Global Payroll Solutions Guide 2024: Best Practices & Challenges

Global payroll management is essential for multinational businesses who have employees spread across different regions and countries. Finding the right global payroll solution is a must: without this, your business is at risk of non-compliance, payroll inaccuracies and reputational damage. There are lots of global payroll solutions available and choosing the right one can be difficult for many reasons, including the large number of providers available. Your new solution must integrate well with existing systems and be capable of handling the complexities of global payroll management. 

Managing a global project also comes with its own set of risks and challenges. From cost considerations to stakeholder alignment, you must invest in the right support, both internally and externally. Don’t underestimate the importance of project management, as you’ll put your business at risk of delays, fines and fraud. 

Here, we’ve answered the all-important questions of whether global payroll requires a global budget and a global organisation. You’ll also find steps on setting up your global payroll, the risks involved, and the best global payroll solutions in 2024. 


A team of global payroll solution providers.

Understanding Global Payroll Management

Global payroll management is the process of managing payroll operations for employees across multiple countries. Alongside payroll processing, you must be compliant with local laws and communicate well with employees in different regions of the world. 

Payroll – especially on a global scale – can quickly become complex. Failure to manage this type of payroll puts you at risk of reputational damage, legal issues, and huge financial losses. That’s why many multinational businesses choose to outsource and avoid running their global payroll operations in-house. 

Additionally, global payroll management provides your business with greater visibility into your global workforce, helping you make better-informed decisions. It also helps standardise payroll processes and policies, making it easier to manage across different regions. 

Global Payroll Compliance

Payroll compliance is critical for any business – especially if you operate on a global scale. Failing to comply with local tax laws puts your organisation at risk of hefty fines, legal issues, and damage to your reputation. 

3 Biggest Global Payroll Compliance Risks:

  • Keeping up-to-date with changing regulations
  • Managing data privacy and security
  • Working closely with different regions and overcoming language barriers

Different countries have different payroll regulations. So, managing global payroll requires an understanding of every compliance requirement in the countries you operate in. Rules and regulations can change, so it’s important to stay up-to-date too.  

Compliance issues don’t just impact your business, they can affect your employees. Poor global payroll compliance can damage your employee satisfaction, retention, and engagement – especially now during the cost-of-living-crisis in the UK. 

For instance, compliance errors may mean your employees aren’t paid correctly or on-time. 

Poor payroll compliance puts your data at risk, too. Personal employee information and salaries must be secured and protected. Without this, you’re at a greater risk of cyber attacks and fraud. 

Working with a number of teams across different regions presents compliance challenges, too. Language barriers can make it challenging to communicate well and implement processes across the business, leading to compliance issues with data and accuracy. 

Global Payroll Challenges

Every global business owner must be aware of the latest challenges to payroll in 2023. Some of the key challenges include:

  • Standardisation across different regions
  • Managing compliance 
  • Ensuring data privacy

Standardisation across different regions

Standardising payroll processes across different countries – whilst complying with local requirements – is one of the biggest global payroll challenges in 2023. Put simply, this means implementing consistent payroll policies, procedures and processes across every location your business operates in.

Without standardisation, you’re at risk of payroll errors and inaccuracies. This can arise due to the varying payroll rules that exist across different regions. 

A cloud-based payroll software can provide a centralised global payroll solution. This type of software enables businesses to easily streamline their payroll processes and consolidate data across multiple regions. 


Managing compliance

As mentioned above, managing compliance in your global organisation remains one of the biggest challenges to payroll. 

Cloud-based software can help reduce the risk of non-compliance by providing up-to-date information about local regulations. 

Papaya Global, Oyster and Deel are all examples of cloud-based software to use in 2023. 


Ensuring data privacy

The challenge of data privacy is one of the biggest risks for global companies. Data privacy involves handling sensitive employee data, including bank account details, names and addresses. You must protect your data from the increasing risk of data breaches, hacking attempts and cyber attacks. 

To lower your risk, you need to implement robust security measures. For instance, encrypting employee data and conducting regular security audits. 


