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Global Payroll 13 min

Global payroll automation: what your business needs to know

Written by James Doman-Pipe
James Doman-Pipe


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As your business grows internationally, managing your global payroll can become a huge challenge.

You need to stay on top of the rules and regulations of more and more countries and navigate an increasingly complex series of processes. There are more administrative tasks, more calculations, and more reports — and the stakes are even higher if you make errors.

This is why automation is such a game-changer. By using software that automates many of these processes, you can save time, money, and resources and run a payroll operation that is more accurate and secure than a manual approach.

In this article, we’ll go over the benefits of payroll automation and provide some handy tips on automating your own payroll processes.

So, let’s jump right in.

What is global payroll automation?

Payroll automation is when you use software to perform complex or repetitive payroll tasks on your behalf. It reduces the administrative burden and enhances your security against fraud and data loss, making the entire global payroll process more efficient.

Crucially, automation ensures that your payroll is compliant with local labor and tax laws, as well as any changes or updates to these laws. It also helps eliminate discrepancies and reduces the likelihood of mistakes occurring through manual input errors.

What’s the difference between standard and global payroll automation?

The key difference between standard and global payroll automation is in their scope and integration capabilities.

Standard payroll focuses on automating essential tasks, such as salary calculations, statutory benefit deductions, tax filings, and payslip generation. It’s typically designed for domestic operations and tends to be straightforward.

Global payroll, meanwhile, is tailored to companies with team members in different countries (although it can still support domestic operations, too). For example, Remote Global Payroll provides in-house, local payroll support across the globe, and automatically handles local compliance updates. This ensures adherence to diverse regulatory requirements across multiple regions.

Moreover, global payroll automation integrates seamlessly with global HR platforms, expense management, and time and attendance systems, providing a comprehensive and efficient solution for global workforce management. This is convenient whether you're using an all-in-one global HR solution like Remote, or integrating with multiple tools.

In summary, standard payroll automation covers the basics of payroll management, but lacks the extensive coverage and integrated capabilities of global payroll automation.

What are the benefits of global payroll automation?

Automation is becoming the preferred solution for global companies, as it’s cost-effective and a more efficient way to handle the complexities of international payroll processing.

Here are some of the key benefits of automating your payroll:

Quick and easy payments

Global payroll automation enables you to pay your domestic and international team members in minutes. With a single platform for managing your people’s payroll information, you can streamline the entire process — regardless of location or currency.

This also ensures compliance with labor regulations around the globe while minimizing the costs associated with foreign transactions.

Simplified reporting

Global payroll automation simplifies your reporting by consolidating all of your employment data into one secure, cloud-based hub. This eliminates the need for manual processes and makes it easier to access accurate information quickly.

With this technology, you can easily view up-to-date global employment details in real time — and all from the same place.

Global benefits planning assistance

Preparing a global benefits program for your business can be a daunting task. Fortunately, automation streamlines this process by providing access to unified employee data and user-friendly tools. This allows you to create and manage tailored benefits plans in different locations while remaining compliant at all times.

In addition, automation allows you to track your employees’ participation in real time, helping you to allocate your resources more efficiently.

Cloud-based efficiency

Cloud-based payroll technology is another effective way to increase efficiency. Automated non-core processes, such as payment tracking and tax filing, can be managed quickly and accurately with a cloud solution like Remote’s.

This eliminates the need for manual data entry and the inefficiencies associated with legacy systems, as well as provides the scalability to add new countries without needing to worry about complicated integrations and system updates.

Global equity incentive management

Managing stock options and equity incentives for a global team can be difficult without payroll automation. The right automated solution can simplify the process of granting, tracking, vesting, and canceling equity awards by providing an efficient way to track employee investments across different countries.

Additionally, with automated processes in place for managing stock options or grants of restricted stock units (RSUs), you can ensure that your international teams receive proper tax guidance and filings on incentive programs.

Payments for employees and contractors

An automated global payroll solution makes it easy to pay both employees and contractors, whether they’re based domestically or abroad. This is especially valuable since tax structures, payment methods, and other legal factors differ significantly for these work arrangements across the globe.

With automated payroll, you can easily stay on top of compliance requirements while avoiding costly errors and delayed payments.

Simplified time and leave tracking

Automation allows you to simplify your PTO, time, and attendance tracking, giving you an accurate picture of your team members’ time off and leave across the globe. It can also help ensure that your people are getting the correct pay in accordance with international labor laws without having to manually track such information.

Streamlined tax filing options

An automated system enables you to calculate and withhold taxes in accordance with local regulations quickly and easily, reducing the risk of non-compliance. You also get a centralized hub that houses all of your employee data, making it easier to file taxes quickly and accurately.

Automation also reduces the human errors associated with manual tax filings while providing real-time insights into your global payroll operations at any given moment. This allows you to make informed decisions about your company’s finances without having to wait for month-end reports or other delays.

Around-the-clock support

One of the biggest benefits of an automated global payroll solution is access to around-the-clock support from your partner provider.

With the right automated payroll provider, you can get answers to questions when they are needed most. You don’t have to worry about potentially missing important deadlines due to time zone differences or language barriers; instead, you receive support no matter where in the world your people are located.

Which payroll tasks can be automated?

Many payroll tasks can be automated using a modern payroll solution like Remote. These include:

Pay calculations

Remote calculates salaries, hourly pay, and overtime by integrating hours worked and attendance data. This ensures accurate and efficient payroll computation.

