Global Payroll – Back to Basics

June 18, 2019 | Aoife Flynn 5 mins read

In today’s technological world it is easier than ever for companies to expand internationally. Technology makes it easier to connect with customers, clients, and colleagues across the world. In some cases global expansion can be rapid, for example scaling through acquisition, essentially doubling or tripling the international workforce and global footprint overnight.

As a company goes global, payroll needs to be a key consideration. Worryingly many business leaders rarely consider payroll operations beyond the basic requirement of paying employees, failing to realize the strategic value of payroll data and its core function for their entire business. Establishing an efficient global payroll is essential for successful international expansion.

But first, we need to go back to basics and fully understand, what is global payroll and why is it important for international business?


Global Payroll

When an organization has employees in 5 or more countries, it is a real challenge to keep track of all the different country-specific compliance requirements, and local payroll rules and regulations. Furthermore, your company may have different human resources and payroll policies for each of those countries. The various language requirements add another level of complexity. Payroll professionals fail to get accurate real-time reporting with payroll data, access to this valuable information saves time and streamlines payroll processing.

Cloud technology and automation have changed payroll entirely. International payroll is transforming how multinationals manage their business operations. Now there is no need to recruit multiple in-country service providers (ICPs) and manage a pile of contracts. Now you can work with one single partner- an international payroll solution who looks after all your company and employees’ payroll needs. A Global Payroll service provider can help you avoid the expansion pitfalls by developing an efficient and compliant payroll system for both your HQ and international needs.


Why Global Payroll is good for multi-country business?

Processing payrolls through multiple HRIS systems makes the measuring of payroll effectiveness and efficiency almost impossible. In this digital era, the right information is key to stay one step ahead of the competition. Management and payroll teams need visibility over the entire payroll process.  Powerful reporting functions working with big data analytics allow visibility and clarity over the payroll operations and international payroll providers’ roles and responsibilities.

With a unified global payroll management software solution it doesn’t matter where your payroll team is based, they can pull all the payroll data they need from any device at any time.

Another great benefit of using global solutions is reducing the time your team spends on time-consuming and repetitive administrative tasks like sending payslips or preparing spreadsheets and reports. There is no doubt that one centralized payroll platform managing all local service providers is far more efficient than having to set up a team in each office around the world to manage lots of small service contracts.

Global payroll solutions give your payroll team access to information which provides a holistic view of the company and makes your team think smarter and act faster. Supported by cloud-based software, payroll professionals can work with all their colleagues across multiple departments and offices around the globe easily and more effectively. No more emails pinging back and forth. No more duplicates or lost work. No more anonymous revisions or updates. No more missed deadlines and unaccountability. Automated software for global payroll management gives accessibility and transparency, creating a collaborative, flexible and productive working environment. That’s what we all want, isn’t it?


Benefits of unified Global Payroll

We all know that when dealing with multiple countries things can get tricky! But it doesn’t have to be! A unified Global Payroll solution enables organizations to grow internationally and remain compliant with local tax and labor laws. Running multi-country payroll operations is complex and costly. Delivering a great service to your employees is the first point of talent retention, engagement and the base of contractual trust. Ensuring regulatory compliance is vital to prevent serious financial and reputational damage to your organization.


Reduces risk and improve efficiencies

Using a single global payroll solution eliminates the most common risks associated with processing international payroll: managing data exchange, reporting, deadlines, tracking holidays and events across time zones, coordinating with global payroll providers, HR, and Finance teams. A single unified system improves efficiencies within the global payroll function saving resources, time and overall costs associated with global payroll.


Compliance with local rules and regulations

Centralized payroll systems ensure strict compliance with local tax and labor laws. Managing these across time zones can be difficult. However, if they are not managed correctly significant consequences can result from non-compliance with statutory payroll regulations that will hamper your business operations.


