorporated in order to run payroll, as long as wage taxes are established
- U.S. employers often request to offer health insurance to their Dutch employees, something that is uncommon as health insurance is compulsory as offered through the Dutch government. Therefore this isn’t a payroll deductible benefit
- The most common benefit discussed in The Netherlands is pension, as well as time off for an employee’s holiday
- Depending on the contract, you need a permit to terminate someone’s employment as well as disclosure as to why you are letting them go
We also discussed how WePayroll was functioning around the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the unique and personal aspect of WePayroll’s mission statement. Although during the initial surge the specialists at WePayroll had to work from home, they chose to head back to the office once it was safe to do so. “We have all of the tools and capability we need to work from home, but we prefer to keep it social and find the energy to work which makes more sense together.” This sparked the final question, about the future of WePayroll and perhaps where the flexibility feature comes in. As Ralph described it himself, “There’s not too much of a focus for the future right now, we are just focused on offering high-quality payroll.”