HR and Global Payroll: Misleading Assumptions

August 29, 2021 | David Daly 5 Mins read

There is an interesting belief in play when it comes to payroll transformation at many multinational companies, namely that global payroll can only be transformed after a major digital upgrade has first taken place in the HR Department.  It is our opinion that this is simply not the case, but we recognize and understand from conversations with many global payroll professionals, that this is a prevailing belief within the industry.

In this article, we will look into some of the reasons why this belief has taken root, whether it is actually supported by relevant facts and we will also examine the link between HR systems and global payroll accuracy.

While it is certainly relevant to say that there is an established link between HR and global payroll delivery, there is also nothing at all to prevent a digital upgrade taking place in global payroll separate from any activity in the HR Department. We fully understand the importance of these two business critical functions being aligned in terms of outlook and technology, but the notion that digital developments first need to happen in the HR Department is a myth that does not hold up to scrutiny.

Payroll Vision

The traditional view of global payroll being a back-office function does not help the department sell itself to business leaders or lend itself naturally to a strong and clear business case for technology investment. This view is now changing, the global pandemic has really brought into focus the essential nature of global payroll professionals and what they do in terms of company morale. It is now clearer than ever before that payroll is a business-critical function that fully merits further investment and process improvement initiatives.

Global payroll has always needed a leader to define a mature vision for the manner in which payroll is delivered across multiple countries at the same time. The function needs a champion, someone with a deep awareness of how innovative technology and tools can really enhance the delivery of global payroll and introduce a new level of innovation to a business-critical function. It should not require another department to lead the way first and prove that it can be done- if it is truly business critical, then why wait?

Sometimes it is important to look at the bigger picture and examine global payroll in terms of the wider ecosystem at a multinational. This means looking at technology and platforms and how they can co-exist and work together in a more streamlined and efficient way. If an investment is made in both payroll and HCM technology at the same time and these technologies align and interact with each other to ensure the common sharing and transferring of crucial payroll and other business data, this would represent an important advancement and step forward in unifying both departments on the road to a common efficiency goal.

Business Case

Like any business function, global payroll will need to prove that an investment will deliver efficiencies, greater productivity and security as well as long term return on investment -this is simply a prerequisite for all business cases. This is not something global payroll should fear as a clear business case can be articulated and there is strong evidence already available in terms of metrics and figures, that prove significant cost savings and productivity gains can be made with an investment in innovative global payroll technology.

If somebody is assigned to articulate and map out what the current global payroll process looks like and where the department would like to get to-this is the start of a road map for progress. This allows you to define cost and productivity as it stands now and then outline clearly what savings and efficiencies can happen over a long period with the introduction of innovative technology. Some benefits can be realized relatively quickly while others will be reflected over the long term- Here are some ways a technology investment can make a positive impact on the delivery of global payroll:


Standardized data and processes will introduce productivity gains as global payroll professionals across several countries will be working with data in a similar format and structure -payroll data will be processed quicker and more efficiently.


Automated inputs direct from the HCM system will reduce manual workloads, create time for focusing on other tasks and eliminate the likelihood of costly manual errors.


Advanced reporting at a touch of a button will provide immediate data around global payroll cost analysis for quick decision-making.

Task switching

Switching tasks between team members in different countries will enable coverage for employee absences and allow for flexibility when it comes to completing tasks.

Remote Payroll

Remote access tools will enable staff around the world to access documents and procedures for the remote delivery of global payroll- this could avoid costly payroll failure and unhelpful time delays with staff accessing the necessary data to do their jobs.

New HCM system

Sometimes the HR department is the first one to make a move in terms of a technology investment- they look at technology platforms that can improve the way they deliver their human resources services. Increasingly, global employers are interested in a platform for the lifecycle of the employee -the ‘ from hire to retire’ model that allows them to manage the employee data for the duration of their time with the company in one platform.

The Workday platform is a common choice at many multinationals today as it is a cloud-based platform that specializes in human capital management and financial management applications.  It helps HR departments oversee time-management, procurement, employee data, financial accounting, and expense management in a single, user friendly system.

Workday has become so large and popular among multinationals today that it has led some innovative technology firms to broaden the appeal of their technology by ensuring that is also integrates seamlessly with the Workday platform.

If you have already implemented Workday and you believe the next step might be to introduce similar innovation to your global payroll department, then you could look to move your global payroll onto a technology platform that aligns in terms of innovation and next-generation digital tools. The Payslip global payroll platform ticks all these boxes and has the added advantage of easily integrating with the Workday platform.

Platform Integration

When a HCM platform, like Workday, is integrated with a global payroll platform that utilizes innovative tools such as robotic process automation and data standardization, then you are working with two pieces of technology that transform and benefit both departments in equal measure. This enables global payroll data to play a key role in the wider strategic thinking of the business. Business leaders will always be interested in statistics, analytics and consolidated reporting that incorporates key figures from both HR and global payroll to help them define a future road map for the business.

Also, immediate benefits can be seen when two major business critical functions have aligned technology, capable of supporting and interacting with each other. Data can be transferred securely and in a faster way, reporting can be more detailed and consolidated, automation can save time and boost productivity while standardization serves to streamline and manage processes across both functions in a more efficient way.


Payslip and Workday

Payslip technologyPayslip is an automation and integration global payroll platform that integrates seamlessly with HCM platforms such as Workday. Payslip has a lot of experience onboarding clients who are already on the Workday system or are in the process of migrating across to it.

The Payslip platform supports to secure transfer of Workday inputs over to Payslip while also facilitating further integrations with local country vendor experts so global employers can leverage preferred subject matter expertise in a structured, global way.

The platform runs our standardization playbook so employers can have centralised governance and control over their data, people and vendors. It also automates repeatable, recurring and predictable data flows, creating more time for payroll professionals to focus on priorities. The platform lets you build global payroll process scalability and flexibility, to support any new country growth initiatives.

If you recently moved on to the Workday platform or are currently in the process of a HR or digital transformation project, talk to our team today to learn how a platform integration with Payslip can also transform your global payroll.


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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

Payslip as a technology platform has added a missing piece in our payroll set-up. As an international company with offices in 16 countries, it’s important to us that every employee at GetYourGuide has the same great experience when accessing their pay data.

At the same time, we work well with smaller local payroll providers, supporting us with direct local expertise in their countries. We were able to combine those two elements by placing the Payslip platform in the middle, to simplify reporting and communication with local providers, and to have one simple employee-facing solution across all locations.

Julian Fichter

Head of HR, GetYourGuide

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

Payslip positions your team for success, and allows you to onboard hundreds of people when you need them very quickly and efficiently, in the same way for each country. The uniformed approach empowered our payroll teams to keep pace with our business.

Payslip also made our payroll process entirely transparent, which is invaluable to our payroll teams as we continue to grow and scale at such a rapid pace.

Travis Saville

HR Systems Lead, Wave