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The global payroll industry evolved quickly in 2018 with tighter integration needs, increased regulations and a higher demand for cloud technology. As we consider lessons learned from 2018 and their outcomes, we also look forward at the trends we’re predicting for 2019 and the insights driving them.

As a trusted go-to resource for global payroll, we see the following trends coming this year:

  1. Working smarter, not harder: the role of data and automation to reduce risk and improve accuracy
  2. Flexibility and support for business: an even higher adoption of cloud-based services and need for centralization
  3. Data security and compliance: increased data protection legislation in the digital era
Working Smarter, Not Harder

In the 1930s, Allen F. Morgenstern, an industrial engineer and creator of the work simplification program, which was designed to increase people’s ability to produce more with less effort, coined the term “work smarter, not harder.” Nearly 90 years later, those four words ring just as true. From a new demographic of employees whose working expectations vary drastically from previous generations to the explosion of data, dealing with information in the same old way is no longer an option. The utilization of artificial intelligence (AI) and the strategic deployment of robotics and automation within the payroll industry delivers increasing efficiencies in time and accuracy and provides a catalyst for your payroll employees to increase their value.

Here’s our top three reasons why working smarter, not harder in 2019 can benefit you:

  • Low risk, high consistency data processing: Using robotics in payroll, you can impose stricter controls for repetitive tasks, improving accuracy and consistency, while reducing the chance of human error and reducing risk. Take data verification as an example … as a manual task, only a portion of the total data may be sampled to confirm accuracy. However, when using cognitive technology like robotics, you can compare the entire database rapidly, delivering greater accuracy.
  • Automation: Whether it is data sourcing, increasing the number of data points collected or simplifying data sharing and collection, automation opens the door to better decision making. The higher the degree of automation the greater visibility you will see across geographies, as well as better compliance and more reliable global reporting.
  • A catalyst for improvement: Helping your employees work smarter increases efficiency by cutting down avoidable errors and increasing organizational bandwidth. In payroll, this means you spend less time manually processing and more time focused on a more holistic view of your business for further improvements and growth.
Flexibility and Support for Business

Employment trends shifted even further last year with more flexible hours, remote settings, and employee mobility all on the rise. Businesses face the challenge of ensuring they can continue delivering services to their clients, and for payroll, this means employees get paid accurately and on time and that the company remains compliant with regulatory requirements.  For continued success, businesses need to combine a flexible, nimble approach with clear and meaningful data, to intelligently support their employees in this new work environment.

These are the top three ways you can be flexible and provide support in 2019:

  • Cloud-based services: While not a new trend, this shows no signs of stalling anytime soon. In fact, Forbes estimates that by 2020, 83% of enterprise businesses will be cloud-based. The cloud offers accessibility from any point with an internet connection, minimized risk with a range of secure backup and disaster recovery functions and a solution that can scale easily according to the needs of the business and clients.
  • Human resource (HR) system integrations: HR management systems are becoming more necessary as the need to work with large amounts of data, often globally, becomes more common. Within payroll, to ensure you’re getting the most efficiency gains from your solution, it is important to have a single source of truth for your employee data. By establishing two-way integrations with your systems, you create that source of truth and can work with the data for detailed analyses or establish business plans, all within the framework you apply to your global business.
  • Centralization: Payroll companies are increasingly investing in data centralization for its efficiencies in processes, greater clarity in financial matters and insight into the application and health of the global payroll approach. By bringing your payroll data together in a centralized source that can integrate with HR systems, you gain greater insights into your data to support your business in driving payroll efficiency in line with your business requirements. This data centralization is an increasingly sought-after part of delivering a modern efficient, and compliant global payroll solution.
Data Security and Compliance

In an increasingly connected world, data security and compliance continue to make big headlines. Last year, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was rolled out and the conversation surrounding data privacy and control intensified. In the payroll and financial industries particularly, employees and clients now require concrete guarantees concerning their data.

