International Business Expansion – Choosing The Right Global Payroll Provider

Knowing what to look for in a global payroll provider, when you are taking on employees outside of your home country, can feel like a daunting task. Things like setting up a bank account to enable you to pay your new people in the local currency is a fundamental task which can take some time to get set up. It’s therefore important you are as prepared as possible.

Partnering with a global payroll provider

Partnering With a Global Payroll Provider

It is good practice to source to a global payroll provider, which either provides multiple services in-house or works with local third parties such as accountants, bookkeepers, insurance providers, legal and tax advisors. Having one main point of contact who you can rely on to coordinate responses to your queries will prove invaluable. Managing multiple overseas relationships (particularly in different time zones) can mean you spend more time on this than obtaining the answers you need when expanding your business internationally.

Decisions will often need to be made quickly so it’s important to establish early on what you can expect from your global payroll provider in terms of response times. They allow you to make the right decisions quickly about your local employees, cash flow and where your business is heading.

payroll services saves HR time

What you Should Expect from a Global Payroll Provider

Below we have highlighted some of the things you should expect from a reputable payroll provider:

1. Real time visibility and reporting

Choosing a provider who offers online real time payroll (and other) support with a compatible interface between you and all the different elements of your business and countries of operation is a must for any progressive organisation. You will need a detailed understanding of the formats they can provide, applications they use and local limitations or restrictions that might be in place.

2. Local knowledge of rights, entitlements and obligations

Understanding employee expectations and your legal obligations are key considerations when expanding into a new market and having a payroll provider to help you navigate your obligations and local norms will be vital.

For example, across Europe you will generally be able to dismiss an employee for any reason (apart from discriminatory reasons) in the first 24 months. Thereafter, the employee can still be dismissed for relevant reasons but is entitled to protection from a system that requires the employer to perform certain actions before an individual may be terminated (such as following the correct disciplinary procedure). The employer retains the right to dismiss the individual for gross misconduct at any time after this 24 month period.

3. Employee benefits and insurances

The provision of an appropriate employee benefits program not only enables recruitment and retention of a quality workforce, but also allows for compliance with local requirements.

If you are planning to send expatriates to the new country of operation, it is important to evaluate the insurance coverage required to protect employees and your Company. Having a global strategy ensures you are prepared and protected in cases where an expatriate encounters medical issues, data theft or travel delays.

4. Data security

A vital component of your international payroll and HR requirements will be to ensure your employee data is in the safest hands possible. Managing data about your employees, business, customers, suppliers and distributors, how to prevent and minimise data loss and how to deal with security breaches are all questions a good global payroll provider will be able to provide assurances on.

Accountants using a payroll system


Partnering with a global payroll provider is definitely the way to go when you’re focusing on business expansion. However, there are some issues to deal with when working with a payroll provider.

Companies often cite a lack of streamlined processes when working with payroll providers, which can cause avoidable delays in the set-up process. That’s why it is vital they have an in-depth understanding of local compliance issues and deadlines. You will want them to see your company as unique and be able to support your cross-border operations in the most appropriate way to meet your needs.

Whether you are looking for an overseas payroll partner who can offer central coordination and local delivery or you want to explore how a global payroll provider can help based on your specific circumstances, it is important to carry out detailed research.