As a business one-stop shop and social security fund, Xerius helps the self-employed with their administration and supports them with social security related matters. The number of self-employed people that joined Xerius last year grew faster than the market. That is no coincidence, says Peter Jacobs, manager of the social security fund. 'At Xerius, we are trailblazers. This tool, which is unique in the market, is an excellent example of this. Our competitors are watching us very closely.'
The number of self-employed entrepreneurs in our country is growing. And yet, those starting out as self-employed or employees who are considering going self-employed still have cold feet when it comes to taking the plunge. The aim of the gross-to-net calculator is to lower the threshold to entrepreneurship.
'How much should I charge per hour and what will my net income be, is the most frequently asked question at our business one-stop shop and on our website,' says Franky Haesevoets, managing director at Xerius. 'With the gross-to-net calculator, we give aspiring entrepreneurs a little bit of guidance. Free and tailor-made.'
'There are numerous gross-to-net modules for employees out there, but this is the first tool to be geared to the self-employed,' says Peter Jacobs. 'Social protection and insurances are complex matters, making a personalised calculation for the self-employed a complicated business. There are many factors to consider.'
Based on gross turnover, the gross-to-net calculator of Xerius provides an estimate of net income after deduction of costs. Besides daily rates and number of working days, the tool also uses financial parameters such as group and hospitalisation insurance, deductible expenses, social security contributions, VAPZ (Private Supplementary Pension for the Self-Employed) and personal income tax. The calculator can be used by both companies and one-man businesses.
Users enter the parameters step by step, for instance, the number of days they would like to work, the amount of allowable expenses, the benefits they are entitled to etc. The tool then calculates what their income would be, what capital they can build up in their company and what dividends are left after tax.
Teal Partners built VIREN, the calculation engine behind the tool, and delivered the calculator ready for use according to the customary API standard. Social secretariat SD Worx provided the subject-matter know-how to convert gross into net. An accredited accountant checked and validated the calculations. The IT department of Xerius developed the front-end and plugged the tool into the existing website.
'Everything went really well,' says Peter Jacobs. 'Teal Partners does what others claim to do. No blah, blah, blah, but actual results. Their values are in sync with ours. They are real entrepreneurs with great customer focus.'
'With some IT companies, you get entangled in a legal jumble before you have even got started. Everything has to be put on paper from A to Z before a single line is programmed. Teal Partners roll up their sleeves and get to work. They want to make progress, just like us. We speak the same language.'
'The people at Teal Partners are smart. They think along and know where we want to go. Often, IT people will simply sell their hours. They are already charging you before a decent proposal has been produced. That certainly wasn't the case with Teal Partners.'
The calculator exceeded the expectations of Peter Jacobs. 'Users can make live calculations in the tool and get their result in real-time. That is quite a technical feat. Without the VIREN-calculation engine of Teal Partners, we would have never been able to achieve this kind of speed.'
The quick delivery also impressed. 'Too often, IT projects are delayed because of unforeseen problems at the developer's end. But Teal Partners delivered that fast that we, ourselves, weren't quite ready yet. It was like being in an alternate universe.'
Another important advantage of the tool is the flexible maintenance. 'Our business analysts can just get on with things without us having to knock on Teal Partners’ door all the time. Even our own IT department doesn’t have to do anything.'
In six weeks, no fewer than 73,000 people have used the tool. Users do four calculations on average per session. 'That’s a definite success,' says Peter Jacobs. 'Xerius has positioned itself as the most innovative and customer-focused player in the market.' The tool was also very well received by the media.
'Our goal was to attract new customers with this tool,' says Peter Jacobs. 'And, we managed to do just that. We continue to fine-tune the interface to give users an even better experience. For instance, we want to give them an even greater insight into the composition of the figures.'
Xerius is also considering how it can market the tool further. 'It's a clever piece of technology with tonnes of potential. We notice that accountants are also using it to carry out real-time simulations for their customers. We are investigating how we can exploit this potential together.'
'This tool of Xerius clearly shows what sets our VIREN-calculation engine apart,' says Koen Denies of Teal Partners. 'The speed at which the calculations are carried out, the flexible way the data can be amended, the fact that complex input and large data volume have been factored in, the simple maintenance of legislation, and a shift in ownership from IT to business. This case is a perfect example of our technological prowess.'
Discover the tool at http://www.xerius.be/brutonetto