Global payroll in a post-pandemic world

Global payroll in a post-pandemic world

Things are different now

| Global payroll in a post-pandemic world

Table ofContents

Introduction 01


The pandemic has changed everything



What this means for global payroll



How to manage the change



Prepare with Payslip


Page 12-16

| Global payroll in a post-pandemic world


1. Introduction

Nobody saw the global pandemic of 2020 coming and no set of business continuity procedure notes were tailored towards managing a devastating global disaster that spread around the world at lightning speed. In 2022, now that the shock has subsided and been replaced with COVID-19 fatigue, thoughts turn to the long-term impact the virus has had on global business. It will still be some time before the full ramifications of the pandemic are clear, but what is rapidly being accepted across the business landscape this year is the conviction that office life and business-critical processes such as global payroll delivery are highly unlikely to simply return to the way things were. This is hugely significant because there is still no official road map detailing how organizations and the business-critical services within them, can bounce back from a global pandemic. There is no set of best practices to follow nor is there time to adopt a wait and see approach- multinational companies must take action now and be proactive.

How to reorganize key departments and business processes as we emerge from a global pandemic is a unique challenge and one that has not been faced before. It is a blank canvas for many organizations, who can choose which direction they want to take. The decisions they make in 2022 are likely to shape new business processes for the remainder of the decade, so it is crucial that they get it right. Moving too fast can be risky while static inaction is simply not an option. In this paper, we will examine the implications of the current new normal in a post pandemic world against the backdrop of global payroll delivery and management. We will attempt to paint a picture of this new normal and examine what steps multinational companies need to take in order to operate in a changed business world.

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2. The pandemic has changed everything

“Modern payroll platforms are now providing practitioners with a single, globally consolidated, real-time view of payroll processing, providing deep transparency, insights, and control over their payroll operations globally.”

Pete Tiliakos, Futureproofing Payroll Services, Part 3: Managed Payroll Services Market Outlook

The pandemic is different from natural disasters or financial market crashes of the past- with those, the consequences may have been severe but there was never a question that things would get back to normal.

This time it is different –‘normal‘ is subject to question and is currently being defined, but the full picture has not yet emerged. Remote delivery has now been accepted as the way things are and it has also crucially, being validated as viable and sustainable. International employees are now displaying an appetite for change, and many believe the fallout from the pandemic will result in a permanently changed landscape. Specifically, this refers to working locations and company culture. The current narrative points to a hybrid working culture - a mix of working remotely or from home combined with scheduled office location work in new office spaces designed for collaboration, creativity and optimized communication.

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Location changes bring with them a range of questions and complexities - many international employees have indicated a desire to deliver their duties to their employers from their home countries for long periods. Collaborative digital tools and innovative communication methods along with standard video conferencing make this very achievable, so they feel within their rights to request this.

“Using Payslip, we can manage all our payrolls across 9 in - county 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, Director International Payroll

The war for talent is intense -recruitment and retention has never been more important as we emerge from the pandemic so global employers have an obligation to listen to the needs of their employees in this regard. But the legal, tax and legislative implications are huge, so global organizations need to think very carefully about the manner in which they look to meet new demands from a globally dispersed workforce. Increased recruitment of remote employees is already happening as is stronger investment in technology stacks around communication and collaboration tools. Some multinational companies have already taken proactive steps in this regard as they look to be early adopters of this “work from anywhere “concept. For technology native and digitally savvy organizations, this is all very plausible - but not every organization has the advanced technology capabilities to move towards this model.

