Payroll and the Global Economy
Mar 12, 2013
We hear a lot about the global economy. The web has gone a long way to accelerate globalization, and most organizations expand globally with the realization that failing to evolve will place them at a significant competitive disadvantage. With globalization comes an attempt, for the sake of efficiency, to standardize processes. In many cases this is possible. Painful, but nevertheless possible.
Where things get more complicated is when governments seek to protect their national interests, adopt unique ways of doing things – and what is more central to the national interest than the levying of taxes?
The upshot is that there are as many different payroll algorithms as there are legislatures and there are far more legislatures than there are countries. Not complex enough? Well, to add to the complexity, the legislatures keep changing the rules, with every budget, with every political shift and in the face of changing economic circumstances. The only constant is change.
CloudPay has the capability to deliver payroll across 160 countries, and our job is to manage change and provide a glitch-free, largely invisible service to multinationals operating across the globe. This we do well. What can be more troubling are the many differences – beyond taxation – that you’ll find in different countries. I know it’s hard to believe that cultural nuances could have a major impact, but our experiences working with payroll teams throughout the world tell us differently. Consider some of the realities you may encounter with your global offices:
Summer Vacations in Europe – While you are working in your office all summer, payroll teams in European locations are likely away on vacation. Understanding that lengthy summer vacations are the norm in many parts of the continent, and working to minimize disruption to payroll during this time, is essential.
Football Season in Latin America – It might not come as a surprise to learn that football is a big deal to many in Latin America. What may surprise you, though, is how it can impact the workplace. As employees might not be completely focused on their jobs if a key match is going on, you may need to give Latin American teams gentle reminders to ensure work is completed in the height of football season.
Chinese New Year in APAC – Across China and other countries in the APAC region, businesses can be closed for anywhere from a couple of days to two weeks to celebrate Chinese New Year. This can be more complicated than you would think as the holiday falls on different dates each year, from late January to the middle of February. Knowing far in advance when the holiday will come can help keep payroll operations on schedule.
The above are real events that influence employee availability and productivity worldwide, and there are many more examples. The best advice is to clearly communicate what your intentions are and when you expect resources to be fully engaged around these times. If you make plans in a vacuum based on anything other than actual cultural availability and tendencies, success may be elusive. Global payroll business can be a challenge – and it’s not just local governments that make us earn our spurs each day!