Standardized reporting

Visibility Over Global Payroll is critical for a successful global payroll function. Access to comprehensive payroll reports such as total payroll expenses, total employer costs, and filtering these down per country or department are necessary data that needs to be available to the finance and HR functions. A global payroll solution will be able to provide such reports. Utilizing software in the cloud allows real-time access to these business critical reports.

Standardized reporting can also provide audit trails, detailed lists of what action was completed by whom at what time, allowing for comparisons and management of work delivery for multiple pay runs at a given time.


Employee satisfaction 

In today’s technological world where almost everyone is accustomed to and expects access to information in the palm of their hands using smartphones. It is important for overall employee satisfaction that your employees have access to their salary details as easily as they can access other information.

A cloud-based global payroll solution will have an employee self-service application allowing immediate access to past and present payslips, year-end documents, salary details, etc. all integrated with the Human Capital Management (HCM) software. An employees’ ability to view their own salary information will reduce down queries saving payroll team time and resources.


Data Security

By design, the payroll department in every organization worldwide holds valuable personal data belonging to its employees. In this dark web era, it is extremely important to protect this data. Data transfer using email and spreadsheets is very risky. Utilizing a secure system to house this data with limited access ensures the data is kept secure Password control, sign in authentication and user access levels allows the payroll team to control and track exactly who has accessed the information creating an audit trail.


Common Mistakes in Global Payroll

As an organization expands its operations around the world, it must navigate a number of challenges. Each new office can present a different set of payroll issues and legislative requirements that must be addressed, so preparing a successful expansion plan is critical. Of course, with every new business strategy there is always the risk of mistakes, to help you avoid them we have listed some of the most common traps of previous international payroll practices. This is a hot topic, which we have previously covered in our article titled Global payroll challenges and how to master them.


Expansion into new countries

Each country has its own legislation and tax requirements. Companies who don’t consider these in advance can be setting themselves up for failure. Business entity setup, recruiting and hiring new employees, ensuring compliance with specific in-country regulations, and managing payroll and HR for your global employees all should be taken into consideration. Careful planning and a global partner with in-country expertise can make the transition smoother.


Technology integration

While searching for a new global payroll solution, make sure it meets the needs of your global workforce. Multinational organizations often make the mistake of using a decentralized payroll model comprising of dozens of local payroll providers, different HRIS systems, practices, and processes. Many payroll systems don’t offer global reporting, don’t integrate and can’t manage compliance in some countries. Choose a global payroll technology tool that will help your organization manage and control global payroll operations efficiently.


Ensuring compliance and accurate reporting

Just as local legislations vary across countries so do systems, processes and reporting when working with local payroll providers/in-country partners (ICP’S). With a single system which integrates with the ICP’s, the organization can retrieve crucial data quicker and with significantly less human involvement. The single source and format of the data will help businesses get a global understanding of their payroll and employment tax obligations.

Introducing global payroll software will provide visibility over global payroll by producing comprehensive customized payroll reports. Providing the ability to connect centralized and localized payroll teams on one unified system across all providers, countries, and people.


Data management and security

Since coming into effect in May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) changed how businesses manage their data and while it focuses primarily on customer data, it also extends to employee data that businesses must store.

Achieving and maintaining GDPR compliance is not a simple task. Many payroll managers are under increased stress as they handle new responsibilities. Working with a global payroll partner that is well versed in GDPR is a great way to share the load and maintain adherence to the law.

A unified global payroll solution provides standardization and centralization of your data. An effective global payroll management system for HR, finance and payroll teams is connecting global data and payroll providers to deliver central control and compliance.



Global payroll today is much more than creating payslips. It provides the key to growing your organization, unlocking the potential of your workforce and gain real-time business intelligence.

Introducing global payroll software will significantly reduce costs and provide visibility over global payroll by producing comprehensive customized payroll reports. Providing the ability to connect payroll teams on one unified system across all providers, countries, and people.

Contact us today to learn how Payslip can make your life as a global payroll professional a little less complicated!

Schedule a Free Chat With Us Today!

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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