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If you plan on expanding internationally, dealing with employers of record vs. a PEO company can be a hassle. Nowadays, operations only happen within a single country or territory but regularly move to several parts of the world.

When you’re looking to expand operations in foreign countries, there are two main options: Employers of record and professional employer organizations (PEO). When deciding between these two options, it is crucial to understand their differences to make the most informed decision possible.

What Is an Employer of Record (EOR)?

An Employer of Record (EOR) refers to a company that employs one or more workers. It receives and files tax forms that report the wages and other compensation paid to the worker. The EOR can be an LLC, corporation, or any other business entity.

An EOR is often an intermediary between a worker and an end client. For example, it may:

  • Act as an employer on behalf of a staffing firm or temporary agency (to avoid having to register with the IRS as an employer).
  • Provide payroll services to companies that need their HR departments.

The EOR is responsible for paying all taxes for the contractors it employs and has liability for any claims against those contractors. It can also require them to take out workers’ compensation insurance and pay that cost.

What Is a Professional Employer Organization (PEO)?

A professional employer organization (PEO) is a staffing firm that provides human resources services to businesses of all sizes. A PEO can handle payroll, benefits administration, workers’ compensation insurance, and other HR functions.

PEOs help employers comply with employment laws, manage employee benefits and taxes, and handle payroll and workers’ compensation claims. They also provide HR support to small businesses that need more resources to manage these tasks independently.

A PEO works with the company’s employees in an employee leasing relationship. The company contracts with the PEO to provide these services, which can be especially helpful for small businesses that need more expertise or resources to handle their own HR needs.

Industries That Benefit from EOR and PEO

Businesses in various industries can benefit from Employer of Record (EOR) or Professional Employer Organization (PEO). Industries that tend to use EOR and PEO include:

  1. Construction companies often hire workers for short periods, for example, for a one-time project. The employer may also bring on employees who work remotely rather than on-site. An EOR or PEO can help these businesses manage payroll, benefits, workers’ compensation, and other administrative tasks without taking on the risk of hiring an employee full-time.
  2. Healthcare providers often need temporary staffing solutions when doctors are on vacation or sick leave. An EOR or PEO can provide access to temporary workers and help manage their payroll and benefits.
  3. Food service businesses typically have unpredictable hours and schedules that make it challenging to maintain consistent staff levels. An EOR or PEO can help these companies find workers with flexible schedules and handle payroll and benefits management responsibilities, so they can offer more hours to current staff members who want them.
  4. Manufacturing and distribution companies can benefit from a PEO in many ways. For example, they may have employees who work on-site at client locations or warehouses that their company does not own. These employees could be asked to complete tasks such as filling out paperwork, answering phones, or organizing inventory — all things that can be delegated to a PEO.
  5. Service industry businesses also benefit greatly from utilizing a PEO because they typically have employees who travel to multiple clients or perform tasks in client offices during their day. A PEO can provide these employees with benefits such as health insurance and payroll processing so that they can focus on doing what they do best — providing excellent service to customers!

Similarities between EOR and PEO

Employer of Record (EOR) and Professional Employer Organization (PEO) are two types of employment services that can help you run your business. They both have their pros and cons, but they share many similarities. Let’s look at what they have in common so you can decide which one is right for you.

Employee Management 

Employers who use EOR or PEO services would manage their employees the same way they would if they were not using them. You will still be responsible for creating job descriptions, managing HR policies and procedures, offering benefits packages, and employee scheduling. The only difference is that when you use an EOR or PEO service, the company will take over some of these responsibilities from you. This could save time on paperwork and give you more time on other tasks like marketing or sales.

The following are some similarities between EOR and PEO:

  • Both are not legal entities. They do not exist in their rights. Instead, other entities use them as a place for them to report wages, taxes, etc.
  • Each has its set of responsibilities and liabilities – this can include paying payroll taxes, providing insurance coverage for workers, etc.
  • Each can provide payroll processing, tax filing, employee benefits administration, and HR consulting.

