Global payroll represents a huge challenge for multinational companies.
The appetite for greater efficiency and effectiveness is strong, as 85% of multinational organisation decision-makers polled in Ernst & Young’s global payroll survey said they want improvement in their current payroll practices.
But just three in ten respondents said a single vendor exists that can handle all their company’s global payroll needs, according to the survey report. And just 22% of respondents said they currently have a global payroll model.
There was little consensus in the survey about the top obstacles to outsourced global payroll services, as cost (16%), vendors’ understanding of company-specific requirements (14%), legal and regulatory requirements (12%) and geographic capability (11%) were identified as top challenges.
Regardless of the hurdles, companies that need to compete and expand in the global marketplace cannot afford to accept the status quo, according to Ernst & Young human capital consultant Jeff Brown.
“Organisations need global payroll data to make important business decisions,” Brown said in a news release. “Managers can build the business case based on risk and compliance to improve payroll operations, but access to the payroll data is proving to be very value-added.”
Many global organisations do possess some of the most important tools needed for effective management of payroll. Almost six in ten (58%) survey respondents said they use a knowledge-based database or tracking system to help resolve payroll issues.
This allows them to quickly review and resolve potential errors, and the survey report said organisations that do not have a tracking system are vulnerable to risk because of a lack of a detailed, consistent auditing mechanism.
And more than two-thirds of respondents said that at least 60% of their internal payroll operations and internal policies are consistent across all of the countries where they operate.
But the survey report says organisations need to consider these questions:
- Is your global payroll model aligned with the overall business strategy and vision for support services?
- Do you have a five-year plan for your payroll operations with buy-in from human resources or finance, depending on your organisational structure?
“It’s time for organisations to begin viewing payroll as a critical business process that requires a global solution with local flexibility,” Brown said.
—Ken Tysiac (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.
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