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GPMI Education


Webinar Covers Challenges of Compliance on a Global Scale

By Kiko Martinez

During the GPMI webinar Global Payroll: Compliance without Complexity, payroll experts helped participants walk through the two major compliance challenges in global payroll—accuracy and complexity—by exploring country and regional employee rules, collective bargaining agreements, and local agreements.

Presenters for the webinar were Ragu Bhargava, Chief Executive Officer at Global Upside; Nathan North, Global Payroll Director at Global Upside; and Michael McLaughlin, Director of Payroll at JUUL.

The webinar began with an overview of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a European Union regulation on data protection and privacy. Bhargava described how the GDPR continues to evolve after being implemented less than two years ago.

“One of the things you have to be very careful with is (the information) you collect and how you collect it,” Bhargava said. “It’s not just a matter of collecting, but where you store it and who has access to it. It is extremely important that you control that data properly.”

As companies move into 2020, the global payroll trends that Bhargava expects to be at the forefront of the payroll industry include:

  • Changes in employee work and pay preferences
  • Rising demand for multi-country payroll
  • Growth in popularity of cloud-based payroll software
  • Employee self-service (ESS) for outsourced payroll services
  • Robotics for payroll processing
  • Integrated platforms for better management

This is especially important as more companies expand into foreign countries in the next few years. McLaughlin has helped companies expand internationally over the last 20 years. The first piece of advice he would give a company before it decides to expand is to think about the cultural differences attached to that expansion.

“Those cultural difference will work their way into payroll,” McLaughlin said. “It can be as simple as pay cycles. You also have to understand the tax setup. Taxes around the world are much more complex than the U.S. For example, in a country like China, you have a tax to pay for housing. In a country like Germany, you have a religion tax.”

Other issues companies should review before moving into a foreign country include benefits and allowances, banking, and bureaucracy.

North also went into detail with specific countries and how each of them would bring its own challenges to U.S. companies looking to expand into them. The countries he covers are Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia. McLaughlin adds to the list France, which he said is a “very employee-friendly country.”

“If you can find people with French payroll expertise, they’re worth their weight in gold,” McLaughlin said. “France is a very complicated country.”

“Global Payroll: Compliance without Complexity” is available on-demand until October 31.

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Kiko Martinez is the Associate Editor for Membership Publications at the American Payroll Association (APA) and the Global Payroll Management Institute (GPMI).