Tips on Building an International Payroll Model
by Susanna Planas B | 5 min read
As payroll is one of the most crucial activities for every company, it should be performed accurately. But, unfortunately, for many companies, especially the ones with a global workforce, the process is fraught with inefficiencies. One of the common challenges that companies face as they create the organization of the future is how to structure and manage the payroll process for an increasingly mobile and global workforce.
Additionally, the rapidly changing legislation makes it even more challenging to keep up with the diverse payroll requirements. Global companies or the ones restructuring, or rebuilding may face even more complexity in contemplating and adhering to the local laws and regulations in new regions.
To overcome the challenges, leading organizations are investing in cloud solutions to automate complex payroll processes and reduce risk exposure so that they can focus on value-generating activities. Furthermore, businesses can:
From the perspective of HR and payroll, keeping your employee records up to date is critical. But keeping separate systems for all the payroll functions may complicate your workflow. Therefore, it makes sense to integrate all your functions - payroll, time data and HR into a single system to provide better functionality and visibility. This will cut down on the reporting time and make data management simpler.
Irrespective of the company’s location, failing to comply with state or federal regulations can lead to costly penalties, both for the reputation and finances. And, maintaining compliance is not a one-time process, it is a continuous process because of the frequent updates in regulations across the world.
You can easily streamline compliance with a comprehensive cloud payroll solution which integrates HR activities, payroll, and information technology. Alternatively, you can outsource your complete payroll process to a reputable service provider.
Digitizing payroll data and eliminating or reducing paper documents saves time and effort in sorting through paper checks, notes and time sheets. It saves time in other areas also, like generating reports, paying employees, and delivering key information like tax forms to the workforce.
Managing information and data digitally can cut back on inefficiencies and make it seamless to maintain accurate records.
Furthermore, digitizing data and information with cloud-based payroll software can help the payroll teams in minimizing disruption to the continued operations and pay remote as well as other employees on time and accurately.
There is no reason why your employees should be paid on different payment schedules. Although it may make a new employee wait an extra week for the first paycheck, establishing a consistent schedule that does not change will ensure that you never miss out on paying your employees on time.
Again, you can easily do this with comprehensive and robust payroll software.
Now that you know how to simplify your payroll process, let us take you through how you can build an effective international payroll model.
In this section, we’ll share some key strategic challenges that organizations may face while designing a mobile payroll operational model and propose strategies for addressing the same.
The ever-changing regulatory environment and operational complexity that impact mobile employees may not be known to the stakeholders involved in this effort. Herein, education and training can enhance the effectiveness of payroll operations.
However, the functional partners of the organization may not have the skillsets, resources and accountability required for supporting the complete process for a mobile employee program. Therefore, bringing the right people to the table is necessary (though it may not be easy).
You can do this by educating and collaborating across the functional ecosystem. This process goes beyond the delivery of pay and payroll compliance – it enables organizations to dissect the costs of mobility programs and check the effectiveness of their mobility policies.
Global mobility program owners need to properly build and maintain a cohesive mobility group of stakeholders.
When it comes to establishing accountability for the complete employee payroll process, organizations tend to be elusive. There is a prevailing perspective that the responsibility of payroll management sits solely at the regional or local country level.
This may inhibit the goal of the global mobility program owner of running a truly effective global payroll process.
So, businesses need to establish a global payroll strategy that can help them define the goals and objectives, roles and responsibilities and sourcing alternatives in a better way. Many organizations are deploying top-grade Human Resource Information System (HRIS) which is human resources and payroll software that provides a complete HR solution.
A few organizations still assume that the payroll complexity applies only to traditional long-term assignment of employees. In reality, the factors like cost allocation, travel patterns, residency status and employment tend to blur the coverage lines.
Even when the mobile employees are not on the radar or when they aren’t tracked for potential wage and tax reporting compliance for a certain period of time, employee and employer tax liabilities may be overlooked. This may result in sudden tax liabilities to the business.
Herein, technology can play a key role in managing and tracking mobility. Businesses can consider payroll platforms or complete solutions like HRIS that can enable the targeted identification of mobile employees and create custom modules or fields, provide tools capable of tracking and flagging departments and individuals at specific junctures for potential reviews, and more.
In many cases, there is already limited access to knowledgeable resources in global mobility, employment tax and payroll operations. And the local laws are evolving constantly.
Businesses can use a combination of vendor partners and internal resources to lay a strong foundation of knowledge in each jurisdiction. And this bank of resources should be consulted during the development process and throughout the payroll program’s ongoing administration.
Instead of spending money and time on corrections and clean-up, global organizations should design an all-inclusive mobile employee payroll model that focuses on minimizing downstream impacts like increased operational cost, payroll compliance risk and lack of transparency.
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