Online service to prevent moonlighting
“How can it be this difficult to pay wages?” This is a question that used to frustrate Janne Isosävi. He wanted to hire a part-time nanny for his children, but he could not get to grips with calculating statutory pension contributions, pay-as-you-earn income tax, social insurance contributions and unemployment insurance contributions. Even after spending a whole evening in front of his computer trying to work it all out, he was not sure whether he could do everything by the book.
It was then that he realised that he had stumbled on a viable business idea: a service that would help householders pay wages to workers easily and simply.
Getting over the rigmarole of wage-paying
Isosävi opens the door to the start-up business that he set up with his three business partners in Kruununhaka, a stone’s throw away from Pohjoisranta Marina, and invites me in. He explains that householders have been able to use the Palkkaus.fi service since August 2014 to pay workers, such as builders and cleaners, through a single online transaction.
Palkkaus.fi calculates all the necessary statutory charges for them, against a fee of a few euros.
“Normal people do not know all the obligations that are associated with paying wages. Finding out can be quite a rigmarole, which is why many prefer to pay bills of a few hundred euros under the table rather than trying to do things by the book. We wanted to make paying wages as easy as possible. Our service also encourages people to hire workers and prevents moonlighting.”
The service was extended to entrepreneurs and associations a few weeks ago, to prevent them from having to waste time on administrative work. “It is not very efficient for entrepreneurs to have to spend hours on the trivialities of wage-paying.”
Breaking through the red tape with the help of digitalisation
Before setting up his own business, Isosävi studied software technology and worked in product marketing at Nokia. While at Nokia, he also lived briefly in Johannesburg, South Africa, and grew exasperated by the rifeness of corruption there. “Nothing worked, but somehow everything got sorted. Here in Finland, our problem is that everything is too organised and hierarchical, and government departments do not communicate with each other.”
Isosävi believes that the solution to the problem lies in digitalisation. It can help to make bureaucratic processes more efficient and to bridge administrative silos easily and transparently.
“It could also be a viable export for Finland”, he says.
Helsinki – a safe haven
Isosävi has learned to appreciate the safety of Helsinki especially after his return from Johannesburg. There are no barred windows here, and it is safe to go out after sunset.
“Of course it is dark and cold in Finland in the winter, but there are no tornadoes or earthquakes, and the Baltic Sea is not going to produce a tsunami any time soon. There are also no traffic jams, and you do not have to fear for your safety even in the middle of the night – unless you pick a fight in the burger van queue.”
A burger van queue is not Isosävi’s scene, however. Instead of late nights out, he spends his free time with his children, taking them around the various museums of Helsinki. The family’s favourites are the interactive workshops of the Kiasma museum of contemporary art and the collections of rare species of animals at the Natural History Museum of Helsinki.
“The Museum Card season ticket is the best thing ever, as it gives you access to all the museums”, he says.
Text and picture: Venla Pystynen
Janne Isosävi nominated Henrietta Kvist as a maker of the Helsinki of the future.