How To Prevent Data Errors In Global Payroll

Alex Margolin January 23, 2020

Getting payroll right and on time begins with ensuring data accuracy. Nothing causes more mistakes or delays than late, missing, or incorrect payroll data. A manager might neglect to report a particular commission on a sale that went through late in the payroll cycle. Or senior management might decide to change the company bonus policy but neglect to inform payroll to make the salary adjustments.

The opportunities for errors in reporting are endless.

With a global payroll, a holdup in one location can have a ripple effect on the entire payroll run. In addition, even simple changes made after a certain stage in the payroll cycle could become particularly time-consuming. Reporting late could result in additional fees if a company outsources its payroll functions.

Taking steps to improve data accuracy will make payroll easier and faster, and that means fewer unnecessary delays and complications. While every payroll system requires a strong audit and approval structure to catch errors in the reporting and processing stages, the best systems also look for ways to limit the chances of errors from the very start.

On Time and Accurate Payroll

The following steps can help payroll achieve its essential mission of getting the workforce paid accurately and on time, every single time:

  1. Automate the process

Moving from local payroll to global payroll often means moving from a manual process to automated software. While it may be possible to manage the stacks of spreadsheets for a single country, the challenge is magnified dramatically in a global context. Time sheets, expense reports and PTO reports might come through in different languages, demand compliance with different tax codes and employment regulations, and require payment in different currencies.

Automating payroll software, however, does more than simplify the reporting process. By its very nature, it helps ensure data accuracy. If data points are left blank, it will let the payroll manager know at the earliest point possible, so that reports never go out with missing information.

With automation, it is also significantly easier to spot any discrepancies between the actual and expected payment. All of the calculations are tabulated automatically, so if country codes are outdated or wrong for a particular country, or if a change was made but not implemented at the payroll stage – such as changes in the bonus policy – it will show up in the review process, not after the payments have been made.

Automation simplifies global payroll. Its contribution to data accuracy, however, may ultimately prove to be one of its biggest advantages.

  1. Implement self-service where possible

When it comes to payroll, there are many stakeholders in the process, from tax authorities to benefits and pension providers. Perhaps the most important stakeholder of all is the employee who relies on getting paid on time every month. The more functions that can be turned into self-service opportunities, the less work is left for the payroll department.

While calculating salaries, various tax withholdings, mandatory and non-mandatory benefits, and bonuses and commissions, will always remain a function of the payroll department, many parts of the reporting process can be turned over to employees. For example, attendance records, expenses, and time off reports can be filed by the employees and go directly into the system for processing. Then the payroll manager only has to check the accuracy of the reports – something normally done in the review stage anyway.

Employee self-service not only saves time in the payroll process but also keeps the employees engaged in activity beyond their jobs. The reporting portal can also serve as a hub for employees to connect to one-another, ask questions to management, learn about company policies, and find out about benefits they may not know about.

It also means that the employees have a vested interest in helping the payroll process, and if they fail in their duties to report accurately and on time, they – not the payroll department – are responsible for any delays in receiving their pay.

  1. Consolidate payroll data into one system

Even if a company chooses to move from manual to automated payroll, if it uses a different software system for each location, it could still encounter unnecessary data errors. Payroll managers still need to reconcile the information to see overall payroll costs and that makes the review process more complicated than it needs to be.

With a single, consolidated platform, a payroll manager can set a rule for the entire global payroll run, and the software will apply it automatically. For example, a new company-wide policy on business travel or reimbursable expenses can be applied instantly. That leaves much less room for error compared to applying it individually to every country, especially when the number of countries continues to grow.

The best solution is one that is capable of handling all employment types, including contractors, regularly salaried employees, and those who might be employed abroad through an employer of record (EoR). Ideally, it would also provide a single system for executing payments as well. The all-in-one platform leaves the least room for errors and includes more automated checks because it needs to come together.

The platform should also provide global workforce management tools that integrate with the financial tools the company is already using – HRIS, ERP, expense management, and time and attendance systems.

Global Payroll Services for Enterprise

Papaya can help your company navigate the challenges of global expansion. The Papaya platform provides a total workforce solution, covering all types of employees, workers, and contractors. It streamlines all employee data into one view, and provides custom Business Intelligence reports to help companies find the information they need about their payroll spending.

It also includes a special portal for employees called Papaya Personal. It lets team members report time off in real time and access payslips instantly. It also lets employees see previous time off at a glance and submit new time off requests effortlessly.

The platform combines the best of automation with in-person support from a skilled CSM team, and provides payments throughout the globe in various currencies, all at the same time. Make your global payroll simple, smart, and secure with Papaya Global.