According to the EU GDPR website: “The GDPR not only applies to organizations located within the EU but also applies to organizations located outside of the EU if they offer goods or services to, or monitor the behavior of, EU data subjects. It applies to all companies processing and holding the personal data of data subjects residing in the European Union, regardless of the company’s location.”

In 2019, we expect to see these three data security topics continue to develop:

  • Digital trust and intelligent identification: The digital mindset is moving businesses toward identifying users based on normal profile activities to improve threat detection and prevention. Security by design: As new systems are developed, there is a need to build security and access controls from the ground up to restrict potential security gaps.
  • Continued rollout of new data protection legislation: With GDPR and Notifiable Data Breach (NDB – Australia) launching last year, we expect to see other nations implementing equivalent regulations. Additionally, the overall impact of GDPR is expected to become much clearer in 2019 as the one-year anniversary of its rollout approaches in May.

Leading-Edge Companies Embrace Change

Global enterprises that aim to be on the cusp of change must continually challenge themselves to outpace the competition. In the global payroll environment, this means anticipating change, keeping up with technological advancements, being agile enough to comply with new legislation and adopting practices and processes that provide transparency.

In the coming weeks, we will discuss these topics in much greater detail to analyze the direct impact on your payroll. Will you be an early adopter that sets the pace or lag behind the leaders? Global enterprises don’t need to “break the bank” to be leading edge. Follow iiPay and our trends at www.iipay.com.

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Human capital management (HCM) applications are the backbone for organizations, enabling them to manage all aspects of their workforce. However, when it comes to a business process as complex as global payroll, more and more organizations are decoupling their payroll functionality from their HCM applications, according to a recent Gartner report.

Decoupling is a viable approach and becoming the preferred means for organizations that process a global payroll. The payroll provider is responsible for the integration to and from the HCM as well as processing, servicing and supporting all payroll functions. When it is time to begin an implementation project, there are three strategies to consider to effectively guide the integration of your HCM technology with your new global payroll provider of choice.

Mapping the Data

Mapping your data between systems is of the utmost importance to the success of your integration. Your global payroll provider must fully understand your HCM system and its nuances and successfully align and map all data from one system to the next. The implementation team is responsible for ensuring that “value A” from “system A” feeds into “system B” and goes to the correct place. For example, a bonus payment may be tagged as “bonus” in one system but may be tagged as something different in another system. If that isn’t caught, addressed and fixed across all systems, then preventable problems post-implementation can occur.

A global payroll system provider can this bring knowledge and expertise, however the buyer must be knowledgeable about its data and help the provider understand these nuances. A common disconnect in the implementation and integration process is that people making the decisions on what to do with data aren’t always the ones on the ground using the system(s) daily. Figuring out how to mitigate and reconnect that issue is vital. Your strategy needs to include a platform that can accommodate nuances and that ensure your data is in a much better place.

Handling Data Changes

Personnel data is constantly changing in organizations, so much so that there is virtually a real-time constant feed of data changes. This does not fit the typical payroll model, which usually collects data updates and processes any changes on a per cycle base. For most systems, this adds a layer of complexity. An alternative and more flexible option is one that is configurable, allowing users to map a layout and automate the process of data changes. Ideally, you want as little human management and manipulation of data as possible. Instead, one system routes the data into the other system, which then configures the data appropriately, according to the mapping already in place. This frees up more time for your team to find errors instead of processing the changes—a more high-value activity.

Standardizing Implementation

While it may sound simple, all implementations need to start with a deep and detailed discussion, so the global payroll provider can learn your requirements, both from a system and processes perspective. Failing to align business requirements and objectives with the implementation methodology can lead to many headaches, inconsistencies and eventually failure. Once the business objectives and requirements are adequately communicated, the provider will be able to take those requirements and fit them into their standard implementation procedure that should be based on best practices from lessons learned.

Ensuring a successful integration between your current HCM technology and your global payroll solution is critical to the success of your payroll organization. iiPay’s solution and commitment to excellence in international payroll technology and service exceeds client expectations in every aspect of the global management process.