Differences between EOR and PEO

The EOR business model is a traditional arrangement in which a company offers its employees benefits and provides workers compensation coverage. The employer’s name appears on employee paychecks and other employment-related documents.

A PEO is a third-party administrator that provides all of these services for your company — and more. A PEO can assume the legal responsibilities of an employer by signing contracts on behalf of your company, including benefit agreements with employees and vendors. In addition, a PEO will manage all aspects of your employee benefits program, including payroll processing and tax withholding for each employee assigned to them. 

The EOR and PEO business models are similar in that they both provide payroll and human resource management services to small businesses. However, there are some critical differences between the two models:

  1. Employer of Record requires employers to pay their employees through them. In contrast, PEO allows employers to outsource their HR functions to them while paying their employees directly.
  2. The EOR has complete control over all the information related to the employment relationship, such as payroll and employee taxes. On the other hand, PEO outsources these responsibilities to another entity either through a third-party administrator or by hiring employees who work directly with employers and employees.
  3. EORs provide services only for small businesses; however, PEOs offer services to both large and small businesses regardless of size or industry type.
  4. A single company can only establish EOR, whereas a PEO can serve multiple companies.
  5. PEO acts as the employer of record but does not employ any workers. Instead, they contract with their clients to provide these services. EOR cannot provide human resources services like payroll processing or employee benefits administration but must outsource those tasks to another company or individual.

Pros of EOR and PEO- A Brief

Given below are the pros of EOR and PEO to help you choose what suits you the best.

Pros of EOR:

Improved Financial Reporting

Many companies choose EOR because it improves their financial reporting. The PEO takes care of payroll, taxes, and benefits administration, so you don’t have to worry about those things anymore. This gives you more time to focus on growing your business and less time worrying about compliance issues that distract from other priorities.

Reduced Costs

Another reason many companies choose EOR is cost savings. PEOs typically charge by the number of employees they service, so choosing this model can help you save money on overhead costs like payroll processing fees and employee benefits management fees that would otherwise eat up valuable resources that could be used elsewhere.

Improved Service

With an EOR, you have a single point of contact for all HR business function questions and issues. You also have one person to call when you need help with payroll and other administrative duties.

Pros of PEO:


One of the biggest benefits of using a PEO is consistency. When employees are used to working with one entity for their benefits and payroll needs, they may be more loyal to that company than if they had been switching between multiple providers for different needs throughout their careers. This minimizes turnover and increases productivity because employees won’t be distracted by their benefits coverage or payroll processing needs when it comes time for them to work on projects.

Reduce Your Risk

PEOs help you manage risk by handling your payroll and benefits, so you don’t have to worry about liabilities. If an employee files a claim or lawsuit, PEOs have insurance that protects against lawsuits. You also don’t have to worry about getting in trouble for not paying state and federal taxes on time or paying them on your employees’ behalf.

Access Expertise

A PEO provides access to HR professionals who can help with compliance issues and develop best practices for your team. They have systems in place to ensure everything is done correctly and on time, so you don’t have to worry about whether or not your company is meeting all of its obligations. This can help improve productivity and morale among employees who feel like they aren’t being cared for by their employer. 

EOR vs. PEO: Which One to Choose?

The EOR vs. PEO model isn’t a binary choice — many options exist. You can outsource only some of your HR functions, like payroll or benefits administration, or you can go all in by handing over everything to a PEO.

Consider these three factors when deciding:

  1. The size of the company
  2. Workspace culture of the company
  3. Your budget

So what should you choose? Here are some considerations:

  • If you want to outsource your payroll processing: If you want someone else to handle all of your payroll-related tasks, then an EOR might be best for you. However, suppose your company does not do any payroll processing and only uses an EOR for benefits administration. A PEO might be a better option because they offer other services besides payroll processing.
  • If you have multiple clients, and each needs different reporting capabilities and employee communications, then using an EOR may be more beneficial than using a PEO because they can tailor their reports specifically for your business needs.

Wrapping Up

Employer of record and Professional Employer Organization are two business structures for a company. These structures offer different benefits, drawbacks, and legalities to new companies. When starting a new company, you should consider both types of systems before making your decision.

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