| Global payroll in a post-pandemic world


3. What this means for global payroll?

Like many other business critical services, global payroll was forced into remote delivery and for many organizations it continues to be delivered remotely right now. The implications of this for global employers will inevitably vary but here are a few things common to all: A move to the cloud: Global payroll now needs to be delivered in a secure cloud-based environment. Cloud tools are needed to ensure that sensitive payroll data is handled securely, and that appropriate access and authorization levels are applied. Global payroll professionals need to access and share data continuously -this is best managed in a flexible cloud environment. The days of emails and spreadsheets need to be consigned to the past as they lack the security and sustainability needed for the future of payroll. Digital management: To support remote delivery, digital tools are needed to perform and track the many and varied tasks associated with a monthly pay run cycle across multiple countries. From payroll data input and validation to swapping tasks between team members in different countries, right up to on boarding a new local country payroll provider- a level of digital management needs to be in place for operational efficiency and payroll transparency. More flexibility: Global employers need flexibility -they need to be able to pivot and change direction when it comes to managing their multi country payroll. They want secure tools for managing data, they want to keep relationships with preferred suppliers while being able to change underperforming providers, they want employee self-service portals, and they want digitally empowered payroll professionals. Compliance management: Global employers want clear and robust structures around compliance – the hybrid future of work model has already created more compliance and country specific regulatory requirements. They want a process that confirms multi-country compliance- this means digital compliance calendars and digital audit trails that prove where payroll data went, who accessed it or interacted with it, why and when. Only this level of detail and transparency can answer the key question of “how do we really know we have met our compliance obligations in this country“.

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Cost management: Global payroll managers may feel the pinch of cost cutting in their department as a result of the pandemic. They will need to leverage strong digital technology for global payroll process scalability to support growth and enable cost savings. Global frameworks: Expect to see more interest in processes and frameworks that enable global frameworks to be applied, followed, and monitored. This will help with payroll, compliance, data security, governance and controls. Crucially, these global frameworks will also need to accommodate local country nuance and diverse pay elements & deductions. Post-pandemic complexity has created a stronger need for a global framework and a single way of working across multiple payroll countries.

“With Payslip global reporting you can straight away look at any country and you see the data in the exact same format and the same layout. It's just much easier for everyone to review and analyze at that stage.”

David Nugent Senior Manager, International Payroll

More and better reporting: Covid19 highlighted the lack of reporting & bigger picture insights, and the pandemic has seen a sharp rise in demand for more detailed and consolidated multi country reporting. There is an urgent need for real-time access to consolidated payroll data that enables country cost comparisons. Data driven global payroll reporting & actionable insight is needed for strategy and informed decision making.

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4. How to manage the change

There are a number of important questions that global payroll management teams need to be considering today in order to be in the strongest position to deliver and manage global payroll in a post pandemic world- here are a few of them:

What is our new work culture going to look like?

Do we have a policy in place for remote working?

Is our current global payroll model and process still capable of meeting our needs in this new normal for payroll?

How do we want to manage our multiple local payroll providers?

Do we have standardized global payroll data and processes across our countries?

If our current process is manual heavy, how long can it be sustained?

How are we planning on meeting changing post-covid regulation and compliance requirements?

Is our current level of payroll reporting meeting all the requests for reporting and bigger picture insights from stakeholders within the organization?

Do we have sufficient integrations with HR and Finance for the necessary data sharing and generation of reports?

Do we have a global framework that also accommodates local country nuance?

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Answers to these questions will provide you with your essentials starting point- a clear picture of your existing processes and early indication points around its suitability for sustainable and long-term global payroll management.

“Two critical components required of modern payroll operations that are surprisingly lacking in meeting buyer expectations centre on integration and reporting. Deploying any solution lacking seamless integration will negatively impact the user experience and reporting, as it prevents data from flowing freely across the operating model”

Pete Tiliakos, Futureproofing Payroll Services, Part 1: Buyer Perspectives

Global payroll delivery and management in a post COVID-19 world will require change- here are a few things you can do to manage this change effectively:

Standardize your data: when global payroll data across all of your countries is standardized and in the same format, processing global payroll and managing it, instantly becomes easier. Standardize at a global level and develop a single way of working across your payroll countries. Introduce automation: Speed, accuracy and efficiency matter with global payroll delivery- when you have multiple countries, you have a high volume of payroll data that needs to be entered, checked and validated. Leveraging robotic process automation makes this process faster and more accurate.

