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What is a virtual phone number – and should you get one?

From globalisation to the increase in remote working, we look at why virtual phone numbers are on the rise, and how they can improve the way you live and work today.

What is a virtual phone number – and should you get one?
More people are realising the benefits of having a virtual phone number. Photo: Getty Images

One of the great benefits of the world’s technological advances that we enjoy today is communication. No, not TikTok – though it has its place – but the improved cost, convenience and flexibility of phone calls and messaging. 

The days of baulking at the cost of making an international call from your work phone, or paying for an expensive public payphone card to call home while travelling are long gone. 

More and more people – from those living abroad to travellers to business owners to workers – are using virtual phone numbers to save money, work remotely, run businesses and communicate across the globe in ways that were simply not possible in decades past. 

Together with telecommunication provider Zadarma and its nomadic entrepreneur and co-founder Dmytro Tokar, The Local fills you in on what a virtual phone number is and why this easy and inexpensive piece of tech is worth adopting. 

So, what is a virtual phone number anyway?

Instead of needing a fixed and physical connection, a virtual phone number is cloud based and uses the internet. This means you can use the number for calls and messaging from any device that has internet access. 

Calls can be redirected or routed from the one number to another device, IP address or number. So the same number could be seamlessly carried from the phone in your office across to your mobile phone if you are out and about, for example.

“You can think of it as a regular phone number with additional perks. It is easy to connect a number from another country, calls will be coming in via the internet and the caller will never feel the difference,” explains Zadarma’s Dmytro.

Whether for work, life or travel, learn more about virtual phone number services from Europe’s leader in business phone systems, Zadarma

Why get a virtual phone number?

For travellers and people living internationally, avoiding roaming charges and enjoying cheaper call rates is a big bonus. 

Using a company like Zadarma, for example, setting up a virtual phone number takes just five minutes – so it is very easy to be up and running quickly and from almost any country in the world. 

“At Zadarma, we take safety and security of our services and clients very seriously, so there are no risks associated with virtual number connection. Having a number in a different country can be beneficial for a variety of reasons from bureaucracy and banking to getting a call from your food delivery service,” says Dmytro.

Remote worker benefits

At Zadarma, many staff members work “nomadically”, something that Dmytro is very familiar with himself. It’s a set-up that suits the business and employees and hasn’t changed their performance, he says.

“We do not see the reason to limit our employees in any way. Some currently live and work from other parts of the planet.”

The key to making it work? Communication. “Communication cannot be overrated when it comes to remote employees. There can be months before meeting a new employee, but making the effort to establish a connection can ensure that everyone on the team is working towards advancing the company.”

For entrepreneurs like Dmytro, using Zadarma’s own communication tool and virtual phone numbers means he can connect all his employees to the one network, no matter where he or or his workers are based. 

And Zadarma is obviously not alone in this way of working – 69 percent of 1,300 CEOs surveyed in 2021 are moving toward a virtual workforce, according to KPMG.

Virtual phone numbers are particularly well-suited to remote workers, startups, remote companies, and people, whether working or not, who are regularly travelling. 

Click here to set up your virtual office in five minutes

Business benefits

In today’s modern world, where people are often not working from a fixed office, it is important for companies to adapt and use the tools available to them. 

“Work processes will never be the same. For most companies, the lockdown has proven that having all employees working from the same space is not a key to success,” says Dmytro.

“I believe the most important tool of all is a communication tool. Finding the one that can both accommodate the changing lifestyle of a firm’s employees and maintain quality communication standards within the company and with clients can be challenging, but it truly makes all the difference. That is why for the past several years we have been focusing on making Zadarma’s offering ideal for companies with all types of needs.”

Using a virtual phone number for your business means you can assign the number to a specific region, which is beneficial if you are running your business across more than one location but still want to establish a local or regional presence. There is flexibility but customers feel reassurance and trust in calling you. Professionalism is established and exorbitant long distance phone call costs are non-existent. 

Zadarma’s flexible business solutions mean connecting yourself or your team, with easy integration to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and messenger programs. 

Safety and security

Working and living across borders, accessing devices in different locations using free wi-fi and the onslaught of people using digital tools with malicious intent can all lead to data and security breaches. 

Having a virtual phone number is an extra level of security to put your mind at ease. It means you can still be reached on your personal device, but without potential mobile hackers seeing your private number. 

“Being cautious can go a long way in protecting one’s privacy and securing the data. The internet can be a wonderful place with a variety of free tools but you always have to note how your information is handled,” cautions Dmytro.

