6 key goals for global payroll teams and how to achieve them

It wasn’t so long ago that the main goals for payroll teams were focused on getting employees paid on time and accurately. Those times, however, have gone: payroll is now much more strategic within modern organizations. It also has to embrace technology, use data to inform wider business strategies, and enhance employee experience and wellbeing.

However, with new objectives and challenges must come new approaches to addressing them. Technology has a leading role to play here, but it’s only one part of what should be a multi-faceted solution. Data, expertise, coordination and a commitment to multinational compliance are also vital for making payroll the valued business asset it can – and deserves – to be. The last of these points is especially pertinent. Every country has its own set of tax and employment regulations, and in an increasingly globalized world, keeping track of all compliance requirements is getting more and more difficult. 

So, what are the biggest goals that global payroll teams face in the months and years ahead – and what are the best ways to work towards them?

Addressing the biggest objectives in global payroll today

Recent research by Everest Group, supported by CloudPay, has uncovered six of the most pressing objectives for payroll teams in 2024 and beyond. Collectively, they demonstrate why a multifaceted payroll future is critical:

Ensuring accurate and timely payroll processing

This remains the bedrock of payroll and its core function, even as the role of payroll within an organization has expanded. It’s a fundamental expectation from every employee and is critical for maintaining their trust, as well as managing finances and meeting legal obligations. A robust and reliable payroll system is essential here, whether in-house or outsourced, to streamline and remove errors from payroll processes. Automation, and the integration of payroll and payments, can drive further improvements in this area.

Enhancing compliance alongside data security and privacy

Data breaches or unauthorized access to sensitive employee information is being punished severely by authorities, in addition to the financial, operational and reputational risks involved. A unified global ecosystem for payroll, payments and HR can minimize this risk by bringing all data into one place, which is easier to secure at a robust level. This should go hand-in-hand with local expertise and automation for simplifying the act of global compliance, from understanding requirements through to internal audits and detailed reporting.

Elevating employee experience

Employees have never before had the power in the job market that they do today. Top talent is scarce; it’s hard to attract and harder to retain: if employees can’t get the experience they want from their employer, they’ll go to a competitor where they can. The rise of remote and flexible working has made this even easier for them to move around by breaking down the geographical barriers to employment. Payroll can help here by making pay more convenient and flexible for employees, through innovations like Earned Wage Access that allows them to be paid when they want. This can be delivered alongside incentive, financial wellness and financial literacy programs that can further support long-term employee wellbeing.

Evolving payroll technology to ensure future-ready growth and scalability

Payroll has to be ready for the challenges of tomorrow as well as those of today, and understanding how best to progress starts with full global payroll visibility. Nearly 45% of payroll leaders say they don’t have this at present, so there’s plenty that can be done to learn more about the ins and outs of their payroll and make informed decisions for the future. A unified pay solution can deliver this visibility in one place, across the entire spectrum of pay: payroll, payments and HR, and also eases the process of monitoring payroll by enabling data and processes to be standardized globally.

Standardizing global payroll and integrating it with enterprise systems

Driving consistency in payroll, across multiple territories, regulatory frameworks and currencies will be vital in making payroll an easier and more practical proposition in the future. Fragmented systems will make processes, validations, reporting and compliance impossibly slow and cumbersome. The best way to resolve this is to deploy a single payroll provider and system across all global teams, ideally including a solution that integrates with payments, HR and HCM systems. This not only enables standardization, but also provides a partner that can keep a watchful eye over payroll performance and flag up any issues like missing or incorrect data.

Improving decision-making using real-time payroll data

Many organizations are still not unlocking and utilizing payroll data as far as they could do – and certainly not as much as they should. It has the unrivaled ability to uncover insights on performance, behaviors and areas for improvement – not just in payroll, but across an organization as a whole. One of the main reasons firms aren’t taking advantage is due to outdated payroll systems and a lack of integration, which is where a unified platform comes into its own: joining the dots of every data point to deliver insights that drive meaningful business value.

In summary

If there’s one thing that connects all these key objectives and the ways of resolving them, it’s the need for integration and unification across payroll and beyond. Only by bringing all data, systems and processes together – across payroll, payments, HR and employee experience – can payroll fulfill its true potential and be a force for good for every employee and the long-term growth of its business.

Learn more about the value of a unified pay solution in the Everest Group report here that has been supported by CloudPay

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