June 12, 2020

Outsourcing payroll: Supporting business continuity and reducing risk exposure

In an ever-changing business environment, payroll must keep up to speed. Organisations are facing a number of payroll-related challenges addressing legislative changes, fluctuations in demand, growth, and organisational expansion or restructuring. Outsourcing payroll to professionals can help organisations better navigate these complexities.

Today, the world of work is rapidly changing, and payroll must be able to keep up. As business environments evolve, and companies continue to scale, organisations must advance accuracy, efficiency, and visibility across all regions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only underscored the importance of payroll’s critical function and the role it plays as the business climate evolves and organisations adapt to new realities. The payroll function has proven to be vital to business continuity – both to mitigate risk exposure and to support employee financial wellness.

Dated technology and payroll processes can disrupt business operations during periods of ongoing change. If organisations cannot effectively pay their people accurately, on time, and in adherence with various jurisdictional requirements, they put themselves at risk in a number of ways. Organisations can be subject to fines as a result of non-compliance in various regions, as well as class-action lawsuits filed on behalf of employees.

Without the right payroll solution, organisations are under intense pressure to limit risk exposure and support business continuity. Approximately 50% of organisations in Deloitte’s 2018 Payroll Operations survey outsourced local payroll processing and tax reporting to help mitigate the risks associated with global mobility payroll processing. That percentage is only increasing as more companies struggle to keep up with complex business environments. Outsourcing your payroll function to a trusted partner can help your organisation stay on top of compliance while scaling back on in-house effort so you can refocus talent and resources to achieve business goals in a post-pandemic world.

Outsourcing payroll for business continuity today and in the future

Depending on the partner, outsourcing payroll services typically involves a team of professionals who act as administrators to process payroll, provide expertise, standardise processes, and administer benefits. An outsourced payroll team can handle employee requests, such as fielding questions about payments or providing assistance with benefits administration, while also helping organisations plan for and execute periodic activities, such as year-end filings.

Key considerations for outsourcing payroll

To understand whether an outsourced payroll solution is right for your organisation, consider the following questions:

  • Does your organisation have the right technology and expertise needed to help you respond to changing legislation across regions and jurisdictions?
  • Do you have plans for business expansion to new regions?
  • How much time does your team dedicate to researching, understanding, and applying applicable payroll tax laws for your organisation?
  • What is the cost of payroll errors or inaccuracies to your organisation?
  • Are you able to deliver pay to a dispersed workforce as employees work remotely?
  • Is your payroll team set up to conduct payroll activities from anywhere at any time as well as assess risks to continued payroll operations?
  • Are there succession plans in place to fill vacancies should your payroll staff become ill or leave the company?
  • Can the organisation’s technical infrastructure protect against vulnerabilities and weaknesses when your in-house payroll team must work from home?

Organisations must determine whether they are prepared to address the complexities of changing legislation in multiple regions, deliver pay accurately and on time to remote employees, and fill talent gaps when people leave. If your organisation is not well-positioned to address these challenges, outsourcing payroll may be a viable alternative to your status quo.

Benefits of outsourcing payroll

There are several key benefits to outsourcing payroll that can help organisations reduce risk and focus their time and effort on strategic, value-generating initiatives.

Mitigate risk and improve accuracy

In-house payroll teams must mitigate risk in the following areas:

  • Remaining compliant to reduce risk of costly penalties and fees
  • Keeping up with changing requirements from multiple sources including tax and employment laws, unions, and pandemic programs
  • Reducing the risk of inaccurate or late payments to employees
  • Avoiding inaccuracies in payroll tax filing and garnishment administration

For global organisations, risk exposure can be multiplied as legislation in various regions frequently changes. Preparedness to address these rapid changes is imperative for any organisation, especially for those restructuring or expanding, as they will need to pay critical attention to the various tax obligations across new regions.

Unless an organisation has fully trained, dedicated staff and leverages technology that can help to automate legislative changes, it can be difficult to stay on top of compliance. Payroll mistakes can be detrimental to the employer brand and can trigger fines wherever the company operates. Outsourcing payroll can help reduce risk by leveraging standardised processes across the organisation. The right partner will help maintain best practices and quality assurance programs and follow published schedules with structured deadlines. These teams can also help maintain high levels of security, privacy, and compliance while reducing the risk of fraud.

Refocus resources on strategic initiatives

When a company is experiencing change or growth, the workload of the team can often expand and require additional headcount and resources. This is particularly true for organisations that are navigating the complexities of global payroll.

Having a highly trained payroll outsourcing team with in-depth payroll knowledge will reduce effort for in-house teams to administer payroll activities, as well as help address ongoing employee inquiries regarding payroll or benefits administration. Outsourcing payroll also provides the opportunity to redeploy or reskill internal payroll talent to support other areas of the business.

Scale your business more easily

As companies require new talent to take on increased payroll demands organisations will need to be prepared to scale their payroll function accordingly. Hiring for specialised roles such as a payroll professional can take a lot of time and resources. Often this need arises when the business is already consumed with a merger or acquisition, an organisational restructuring, or increased customer demand post-pandemic.

Outsourcing accommodates rapid growth or contraction, which can help you maintain your administrative processes and security controls throughout periods of change. In this way you don’t have to strain internal resources or continually right-size the payroll department to ensure these areas are covered.

Get complete visibility

Many organisations do not have complete visibility into their global payroll operations, but consider it critical to gain a better understanding of holistic operations. Outsourcing payroll can help centralise your people, processes, and data to get streamlined reporting across all operating regions. Organisations can get a holistic view of payroll using dashboard reporting rather than aggregating data from disparate systems across locations. This complete visibility is of particular value for organisations that are scaling or restructuring so they can have access to payroll data for all operating regions to make more informed decisions.

Rethinking critical business functions to address today’s world of work

Your ability to continuously pay people accurately, on time, and in adherence with legislation today and in the future will depend on your organisation’s preparedness to take on various payroll challenges. If your company has yet to digitise payroll functions or outsource the function entirely, the business may face critical business continuity challenges as well as costly penalties and fines in the event of non-compliance.

While payroll is both a core part of the business and a vital part of growth, it can be complex, even for the most experienced in-house teams. Learn about how Dayforce’s Managed Payroll solution can help your organisation focus more time and effort on the strategic initiatives of tomorrow.

Team Ceridian

Our experts provide timely, essential insights and analysis for HCM leaders. We share fresh strategies and practical tips for businesses of all sizes, thoughts on hot topics and industry trends, and the latest legislative updates.

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