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7 Considerations when choosing a global payroll partner

As with all products and services, not all Global Payroll solutions are created equal. Many vendors grandiosely announce they provide global payroll services yet the reality of delivering a truly global, robust enterprise solution is vastly different. Whilst market analysts unanimously cite NGA as the leader and will guide you a long way down the selection path; there are a few key considerations which will help to ensure you do select the right long-term partner.

Flexibility – Is critical and must be in the DNA of your global payroll partner. Global Payroll is not about throwing away every payroll engine you have today. It should be about recycling the platforms that are mature and stable; extending the payroll outsourcing service to include workforce administration, organisation management and talent management outsourcing or leveraging the Tier 1 telephone support and help desk tools across all HR services. It should not simply be rip and replace.

Simplify – Often today there are many different vendors involved in each layer of the payroll service provision – a System Integrator designing and building the payroll engines, a IT vendor providing Technology Hosting, a IT services vendor providing the Application Management and then processing the actual payroll – either via an in-house team or outsourced. The rule – One vendor for all Global payroll.

Business Process Standardisation – If your proposed Global Payroll Partner does not talk about Business Process Standardisation as part of your project and cannot share with you (at no cost) a full suite of standard Payroll and Workforce Administration business processes right down to the graphical swim-lanes and detailed work instructions; and include these as part of your project – then walk way now. Your project will fail.

Global Integration – A ‘middleware’ tool will be required for your Global Payroll solution, something to connect your global HR platform (Workday, SuccessFactors, SAP HCM, Oracle or PeopleSoft) with the 10, 20, 50 or 100 country payroll engines. Plus it needs to provide the local country data and forms required for payroll processing not contained in your Cloud HR tool, it must provide a Help Desk tool, Self Service, Time & Attendance, Document Management and importantly reporting and analytics. This is not some half-baked, flimsy integration tool developed in the garage but a serious enterprise-class platform that requires millions of pounds in research and development.

Change Management – Simple advice really! If Change Management is not part of the vendors core proposal and it is left to the Change Management fairies to deliver… then run away… don’t walk.

Client Management – Global Payroll is complex, challenging and requires a dedicated client management team from the vendor. What is mandatory for success are senior, highly experienced Service Delivery team members and regardless of where they are located they are not cheap. It is very easy to add £250,000 + per annum into the ongoing costs of a global project for such a team but it is critical for the long term success.

Audit & Compliance – Maintaining legislative awareness and compliance in every country in which your company operates requires a dedicated team from the vendor with significant global investment to support its research operations. For those vendors who actually genuinely provide this service, some of these costs will naturally be included in the client charges.

It dangerous to simply line up a few global payroll contenders and try to compare their total costs per country or overall costs per annum; expecting that this is fair and sensible. It is only when you consider the often hidden or seemingly subtle benefits that the true identification of a genuine global partner emerges.