Global Payroll 10 min

How can payroll analytics benefit your global business?

Written by James Doman-Pipe
February 8, 2024
James Doman-Pipe


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Actionable data is the key to making the right decisions for your business. And for HR professionals and CFOs, that often means payroll data.

But to get a clear picture of what your data is telling you, you need to analyze it effectively. This allows you to go beyond simple compensation, and gain the kind of operational and fiscal insights that can shape your financial strategies and improve your workforce management.

In this article, we’ll explore the full benefits of payroll analytics for global companies, and discuss what to look for in your own payroll analytics tool.

So let’s jump right in.

What is payroll analytics?

Payroll analytics is a process that can help your business gain valuable insights into its operations, employee performance, and financial management. It includes a detailed examination of salary expenditures, tax deductions, and benefits distribution, making it a highly useful strategic tool.

It also allows your business to uncover underlying trends, forecast future staffing and budget needs, and optimize your HR strategies in alignment with your business goals.

Payroll analytics vs traditional payroll reporting

Traditional payroll reporting is based on manual data collection, and is primarily a historical record of wages and deductions. While it provides a basic summary of payroll at a specific point in time, it lacks depth and foresight. It is also predominantly backward-looking, focusing on past data rather than providing actionable advice or insights into future trends. 

Conversely, payroll analytics uses up-to-date data and predictive models to provide real-time insights. Instead of simply telling you what happened, it allows you to see why. These insights can be invaluable, allowing you to understand the implications of payroll on your broader business objectives.

Payroll analytics doesn’t operate in isolation. It integrates with other crucial data sources from your HR and finance departments to generate a comprehensive view of your company’s financial health. It leverages both present and past payroll data to help you make educated predictions — and develop effective strategies for the future. 

What are the benefits of payroll analytics?

So what exactly can you uncover?

Payroll analytics can help your business in the following ways:

Understand employee costs and productivity

Payroll analytics allows you to see how exactly your compensation spending is affecting your team’s output and your company’s overall performance. It highlights areas of high efficiency and helps you identify opportunities for further financial optimization.

Payroll analytics also gives you an in-depth look into the cost-effectiveness of hiring and training initiatives. You can evaluate the return on investment (ROI) for employee development programs to ensure these expenses are translating into tangible benefits. 

Furthermore, payroll analytics allows for comparisons to be made across various departments. It can shed light on which areas are the most cost-effective and productive, aiding in resource allocation and operational improvements. 

Reduce payroll errors

Payroll analytics plays a crucial role in identifying and rectifying common payroll errors, like overpayments or incorrect benefit deductions. By pinpointing these inaccuracies, you can look to address why they are being made, and assess whether you need to review your wider payroll processes.  

This is important, as unchecked errors can significantly affect employee satisfaction and trust over time. They may also lead to costly financial repercussions for your business, such as additional tax liabilities or even legal disputes.

Regularly analyzing your payroll data helps you maintain accuracy, uphold team morale, and keep the financial health of your company intact. Quickly identifying and correcting errors not only helps prevent potential compliance issues, but can save you time and money, too.

Comply with overtime and labor laws

An analysis of your payroll data can uncover overtime trends that may be caused by operational inefficiencies or staffing issues in your company. It’s an effective way to determine whether deeper issues — like under-resourcing or task mismanagement — are causing excessive overtime. 

Payroll analytics also helps ensure adherence to the relevant labor laws concerning overtime. By closely monitoring working hours and patterns, you can avoid potential legal penalties, and even uncover potential overtime abuses.

In addition, you can predict the financial repercussions of changes in labor laws, market conditions, or economic downturns. Understanding these potential impacts aids in proactive risk management and long-term strategic planning.

These insights make it easier to adapt to workforce fluctuations and scale your operations as needed, ensuring that your business remains agile and responsive to changing demands.

Budget more effectively

Payroll analytics enables you to closely examine labor costs and identify areas where savings are possible, or where resources could be reallocated. For example, if you analyze patterns in sick leave and vacation time usage, you can adjust your staffing levels and reduce unnecessary labor costs based on that analysis.

Effective analytics can even prepare your company for future expansion, downsizing, or restructuring. This helps ensure that your financial strategies are responsive to current business needs and aligned with your long-term objectives.

You can also gain a detailed understanding of the effect new hires will have on your budget, and of the payroll adjustments you may need to make. These insights can help you forecast future staffing requirements, improve your hiring decisions, and ensure your growth plans are financially sustainable and within budget.

Identify and tackle fraud 

Because payroll analytics systems are designed to automatically analyze payroll data for inconsistencies or mistakes, they are a critical line of defense against potential misuse. A payroll analytics system can scan transactions and flag any discrepancies for review.

