The views of the global payroll professionals

July 13, 2021 | David Daly 5 Mins read

Here at Payslip, we talk to global payroll professionals all the time and we’re always keen to hear about their successes, concerns and challenges.  From time to time, we like to take a more formal approach and gauge their views via a survey.

This is a great opportunity for us to gather some hard data and insight into the views of the diligent professionals who commit to delivering and managing global payroll to ensure thousands of employees across the world get paid accurately, on time every month.

We always learn something new, and it is a great way for us to establish which particular challenges are trending across the global payroll industry. Understandably, the global pandemic has presented a range of new challenges for these professionals to deal with and the survey results revealed a mixture of new challenges presented by the pandemic as well as perhaps some pre pandemic challenges which have been exacerbated by the scale and implications of the coronavirus.

We surveyed over100 professionals form a range of industries and asked them to state their biggest challenges, the results threw up some very important talking points- here, we will take a look at 3 key findings along with our views on why they matter so much to global payroll professionals working at multinational companies across the world today.

45% state compliance is their biggest global payroll challenge

We found this to be a pretty revealing survey response-this is a compelling statistic and reveals growing concerns around how to adhere to as well as manage the global payroll compliance challenge. Compliance is always a difficult thing to get a handle on- by its nature, it is subject to change as regulatory and legislative government bodies are prone to adjusting and changing policies in line with new local country laws. For this reason, there will always be a need for a very reliable ICP partner, one who can help global employers prioritize and prove local country compliance by leveraging their local knowledge around things like specific employment laws, local taxation and working policies. The ICP needs to be more than a payroll services provider, it needs to partner with the employer to deliver transparent compliance.

It is always a challenge for HR professionals and global payroll departments to keep track of what is happening in the international compliance space. The multi country nature of global payroll and the local country experts who provide it mean that it is a crowded landscape and visibility over how compliance is being managed is not always as clear as global payroll management would like. A lack of transparent digital audit trails is a clear gap in the technology stack being used by many global payroll professionals, who stated that it is difficult for them to be sure how to prove compliance. Getting a commitment from an ICP and ensuring that they do more to help with compliance is a positive step that global employers need to take.

The global pandemic has made visibility and control even harder-the sudden shift to remote global payroll delivery, and subsequent challenges in accessing global payroll data and procedures has not helped matters. This has also served to heighten information protection and data security concerns around sensitive global payroll data being shared via non-secure means such as email and excel spreadsheets. Such activity would be in conflict with many information security protocols at multinationals today, and tighter levels of protection need to be in place when dealing with global payroll data. Global employers need to be audit ready-this means being able to prove in a clear way who accessed payroll data, who changed it, when and why. A cloud deployed technology platform like Payslip, with digital audit trails is needed for this level of proof, organization and security.

Managers at global payroll departments are ultimately responsible for international global payroll compliance. Many point to a lack of a cloud deployed platform operating with digital tools as the reason why it is hard for them to see all of the necessary information.  Unclear processes or verbal responses at a local level are not enough to prove international compliance-the rules around which are becoming stricter year by year as are the financial penalties for non-compliance. Global payroll professionals point to a need for more efficient technology to help them manage the challenge of multi country compliance. GDPR compliance also needs to adhere to strict international standards and any failings here can result in significant financial penalties and reputational damage. A strong technology platform featuring transparent digital audit trails can help global employers avoid such consequences.

65% say they have little or no payroll standardization

This one falls into the category of ‘ the story that won’t go away’- standardization of processes and data across multiple different countries has always been a challenge and is likely to remain a challenge especially for those who have yet to pursue a technology solution to this issue.

All participants were generally in agreement that some form of digital transformation needs to take place to ensure that the global payroll data they are working with, and the processes in their network of payroll countries are standardized. Some employers are of the view that it is necessary to engage the services of an aggregator or accountancy firm to make this a reality, especially if they have adopted a multi-vendor strategy.  This is not the case, and global employers can leverage a payroll technology platform that enables them to apply standardization to all their payroll countries while maintaining full control over their choice of individual country vendors.

