And if the business has made performance a top priority as it squeezes margins to fund that growth, that challenge will be all the greater.
In this context, a global cloud payroll solution can be a game-changer in navigating payroll complexities to streamline your operation, improve performance, increase control and even boost staff retention.
Here are our recommendations to navigate the 7 top challenges of international payroll management.
The key is to aim for the best of both worlds: a global unified system executed with local expertise.
7 challenges of global payroll
1. Compliance with legal complexities
Staying compliant when you operate in a multitude of jurisdictions is a huge burden on multinational payroll processing. You will be dealing with tax laws, labour regulations and statutory compliances that change country by country – and year by year as governments dictate. Mistakes can be costly, not only significant fines and penalties but also reputational damage.
Our recommendation: Leave multinational payroll management to a trusted partner with a global cloud payroll solution and the expertise to adapt when local legislation requires. Choose a team dedicated to maintaining local and global payroll knowledge, and a platform that includes legislative updates as standard so that you remove ongoing system upgrade and future-proofing costs. Make sure your global payroll provider has the right specialists to build and test software as it needs to be adapted, so you have the reassurance that you will always be compliant.
2. Lack of data visibility and control
Lack of transparency is highly problematic in a multinational business, particularly at year end if you are gathering manual reports and pulling data from spreadsheets created by different systems. Global payroll reporting, on the other hand, gives dynamic corporates vital visibility across the organisation rather than simply country by country. You can use the data to make comparisons across teams and across regions, replicate good practice from one country to others, inform management decisions and identify warning signs before a problem spreads. The result is optimised workforce performance, engagement and productivity.
Our recommendation: Use global payroll reporting and analytics to view all employee data for a holistic view of payroll in real time. You will have hundreds of standard reports at your fingertips, from people planning to travel and expense, plus the ability to customise further reports to suit specific business needs.
3. Data security
Your cloud payroll solution needs to be secure when you are handling the private data of hundreds if not thousands of employees, especially when new recruits are joining the team regularly as your business expands.
Our recommendation: Pick a provider that has the systems and governance policies in place to keep data safe. An example is the Zalaris eFile, an electronic document archiving solution which takes the stress out of GDPR-regulated document management and security.
4. Organisational complexities with cross-border processes
If your growing workforce is widespread, scattered and operating in a variety of locations – in the office, at home, on site and frequently travelling – global payroll management is always difficult. You will be recruiting across multiple geographies and juggling different currencies and cross-border payments.
Our recommendation: Choose a payroll provider with deep expertise, true global reach and many years of experience. Zalaris has a track record of 22 years of uninterrupted growth, with 1000+ employees based in 14 countries serving our 350+ clients’ 1.5 million staff in 150+ nations across a variety of industries.
5. Employee-level complexities with hybrid work
The more staff you take on, the more working patterns your business has to accommodate. Not just that, but forward-thinking companies are now introducing Pay On-Demand to give their people maximum flexibility. While traditional payroll means employees wait for fortnightly or monthly pay runs, Pay On-Demand lets them take some or all of their salary as it is earned.
Our recommendation: Opt for a cloud payroll solution that meets the demands of Generation Z, makes staff feel valued, and has the flexibility to offer innovations such as Pay On-Demand so that employees gain the freedom to meet unexpected expenses while the business improves recruitment and retention.
6. Lack of in-house expertise
Fast-growth businesses often find it a headache – and lack the resources – to recruit a big enough team of in-house payroll management specialists able to escalate rapidly enough to keep pace with a burgeoning workforce and multinational needs.
Our recommendation: Outsource to a global payroll provider with a ready-made team of experts who can achieve the balance of worldwide reach while retaining local knowledge. A provider constantly investing in apprenticeship schemes and training programmes to develop the skills of its employees. A provider with a friendly company culture that maintains a close and agile relationship with your business, working with you as one team. Zalaris clients value this approach.
7. Time taken managing in-house global payroll with pinpoint accuracy
A major challenge posed by international payroll is data accuracy when you are reliant on manual data handling. With a global cloud payroll solution offering better automation processes you will reduce manual workload, improve process, reduce time and effort spent on repeated tasks and minimise both data errors and the cost of retrospective corrections.
Our recommendation: Appoint a global payroll provider with multiple measures in place to ensure data is accurate at all times. You will need a system that constantly reconciles at every point throughout the payroll process, ensuring output from one report is always matched to the output being produced by another. It’s how we work at Zalaris.
Know more on the topic
To sum it all up, cloud-based payroll
Zalaris’ Cloud Payroll, part of our acclaimed PeopleHub solution, increases payroll accuracy through high levels of automation, improves employee experience and offers intelligent reporting for better strategic decision making across your entire business.
Get in touch with us today to find out how Zalaris supports 150+ countries with our global payroll management system – and how we can support you.