National Payroll Week – The Importance of Payroll in Going Global

This week marks the 21st National Payroll Week, a week to highlight impact of the payroll industry and its key role in businesses that can often go unnoticed. In the UK alone, the payroll industry is predicted to contribute £301bn* to the UK economy in 2019/20 through income taxes and National Insurance. And while the payroll industry is certainly important from a domestic perspective, it is also necessary to examine it from a global one.

We live in an increasingly globalised world, where international business expansion is at the core of businesses success and growth. With modern technology advancing at a rapid rate, there has never been a better time to go global. And while our technology may be equipped to do so, there are still significant challenges to take into account when expanding payroll capabilities for a global business.

Although a critical business function, payroll can be easy to overlook. Payroll is the lifeblood of an organisation, it drives employee engagement and trust, and without it, a business simply cannot function. Having an accurate and seamless payroll function is crucial for every business and becomes even more critical in the context of global expansion. Business and organisational change can test employee morale, and it is vital that in times of change employees remain engaged in order to ensure business runs smoothly and that staff are empowered to perform their best. If basic business functions like payroll do not run smoothly during global expansion, organisations risk losing the trust of their workforce, and in turn, this can have negative consequences on the business bottom line. Accuracy remains one of the core challenges of managing payroll on a global scale, and if approached with precisions and careful consideration, it can play a huge role in the success of taking your business global and retaining the support of your workforce. This week serves as a reminder that qualified and professional payroll staff are an integral part of business success.

With globalisation comes diversity, and not just in the make-up of your workforce. Different regions across the world are governed by different employment laws and ensuring that your organisation is compliant is no simple task. On top of legal requirements, countries have differing social norms on pay. ADP’s recent Future of Pay study revealed the increasing demand for alternative payment methods and flexible pay cycles. In the study, 78% of employers surveyed agreed that companies will need to customise payment options to remain competitive in the war for talent, while 62% of employees say off-cycle pay options, such as the ability to choose pay frequency, would make a difference when considering a job offer. If an organisation is considering expansion to a region where pay flexibility is a standard offering, they will need to ensure they can provide the business functions required to remain competitive in that region.

Payroll can also shine a light on the ethics and values of organisations, which play an important role in remaining competitive on a global stage. It is essential that companies not only stay on top of reporting requirements in order to be compliant with legislation, but also because they provide insight into the culture of an organisation. With gender pay gap reporting having been implemented in the UK, and with executive pay reporting on the way, payroll is more than just a business function, it’s an opportunity for organisations to be transparent about their business practices. If staff aren’t being paid properly or fairly on a global scale, business growth is going to suffer. Payroll is often one of the largest expenditures of a global business, so it is even more vital to get right. National Payroll Week is an opportunity to recognise the staff that ensure businesses have their best foot forward, and boost employee morale and engagement.

As previously mentioned, we live in a technology centric world, and accurate and insightful data is invaluable. A clear and insights driven strategy is key to successful global expansion, and robust, accurate data is a core part of developing said global strategy. HR professionals hold some of the most valuable data in an organisation but can underestimate its potential. Utilising the right payroll technology is an essential part of developing a global strategy. For example, by gaining insight into HR data such as levels of overtime, turnover levels and other parameters, and comparing them with geographic information, organisations can determine the best location for a new office. Expand this use of data globally, and business can truly utilise the power of their data in order to remain competitive on a global scale.

Payroll is probably not the first thing that springs to mind when we think global business expansion, but it is the foundation of what makes a business tick, and tick successfully. Companies in every industry require payroll to operate, and to run smoothly and accurately with no room for error. National Payroll Week reminds us that payroll is so much more than just pushing a button, and celebrates the hardworking individuals behind the strategy and success of payroll. Any company looking to expand globally must understand the vitality of accurate and reliable payroll, and payroll capabilities that can adapt to regional differences, and empower organisations to perform at their very best.


Jeff Phipps is Managing Director of ADP® UK, a leading global provider of Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions. He joined ADP from Systemax, where he was Executive Vice President and General Manager for Germany, Austria & Switzerland. With a strong background in the technology industry, Jeff has previously worked in IT consultancy, sales and business leadership roles at Tandem, HP and Dell. He also has a background in IT management at a number of leading financial services firms.

Jeff has relished joining ADP, and being able to focus on the side of management he loves most – people. He has a number of passions which he has incorporated into his strategy for the business, including learning and development. Jeff is of the attitude that you’re never too old to learn, and he is living proof of this, currently undertaking his MBA alongside his challenging role.