Pitfalls of Managing a Global Payroll Project 

Managing a project comes with its own set of challenges, risks and potential pitfalls. Below we’ve listed some of the biggest challenges.

Investing in project management support will significantly reduce any pitfalls. Global project management support brings a wealth of experience with similar projects, centralised oversight and knowledge of local regulations. This type of support will also handle the selection, negotiation and management of your payroll service provider. 

They will also quickly identify any risks and will ensure the project is within budget and the designated time frame. 

Lack of centralised oversight

The involvement of multiple countries, teams and stakeholders can lead to inconsistencies. It may also delay the project and there may be difficulties in aligning processes and standards.

Communication issues

Effective communication between different regions, time zones and cultures can be a significant challenge. Miscommunication, language barriers and differences in work practices may delay your project. 

Change management

Implementing changes to existing payroll processes and systems often requires change management efforts. Ensuring stakeholder engagement, managing resistance and providing training are essential for a successful project implementation.

Time management

Global payroll projects often have tight timelines and complex deliverables. Ensuring effective project management and setting realistic expectations are essential. 

Resource allocation

Managing resources across multiple countries and currencies can be challenging and some businesses may not have the right internal support to effectively deal with these issues. 

payroll testing

Global Payroll Solutions In 2024

Global HRIS are proud to work with a variety of global payroll providers. Here are some of the best providers in 2024:

Workday Global Payroll

A cloud-based payroll solution that supports payroll processing for multinational companies. Here, you can access real-time reporting and up-to-date information on tax compliance. 

SAP SuccessFactors

Features include: compliance reporting, tax filing and SAP SuccessFactors integrates easily with other HR and payroll software. 

Ceridian Dayforce

A cloud-based global payroll solution that includes global payroll processing, compliance reporting, and multi-currency support. 

ADP GlobalView Payroll

Here, you can process your global payroll across 140 countries, with features like local payroll compliance. 


A Step-By-Step Guide To Setting Up A Global Payroll Organisation: 

Review your current payroll 

One of the most important steps is understanding your current payroll situation. Before you set up a global payroll organisation, you should review the number of employees, the countries they are located in, and the payroll systems you are using. 

Build your global payroll solution

Defining your global payroll strategy will help you to standardise your processes across different regions. Here, you should identify the countries where you have the most employees (using step 1) or where payroll compliance is the most complex. 

Now, you’ll need to evaluate the different payroll systems available and select the ones that align with your business needs. Your systems should be able to handle all regulations in different regions. 

Research local payroll regulations

Whatever type of global payroll system you choose, researching the varying rules will build your knowledge on the type of software and support required. 

List payroll system requirements 

Here, you should evaluate your existing payroll systems and go through the different systems available in each country. Select the best global payroll solution that aligns with your overall strategy and business needs. For instance, make sure you are reviewing your requirements against your compliance requirements and employee benefits packages like salary sacrifice schemes.

Managing your global payroll can get complicated. At this step, you should consider external management support – especially if you’re unsure on the type of global software you need. You’ll also need buy-in from your stakeholders – something our consultants can help you with.

Find your new global payroll solution providers 

If you’re outsourcing, look for a provider with experience in managing payroll in the countries where you have employees. Expertise in compliance is a non-negotiable, so make sure they have a solid understanding of the ever-changing tax regulations.

Make sure you carry out a payroll RFP (request for pricing) on any new potential provider. This allows you to compare features, functionality and costs. 

Payroll technology continues to evolve, so make sure your provider can offer:

  • A cloud-based software
  • Automated reporting
  • Integrations with other global payroll solutions

Remember to test your payroll when you’ve chosen and implemented your new provider. It’s an important step that shouldn’t be missed. 

Train your teams on your new global payroll solution

Even with outsourcing, your employees need to run payroll audits, reports and support stakeholders with any questions they have. Once you’ve chosen your new system, train your payroll teams on how to use the software. 

Many global payroll solutions offer training and support for your employees.

