All major Swiss payroll service providers for freelancers or contractors are digitalised: as in most offices today, internally they no longer push paper. This has become mandatory due to home office rules during the current pandemic. Many providers also have customer facing “webshops” for exchanging documents (contracts, timesheets, payroll statements etc). Indeed some even use the claim “we are fully digitalised” as a USP, which is no longer the case.

Digitalisation with these service providers is a commodity. It is also mostly a tool for internal support – optimising efficiency, supporting volume business, and reducing errors. However:

  • rubbish in, rubbish out: Payroll companies have to interact with reports to, and accounts from tax offices, insurers, social security offices, official government bodies etc. These B2B exchanges are still rarely coupled digitally with payroll service systems. On security and privacy grounds, time and work reports from client systems still rarely offer any technical interface. To maintain basic quality resulting manual data input requires four eye checking which can be time consuming.
  • Unlike a webshop selling goods, a payroll umbrella service provider is dealing with complex legal, tax and human situations requiring professional interaction: the scope of any online digital platform is in providing transfer of documents (contracts, timesheets, payrolls, expenses). This covers only a small fraction of the services required of a Swiss contract payroll service.

What are these services, in addition to basic payroll and document management? Investing in a job in Switzerland may seem lucrative, but it takes effort to get everything in place and keep it there. The following services are those that all contractors will need from their employer when contracting in Switzerland. These are personalised professional services that cannot be provided on a purely digital platform:

  • Advice on how employment law is interpreted in your particular situation
  • Managing accidents and sickness.
  • Applying for furlough and unemployment insurance.
  • Individual optimisation for tax (depending on particular work and permit situation)
  • Choice of professional pension (depending on personal situation and priorities)
  • Financial forecasts depending on particular scenarios (for example effect of taking longer holidays, changing work weighting, moving canton)
  • Applying for expense allowances
  • Registering with foreign authorities in the case of missions abroad
  • Providing employer references for mortgages etc
  • Assisting and advising in case of strife at work
  • Advice on personal tax returns, official letters received from authorities, expat tax issues, personal insurances and other local requirements.


Digitalisation can support people providing a contractor umbrella service, not replace them. This is especially applicable in Human Resources. Webshop style platforms work for selling goods like phones where the business does not need to service the customer. This is not the case with employment services – in fact it is the opposite. Beware of those claiming to be disrupters in the market with “fully digital platforms” thereby being the cheapest in the market. We have seen how this pans out in the airline industry, but at least with the airlines there are stringent safety regulations that budget airlines cannot break. This is not the case in the payroll services industry.

For those of you looking for a payroll services provider in Switzerland, take a look at our checklist.

As Switzerland’s most trusted payroll provider, Accurity GmbH has over 20 years’ experience providing clients  with the best advice about their payroll, pensions and social security and ensuring they make the right decisions. If you would like to speak with one of our team of experts, simply contact us now. If you are an international recruiter or PEO  looking to work in the Swiss market, contact our team today to see how we can make Switzerland easy for you!