All global employers want to be able to introduce standardized processes to their multi-country global payroll. But crucially, they also want to maintain control over which model they use to deliver it- some mistakenly believe that standardization cannot be achieved without relinquishing this control and handing it over to an aggregator or an accountancy firm. This is simply not necessary- Payslip’s digital cloud platform is designed specifically for global payroll management and enables global employers to standardize their payroll countries while maintaining full control and autonomy via their chosen multi-vendor strategy.

Once global payroll professionals are working with similar data and operating to standardized processes, there is a much greater likelihood of operational efficiency. Standardization gives them a feeling of control and it also improves visibility around who is doing what and where. It simply removes a great deal of the complexity associated with modern day multi-country vendor management and payroll delivery.

Different data arriving from a range of different technology stacks deployed by local vendors across different countries means too much disparate data to manage on a daily basis. Global payroll professionals are of the view that there has to be a better way-and firmly believe that global payroll needs to be digitized and standardized as a matter of priority.

Visibility over payroll data, control around how it is delivered and transparency when it comes to the understanding of what the data reveals is key to managing global payroll in an environment where complexity is on the rise. The need for standardization has been exacerbated by the global pandemic as well as the continued scaling activity of high growth organizations, who tend to move at speed into new markets and territories, the result of which is more global payroll data to manage and more local country providers delivering new data in a different format. Something needs to change.

32% have challenges managing their multi-vendor providers

It is common and logical for global employers to pursue a multi-vendor strategy when delivering global payroll today. The ICP has the local, on the ground knowledge the employer needs when it comes to local employment laws, taxation, working policies and local legislation. The employer does not have the time or resources to dedicate to such nuances, and ideally wants a very reputable and reliable ICP to manage this workload for them. This will help them ensure that all of their employees in the ICP country are paid accurately and on time while the ICP can also be a hugely valuable resource in helping them maintain local and international compliance.

Things start to become challenging when multinationals expand at a rapid pace and find themselves with a large network of local providers to manage. These providers all have their own systems and data processes, so there is no uniformity and standardization. There are also no integrations with key players in the payroll space such as the HCM system and financial software. Disparate systems, non-standard data, lack of connectivity and multiple providers across the world create a complex management issue that needs a technology solution.

Global payroll professionals talk of a lack of visibility, control, transparency and overall operational efficiency when it comes to managing their multi country provider network. Visibility and control have been even more difficult to achieve thanks to the pandemic and the global shift to remote working. Employers are now more interested in the management of services being delivered by third parties such as local country vendors especially when it comes to continuity plans as well as solid remote working capabilities. They want to select their own ICP partner who can deliver payroll, manage compliance and help them scale into new countries quickly. And they want the flexibility to change ICP partner or on board a new one as and when they need to.

There is a pressing need for a unified technology solution that can help global employers manage their vendor network centrally on a single platform. Employers also need to standardize payroll across all of their countries, so require standardized data coming into a single system from all of their vendors. A digital platform is also needed to transform this data into consolidated and insightful multi country reporting. This is the kind of technology-based management solution that will solve global employer challenges that come with pursuing a multi-vendor strategy.

Payroll providers in more than 100 countries have adopted Payslip to deliver their in- country expert services to their multinational clients on our platform.  Payslip can connect these vendors with global employers as they are already on our platform- alternatively, a global employer can simply bring their preferred vendors on to the Payslip platform, anytime they want.

The Payslip platform has been designed specifically to meet the challenges outlined above as well as a range of other pain points being experienced by global employers around the world. If you are experiencing challenges similar to the above with your global payroll delivery and would like to know more about how our global payroll management technology platform can help you deliver global payroll in a better way, talk to our team today.


For information on the Payslip Platform contact 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

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 made our payroll process entirely transparent, which was something that we really need as we continue to grow and scale at such a rapid pace.

Travis Saville

HR Systems Lead, Wave