Everything you need to know to get your payroll ready for globalisation

Despite the pandemic-provoked economic headwinds over recent years, businesses are continuing to push ahead with global expansion projects. Whichever path the firm is taking towards international growth – organic, inorganic or a blend of both – at some point it will be tasked with paying the staff it is either relocating or have recruited within the new country.

Being able to pay staff correctly and in compliance with local labour laws is important to boosting morale, building a reputation, and talent retention. To do so, however, a robust payroll operation needs to be up and running from the outset. Only then can efficiencies be delivered that will allow the business to make headway into new markets quickly.

How can firms optimise payrolls to support growth?

But a third (33%) of finance, HR and payroll leaders say they don’t have the payroll systems needed to support their plans for growth. Also, an increasing number of employees worryingly report that they’re “always or often” underpaid. There is clearly work to be done. For any businesses looking to take the pain out of payroll as they expand internationally, it is important to optimise their systems, build in agility and have a single uncluttered view.

Ensure systems are fully optimised

A firm needs to streamline its systems so that they become fully optimised. By doing so, the business can cut out inconsistencies and gain a consolidated view of its payroll spending.

When a business expands globally, it inherits a mixture of inefficient legacy payroll systems. By moving to one vendor, it can negate the need to manage contracts from multiple providers and the IT team battling to maintain multiple systems. The business can benefit from a unified global experience, as it doesn’t need to cobble disparate data together for a reliable perspective on payroll. This can mitigate errors as they become far easier to spot.

Build in agility

Next, it is important to build agility into payroll, so that the business can swiftly adapt to new ways of working as it expands into new markets. If a payroll team can quickly provide credible pay-related information to senior managers, forecasting pay-related trends becomes much more straightforward, making decision making a breeze. It is even better if this information can be presented in a visual manner to mitigate misunderstandings.

The same can be said for the user interface. A dynamic payroll dashboard that breaks down performance across countries and alerts HR to potentially problematic areas in advance means that teams can intervene to resolve issues before they escalate. Ideally, this can go a step further and provide a comprehensive view of compliance so that the business receives notifications as soon as regulations are enacted and update guidance in real-time.

Integrate disparate systems

Businesses can’t control what they can’t see. Only with complete 360-degree visibility can a business fully quantify the risks. To ensure it has full visibility, it is vital that any payroll solution chosen is integrated with disparate systems, creating a single source of reliable data.

Certain vendors, like ADP, have longstanding partnerships with major HR tech providers, and continuously invest in innovating integration technology, like APIs – application programming interface – so that solutions can map and translate data from external systems. 

By ensuring systems are integrated means running compliant payroll becomes much more straightforward. Plus, the ability to automate, schedule and send employee data at regular intervals frees up teams to concentrate on other tasks imperative to entering new markets.

Equip your payroll function for success

As a company continues to expand internationally, the difficulty of running payroll often skyrockets. The complexity of in-country compliance cannot be underestimated. However, there are also complexity of managing mounting processes, team roles and responsibilities.

Plus, demands around employee expectations and management reporting. Add to this, the need to understand the dynamics of a remote and hybrid workforce, and it is clear that the sophistication of a firm’s payroll tech can make or break how it copes with global expansion.

As a business gets ready to enter new geographies it is imperative that the payroll function is fully equipped to help it overcome any HR challenges so that it can hit the ground running. This includes making sure everything this do is compliant to local laws and compliance to avoid costly penalties. It must ensure technology doesn’t become a barrier to success.

When choosing tools, a vendor should ensure that the vendor has global expertise, multi-country presence and a highly scalable payroll processing technology. Only then can it fully support a business as it embarks upon its international expansion plans.

Sirsha Haldar is the General Manager of UK, Ireland, and South Africa at ADP.

Sirsha Haldar, General Manager of UK, Ireland, and South Africa at ADP