Evaluating Global Payroll Providers – The Four Keys to Best Fit

Evaluating Global Payroll Providers - The Four Keys to Best Fit

When it comes to choosing from the long list of global payroll providers, making a decision can be difficult. On the surface, these services may look the same based on initial offering lists and benefits. Despite similar marketing rhetoric, there are a number of important differences among global payroll providers. Here are some important categories in which to explore those differences that will help you find the best option for your international organization.

1. Country Coverage

Some payroll providers call themselves global but are actually operating in one region of the world. For example, if a servicer operates only in North and South America, that is not a global payroll provider. As a result, your organization should avoid partnering with providers that don’t include your full footprint or farm out your key countries to other like-providers.

Find a global payroll provider that offers services — and has ample experience — in at least 100 countries. Also, it’s a bonus if they have multiple regional service centers to account for various time zones and increase the likelihood of availability when needed.

Question to ask: Do you support all the countries in my portfolio under one contract?

2. Approach and Methodology of Global Payroll Providers

As expected, each payroll provider has a different system by which they operate. For example, one global payroll provider may be a true partner and consolidate your services in each country to help your company swiftly navigate the complicated process. Others may offer your team the tools to manage payroll on your own through self-service system or technology.

Overall, your company should choose the best service and offering to fit your current processes. If you prefer a partner, ensure that you’re asking the right questions to confirm this relationship. If your populations are bigger – several hundred or thousands in each country – and your team has the manpower to handle most of the payroll processing in-house, a self-service system or platform may be a better fit. For smaller populations and teams, a full-service partner makes more sense. Determine your desired level of involvement and reflect on your global strategy before selecting from the wide array of approaches offered by global payroll providers.

Question to ask: What is my team’s expected level of effort to execute payroll each cycle?

3. Experience Level

Due to the increase of globalization, the global payroll game has exploded, with many new providers arriving on the scene in the last couple of years. Getting payroll right across multiple countries – each with their own cultures, laws, and idiosyncrasies around employment – can take years to master. Newer providers can pose a risk for customers, as they simply don’t know what they don’t know, therefore the errors they make come at the customer’s cost. To ensure the highest degree of success for your organization’s international operations, choose a payroll provider that has several years of experience in all your target countries.

Choose an organization that has established local expertise and the relationships necessary to process your payrolls on time and accurately around the world.

Question to ask: How many companies have you supported in this country and for how long?

4. Compliance Accountability

Compliance is one of the most complicated areas to manage in global payroll. Despite its importance, nearly 75% of the more than 200 global organizations surveyed in Ernst & Young’s 2015 Global Mobility Effectiveness Survey said that greater insights are needed in global compliance.

This is likely a result of the ever-changing governmental requirements around the world, which often revolve around the need for tax revenues, immigration, and crime prevention. As a result, your organization needs to be sure that when choosing from global payroll providers, you’re picking a service that puts their neck on the line and ensures compliance management.

Question to ask: Do you cover the risk of a compliance lapse as part of your service?


If you’re curious about global payroll providers and how they can help your organization, contact our team of experts. We have knowledge on all aspects of global payroll from our 12+ years of experience and deep expertise in 150+ countries. Contact us today to learn how we can help you!


**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.


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