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Global Payroll Week Survey Reveals Challenges in Global Payroll 

By Brandy Gaskins

The 2020 “Getting the World Paid” industry survey conducted by the Global Payroll Management Institute (GPMI) provides an inside look at the global payroll industry. The survey, conducted in conjunction with the third annual Global Payroll Week (GPW) celebration, enables the GPMI to gauge industry trends in the rapidly evolving global payroll landscape.

More than 600 global payroll professionals from around the globe shared their professional insights on several key areas of global payroll.

Global Payroll Performance

Accuracy is a critical element of the payroll function no matter the size or location of the employees and organization. When asked what the three most prominent root causes of decreased global payroll accuracy are in their organizations, respondents put HR data inputs at the top with 44%. Lack of HR process standardization was next at 40%, with retroactive entries and corrections third at 27%.

Payroll standardization and performance remains a work in progress for many processing payrolls internationally. When asked to rate the standardization of their global payroll policies, 33% of respondents stated they were currently working on standardization.

In addition, the annual GPW survey asked, “How do you track your global payroll performance against objectives?” In response, 46% stated they do not track global payroll performance, while the remaining participants indicated they use either dashboards or meetings with their service providers.

Global Payroll Challenges

In terms of payroll challenges, the annual survey asked individuals to highlight their top three global payroll challenges. In response, an overwhelming 70% ranked compliance as their biggest challenge. This was followed by working with multiple vendors at 33% and language barriers at 27%.

Each country contains its own unique and challenging set of labor laws and tax regulations. When asked which countries payroll professionals found to be the most challenging to pay employees, the United States, France, and Brazil rounded out the top three. 

Service Providers

Payroll service providers can be of extreme help to payroll professionals when setting up and managing multiple payrolls across the world. When asked, “What is the primary resource or method you use to answer questions relating to global payroll processing?” the top result, with 27% of respondents, said global payroll providers. Local partners and professional networks were also popular strategies utilized by global payroll professionals.

Another key area in which service providers assist global payroll professionals is when setting up payments and managing low employee populations, often referred to as long-tail countries. More than 37% of respondents indicated they rely on a local provider in each long-tail country, with an additional 26% stating they utilize a global payroll provider.

Most payroll professionals also indicated they rely on more than one service provider to help them process their payrolls. According to the findings, 45% of respondents use two to five providers and an additional 20% depend on six or more to process their payrolls internationally.

In addition to the areas highlighted above, the survey analyzed several other areas of the global payroll profession and industry, including technology and payroll service delivery models. Visit the GPMI website to view the complete 2020 “Getting the World Paid” survey results.

Thank You to Our 2020 GPW Sponsors





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Brandy Gaskins is the Public Relations and Social Media Specialist for the American Payroll Association (APA) and the Global Payroll Management Institute (GPMI).