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GPMI Education


Preparation in Global Payroll Fuels Provider Partnership

By Kerry Cole

Engaging a global payroll service provider is a daunting task, but thorough preparation will make the effort worthwhile, an Immedis leader said in the GPMI webinar “Global Payroll Service Providers—Unlocking a World Class Partnership.”

Adrian Morrissey, Senior Commercial Manager for Immedis, told his audience the single most important word for his webinar is “partnership” and offered fundamentals for a truly successful partnership between an organization and service provider.

Immedis, based in Dublin, Ireland, is a multi-country payroll provider and employment tax specialist for organizations with overseas staff—whether local or expatriate.

He walked through preparation, varied models of global payroll, building blocks for success, the in-country partner model, and what a good partnership looks like.

Morrissey broke change management planning into three steps:

  1. Map out and review full end-to-end payroll processes
  2. Identify opportunities for process efficiency and improvement
  3. Identify key stakeholders and use their business requirements to form the basis of a request for proposal and functional specification

Many failed projects occur because they are built on a rocky foundation, he said.

“A lot of companies go global when they simply aren’t ready for that particular approach,” Morrissey said. “Unfortunately, they never experience the positive service they sought out to achieve.”

Change management is critical to success, he said, and this starts with an organization being intimately familiar with its own end-to-end payroll process.

“It’s often difficult for a provider to deliver a successful project because it’s difficult to measure what success looks like,” he said.

Once an organization’s payroll process map is clearly drawn so that the service provider understands it, the two sides can work together to achieve what they want. He emphasized that IT must be part of the equation from the start and that finance and human resources also play a crucial role.

“The biggest challenge with any payroll project is that it touches every single arm of your organization,” Morrissey said. “Any potential change will impact every single employee.”


In-Country Partners

In-country partners (ICPs) are fundamental to delivering global payroll, Morrissey said.

“From my perspective, the ICP is a true extension of our business,” he said. “We shouldn’t be hiding behind that fact. We should be showcasing that.”

He offered these five questions to ask an ICP:

  1. What is the process for selecting new partners?
  2. What does due diligence cover?
  3. What is the process for reference checking?
  4. What actions are undertaken to ensure an understanding of what is expected from ICPs?
  5. In the case of non-performing partners, what steps are taken to address the situation?

“Communication is the bedrock of any successful relationship,” he said. “If you don’t understand how the communication channels will work with your service provider, make sure you ask those questions. Technology will do so much, but at the end of the day you need access to an expert on the other end of the phone.”

He stressed that companies should assess what the business driver is behind making a change.

“If their current process or model works and everyone in the organization is comfortable with it, the business case must be strong in order to actually change because it is a daunting task,” Morrissey said. “But there’s a huge amount of positivity that can be achieved if you do this for the right reasons.”

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Kerry Cole is Senior Editor of Membership Publications for the American Payroll Association and the Global Payroll Management Institute.