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Reward Strategy Recognizes iiPay for Leadership in Customer Service, Technology, and International Payroll

Integrated International Payroll (iiPay) has been recognized as a finalist in three categories for Reward Strategy’s distinguished annual awards, The Rewards 2018. The Rewards ceremony is the most distinguished event on the industry’s calendar, recognizing high achievement and celebrating excellence in payroll, HR, pensions, reward and employee benefits.

iiPay is honored to be recognized as a finalist for:

  • Customer Service Award
  • Technology Award
  • International Payroll Award

The company is excited about the global payroll leadership recognition across multiple disciplines. In an ongoing pursuit to change global payroll, the iiPay team continuously invests in people, processes, and transformative technology enhancements that make the payroll process easier for end users.

The Rewards ceremony will take place on November 7 at the Hilton London Bankside. For more information on The Rewards 2018 visit: https://www.reward-strategy.com/awards/the-rewards

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iiPay will exhibit at the 21st Annual HR Technology Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada from September 11-14, 2018. As the industry’s leading independent event for 20+ years, HR Tech has been a key catalyst for tens of thousands of HR and IT executives in their quest to leverage technology and secure HR’s role as a pivotal component in their company’s overall success.

If you’re attending this year, stop by Booth #343 and:

  • Discover how modern enhancements to technology, process automation, and systems integration is revolutionizing the payroll process and enhancing user experience
  • Experience our new Insights Dashboard – an innovative data visualization system enhancement that leverages the power of the iiPay platform’s reporting capability to display relevant data points in a visually compelling manner.
  • Learn more about our solution and services by scheduling a demo of our system on site.

We invite you to see how iiPay’s strength of technology and commitment to service excellence is rapidly changing global payroll.

Who will be there and what are the participation benefits?

HR Tech is the world’s leading independent event on HR and technology. It’s the one event where attendees can find unbiased educational sessions delivered by industry thought leaders and seasoned practitioners on the entire HR tech landscape, as well as how to successfully buy and implement technology. Nowhere is the convergence of HR and technology more visible than at the world-famous HR Tech Expo. With access to 400+ HR technology product and service providers under one roof — you’ll be able to effortlessly comparison shop the offerings of every category market leader.

What if I can’t attend?

If you want to book a demo or arrange a personal consultation with one of our experts, click here to submit a contact request and a member of our team will be in touch directly.

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iiPay returns to the 29th Annual Texas Payroll Conference, in The Woodlands, Texas from September 12-15, 2018. We are proud to announce that we are this year’s Charity Sponsor for TPC partnered with The American Heart Association.

If you’re attending this year, stop by Our Booth and:

  • Discover how modern enhancements to technology, process automation, and systems integration is revolutionizing the global payroll process and enhancing user experience
  • Experience our new Insights Dashboard – an innovative global data visualization system enhancement that leverages the power of iiPay’s reporting capability to display relevant data points in a visually compelling manner.
  • Learn more about our global solution and services by scheduling a demo of our system on site.

We invite you to see how iiPay’s strength of technology and commitment to service excellence is rapidly changing global payroll.

iiPay Speaking Sessions:

Session: Global Change Management
Date: Thursday, September 13, 2018
Time: 9:45 to 11:15 a.m.
Speaker: Danita Lewis, Global Account Director, iiPay
Description: In this session, we will discuss the top three investments to make when looking at change management: people, processes, and technology. Successful change management begins and ends with people. Employees will support change when you create ‘buy-in’ to what needs changing. People will especially support what they help create, whether it’s through contributing ideas or leading the charge. When investing in a change to processes and technology, it is important to make sure your investment is well-spent by getting the support of the people who will be impacted the most.

Session: When Companies Go Global
Date: Friday, September 14, 2018
Time: 10:15 to 11:45 a.m.
Speaker: Danita Lewis, Global Account Director, iiPay
Description: Do you process payroll for an international company? Maybe you’re hearing rumors that your company is going global in the near future? In this session, we will explore what ‘going global’ means in payroll, and discuss some of the differences between U.S. payroll and global payroll. We will also discuss best practices for simplifying the process, allowing payroll personnel to spend their time in more strategic and analytical roles. What are some of the ways companies can avoid pitfalls and meet the complex requirements of global payroll?

