Managing payroll is not easy – add in a few countries, and payroll gets even more complicated. So many moving parts, time zones, languages, and systems. It’s a juggling act on a good day, but when something goes wrong, it can take months to unravel. If you’re managing global payroll, you know how difficult it can be when a problem comes up. So how can you fix a broken global payroll process?
For starters, you have to figure out what is not working. Is it broken or outdated technology? Lack of data or reporting? Problems with the in-country payroll provider? Or a combination of everything? Identifying what exactly is going wrong is the first step. Now how to fix it – that’s the big challenge.
If technology is the issue in your global payroll process, you are not alone. Many companies are using different systems, spreadsheets and email to manage payroll in each country. There are many reasons why spreadsheets and email are a bad idea, but the number one reason is compliance. Spreadsheets and email are not GDPR-compliant, nor are they efficiently or accurately managing the very unique (and challenging) payroll requirements in each country. You need a payroll technology that provides one platform for all of your countries. You should be able to manage payroll in real-time with every employee from every country on one system.
If your payroll issues stem from lack of data or reporting, this is where your payroll technology should come to the rescue. You can’t manage employee payroll all over the world if you can’t view payroll in real-time and run reporting across all countries (and currencies!). Your employee data should be securely managed in one place, with access to custom reporting – if you need to look at one country, or 20 at a time, you should have instant access to your payroll at any time. Lack of data and reporting can cost thousands in unexpected errors or fraud. If you can’t see your payroll costs, you can’t manage your payroll effectively.
Now let’s talk about your in-country providers. Are you using accounting firms or individual payroll providers in each country? Do they work in their time zone or yours? Do you have weekly or monthly meetings to discuss how things are going? Communication with your in-country provider is key to ensuring compliance with local in-country payroll and tax regulations. If you can’t get an answer to a payroll question, how can you make sure payroll is running the way it should? If local tax authorities want to do an audit, will the in-country provider help you? If there are language barriers or time zone discrepancies that prevent you from communicating effectively with your in-country payroll service, it’s time to make a change. You need a partner that provides service in your time zone when you need it – not the other way around.
Author – Blue Marble Payroll