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Integrate your systems: Most companies have a payroll system, a HCM system and a selection of local country providers who use their own system. It is hard to develop a cohesive process without integrating these three. Consider a digital payroll platform that will integrate them and ensure a seamless two-way flow of essential payroll data. Operate in the cloud: Simply put, attempting to manage and control sensitive global payroll data in a non-secure cloud environment is not sustainable- you are leaving yourself open to a damaging data breach. Information security, data protection and global compliance requirements all point to a cloud environment where advanced security measures can be implemented and monitored. Manage your providers: No services aggregator model will cover every country you are in or want to be in- and local expertise will always be required. You will always have a list of vendors that need to be managed. The best way to do this is via a global payroll control platform. If your plan is to scale and grow, your network of providers is only going to increase, so now is the time to act. Consider your employees: Employee empowerment and the overall employee experience is now a huge factor in talent acquisition and employee retention. Give them access to their payroll and financial data via a self-service employee portal. Ensure the employee experience is unified and cohesive across all of your countries. Boost your reporting capabilities: Requests for payroll reporting, especially multi-country cost comparisons are only going to rise. Ensure you have the digital tools in place to generate a range of different reports, ideally in a self-serve capacity. Go digital: This is really about digitizing processes so that global payroll managers can operate with visibility and control. Centralized dashboards, smart tools and digital audit trails help with operational control and execution excellence in day-to-day payroll delivery. Build scalable processes: Use innovative technology to ensure that digital processes can be duplicated, and new payroll countries can be onboarded quickly and efficiently as the organization scales. This makes you growth efficient and ready to scale with speed.

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The compliance challenge is likely to grow, and global employers should really be taking steps in 2022 to prepare themselves for the future. New legislation will come into force soon as governments and local authorities look to apply some governance and structure around new labor laws arising from the remote & hybrid work culture.

Companies want to scale into new markets and territories- this means more employees and payroll vendors in their network. Employers also need to factor in the future compliance challenge around workforce management- global employees will be a mix of remote and office-based workers, some of whom will deliver their core duties from outside their employer’s country of residence. Managing payroll compliance while helping an organization scale and seize new opportunities is likely to be a major challenge at many organizations. The time to address it is now and the approach should focus on a technology-based solution, ideally one with transparent digital audit trails and global compliance calendars.

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Prepare with Payslip

Payslip designed and developed a global payroll control platform. The core purpose of this platform was to solve key global payroll delivery challenges while simultaneously managing multiple vendors and facilitating growth and scaling initiatives at multinational organizations.

Take a Free Trial

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The Payslip solution takes a global first approach to data-we bring in all the data from your various sources and then categorize and standardize it at a global level. Next we automate any repeat or recurring data entry and validation processes. Then we use our integration functionality to connect internal systems like HCM and finance to payroll and also any 3rd party systems such as local country providers. The platform is in-country provider neutral- Global clients can pick and choose which payroll providers to work with and Payslip will integrate with them. The platform helps global employers to see, manage and control global payroll from a single system. This is a unified platform with digital tools enabling employers to centrally manage their multi-country global payroll processes in a standardized way via one cloud platform.

It helps global employers prepare for the compliance challenges coming down the road via a selection of innovative digital tools like calendars, action trackers and transparent audit trails, which introduce global level visibility and the kind of tightened compliance controls needed for this new complex international workforce management. The Payslip solution helps employers establish a global framework across countries while also accommodating unlimited local country process flexibility and the inclusion of local country pay elements.

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Payslip is officially ISO 27001:2013 certified and adheres to the highest data privacy and information security standards. It is designed to connect employer data with both related internal systems and any external payroll provider applications, in the most secure way possible. The platform features a Global Reporter tool, which provides multinational employers with essential and comprehensive global payroll reporting at the touch of a button. Multiple stakeholders across payroll, HR and Finance can pull their own reports for bigger picture insights and informed decision making.

“Covid has turbocharged international hiring and country expansion-high growth tech native companies and large enterprises need smart working technology to standardize how they manage their global payrolls and arrange fast implementation for new countries. Payslip is helping companies to centrally manage and maintain full control of all global payroll operations, which is especially important when you have a high growth geo distributed workforce”

Fidelma McGuirk, CEO & Founder

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Global employers around the world are repeatedly stating that technology limitations are their biggest payroll challenge. It makes the most sense then to work with a global payroll control platform that was designed specifically to solve all of the major pain points associated with global payroll delivery. The Payslip payroll control platform was designed to do exactly this while also empowering global payroll professionals and enabling multinational organizations to scale into new markets and countries in a growth efficient way.

Our experienced team are here to help you get started. For more information, talk to us today.

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Take a Free Trial

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