Roundtable discussion with tech clients-key takeaways

February 3, 2021 | 5 Mins David Daly

At Payslip, we are always keen to hear from our clients and learn about their many and varied challenges. It is always a great opportunity for us to hear from them and learn about what is happening within their specific global payroll environment.

As part of a new initiative this year, we will be conducting a series of roundtable discussions with clients and key global payroll industry leaders. This is a good way to have an informal yet highly informative and valuable discussion where both Payslip and our guests can shine a spotlight on key challenges as well as share useful insight around how they approach and handle the day-to-day challenges that come with managing complex multi country global payroll.

We kicked off the first of these discussions last week, and we were delighted to welcome guest speakers from two major technology organizations. Colin Smith, International Payroll Manager, LogMeIn and Julian Fichter, Head of HR, GetYourGuide joined our moderator Mary Holland (CCP) Payslip CCO and discussed some key global payroll issues faced by global organizations against the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis. Below are some discussion highlights and key takeaways from this popular event.

colin smith

Colin Smith

International Payroll Manager

Julian Fichter

Head of HR


Global payroll continuity during Covid-19

Unsurprisingly, key tests and challenges around delivering global payroll continuity during extremely challenging circumstances brought on by the pandemic was a big talking point during this roundtable – our two guests had diverse and thought-provoking views on this.

Their immediate considerations focused on the welfare, physical well-being and mental health of their geo-dispersed workforce. After this, their attentions were focused on remote tools and the ability of their payroll staff to access the data, software, processes and procedures they needed to deliver global payroll across multiple countries in a non-office-based environment.

There was also a focus on the readiness of their vendor network and ICPs, with key questions being asked about disaster recovery plans as well as the robustness of their current process and its ability to withstand the unprecedented challenges of a global pandemic.

A key takeaway was around how vital it is to become aware of your payroll process vulnerabilities as soon as possible and take immediate steps to address them. Most of these steps involved a technology solution as delivering global payroll remotely without strong technology was simply impossible, especially under the intense circumstances that arose with COVID-19.

Cost savings, hiring freezes and funding reversals made things more difficult but there were a lot of learnings, especially around what company culture might look like when we all get past this challenging period for businesses everywhere.

The general consensus was that some technology organizations were better prepared than others, and those who had the technology already in place to support the remote delivery of global payroll were on a stronger footing.

Digital transformation a major priority

Both of our guests stated that their organizations had already begun significant digital transformation across their human resources and global payroll technology functions. Understandably, a global pandemic can severely interrupt processes such as these, but it was interesting to discover that digitization, standardization and automation was needed more than ever to help get global payroll over the line.

While cost savings initiatives can result in a reduction in investment, there was a general feeling that it was best to return to these digital transformation projects as quickly as possible in order to future proof global payroll and HR functionality. Both our guests took a positive view on things, accepting that the pandemic will one day end and their organizations will require digital platforms to support future scaling and deliver on leadership team strategies.

Now is the time to replace legacy systems with new technology that have a focus on speed, efficiency and innovation -global payroll professionals need to be equipped with digital tools that empower them to deliver global payroll while their organization may be scaling at a rapid rate – without such tools, it might prove difficult to cope with the administrative burdens involved in multi country global payroll delivery.

An interesting takeaway from Julian at GetYourGuide was their focus on the employee experience -they had a strong desire to ensure that their internal employees worked with a similar level of digital innovation that the company was aiming to give to their external customers in the form of an agile, flexible and intuitive user experience. Considerations like this are further proof that digital transformation is a cultural mindset as opposed to simply a purchase of a platform or technology -this mindset is increasingly being adopted by high growth and progressive organizations.

The role of global payroll reporting

Comprehensive, detailed and global consolidated reporting became even more important during the pandemic as leadership teams across organizations had an immediate and urgent need for greater clarity, visibility and control around labor costs across each of their payroll countries.

Many organizations were in panic mode or cash preservation mode -cost savings became an immediate priority linked to the survival of the organization. The requirement for global payroll reporting capable of comparing multiple countries and regions became essential and was in high demand.

Global payroll departments with limited technology who lacked the ability to schedule or customize detailed reporting in specific ways struggled to meet demands from leadership teams and C-suite executives for labor cost reporting.

Detailed global payroll reporting and smart analytics can be very helpful for human resources managers looking to assess their ability to meet hiring needs or make crucial decisions around things like reduced working hours. The more detailed, nuanced and locally relevant the reporting was, the better.

Both LogMeIn and GetYourGuide relied heavily on the detailed and accurate reporting available in real-time through the Payslip system.

The future of work: flexibility and technology

As the discussion turned towards the future of work and the future of the office place, two common themes that consistently came up were around flexibility and technology. Global employers will need to show flexibility towards a global workforce and technology will be needed to facilitate this flexibility and make it sustainable.

Both our guests mentioned conducting internal surveys to gauge how their employees were feeling about returning to the office when things settle down. The response was mixed as age, location and family priorities varied but a general view was a preference towards a mix of remote and office- based work with the flexibility to determine themselves which days or how many days in a month they wished to return to the office. Tax and legal implications will need to be considered so it is not simply a case of greenlighting it as a policy.

An important question arises- do companies have the digital tools to meet such request? If they don’t, are they likely to lose good people to more digitally innovative organizations? Both our guests agreed that digitization projects are likely to be fast-tracked and prioritized as companies accept that a significant number of their international workforce will not return to the office on a full-time basis.

Business cases for platform integrations and standardization projects will likely increase and there will be a strong need for secure data and file sharing functionality in a cloud environment to facilitate data driven processes like global payroll. Processes need to be optimized for remote service delivery and the concept of a ‘work from anywhere’ organization will enter the mainstream and likely be very competitive in the talent recruitment space.

This roundtable was a successful initiative,  all attendees learned a lot and the feedback was very positive. We are looking forward to the next one- keep an eye on our social media channels for news on that. In the meantime, you can access a recording of the event here🎞️ and should you have any questions on the best way to digitize your global payroll process, talk to our team today.


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