Will Crehan has worked at Celergo for seven years in several different roles within the organization. He has gained a range of insights into the global payroll environment through work in Operations, Relationship Management, and Solution Consulting. Working out of the Celergo HQ office in Chicago, he is currently working on several initiatives within the sales team including pricing analysis, partnerships, HCM integrations, technology development, and operational solutions.
Please comment on the changing role of the global payroll professional.
The role of the global payroll professional has become more focused on project and vendor management. Payroll professionals now have more and more on their plate, including the management of multiple outsourced partners. Having the ability to manage the various projects between these groups and the vendor performance is becoming an essential component of the role. We see these skillsets becoming even more valuable as companies are shifting to a more consolidated management of payroll, either through headquarters or a shared services center model.
Share your thoughts on the emerging trends in global payroll that are capturing your attention. Is there an aspect of global payroll that you had expected would be trending by now that’s lagging?
The emerging trend in payroll that is most surprising to me is the growing drive toward the consolidated management of payroll globally. This is true whether it is being globally centralized through headquarters or shifting toward a shared services center model. In terms of lagging trends, I am surprised that there hasn’t been a larger move toward global consolidation of time and attendance systems.
How can a payroll department provide support on a strategic level to corporate finance, human resources, and other departments?
A payroll team can strategically support these departments by always having access to accurate and up-to-date data. Accurate data that includes banking, demographics, general ledgers, and tax obligations is critical for making these corresponding departments run smoothly. Having a standard process and format for reporting on this information is also critical for other departments to use the data. If these data sets are uniform and standardized, clients can begin implementing greater degrees of automation to ensure timeliness and accuracy of information throughout the organization.
What are the biggest challenges for payroll teams?
One of the greatest challenges for many payroll teams is the collection of timely and clean inputs. Within operations, we consistently see positive downstream effects for clients that have efficient internal processes for collecting their payroll inputs. When inputs are collected and reviewed in a timely manner for payroll, we see a reduction in payroll reruns, processing time, and questions around final outputs. This improvement can be accomplished through many different approaches including system consolidations, data integrations, and operational processes by the client.
What are some essential practices and strategic choices to manage risk and compliance?
Having full liability coverage of their payroll compliance should be one of the most essential components of designing a global payroll program. Given the ever-changing state of compliance around the globe, businesses can be open to compliance issues and penalties without even being aware of the issues. Our clients have found some peace of mind in knowing there is someone else monitoring these areas on their behalf. Beyond that, if a business is working with a provider to monitor and maintain compliant operations on their behalf, there must be assurances of liability as well. Otherwise, they are simply putting an outside party in control of a process they will be liable for. This is a fundamental shift in how many companies approach compliance, but I believe this is a direction toward which the industry will continue to shift.
What emerging trends do you see in meeting the payroll needs and compliance in payroll management for mobile employees?
Mobile employees have a unique set of varied challenges. Depending on the population, size, and industry of these mobile employees, we see a range of approaches taken by various businesses. The biggest trend I am seeing is an increasing need to be flexible in how these employees can be managed. Through a constant drive to improve their global processes, we see companies adapting their solutions in areas of: payment processes, tax calculations, employment arrangement, systems of records, and benefit packages. If clients are outsourcing components of their mobile employee management, then they need to ensure their partner can grow and adapt with them.
How can companies better leverage payroll data for strategic decision-making; how will payroll data emerge as a critical analytic business tool?
Given that payroll is the largest expense for many companies, there is an increasing need to better leverage global payroll data. Most companies are in a situation to make great improvements on how their global data is used. Some of the most common improvements we see in this area are: standardized data sets from global payroll, automation of information for timely access, standardization of global compensation, unified financial code sets, and immediate access to historical trends. Once a business begins tackling these various areas of improvement, this global payroll data can begin driving critical business analytics. Once a company can leverage global payroll data into its analytics, it can better project trends around its growth, expenses, and compensation throughout its global population.
Read our article "Global Payroll Traps to Avoid" courtesy of Celergo.
Frank J. Mendelson is an Acquisitions Editor for the Global Payroll Management Institute. He has been working with the American Payroll Association since 2009 as an editor for PAYTECH magazine, and has presented workshops at the Annual Congress on effective communication.