Five key trends transforming global payroll management

2025
Five key trends transforming global payroll management
Bruce van Wyk, Director, PaySpace
Five key trends transforming global payroll management
Bruce van Wyk, Director, PaySpace

Expanding a business into new territories is no easy feat. There are numerous challenges to navigate such as language, culture and legislative requirements. Recruitment can also be a complex job to ensure the right mix of local hires and expat employees sent over from the head office. All of this results in an enormous pile of paperwork and administration. It’s a time-consuming slog that is made all the more difficult thanks to the various geographies involved.

Fortunately, advancing cloud-based technologies are providing much-needed help. Physical borders and time-zones no longer inhibit integration and collaboration, allowing companies to expand faster and more successfully.

Payroll is just one example of a vital business function that is being transformed by the cloud. Businesses with offices and staff in multiple countries can see to their global payroll needs from one central location, or entrust it to a single service provider. The benefits are immense: fewer administrative tasks to worry about, more time to focus on business-critical work and full compliance with regional and national laws in each country of operation.

Of course, implementing a global payroll solution requires the right policies and practices to ensure success. Here are five tips to help your business make the transition as quickly and effectively as possible.


1. Outsource your payroll

Back in the day, businesses embarking on an expansion plan had to establish in-country payroll teams and enlist the help of local service providers to get their new offices off the ground. HR and procurement teams were snowed under with complex employee contracts and volumes of paperwork.

By outsourcing your payroll needs to a cloud-based software provider, you can set up your payroll function to manage multiple offices from one home-base. Not only does this reduce your HR and payroll workload, it also adds multilayer governance which helps keeps your operations 100% compliant.

In no way does an outsourced payroll provider replace your in-house payroll department. See it as additional, always-on support that enables your team to focus on more strategic work.

2. Recruit evolved payroll managers

Automated administrative assistance and greater access to information means that payroll professionals are no longer simply data-inputters. The role has become much more complex – and dynamic – especially on a multinational level.

Today’s payroll administrators are now in charge of managing global needs in a highly competitive world. This means they have to identify trends, analyse information and make fast decisions and insightful suggestions. Achieving this is only possible with forward-thinking payroll managers who can embrace new digital technologies and work closely with other departments.

3. Provide an employee self-service platform

Thanks to cloud technology, global employee self-service systems are getting better and better. Think mobile-friendly, visually appealing payroll systems that employees and managers can access from anywhere at any time.

Enhanced personalisation enables employees to set up their profile in the language of their choice. For a global business, this is an enormous step forward. It makes it much easier for all employees to understand their payroll and HR information with greater clarity.

It also means that teams can communicate and collaborate better between various offices. Colleagues can work together using real-time information, rather than chase emails or accidentally work from an outdated version.

4. Protect your payroll data

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has a very clear mandate: to protect the personal information of all EU citizens. The legislation covers customer data as well as employee data kept by businesses. Your company might not be based in the EU but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re off the hook. If you have any EU nationals working for your business or have any business interests in the EU, then your company is liable.

To comply with GDPR, in-house payroll managers have to increase their responsibilities. This can cause many problems; namely, human errors and oversights that lead to penalties and possibly fines. A far better approach is to work with a payroll provider that is already GDPR compliant and can share the workload with you and your team.

A payroll provider can also help with data security. Cyber-crime is a growing concern; data encryption has to meet far higher standards these days and employee records have to be kept for much longer. Companies can share this responsibility with their payroll software provider for enhanced data security.

5. Sign up with a holistic service

Payroll service providers are stepping up to meet the changing needs of global businesses. One key example is the integration of all business models into one system to offer businesses like yours a holistic service. What this means in practice is that businesses will be able to buy an eco-system of technology that is ready to plug and play and work alongside eachother. These API integrated software packages will cover a range of functions such as operations, sales, finance, HR and payroll – and will eliminate the traditional headache of data duplication.

Global payroll systems are changing how international businesses operate, enabling fast and successful expansion plans. Pay attention to these trends and make sure your business doesn’t get left behind. Stay agile, curious and tech-savvy, and watch your company benefit from all that global payroll has to offer.

By Bruce van Wyk, Director, PaySpace