By Katy Demong
While companies have been operating internationally for a long time, new market factors have increased the need to improve financial control, especially when dealing with multi-national payrolls. These factors include the increase in the outsourcing of accounting functions, more international payroll providers entering the market, and mergers and acquisitions resulting in more widespread international operations. All of these factors have resulted in increasingly complicated payrolls, which can lead to less control over payroll processes.
Compliance Poses Major Concern
For companies dealing with international payrolls, compliance is likely a major topic of concern. This frequent headache in part results from the fact that there is no single tax calculation or tax rate that can be used across international payrolls. Traditionally, businesses have coped with this problem by signing a centralized contract with a global provider who may then subcontract to local providers.
This can result in a loss of oversight, difficulty accessing data, and ineffective or time-consuming reporting. Graham Harrop, chief operating officer at Integrated International Payroll (iiPay), recently presented a webinar hosted by Shared Services & Outsourcing Network that suggested answers to compliance and some other common international payroll problems in the form of software solutions.
Rather than be confined to a global service that swallows up local providers, an integrated software solution can provide a wrapper that creates a common platform across multiple payrolls. This platform provides the basis for having all payroll data in single place, then allowing instant access to data in any reporting currency, and the ability to run a wide range of powerful reports. Compliance, said Harrop, is underpinned by a company’s process and what data systems they are running.
Oversight is Key
Oversight, and by extension compliance, can by improved simply by providing a single view where a company can see what is happening across multiple payrolls. Harrop said that he frequently hears from companies that spend days gluing together spreadsheets to create this single view that can take minutes to generate from a powerful software program.
“Where we can improve oversight, is by providing the ability to see every pay item on ever payslip,” said Harrop. “You can quickly see what is happening on every payroll and see where there are challenges within your own network.” In addition, Harrop stated the ability to easily review data for historic pay periods, independent of country, reduces risk by minimizing dependence on any one provider. “Access to this level of granularity empowers a company,” he said, “and is increasingly important with every level of complexity that is added to payroll.”
Harrop said payroll software outsourcing providers aim to provide value for payroll administrators, corporate finance, and individual employees. Payroll software can help payroll administrators by providing visibility and control of the in-country process, as well as the ability to spot trends and manage issues. It also provides an important human resources to payroll link and audit validation for administrators. Corporate finance can also gain benefits from such a system, with the ability to access their own reports for use in planning and budgeting. And employees all have access to their individual pay data through the use of employee portals.
The most important role of payroll management software, concluded Harrop, is that it can save time and money, providing a highly configurable platform for consistent and detailed payroll data across all countries.