Most payroll analytics systems employ advanced algorithms for anomaly detection, which can help you identify and prevent any malicious activities, such as payroll fraud. The nature of the system also allows you to identify and resolve discrepancies, keeping the payroll process transparent and easily auditable. 

Retain employees

Payroll analytics highlights the correlation between payroll elements — such as raises and bonuses — and employee retention rates. These insights enable your business to develop a more effective compensation package for your people, and enhance their engagement.

You can identify payroll trends that may be contributing to high turnover, such as discrepancies in pay scales or a lack of competitive benefits, and adjust accordingly.

Through payroll analytics, you can also analyze compensation data and ensure that your company’s offerings are competitive. As well as helping you retain existing talent, this can help you attract new talent too.

Payroll analytics for global companies

If you’re already hiring abroad (or you’re going to be), you know that international hiring comes with a wealth of complexities, including multiple (and regularly changing) tax laws, currency fluctuations, and diverse workforce regulations.

Payroll analytics can make this entire process easier, too. Here’s how:

Streamline your payroll operations

Payroll analytics simplifies the oft-daunting task of managing payroll across different countries. It provides clarity and efficiency to complex processes, making those processes more manageable. 

It also enables consolidated reporting, which helps identify discrepancies and simplifies the management of diverse currencies, exchange rates, and international payroll schedules.

Having a streamlined payroll system that leverages analytics not only saves valuable time, but ensures precision in every aspect of your global payroll management. 

Manage risk

An effective payroll analytics system alerts you to potential non-compliance issues, helping you to avoid costly penalties and potential legal issues.

For a global business, this is a key focus. It helps you understand how your payroll withholding will be impacted across various jurisdictions, and underscores the growing relevance of payroll analytics in adapting to — and complying with — new working norms.

Payroll analytics also strengthens your audit trails and boosts the transparency of your processes. Maintaining accurate and clear records not only demonstrates your commitment to compliance, but also enhances your credibility and trust among both internal and external stakeholders.

Make data-driven decisions

The availability of real-time data empowers you to make timely and informed decisions, and make swift adjustments accordingly. For example, if you notice an unexpected rise in labor costs, you can immediately investigate the issue.

Trend analysis is also crucial for long-term planning, as it can help you make smarter decisions regarding hiring, budgeting, and compensation strategies. By understanding past and current trends, companies can anticipate their needs and stay ahead in the global market.

What should you look for in a payroll analytics system?

An effective payroll analytics system can have a huge impact on your business. But it’s crucial to select the right system for your business.

As a result, you need to figure out which features best meet your company’s needs. 

Here are some of the essential features you should look out for when choosing a payroll analytics system.

1. Comprehensive analysis features

Unsurprisingly, a payroll analytics system should offer comprehensive analysis capabilities, with the ability to conduct detailed examinations of employee demographics, compensation, benefits, and taxation. 

It should also possess advanced data visualization features, allowing you to turn intricate datasets into easily interpretable and digestible visuals.

Another key feature to look for is predictive analytics. This allows you to anticipate future payroll costs and trends and plan more proactively, resulting in better business decisions and improved financial health.

2. Integration capabilities

Your system should be able to integrate seamlessly with your existing HR tech stack, including your Human Resource Information System (HRIS) and accounting software. 

Unifying the data streams from these systems ensures that all payroll-related data aligns with your HR and financial records, and maintains consistency across different business functions.

Alternatively, you can adopt a fully-integrated, all-in-one solution, like Remote. We provide a simplified approach that doesn’t compromise functionality, enabling you to hire, pay, and manage your employees in one place, wherever in the world they’re based. And when you consider that companies use an average of four third-party payroll technologies to meet their global payroll obligations — that’s a lot of time and money potentially saved.

link to Managing global payroll: the expert guide
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Managing global payroll: the expert guide

Managing your global payroll can be a daunting prospect. Learn how to coordinate and scale it with ease in this in-depth guide.

3. Scalability

As your company expands, so too do your payroll needs. And if you plan to hire overseas — either now or in the future — it’s vital to have a payroll system that can grow with these needs.

As a result, your system should support multiple currencies and languages, and be adaptable to different tax and compliance requirements across multiple jurisdictions — compliantly and efficiently.

Payroll analytics with Remote

Remote’s Global Payroll platform offers scalability, integration capabilities, and numerous analysis features, such as real-time analytics. It empowers you to forecast and control your payroll costs, and to plan your cash flow more efficiently, helping to ensure that you have the necessary financial resources to meet your payroll obligations.

The platform also provides in-depth reporting capabilities, giving you a firm grip on your global payroll spending and allowing you to identify areas where cost optimization is possible.  

With Remote, you have the means to make data-driven decisions that align with your financial and business objectives.

To learn more about how we can help, take the tour or speak to one of our friendly payroll experts today.

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