How to achieve standardization in Global Payroll

January 16, 2020 | Aoife Flynn 5 Mins read

Why standardizing is necessary


As more and more organizations scale internationally, it is vital that the  global payroll function keeps pace and becomes a department that assists growth instead of being a blocker to it. Multinational Companies are moving to modern cloud HCM solutions but sometimes are not aware that a similar investment is required for their payroll operations. This results in a payroll process that struggles to keep pace with the demands of a growing business. The solution involves a platform integration which connects payroll to the Human Resources and HCM systems in a cohesive way that improves efficiency. Companies who are forward-thinking are looking into this as they recognize some key benefits that come with standardized global payroll. A digital transformation is required. The good news is that this is achievable, and in this article, we’ll explore some key steps all MNC’s can take to futureproof payroll operations globally.


First, standardize the payroll data


Every local payroll provider has their own payroll system and uses country-specific terminology. This creates a problem when it comes to summarizing payroll data on a global level and collating it from a number of different providers. A lot of manual entry is required, the task is time consuming and human error becomes a factor. Strategic decisions made using incorrect or incomplete payroll data can be disastrous.

Global payroll standardization means creating or converting payroll data so that it comes in a single standard format. Regardless of the format received from the local company, the provider needs to make that data consistent and deliver it in a standardized format no matter what country it is coming from. When this happens, an organization gets to act on clear, accurate payroll information which is in the same format when they are looking at reporting from different regions or on a global level.

Standardized data delivered on time allows for real-time reporting: this is essential for organizations who want to determine the success of their expansion into new territories.  Analyzing global payroll performance over time can provide accurate forecasts, which can help leaders manage budgets and cash flow in times of change or growth.


Next, standardize the payroll process


Key frustrations for global organizations when it comes to payroll, include a lack of visibility over the costs, inconsistent data reporting and poor flexibility and scalability when it comes to adding or changing countries.

Payroll professionals in almost every organization we have spoken with have said that what they need is a one dashboard platform that provides instant and simple access to:

  • Payroll status
  • Calendar
  • Real-time reporting
  • Cost Analysis filtered by country, employer and employee
  • Audit trail
  • Report history
  • Compliance and data privacy information

A global software solution is needed for this, one where a standardized process can be achieved on a global level. A solution which automates any repeat processes in payroll and provides high-level consolidated payroll data which can be used for both strategic and daily decisions.

This solution will consolidate multiple payroll providers onto a single modern cloud platform and reduce the administration workload for payroll professionals. It will also reduce compliance risks as well as overall payroll operating costs as it moves away from a highly manual process where data is spread across a number of disparate systems.


Invest in a modern payroll system


Standardizing payroll data is a digital transformation that will require some worthwhile investment. Cloud-based technology is needed to make everything run smoothly. Ideally, you will need a technology solution that can automate and standardize while also integrating smoothly with a modern HCM system. This is important as the end result would be a cloud solution that improves payroll delivery and also supports hr systems and other business functions with key reporting. This kind of technology empowers payroll professionals, vendors and business employees, all from one unified system. A system which genuinely transforms how payroll is delivered on a global level.

Technology can also help when it comes to automation. Automation allows for repeat processes in global payroll operations to become automated. Automation complements and works along with standardization to help speed up the process of global payroll delivery. When data is standardized and automation is in place, payroll professionals are then in a position to also deliver automated reporting. This greatly reduces the manual process and makes for a far more efficient and modern payroll process.  

Technology also allows you to replace multiple payroll platforms with a single solution that is ready to scale into new countries when required. This can provide payroll professionals with a regional view of operations from one source of data on a single platform.


Why isn’t everyone doing this?


Many organizations today are simply too busy with daily activities to focus on the future. Also, the benefits of a standardized global payroll solution may not be immediately obvious, especially to a company who does not anticipate having to perform payroll functions across a number of different regions.  Some opt to outsource to an aggregator who can take payroll off their hands. This means sacrificing control and visibility to a 3rd party and relying on external systems which are not designed to deliver the kind of detailed analysis and reporting a modern payroll operations team requires. A new approach is needed to payroll management.

All companies wish to grow and expand, so there is a very real need for forward-thinking behaviour when it comes to payroll operations and technology. Moving to a global payroll technology can prevent major hassle in the future and you can be certain that all payroll professionals will appreciate any investment when it comes to standardizing payroll data. It makes their lives a lot easier as they are always looking for modern tools which make payroll delivery faster and more efficient.

Nelson Hall have established some of the key factors which prevent organizations from moving forward and adopting modern technology for payroll:

1) Unclear Return on investment – Some simply don’t understand the transformative value involved and focus solely on cost of a payroll system.

2)Lack of strategic vision for payroll – Companies don’t see the payroll function as a function that can provide business intelligence to add to overall company strategy.

3) Assuming HR must be transformed first – Many view global payroll as a back-office function that requires little in the way of innovation. This represents a poor understanding of the importance of payroll operations.

4)Change impact – Fear of changing a payroll process that has been operating a certain way for decades.


Transform with a global payroll solution


Global payroll leaders are faced with a number of headaches on a daily basis. Many do not even know that there is a digital solution out there which can transform their entire payroll department. The key problems they face stem from working with different payroll companies who have different processes- which results in the delivery of data in a variety of different formats. Extracting reports and insight from this data requires a lot of manual intervention. Also, finding a suitable global payroll partner can be a complicated and time-consuming process.

But this needs to be done if you want a clear and comprehensive view of what your global payroll looks like. It is achievable and investment in the right technology partner can truly transform your payroll operations. This partner needs to supply you with a platform which consolidates global and local payroll processes in a way that puts payroll professionals in charge of their own data. They are then in a position to work with a better payroll system and provide reporting that offers a comprehensive view of global payroll.

When choosing the right solution for your organization, you need to make sure that all payroll operations will be managed in the same way at a global level, creating a unified global process, while allowing for local country-specific processes.




Future-proofing payroll should be a part of every business model. When you have a standardized global payroll solution, your company is in a stronger position to advance into new territories in a seamless way. You will require a payroll function that is global, automated, responsive and modern. One which allows you to standardize data, automate payroll and introduce flexible software to key participants in the payroll ecosystem.

This will result in the kind of key reporting and insights needed by human resources and business leadership teams to make important strategic decisions. You need a technology partner who can deliver all this for you as a service- a partner who can help you scale when you need to and go with you on your journey of growth.

Payslip’s platform is specifically designed to enable the quick scaling of international payroll through automation and standardization. 

Contact us today to arrange a Free Trial of the Payslip Platform.


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