Tax calculations

We streamline tax calculations at the national and local level for each paycheck, and our platform automatically adapts to tax laws in various countries — even when they change.

Benefit deductions

Remote automatically computes deductions for employee benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and other customizable options.

Time and attendance tracking

Our integrated systems automatically record work hours, manage overtime, track sick leave, and ensure accurate pay calculations based on attendance data.

Payroll processing

Global Payroll facilitates the entire payroll process, including the generation of paychecks and the execution of direct deposit transactions, ensuring timely and accurate payments.

Payroll reports

For effective oversight, you can automatically generate comprehensive payroll reports detailing payroll expenses, tax deductions, and contributions to benefits.

Compliance reporting

You can also automatically produce essential compliance documents, like W-2s, 1099s, and various global tax forms, to maintain accuracy and adhere to international regulations.

Year-end processing

Remote enables you to automate crucial year-end tasks, such as bonus distributions, adjustments for upcoming tax changes, or the preparation of year-end tax documents to streamline the transition into a new fiscal year.

Integration with accounting systems

You can easily sync your payroll data with accounting systems to facilitate real-time financial reporting and effective budgeting — and streamline your company’s financial management.

How do I automate global payroll?

So, now that you know about the benefits of automating your global payroll, how do you actually do it?

Here are some tips:

Find the right payroll provider for your business

To automate your international payroll, the best option — especially for smaller businesses — is to outsource or use a global HR provider, like Remote. This will give you access to experienced experts who can handle your global payroll across multiple countries and ensure compliance and accuracy from the onboarding process onward.

Before you select a provider, be sure to do your due diligence and choose one that is trusted, reliable, and meets your specific criteria.

Here are the top payroll automation features to look for when choosing a vendor:

Payroll visibility

A robust payroll automation system should offer unparalleled visibility into all aspects of the payroll process. It should allow for easy management of payroll activities and provide clear insights into upcoming tasks and payroll schedules.

Remote does all this and allows you to review, edit, and approve payroll runs easily, while informing us of any changes or upcoming payroll-related events. 

Full transparency

Transparency in payroll automation is critical to maintaining trust and clarity within an organization. Remote provides a comprehensive overview of all payroll-related elements, such as taxes, benefits, and deductions.

This transparency is essential for effective financial planning and clarity, and allows for a deeper understanding of how payroll expenses impact your organization’s overall financial health.

Granular control

Granular control enables the meticulous management of financial components. Remote allows for precise tracking and approval of various elements, such as incentives, bonuses, salary adjustments, and paid time off (PTO).

This level of control is essential for maintaining accuracy in payroll processing and ensures that employees are compensated correctly for their work. 

Instant updates

Remote's automation capabilities streamlines key HR processes, including the onboarding of new employees and the processing of departures. This ensures that payroll data remains current and accurate, reflecting any changes in your workforce as soon as they happen.

Instant updates prevent payroll errors and ensure that new employees are paid on time and accurately.

Built-in flexibility and support

Remote handles regular payroll processes, offers flexibility for off-cycle pay runs, and provides the ability to finalize payroll in advance. This feature is useful for handling bonuses, commissions, and correction runs.

Additionally, having a dedicated payroll specialist available to respond to queries adds invaluable support. This expert can provide guidance on complex payroll scenarios, ensuring compliance and accuracy in every payroll run.

Payroll compliance

Ensuring adherence to local employment tax laws is critical to any payroll automation system. Remote accurately calculates and remits the appropriate amounts to local authorities.

Secure your HR data in one platform

Before you start automating, ensure that all your HR data is secure and accessible in one platform. Having this information stored centrally will allow you to quickly access employee records across different countries, reducing the time spent manually gathering files for each location or employee.

A centralized database of information will also make it easier to meet your compliance obligations, as you can keep track of the regulations from different jurisdictions without needing to update multiple systems at once. This will help reduce the amount of time your team spends on manual work and ensure there are no errors when processing payments overseas.

Lean on your global payroll partner for expert advice

Your global payroll partner should be a source of knowledge and expertise when it comes to compliance. Remote understands local regulations, tax requirements, holidays, wages, and other critical details, and provides relevant, actionable advice whenever it is needed.

You don’t need to spend money and resources on building out a team of in-house experts when you have a global HR partner. Make sure you lean on this and leverage the local expertise of your provider’s tax and legal specialists.

How long does it take to automate global payroll?

The time required to roll out payroll automation depends on the following factors:

  • The specific requirements of your organization

  • The complexity level of your existing payroll infrastructure

Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from six weeks to a few months to switch to an automated global payroll solution. Note that this process includes implementation, onboarding, data migration/transformation, stakeholder training, and any necessary customizations you may require.

The key is to select an experienced partner, like Remote, who understands your specific needs and can work with you every step of the way — from the initial setup right through to launch day.

Global payroll automation with Remote

Remote’s global payroll solution is designed with this in mind. Our platform allows you to:

  • Consolidate and streamline your payroll processes

  • Minimize time-consuming administrative tasks

  • Ensure compliance with local tax and labor laws

  • Reduce payroll costs

  • Access 24/7 support

Remote’s automation capabilities take on all the heavy lifting for you, allowing you to focus your time, money, and resources elsewhere.

To learn more about how you can benefit from global payroll automation, speak with one of our friendly experts and discover how exactly we can transform your business today.

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