Refine your payroll system

As your business grows and operates, monitor your payroll performance. You should note down any ways you’d like to improve its efficiency and compliance. For instance, start by conducting a payroll audit (at least once a year). 

As well, if you’ve experienced any payroll errors or compliance issues, you must conduct an audit to investigate the cause.

Adapt your strategy

Businesses are constantly changing, and so are the payroll requirements. It is important to continuously adapt your global payroll strategy to keep up with:

  • Technology advancements
  • Changing business needs
  • Regulatory requirements 


4 Payroll Best-practices To Adopt In 2024

Best-practice ensures your payroll remains compliant, accurate and efficient. Your employees will be paid on time and your business will have a far less risk of fraud and  reputational damage. 

Centralise your payroll operations

Streamlining your payroll processes means you can better-manage your data. It also helps you stay up-to-date with changing payroll requirements.

Use a cloud-based payroll software

Flexibility, scalability and cost-effectiveness are all benefits of a good cloud-based software. With this type of software, you should be able to access your payroll from anywhere, anytime. 

Conduct regular audits

Regular payroll audits – whether in-house or outsourced – help to identify potential errors, risks and inefficiencies. 

Clear communication with your employees

To build trust, you must have clear communication with your employees about your payroll processes. Make sure you’re providing clear and regular updates about changes in tax laws and processes. 

Your employees are at the core of your business, so make sure they feel valued, comfortable and content with your payroll operations. 

Finding Global Payroll Without A Global Budget

Without a global budget, local countries may be responsible for their own payroll projects and compliance requirements, leading to inefficiencies and increased costs. You may also experience difficulties with data management and there’s a greater risk of errors and non-compliance. 

The main obstacle businesses face when trying to establish global payroll without a global budget is a lack of alignment between the global business and local teams. This can occur because the local teams are responsible for their own payroll budget – and not everyone will be willing to adopt the global approach.

However, it is still possible to find global payroll without a global budget. 

Firstly, it is crucial that your global team takes into account the budgetary concerns of local teams. Simply choosing a new payroll provider without considering the financial implications can disrupt your project. 

Make sure that the budget ownership is at a global or regional level. This means that countries cannot raise objections based on financial concerns. You also need clear communication between all stakeholders to address any concerns. Having a clear project plan will also help, as it encourages collaboration from the very beginning of the project.

Outsourcing your payroll can actually work out cheaper than keeping your global operations in-house. Despite the initial costs, outsourcing can also free up your employee’s time and resources.

Look for a global payroll provider that offers flexible pricing models, such as pay-per-employee. Remote and Oyster HR offer this type of flexibility.

Global Payroll Solutions Without A Global Payroll Organisation: What Are The Risks?

Implementing a global payroll solution without having a global payroll organisation can lead to a lot of challenges. Without a centralised payroll team, there will be inconsistencies in payroll processes and compliance requirements across different countries. This can lead to errors, delays, and possibly even legal penalties. 

What’s more, local teams may lack the necessary knowledge to manage global payroll. Again, this puts your business at risk of errors and fines. 

Without a dedicated global payroll team, it can be difficult to integrate existing and new systems. You’re also putting your data privacy at risk, which will put you at a higher threat of fraud. 

Although it’s tempting to save costs and try to manage global payroll without a global payroll organisation, it isn’t recommended. Instead, you should consider investing in a centralised global payroll team. Or, you could invest in a reliable external provider to ensure that your payroll processes are consistent, compliant and fully-integrated across all regions. 

Global HRIS Can Support Your Global Payroll Management

We understand the challenges that come with global payroll. That’s why we offer round-the-clock support to streamline your payroll processes. 

Our team can assist you with payroll testing, business process improvement and many more, so you can find the perfect global payroll solution for your business. 

Read Our HR & Payroll Guides Here:

Author: Simon Bradbury, Global Payroll Consultant and CEO
Last updated on: 03/03/2024
Find out more about how we can help you by calling Global HRIS today on +44 161 317 2903 or get in touch through our website.
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