When your business goes global, a whole new set of considerations come into play when it comes to choosing your international payroll partner. So what are the key considerations for helping you choose the right global payroll provider?
Domestic payroll can be complex enough. A near infinite whirl of tax and NI rules, compliance standards and data security requirements make life difficult. Ever-changing legislation makes it harder still. No wonder so many organisations choose to outsource their payroll.
But if you think domestic payroll is enough to bring you out in a cold sweat, that’s nothing compared to running an international payroll. When your business operates across borders, all the complexities you face operating in your home country can be multiplied across all the countries in which you operate.
That’s why a global payroll services provider can prove so valuable, but how do you choose the right partner for you? Here are our top five considerations for choosing your international payroll provider.
1. Global payroll experience across your world
It’s a big world. You probably wouldn’t expect a UK payroll provider to understand all the intricacies of payroll-related legislation from Bahrain to Botswana. That’s why they work with established experts on the ground in each country. But that doesn’t mean they have relationships with experts in every country.
Step one in choosing your global payroll provider, therefore, is ensuring that they have capability in all the countries in which you operate. The world has 195 countries (depending on how you define ‘country’). We, for example, have payroll partners in 139 of them. Ask us to manage your global payroll and the likelihood is we’ll operate everywhere you do. But if you really do need someone who understands payroll in North Korea, you might need to search a little more broadly.
2. Data security and protection
Global payroll means global data protection requirements. You’ll want to see evidence that your payroll partner understands the specific data protection and security requirements in all the countries in which you operate. If you’re processing the data of EU citizens, for example, you’ll need to comply with the EU GDPR. The equivalent legislation in Brazil is the LGPD. In Japan it’s the APPI. Each is similar, but all have differences that your provider must understand.
3. Payroll systems integration
You may not have rolled out a global payroll system before, but it’s just possible you’ve rolled out an international HR management system. If you have, you need to know it will be compatible with your prospective payroll partner’s system.
If you haven’t, and each territory is operating its own set of legacy systems, you’ll need to know either that those systems will work with the new payroll system, or that your provider has a plan to migrate/integrate those legacy systems in a painless way.
Just in case you’re thinking of adopting an international HR management system at the same time as your payroll (which will make life extremely slick and streamlined) you can find more about ours here.
4. Keeps up to date with legislation
In the UK, you’d expect your payroll provider to stay on top of legislative change, so that you’re always compliant. That minimises the risk to your business and gives you an awful lot of valuable peace of mind.
Staying abreast of legislative change across all the territories in which you operate is a considerably bigger challenge, but it’s absolutely vital to ensure that you steer clear of financial penalties and reputational damage that come from failing to comply with in-country laws.
Consideration four, then, is working with a payroll partner who’ll be proactive about change, give you advance warning of what’s coming down the track, and have a plan in place to implement it.
5. Makes the global payroll process simple
You want the process of implementing the new payroll system to be simple and streamlined. Part of that is about timing the implementation for when it best suits your operations (year end, when everyone is scrambling to complete tasks, probably isn’t a great time to do it). And part of it is about having the step-by-step information you need to be able to inform everyone who needs to know how this will work.
So consideration five is about getting beyond the website to have real conversations with real people and satisfying yourself that they’re going to be helpful, attentive payroll partners.
If you’re expanding operations overseas, we’d love to talk to you about becoming your international payroll services provider.