Finance

Interview with Baruch Swinkin, Co-Founder of Route 38 Payroll Consultants

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Baruch, you’re an established US corporate accountant who made aliyah 9.5 years ago.  What led you to open ROUTE 38?
When I moved my family from Bergenfield, NJ, to Ramat Beit Shemesh in 2007, I met a very warm, welcoming community that eased many of the stresses that accompany the transition to the land of milk and honey. Living in the relative comfort of the Ramat Beit Shemesh “bubble” still required a culture adjustment, for sure. But I really felt lost staring at the forms in the Bituach Leumi office. I struggled to carry on technical conversations, especially when they involved legalese. Even financial terms in Hebrew were foreign – and I work with numbers for a living!

Route 38 is my response to address, ease, and relieve the anxiety olim can still experience when they need to deal with government bureaucracy more complex than the customer service counter in Best Market. Additionally, recent changes in operations at the tax authorities have made “living in the grey” and not reporting income quite dangerous. Nothing would make us happier than to make financial life easier for olim, so that they can keep the focus on building their businesses and careers, not on paperwork and red tape.

That’s really nice. So, is ROUTE 38 an accounting firm? A manpower company?
We are “payroll consultants.” Our accountants and lawyers are on retainer to advise and consult. But our niche is to provide support in our client’s native tongue. We’ve developed a unique employment structure that helps our clients minimize tax exposure, reduces the headache of paperwork and bureaucracy, and increases the amount of “take-home” salary wherever possible. In addition, we encourage our clients to take advantage of the many savings vehicles available to them, and navigate them through the legal requirements of retirement planning.

Do you actually set up pension plans?
We work together with licensed insurance agents to help our clients open pension accounts. Once they’re in place, we deposit their funds monthly. In fact, we also directly remit funds to bituach leumi, mas hachnasah, severance accounts, and kupot gemel on behalf of our clients.

That’s very convenient. Who would get the maximum benefit from your services?

  • Olim working in Israel for US entities
  • Atzmaim making 5,000 NIS or more a month who would prefer to relieve the pain of bituach leumi and mas hachnasah paperwork
  • Anyone who is under the misconception that during the first ten years of aliyah they don’t have to pay tax in Israel on any money made overseas.

Are you currently the only employee?
Absolutely not. There is a great deal of work that goes into operations, and that’s handled deftly by a team working under the skilled leadership of Yael Frydman. She is an all-star manager who is extremely well organized, exceptionally thorough, and exemplifies the culture of high level customer service we have set as our standard.

I handle the sales and marketing, and, together with Mike Kashnow, a local veteran entrepreneur, manage all of our other corporate obligations. All of us are professional payroll consultants, and we’re currently looking to hire a few high energy teammates to join us as we grow to the next level.

Haven’t other companies done this and gotten in trouble?
The situations are similar, but not the same. We’ve done our homework. We’ve learned from their failures, and we toe a very precise legal line. Everything we do is above-board and has solid legal footing. Our legal counsel and accounting advisors have helped us map out a strategy for a successful implementation of our dream.

Mind you, not all of our competitors are facing legal issues. But we offer a comprehensive service that we’ve developed from the point of view and hard-knock experiences of olim. And our stellar customer service catapults us into a different league entirely; our native tongue is customer care.

What’s the connection to the Highway 38?
We are going to be the conduit for connecting the talented work force in the greater Beit Shemesh area with the rest of the world, much like the way Route 38 is the physical conduit for getting from Beit Shemesh to the rest of the world. And hey, it’s a conversation starter … why would you name your company after that disaster???

So your clients are mostly in Beit Shemesh?
No. Our offices are in Ramat Beit Shemesh, but we service the entire country. We are currently assisting people from as far north as Zichron Yaakov and Tsfat, and in the south in Ashdod and Be’er Sheva.

How can I sign up for your services?
Contact us through our website www.route38.co.il or email info@ROUTE38.co.il.
In fact, mention this Bizness article, and we’ll give you a twenty minute consultation for free.

Let us help you bring in 2017 on the path to a smarter financial future.

 

 

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