How to Manage Payroll Challenges in the Wake of Remote Work Expansion

HR Tech Outlook | Thursday, May 27, 2021

Stay-at-home orders, which went into effect in early 2020, caught many companies off guard in terms of technical readiness for the abrupt transition to remote work. Global payroll was one field of business that experienced major disruption, as industry professionals struggled to obtain remote access to critical data and continuity procedure notes. Many businesses relied – and continue to depend – on static spreadsheets and manual payroll data entry. This antiquated method not only creates a time-consuming and wasteful operation but also creates an unstable atmosphere for exchanging confidential payroll details.

Many companies relied on static spreadsheets and manual payroll data entry and continue to do so. This antiquated approach results in a time-consuming and inefficient process and creates an insecure environment for sharing sensitive payroll information. There are a few items businesses should bear in mind when evaluating payroll reporting tools to improve digital capabilities and tackle payroll complexities.

Standardization of Data

Understanding the intricacies of global payroll costs can be challenging even in normal times, and a lack of insight into end-to-end global payroll operations was a chronic problem even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies constantly struggled to clearly explain what was happening in payroll operations from a global viewpoint as stay-at-home orders swept the globe and remote hiring increased. This causes a variety of problems, such as business decisions not being taken based on real-time data and payroll teams being unable to respond to nuanced reporting requests due to a lack of digital resources.

Standardizing global payroll is a major advantage to multinational corporations. It increases productivity and provides more and more accurate data for payroll practitioners ranging from human resources managers to C-suite executives like chief financial officers, allowing them to do their work in a smarter, and efficient manner. Employers can better understand multi-country payroll labor costs by using consolidated payroll reporting via digital tools. This offers instant insight and leverage over end-to-end global payroll processes and labor costs, which is in high demand as the COVID-19 disruption continues in 2021.

Payroll Security

Employers have access to a treasure trove of their workers’ personal details through payroll, including social security numbers, bank account information, home addresses, and more, so data privacy and security are two top concerns for companies when reviewing payroll management systems. According to a study, the number of publicly announced data breaches dropped by 48 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year, with a total of 3,932 breaches. However, the number of documents affected by these breaches rose by 141 percent to a total of 37 billion, the highest recorded since 2005.

Companies have been reluctant to move payroll to the cloud, but the risks have been magnified by the pandemic, necessitating an urgent need for payroll professionals to have remote access to all data, paperwork, and authorizations in order to do their job. As static records stored on a desktop become inadequate to manage the data complexities that occur when an organization has thousands of workers spread across a number of countries and continents, cloudbased computing has become critical to improving the operational efficiency of global payroll.

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