The Leadership View: Thoughts from Roland Folz, CloudPay CEO

PayMakers, our annual CloudPay event, brings together a community of payroll leaders, analysts, and professionals to share latest ideas, spark new possibilities, and shape the future. Paymakers 2023 was held in Barcelona this year and had a firm focus on how payroll and payments are being reshaped and repositioned into the modern pay experience within the wider business world. All the customers, partners, and industry experts who attended were naturally keen to find out what this means for them, and how CloudPay will help drive payroll’s new place in the corporate sphere.

It was, therefore, fascinating to hear CloudPay’s new CEO Roland Folz’s views on the modern pay experience in a special fireside chat with CloudPay’s CRO, Emma Streatfield. Coming to CloudPay after successfully building the European fintech market leader in Banking-as-a-Service, and with decades of finance-related experience to speak from, Roland had some fantastic insights to share. If you couldn’t join us in Barcelona, you can catch up on the talk here, and discover CloudPay’s resulting focus for the future.

Roland’s thoughts: where are pay and payroll headed?

Roland believes firmly in continuous improvement, and payroll is no exception to that: “I really want to understand things end-to-end. And that desire always followed me throughout my different career paths,” he said. “It means continuous improvement of processes on the basis of new tech, working with customers and building new innovative solutions.”

This is especially important at a time when an end-to-end global pay solution is key for dealing with the regulatory complexity of a globalized world. It is in this context, and that of changing business demands, that Roland put forward four key views on the future of pay:

  • Payroll must become strategic: the changing dynamic of workplaces has shifted power in the employment relationship towards employees, presenting an opportunity for payroll to evolve beyond being merely a transactional function. As Roland put it: “Ever since Covid, I think the employee-employer relationship has changed significantly, and so there is probably a lot more emphasis that employers need to put on payroll and all of its ancillary services. When power shifts and payroll becomes a strategic function, it can have far-reaching benefits for the company. It allows for better alignment with overall business objectives, improved cost management, enhanced talent management, and increased employee satisfaction. Simply said, it helps to improve the position in the war for global talent.”
  • Automation should be at the core: automation of your global payroll process will help you deliver next-level savings in time, money, and resources throughout all business functions. But payroll should not stand alone in this endeavor. An end-to-end approach, supported by an API strategy for data exchange with the HCM system, allows the benefits of automation to be maximized further. “If you offer a global product, you need to look very carefully at the end-to-end process, and it is vital that you automate along the full value chain,” Roland said.
  • Settling for growth is not enough: recent geopolitical turmoil has had a major effect on global business and economics, and businesses are having to do more to secure investment and funding from markets that are much more wary. “If you look at the last ten years, everything was focused on pure growth,” Roland explained. “If you had a value proposition that was innovative and attractive and you were trying to raise money, as long as you could demonstrate growth you were almost certain to receive funding. The profitability of a business model was only a B priority. All of that changed dramatically in March and April 2022, and over the last 18 months we have seen capital markets being far more restrictive on where they allocate money.” This resulting dynamic shift in many industries provides opportunities for payroll or HR professionals to show how they can strategically contribute to the important profitable growth that organizations now strive for by outsourcing payroll and payments to global partners, like CloudPay offering the “modern pay experience.”

  • Explore the potential of AI: artificial intelligence has grabbed many of the technology headlines this year, and everyone is still exploring the potential of it. Roland believes that from a payroll perspective, it can be of particular strategic benefit: “There is a huge buzz around AI, and if you work with data, it will certainly help you. For example, if you are processing data every month, we could be using AI in a way that it helps to identify anomalies, what data has changed between different months. It will allow us to support employees processing information from an efficiency and quality perspective.” 
  • The power of Earned Wage Access: recently we’ve seen the rising prominence of on-demand pay, or Earned Wage Access, as a strategic move for enhancing flexibility in global businesses. Roland highlighted this trend of granting employees the autonomy to access and withdraw earned wages independent of traditional payroll cycles as a crucial step for the future of all businesses. That’s because this approach not only empowers the workforce with greater financial flexibility, but also relieves the payroll team of rigid administrative tasks, allowing them to focus on the value-added activities outlined above.

In summary: CloudPay’s future focus

So, what does all this mean for the future of payroll, and specifically from a CloudPay point of view? In the main, it means that customers will benefit from:

  • Continued growth: we will continue to improve CloudPay’s products and services, and grow with our customers so that we deliver what you need in this evolving landscape
  • Effectiveness: we will continue to develop our products and technology to support your payroll teams in becoming more effective and efficient, benefitting the employee journeys and experiences in the most attractive ways
  • Cost-effectiveness: at a time when costs have skyrocketed across the board, we will help our customers maintain maximum cost efficiency and keep their payroll and payments sustainable

Learn more about the difference that efficient global payroll and a modern pay experience can have for your business with The CloudPay Impact.


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