Learn more about Zadarma’s affordable and easy virtual phone numbers – 30,000 numbers are available in 150 major cities worldwide, and they offer 24/7 support in seven languages

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WORKING IN SPAIN

How to understand your payslip in Spain

If you’re an employee for a company in Spain, each month you should receive a payslip from your employer, detailing how much you earn, deductions and plenty more. Here's how to read and understand your Spanish payslip properly.

How to understand your payslip in Spain

It can sometimes be confusing working for a company in another country. Even if you work in English, your payslip, or nómina as it’s called here, can be hard to understand.  

According to the salary platform EMT, more than 50 percent of people in Spain don’t know how to read everything on their payslip and don’t fully understand all the numbers on there.

It’s important to be able to understand everything about the amount you’re getting paid and what’s being deducted from that amount each month so that you can stay on top of your finances. Read on for our handy guide to help you out. 

There are essentially three sections to your payslip, which include the header, the middle section detailing your earnings and deductions and the footer, where you’ll see the rates applied for your calculations.

Here’s an example of what a nómina or Spanish payslip usually looks like. 

Header

According to Spanish law, each payslip must have a header that identifies both the worker and the company. It should include:

Information about the company
Name of the company
Registered office of the company
Tax Identification Code (NIF)
Social Security Registration number

Information about you (the employee)
Full name
Your DNI, NIE or TIE
Your social security number
Position with the company
Professional group
Seniority level
Date you started working for the company

Middle section 

Settlement period or Periodo de liquidación
A payslip is in fact similar to an invoice, so it should include a settlement period where it states the number of days worked for the payment being received. This is typically one month or 30 working days.

Revenues and expenses/accruals or Devengos
The revenues and expenses part of your payslip will state the gross amount of income that you have earned for a particular period worked. It will include your base salary, as well as bonuses and extra non-salary payments that are not taxed as part of your salary. These include compensation or payments for redundancy and must not exceed 30 percent of your salary payments.

Base salary or Salario base
Your base salary is the minimum amount you get each month. This will be at least €1,000 which is the minimum wage or SMI set for 2022, if you are working a full day of at least 40 hours per week.

This section will also include:

Supplements or Plus Convenio
This will detail any extra amounts received in relation to your work, such as extra shifts covered, working overtime and payments for extra training.

Extraordinary bonuses or Gratificaciones extraordinarias
If you work in sales, you may regularly get bonuses, but you may also get extra ones at Christmas for example. You may actually receive 14 payments but will receive them 12 times a year or once per month.

Remuneration
This part refers to extra payments to which income tax can be applied such as payments for private medical insurance, petrol for a company car or restaurant coupons to use when you’re working away.

Expenses
This refers the expenses you have incurred in order to carry out your job. It could be the cost of material or transportation if these have previously been agreed upon with your employer.

Social security and benefits or Prestaciones e indemnizaciones de la Seguridad Social
There may also be added benefits for suspensions or dismissals, as well as expenses assumed by the company, such as disability or unemployment benefits.

At the end of all of this, with everything added together, you will see your total gross salary. It’s important to remember though that this isn’t the amount you will get in your bank account each month as there will be several deductions to take into account first.

Deductions or Deducciones

This section of your payslip includes all amounts taken away from your total gross salary in relation to income tax and social security payments. These will include:

Social security or Seguridad Social

Your social security covers for healthcare, sick pay, accidents at work, maternity or paternity pay or temporary disability, and although your employer pays this, you will be responsible for paying 4.70 percent, which will be taken away from your total.

Unemployment or Desempleo
This is the amount that will cover you for potential unemployment or redundancy should the situation arise and varies according to the type of contract you have. It could be anything from 1.55 percent for a fixed-term contract to 1.60 percent for a full-time contract.

Overtime due to force majeure or Horas extraordinarias por fuerza mayor
This will include any extra hours that you worked involuntarily.

Overtime without force majeure or Horas extraordinarias sin fuerza mayor
These are the extra hours you worked voluntarily and can incur withholdings up to 4.7 percent.

Personal income tax or Impuesto sobre la renta de la personas físicas

Your income tax or IRPF will also be taken away from your total gross salary before it appears in your bank account. The percentage that you are charged will vary depending on how much you earn as well as your personal situation, your family (including if you’re married and have children) and the type of contract you have.

Salary advances or Salario Anticipo
If you are allowed to get any advances on your salary, this will also be reflected in your payslip and deducted here.

Value of products you received
This refers to the products and services you may get from your company received as wages, which are also subject to income tax.  

Other deductions
Other deductions on your income tax may include union payments or loan repayments for example.

After all of this is calculated, you will be able to know the actual amount that you should finally receive. If you need to question anything, you can refer to the footer section, which will state the specific rates applied for your calculations

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