Who will be there and what are the participation benefits?

The Texas Payroll Conference is the largest statewide conference in the US.  An affiliate of the American Payroll Association, TPC provides a wide compliment of classes and opportunities for individuals in or associated with payroll to learn or refresh their payroll knowledge. Last year, TPC had over 440 attendees, 42% of attendees are decision-makers or influence decisions and 77% of the attendees have more than ten (10) years of payroll experience!

What if I can’t attend?

If you want to book a demo or arrange a personal consultation with one of our experts, click here to submit a contact request and a member of our team will be in touch directly.

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iiPay returns to the 36th Annual Congress from the American Payroll Association (APA), in National Harbor, Maryland from May 15-19, 2018.

If you’re attending this year, stop by Global Pavilion Booth #240 and:

  • Discover how modern enhancements to technology, process automation, and systems integration is revolutionizing the payroll process and enhancing user experience
  • “Display where you Pay” through the interactive iiPay Global Pavilion activity board try your hand at the iiPay bean bag competition
  • Scan your badge for a chance to win a custom, James Bond-themed martini set

We invite you to see how iiPay’s strength of technology and commitment to service excellence is rapidly changing global payroll.

Who will be there and what are the participation benefits?

The American Payroll Association’s 36th Annual Congress will hold more than 180 workshops. More than 2,000 attendees are registered to attend the world’s largest payroll, finance and account payable expo with 26.5 CPE credits available for attending each pre-Congress session, general sessions and workshop sessions

What if I can’t attend?

If you want to book a demo or arrange a personal consultation with one of our experts, click here to submit a contact request and a member of our team will be in touch directly.

We look forward to seeing you at Congress!

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Offering stock options as an employee benefit is a long-standing practice that many organizations across the world have adopted as a standard recruiting perk. The practice enables those organizations to attract and compete for top talent, retain talent and encourage an “ownership” mentality across its work force. While the practice has become commonplace, the processing can be challenging, especially when it comes to processing an employee’s “trailing stock” in your global payroll organization.

Trailing stock is stock that was awarded to an employee in one country but vests after the employee has transferred to another country and is no longer on the original, offering country’s payroll. That vested stock is taxable, but since the employee is no longer on that payroll, the processing becomes challenging. Confused yet? Good. You’re at the right place.

Let’s offer an example. Bill works for Company A and is on the U.S. payroll. Bill is awarded a restricted stock unit and two years later gets transferred to Company A’s Singapore office. Because of this transfer, Bill is then removed from the U.S. payroll and opened on the Singapore payroll. Approximately one year later, his U.S. stock vests, Bill collects his $2,000 USD and now owes $500 USD in taxes. Company A must now consider the following two questions when it comes to processing Bill’s trailing stock.

How do you process trailing stock?

The simple answer is Company A must convert the tax liability to Singapore dollar and process it through that specific payroll. So, continuing with the example, the tax amount (or percentage) is first figured in USD since that’s where the stock originated. Then, that $500 liability will be brought over to the Singapore payroll and converted into Singapore dollars. Next, you must deduct the converted amount from Bill’s paycheck, process it on his employee record and transfer the payroll records back to the U.S. office for payment.

Which vendor processes trailing stock?

The tricky part here is that most global payroll organizations use multiple vendors for different entities, so it’s likely the U.S. payroll is processed by one vendor and the Singapore payroll is processed by another. In this situation, the processing slows as it is not done in real time. The U.S. vendor would need to create the employee as a new starter, process the payroll, make the deduction and then transfer those payroll records to Singapore. Then, the following month, Singapore converts the currency, makes the necessary deductions and then pays it to the U.S. office through something like a cross-invoice between the two companies.

When using separate vendors for your global payroll, these three extra steps cause processing trailing stock to be cumbersome and delayed:

  • The processing typically cannot happen in the same pay cycle. They pay out of the tax liability occurs in one month but can’t be collected until the following month.
  • The U.S. entity has to re-open the original employee record or create Bill as a new starter, because he is no longer linked to the system.
  • The cross-invoice between the two legal entities must be processed by both parties.

