Delivering global payroll remotely

May 19, 2020 | David Daly 5 Mins read

Survey reveals 68% of global payroll professionals lack remote access to payroll data

Covid-19 means that many critical and essential services are currently being delivered remotely as business units work together to meet core business deliverables during challenging circumstances. Global payroll has been identified as a critical business function; multi-national employees need to be paid on time and accurately in order for businesses to survive during this time of economic uncertainty.

Payslip carried out a recent online survey in which we asked over 300 global payroll leaders across a wide selection of multinational companies about the greatest challenge they were facing when it comes to delivering global payroll remotely. A key statistic which emerged stated that secure and convenient access to crucial data was their biggest concern.

A staggering 68% of participants confirmed, that despite technology advances in the last decade, they still did not have a satisfactory level of access to the level of documentation and information they needed to perform their duties remotely.


The Access Challenge

This survey result may come as a big surprise to many people who are not involved in global payroll- but sadly, many global payroll professionals are all too familiar with the obstacles they face due to legacy technology and the lack of digital transformation in their business critical department. Several other departments have benefited from advanced levels of technology, but global payroll does not appear to have kept pace- and this has resulted in a very significant problem around access to crucial data in a remote environment.

As soon as this global pandemic hit, it quickly became clear that payroll professionals around the world would have to unite and work together to create a process in which payroll could be delivered remotely. For many, the first question they asked was around how all participants in the payroll ecosystem could access the data they needed to do their jobs and make payroll happen.

The lack of standardization across the international payroll process resulted in a fractured and fragmented approach to payroll for many where teams delivered payroll in isolation. There was no formalized approach to accessing and sharing structured data files. Now that we have entered an emergency situation, it has become clear that this lack of access has become the first and biggest obstacle when it comes to the effective remote delivery of global payroll at multinational employers across the world.


The solution lies in the Cloud

It is clear that a formal and structured process around accessing and sharing vital data needs to be in place for emergency situations such as the one we find ourselves in right now. Critical payrun data needs to be available in clearly identified folders along with standard operating procedures for delivering global payroll during business continuity. Sharing rights and appropriate authorization levels also need to be in place for data security reasons.

This will both enable and empower remote working global payroll professionals to perform their duties while not in the office. The most effective data sharing structures today take place in a cloud-based environment. This environment is where flexible and innovative digital technology allows multiple access points and sharing of folders so that payroll professionals spread across multiple locations can all access the tools and information they need to perform their duties.

Operating in a purely spreadsheet driven environment is no longer sustainable or secure- it does not allow for the flexible sharing of documents and business critical data needs a more secure environment than email sharing in 2020. The cloud offers anywhere, anytime remote access where people are not restricted by device, location, or time zone.


Innovation has become necessary

Once the problem of accessing data remotely has been overcome, it then becomes a question of speed and efficiency. Payroll professionals need to be able to perform a range of duties in a remote environment in order to process monthly or ad hoc payrun files. Their duties range from communicating effectively, to switching tasks or allocating new duties to colleagues, right up to an emergency on boarding of a new local payroll vendor if required. Global payroll has always been complicated, there have always been a lot of moving parts in play, and now that it is being delivered remotely, there is a strong need for innovative technology that introduces efficiency around the process while also minimizing risk.


Solve future problems today

It may well be the case that things do not ever really return to normal after this global pandemic ends. Multinational employers will be examining some of the challenges they face with global payroll right now and asking how they can avoid such problems in the future. Some key learnings from today will start to become a part of the business as usual processes. Companies that have not been in a cloud-based environment for global payroll may find that leadership teams now insist that it is the only environment in which they can operate in going forward. Future business continuity may depend on it and therefore it may become the new normal.

Many payroll professionals will welcome the introduction of new initiatives to improve efficiency when it comes to delivering global payroll. They will likely ask that the correct level of investment is made to support a digital transformation which will ensure that they avoid in the future, some of the key problems they are facing with the remote delivery of global payroll now. Things like automation, standardized data and processes, secure cloud-based access to pay run data and customized, consolidated reporting may become standard practices in the delivery of global payroll in the future.  Leadership teams need to act in the here and now for this to become normal practice in the future. Investment right now in the digital transformation of global payroll can ensure payroll professionals have the tools they need to make them ready for any challenges coming down the road.


Payslip can help

The Payslip platform operates in the cloud environment and features a range of innovative tools that can help global payroll professionals both now and in the future. Teams spread across different countries and time zones can be granted immediate access to crucial payrun data and payroll continuity plans so that each team in each country operates with standardized workflows and processes.

This ensures that global teams are working together in a consistent manner and each team is fully informed and aware of what the other team is doing. Payslip technology also empowers payroll professionals to make quick decisions- they can immediately switch tasks across people in different countries or allocate payroll assignments to cover payroll employee absence. They can also quickly source and on board a new payroll provider in an emergency situation thanks to Payslip’s vast network of payroll providers and seamless integration technology features.



Using Payslip, we can manage all our payrolls across nine in-country vendors on one platform. When the global Covid-19 pandemic arose, it was not an issue from a payroll perspective, and critically getting everyone paid. The Payslip platform enabled continuity for our international payroll service including the fast and seamless implementation of the Payslip Employment Self Service during this time.

Colin Smith

Payroll Manager, LogMeIn

With business and employee growth rates of above 50%, we rely on our vendors to deliver on time, every time. Payslip’s workflow automation, enables Phorest to manage our payroll provider process – data driven, real time and transparent. Payslip saves us time so we can focus on our business growth.

Ana Kelly

International Payroll Manager, Phorest