Currencycloud, a cross-border payment platform, notes that a lot has changed since March 2020, when the financial markets crashed (after awareness about COVID became more widespread).
The COVID crisis has led to the largest global upheaval since the past few decades. It has touched the lives of everyone.
James Teodorini from Currencycloud points out that governments are concerned about the public health crisis shutting down entire sectors or segments of their economies. This has led to a great amount of uncertainty for individuals and businesses, which has made it quite challenging to manage finances for many.
Working from home has also turned into the “new normal” in a post-COVID world, Teodorini confirms. Working remotely from the comfort of our home means we’ve had to adapt to a new type of work environment which may have impacted many routine processes including expenses, team calls, meetings, payroll management (as all these tasks are shifted online), Teodorini explained.
He added that for some people, this might not be anything new, because they’ve been working remotely for a long time, well before COVID. He added that digitization and digital transformation have been trends for a fairly long time now. He also mentioned that the ongoing pandemic has just accelerated these trends. He pointed out that “after all, the last thing anyone wants to worry about is getting paid” and digital is “no longer an option; it’s survival.”
Teodorini further noted that the Coronavirus crisis has led many companies to realize that their employee’s wellbeing is in their “best interest” as well (whether its their physical health, mental health or their financial wellbeing). He also mentioned that many businesses have invested in providing desks, chairs, screens, and other equipment for their employees so they can work comfortably from home. Other employers have gone even further and invested a lot more in helping employees, Teodorini reveals.
Teodorini confirmed that Twitter, Facebook and payments company Square have all announced that their employees may now choose to work from home on a permanent basis. Meanwhile, other companies are leveraging new technologies to increase financial freedom, Teodorini noted.
He added that on-demand wage providers (or salary finance) are allowing professionals to draw down and conveniently access their earned wages. These services have become quite popular in the US and India (even before the pandemic). They allow workers to access their pay when they might need it the most, Teodorini noted.
He also mentioned that when businesses decide to provide remote working options, then it’s not just about work from home but “work from anywhere.” During the past few years, there’s been a significant increase in “digital nomads” across certain industries where “all you need is a laptop and an internet connection, Teodorini added.
He also noted that without having to commute to the office each working day, some professionals have taken the decision to “not just move away from their urban hub but to move internationally.”
“To sit on a beach in Brazil or Barbados and work from their laptops rather than sit at their kitchen table in a cold, grey London. (My best friend has done this – I’m not at all jealous).”
He pointed out that the challenge is how to manage the “complex task of employing workers in many different countries; the complexity of the different tax regimes, expectations for when payroll is run and how often and the difficulty of ensuring the employee receives their full pay without incurring high FX charges etc.”
He added that the move to “flexible working” and “flexible finance” is only being accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. He thinks that we shouldn’t ever go back to the “old ways” of conducting business (which relied on many manual processes).
“Global payroll, salary finance and other innovations in flexible working require infrastructure that delivers convenience and speed. That infrastructure hasn’t existed in the past. Paying people abroad used to be hellishly complex, slow and expensive. Allowing people to access their own salaries used to require a benevolent boss and a friendly bookkeeper.”
Teodrorini further noted:
“That is changing. With a new API driven technical landscape the world is getting smaller and more convenient. People expect to get paid in the same way, at the same speed, regardless of if they’re on a beach in Brazil or at their kitchen table in London. There are plenty of innovative firms out there that allow employees, contractors or freelancers, to get paid seamlessly wherever they happen to be working.”
He acknowledged that it’s great to be at the “forefront of this innovation,” helping RemoteTeam.com and others offer multi-currency support to their clients.
He added that this is why he appreciates what they’re doing at Currencycloud. The company is focused on working to “embed” cross-border finance in global payroll. He added that salary finance is “enabling people to live better lives, with more freedom and more security.”