Another potentially big issue with multiple vendors arises in the reporting phase. Can each vendor process and report consistently? Is the reporting separate or combined? And what about the stock value, taxes due and conversion into the second currency? Can both vendors align as well as capture all the variables and requirements in the same report? With multiple vendors, the likelihood for inconsistencies and different formats increases, further complicating the process.

The iiPay difference

When considering trailing stock and all its intricacies, there are multiple steps in the process and multiple regulations to be followed. The ability to take all data feeds and roll them up into one view can increase operational efficiency and accuracy. Does your technology allow you to process trailing stock online, in real time and in one employee record across multiple entities? If you’re interested in similar information, read our blog on From In-Country to Zero-Touch Payroll.

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Implementing a global payroll solution is a tall order for all involved and most professionals often underestimate the effort required for ensuring the solution is sustainable. A key reason for that is they often don’t consider what operational readiness looks like and what the barriers to success are prior to embarking on the project.

When planning your global payroll implementation, one deciding factor for success is to identify key issues that could prevent you from achieving success. Being able to understand and recognize potential barriers will help you break through them if/when they arise. Here are five potential barriers to success and the best practices for overcoming them.

1. Data integrity

Payroll is a back-end process with multiple employees inputting multiple data sets, and while the system has integrity, it is only as good as the data it receives. Compliance issues typically present themselves in the data integrity, and projects and compliance issues fail or succeed in the data integrity. That’s why it is important to keep compliance at the forefront of both your implementation project and your operational model going forward.

In addition, reconciliation processes must be appropriately integrated to support your compliance activities. For example, as you hire a new group of employees, can you show how you track and reconcile all 15 new hires in both the HR and payroll systems to ensure they match? You can’t if you don’t have reconciliation processes in place.

Best practice: Make sure your detective audits are a part of your routine operational model and processes are in place for issue resolution.

2. Underutilized use of payroll data

Payroll data is some of the most powerful yet underutilized data in the organization. Key metrics such as overtime analysis, tax benefits and wage recovery can give the organization important insight, yet it can also provide a major barrier if it isn’t utilized properly. For example, the payroll organization can investigate and identify where the big overtime expenses are occurring and help the organization work to resolve. The issue arises, though, when nobody in the organization asks for it, mostly because they aren’t aware it exists. Thus, it becomes a lost opportunity to address important factors that help shape the bottom line of the business.

Best practice: The owners of your global payroll should actively educate the rest of the organization and its key leadership on the power of the payroll data.

3. Mergers and acquisitions

Because it is a back-end process, payroll is rarely included in the mergers and acquisition process. As a result, non-standard processes often become realized causing issues and inefficiencies across the organization. For example, if you acquire a company in Switzerland and don’t consult the payroll organization responsible for that company, you will have no insight into their operations, software or operational model. You will likely be inheriting non-standard business practices that conflict with your SOPs. And worse, you likely won’t discover it until it’s too late, disrupting the entire payroll organization with very little notice or time to rectify.

Best practice: Minimize “surprises” by ensuring the payroll organization has a strong voice in the merger and acquisition process.

4. Recruitment and the melting pot

The reality of the payroll organization is this: It is a melting pot. None of the people in your payroll organization studied payroll in college—the degree doesn’t exist. They likely studied human resources, accounting, business administration, finance or another “related” field. So, while a majority likely have an accounting/finance background, your employees come from all types of roles and responsibilities with all types of experience. As such, it can be difficult to recruit a specific payroll employee to be a part of your operational team. If you’re lucky you may be able to find one from another company looking to make a move, but that is not always the case.

Best practices: Mitigate knowledge gaps with training, education, conferences and “lunch and learns.” Ensure the payroll team is knowledgeable about the business they support as well as payroll-related statutory requirements, compliance, pre-implementation audits and financing systems involved.

