Tips for Staying Ahead of Payroll on a Global Scale

October 5, 2021 | Mary Holland 5 Mins read

There are many reasons why staying on top of payroll is important for a business to thrive. To start, employees are kept happy when they are paid accurately and on time – it boosts company morale and helps to uphold a company’s reputation. Global payroll is also a key factor for scaling into new countries or territories; the payroll department must be able to pay new employees, so it’s important to have the right tools, technology, and processes in place to facilitate growth mandated at the leadership and board level. This is about growth efficiency and enabling multinational companies around the world to scale on their own terms which is what they want to do, instead of being held back by chokepoints such as legacy systems and a lack of standardization.

Digital transformation is needed to manage the complexity of upgraded payroll processes, as expansion into new countries increases the need for multiple payroll local country payroll providers. There are many different factors to consider – multiple aggregators, dozens of local payroll providers, thousands of employees scattered across the world, different compensation and benefits packages, to name a few. All of these factors need to be centrally managed, so nothing falls through the cracks. Companies should keep the below things in mind in order to harmonize their global payroll operations.

Create the case for technology investments

As mentioned, digital transformation is quickly accelerating changes across the payroll industry. It’s important to make sure your company is staying ahead of the curve and managing its multi-country payroll through digital technology such as a Global Payroll control platform, instead of using outdated or longer fit for purpose systems or processes.

To help your business case in investing in global payroll technology, conduct a full audit of where the company currently is in terms of payroll – what’s working and where are the gaps that could be fixed? It’s likely that payroll data compliance will be a gap for many companies – adhering to local labor laws and regulations are some of the reasons that compliance can be extremely complex. It’s important to speak with key senior stakeholders who will benefit from digitized payroll technology. This includes IT, CFOs and HR managers, to name a few.

Partner with a global payroll technology specialist

Once the audit of your digital payroll processes is complete, look into partnering with a global payroll technology specialist, ideally someone who has built software, or a platform designed specifically to manage the delivery of global payroll at multinational companies. Together, you can develop a list of core steps that would make your global payroll processes more efficient. Your specialist can then help make those changes happen – as a first step, I advise you to prioritize data standardization across all of your payroll countries. Next, you should look at where you could introduce automation into the daily process to save valuable time.

From there, you can move to more complex processes like reporting and data management.

Look at managing complexity

When dealing with payroll on a global scale, using multiple payroll providers within different countries/regions is unavoidable. Apply control to how you manage it by finding a payroll technology solution that centrally manages all of your local country payroll providers on one platform. It’s important to keep in mind that complexity in payroll is only going to increase as your business grows- so to grow efficiently in the future, you need to be thinking about technology platform solutions now.

This is especially true with the new hybrid work model coming into play for many companies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that companies are hiring remotely all over the world, it’s crucial to stay on top of managing all payroll providers, plus is likely to be a globally dispersed workforce, in one place.

Prioritize technology integrations

Payroll needs to have a standardized process that is a part of a unified ecosystem. Critical payroll data flows need to exist between the human resources, finance, and global payroll departments. Data pulled from the HR and finance departments is needed for employee payroll processing, and data flows out of the payroll department and into human resources and the finance departments are needed for consolidated, multicounty payroll reporting. The integrations of these data flows is needed in order to create a smooth, standardized processes. A payroll technology cloud platform with integration functionality which connects all parts of the ecosystem is a way to achieve this goal.

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Lean into digital transformation

Manual and spreadsheet driven processes are no longer sustainable due to the complexity and volume of global payroll within a company. Digital transformation of payroll processes will help bring a business into the new era, allowing for major technology upgrades to enhance how global payroll is delivered and managed. For example, upgrading to standardized processes of data and information across all countries your company operates in means that global payroll professionals are working with the same data, no matter what country they’re in, for a seamless process. With automation and machine learning, thousands of employee pay files can be uploaded in bulk, then checked and validated in a matter of seconds, saving time and increasing accuracy due to the elimination of human error.

Digitizing payroll and reporting also allows for senior leadership teams to get a handle on payroll costs and the standardization of the data allows them to compare costs across countries, entities, and pay elements such as salary and bonus. It also allows for clear and transparent audit trials of payroll data (who used it, who changed it, and why). This digital audit trail can be used to prove local and global level compliance.

An outdated legacy payroll system is not equipped to handle the complexity of a large business anymore. Outdated payroll technology doesn’t include security features designed to protect sensitive and personal information, lacks agility and responsiveness when it comes to scaling a business, and cannot facilitate growth or the ability to quickly adapt when moving swiftly into a new country. The aggregator service model is likewise, no longer sufficient to cope with the demands of modern-day global payroll processing-it was not designed to manage this level of complexity.

Staying two steps ahead of payroll on a global scale is crucial for the kind of growth efficiency most businesses want to achieve today. Making global payroll central and foundational to this growth is an important step in the right direction.


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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