How global payroll can boost global business

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Bruce van Wyk
Director
PaySpace
Columnist
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Managing a business on a global scale presents many operational challenges, not least of which is payroll, writes Bruce van Wyk. 

Different countries have different ways of doing things, influenced by their individual legislation, culture, language and customs. To avoid getting caught up in complex or messy procedures, multinational companies need to adjust quickly to the regulatory requirements of each country in which they operate. 

This is easier said than done and typically involves a large administrative workload. Often, companies assign employees to recruit and manage in-country service providers to help the business navigate the local landscape. Overseeing multiple service contracts can quickly become an administrative headache. One that is exacerbated by poor internet connectivity, different time zones and various language constraints.

This fractured approach to multinational business is inefficient in today’s highly competitive global business arena. The solution lies in centralising –and integrating – services like accounting, recruitment, HR and of course, payroll.

Beyond borders

Geography need no longer impede operational efficiency. Global payroll enables international companies to maintain compliant payroll processes in all territories in which they operate without actually having payroll or accounting personnel on the ground.

Everything is managed from one centralised location. This immediately reduces the amount of service contracts and thus, the administrative workload. Employees now have more time to focus on business-critical tasks that require more strategic thought and skill, and which contribute to revenue and growth.

A global payroll system is beneficial in more ways than general operational improvements. When company information is centralised, global teams can access it faster and make smarter decisions. If the company’s head of accounting is travelling for work, they and their team can still collaborate with ease. They can simply pull the data they need from their mobile device, tick off and assign tasks, and get on with their day.

Colleagues don’t need to chase each other via email or phone to get access to vital company, customer or market-related information, or spend valuable hours hunting through reports and accounts for data – it’s all readily available.

Global payroll and integration

For global payroll to be a success, integration is key. Global payroll is not simply focused on payroll. It’s about how the payroll process integrates with accounting, HR and other business systems. The various departments’ IT infrastructures need to ‘talk’ to each other and automate time-consuming functions like reporting and compliance.

Technological alignment and integration are crucial to making global payroll work. A company’s existing systems need to be as up-to-date as possible before moving to a centralised solution. Legacy technology can be extremely prohibitive when it comes to integrating new business tools. Rather have the best system in place before trying to integrate new technology.

Compliance and change management

Maintaining compliance across various countries, each with their own unique legislation, is a challenge for most international businesses. To make it as smooth-sailing as possible, businesses need to choose a robust payroll system that covers all the locations in which they operate. 

Getting a new system up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible is often hampered by a lack of training and communication. It’s absolutely vital that companies involve their employees from the get-go so that there are no surprises or concerns. The right training courses need to be offered before the new system goes live so that all employees are familiar with how it works – and how it will benefit their roles.

A globalised payroll system can make literally make a company’s life easier. It lifts the administrative burden from accountancy and payroll teams, boosting their productivity and performance. Overall, it supports the absolute essence of what it means to be a global business – helping international companies rise above borders while ensuring 100% compliance.

About Bruce van Wyk

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