5. Global shared services

Many organizations want to set up global processes for everything from accounts payable and accounts receivable to HR and payroll. And while a Global Shared Service (GSS) model can work for certain aspects of the business, it simply isn’t ideal for global payroll. Not all payrolls are created equally as each country has different laws and regulations, data security requirements, fines and penalties, statutory reporting requirements, etc. It is extremely difficult to leverage technology, people and processes in a GSS model because there is no uniformed, “cookie cutter” approach to global payroll. As a result, you’re setting your organization up for potential failure and a high cost both in dollars and other losses.

Best practice: Diligently work to educate the organizational leadership on the complexity, challenges and implications of a GSS model and how it can have a ripple effect on an organization for years to come.

With careful planning, a global payroll organization can be successful and sustainable for decades. But just like any other project, there will be barriers that must be overcome. Considering those barriers ahead of time and planning for them will help you build a compliant, integrated, scalable and sustainable global payroll ecosystem.

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Before embarking on any payroll system implementation project, it is important to think about operational readiness and what a successful “go live” looks like. It’s at that point where you have to be ready to operate the new application, and operate it in a repeatable and compliant way.

Perhaps more importantly, though, is that the operation must be sustainable. How do you ensure that your new global payroll operation will be sustainable? It takes a considerable amount of strategic planning, which we discussed in a previous blog. However, for that plan to succeed, you will need to put a premium on two critical areas—staffing and compliance—both of which need to be considered immediately at the outset of the project, and prioritized all the way through go-live.

Staffing considerations

When you reach that proverbial “point of no return” in the project and cut over to production, you must have the right people with the right skills in the right jobs who can react to issues and run the new payroll system in an efficient and compliant way. You can’t figure out two weeks after go-live that you need more resources. That must be considered at the outset of the project and as a best practice, at least one year before go-live. And as stated before, the project team needs empowerment and a senior sponsor to drive change.

The challenge with any large project or new implementation, is that “the show must go on” with other daily responsibilities within payroll. The organizations that are ready for a sustainable operation on Day 1 of go-live are those that proactively backfilled the ongoing payroll responsibilities with resources who will not be driving the project. You want your employees that will be associated with the new system to be involved in the project from the start. Take advantage of that in-house intellectual capital that comes from being involved so they are part of the operational organization at go-live.

Some organizations choose to keep payroll support in their current operations while bringing in third parties to run the new application. The problem there is that those organizations then expect their employees to be up to speed right away when they cut over to production. While that can work for some, it also presents a whole host of additional issues and can compromise the success of the project. A blended approach is best practice, using internal key payroll employees and supplement with a third party that has conducted the change many times.

Compliance considerations

In addition to focusing on your staffing implications, you must always keep compliance at the forefront of the project, especially in Europe where regulations are highly rigorous.

Once you go live, you must have compliance as the backbone of your operational organization. Therefore, it is essential that your compliance representative is focused early in the project so they know the inner workings of the new system and that all integrations are functioning properly from a compliance perspective.

A payroll engine has high integrity, but it is only as good as the data it receives. Typically, it is in the data where compliance issues come to light, and projects and compliance issues fail or succeed in the data integrity. The chances for success increase dramatically when your compliance representative is involved from the start and compliance as a whole is a prioritized focus throughout the project.

A global payroll system implementation project is no easy task, often lasting at least one full calendar year. Those who set out with a well-structured strategic plan can create a seamless project and minimize the risk of delays or even failure. And those who consider their staffing implications and compliance right from the start will be optimized for a successful go-live.

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Plan the work and work the plan. It’s easier said than done, especially when it comes to global payroll system implementation projects. However, the key to maintaining a sustainable global payroll ecosystem is to create a strategic plan that works using a standardized methodology. Each organization is different and has its own unique challenges and processes. But the fundamental characteristics of a solid strategic plan can work across any organization.

When putting together a strategic plan for your global payroll system implementation, integrate these aspects and your chances for long-term success increase dramatically.

Clear Vision of the End State

Any good strategic plan starts with the end in sight. What does the end state look like? What does operational readiness look like for your organization? You need to consider all factors of operational readiness from your people, their roles, your locations, and how future employees fit in. Compliance should remain a primary focus at every step of the journey with a reconciliation process in place to maintain integrity.

Payroll Vendors/Integration Partners

As you consider global payroll vendors and integration partners, you’ll need to understand their operational models and then utilize their assistance in defining the best operational model for you given your priorities. Make sure your integration partners are familiar with your game plan. And lean on your payroll vendor to ensure operational readiness, making sure they care about and understand your desired end state. Managing and optimizing vendors to achieve your outcomes requires significant effort, so be prepared to identify a change sponsor to build in the required time in advance.

Barriers to Success

Being able to understand and recognize the potential barriers to success will help you break through them if/when they arise. Though not an exhaustive list, there are a few important barriers to consider:

  • Data integrity: Payroll is a back-end process with different people inputting multiple data sets. The system has high integrity, but it is only as good as the data it receives. Make sure your detective audits run routinely and processes are in place for issue resolution.
  • Underutilized use of payroll data: The payroll data is some of the most powerful data in the organization, yet it is also often the most underutilized. Metrics such as overtime analysis, tax benefits and wage recovery can give the organization important insight, yet it can also provide a major barrier if it isn’t utilized properly.
  • M&A activity: Because it is a back-end process, payroll is rarely included in the mergers and acquisition process. As a result, non-standard processes or manual processes occur, causing issues and inefficiencies across the organization.
  • Global Shared Services: Not all payrolls are created equally, and often the decision to utilize a GSS model creates a ripple effect across the organization for years to come. Each country has different laws and regulations, data security requirements, fines and penalties, statutory reporting requirements, etc. It is extremely difficult to leverage technology, people and process, in a GSS model.

Pre-Implementation Audits

Any successful strategic plan has audits built in BEFORE the implementation begins. The “sins of the world” reveal themselves in payroll so it is best to have early detection of data issues before they enter into the payroll engine. This is also where it is vital to have a compliance lead on the project; someone who is well-versed in IT information security and SDLC adherence and can be the owner for all things compliance. Catch the issues early.

Project Team

Though the makeup of the project team varies from organization to organization, there are still representatives and leads from key departments, including payroll, human resources, IT, compliance, time and attendance and benefits among others. It will be crucial to identify a program integration manager (PIM) who oversees all integration touch points. This person must be politically agnostic in the organization and work to ensure the collective voice of the team is heard accurately.

Communication Plans

The work has been planned; now it’s time to execute. But, planning the work is easier than actually working the plan. That is why communication is key. Communication can often be the Achilles Heel of global payroll projects, but providing weekly status reports, stakeholder updates and corporate internal audit updates can help minimize dysfunction within the team and the project.

Project Team Meetings

During the course of the project, maintaining a regular cadence of project team touch points and meetings can go a long way in ensuring success. However, everyone must always share a willingness to talk about any “elephants in the room” at any point. Major issues like inadequate people resources; issues with testing, compliance/documentation, software performance, training, and data integrity; and any staffing concerns are critical to creating operational readiness and must be addressed as early and as transparently as possible.

Production Cutover

When it comes to the production cutover, typical baseline criteria for success is two consecutive months in parallel with tighter criteria in the second month. The User Acceptance Testing (UAT) phase is critical to test your people, the system and your processes for anomalies to gauge for operational readiness. Be sure to freeze the payroll pipeline before cutover, halting new starters and any salary changes from being entered. Your target go-live date should accommodate all of those changes and additions and more.

Go-Live, Project Closeout

Once the button is pushed and the system is live, the team must maintain a war-room mentality, tracking issues tightly with daily production updates so any issues can be resolved quickly. Be sure to document lessons learned for the next project and replicate best practices. If you’ve reached go-live and project closeout, then you’ve likely considered and included all of the above components to your strategic plan and it can be considered a success. At that point, it’s time to implement perhaps the most important part of your plan—celebrate your success and recognize the hard work and effort from your team.

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