Meeting the Challenges of Global Payment Processing

July 15, 2021
4 mins read
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Recent data illustrates that most organizations have employees in multiple countries. Fifty-four percent expect to have employees in 7 or more countries soon. And by 2030, 42% expect to expand into new regions, with only a small minority not expecting any expansion. There are many reasons why globalization is a growing trend, and today it is rare to find a company that only operates within one region.

Managing and delivering payroll in several jurisdictions presents unique sets of challenges, especially for payroll teams, including adhering to in-country legislation and taxation specifications to managing numerous banking systems and currencies. There are also concerns about audits and audit trails, fraud, and data protection. On a broader scale, there is also the time and effort payroll teams invest in managing multiple banks, overseeing local payment providers, and collating the data into one consistent and comprehensive report for accurate global workforce analytics.

Major pain points for global payroll teams

  • Keeping pace with all the new country-specific regulations regarding payroll payments
  • Understanding the different information that is required for making payments in each country
  • Working with and managing various banking standards and file formats. Even within a country, banking processes differ, and one bank can have 3 different file formats depending on the payment method and their legacy systems
  • Checking and overseeing timing and other inconsistencies that arise when sending funds internationally
  • A lack of visibility and consistency across your organization’s payments
  • Dealing with multiple vendors – this can by itself present a whole plethora of issues, from language barriers to working in different time zones.

And then there is the expense. I like to divide this into 2 categories- time and fees

Time costs

  • Hours spent with payroll provider, bank, internal teams
  • Time invested on internal emails
  • Time spent reconciling bank statements and your General Ledger
  • Time spent dealing with failed payment files, returns, rejections, errors, missing funds
  • Reissuing incorrect payments.

Fees

  • Per batch file fee
  • Per payment fees
  • Investigation fees (Returns, Errors, Traces)
  • SWIFT confirmation messages
  • Monthly Maintenance fees
  • Enhanced FX or payments manager module fee
  • Incoming transaction fees
  • Stop payment fees
  • Reissuing or amendment fees

If you leverage an in-country payments provider (ICP), then you face another set of challenges:

  • Having to pre-fund your ICP before payment execution. This means that funds are held in a trust account with a potential loss of interest or short-term investment income.
  • You must manage funding to multiple different providers in different countries.
  • The additional fees assessed by each ICP can present a challenge when reconciling your accounts.

What does your current process look like?

You may not have considered it before, but it can help to ask a few key questions about your organization’s current processes for handling global payroll payments to gain insight into areas that might be improved with alternative approaches.

Key questions to ask:

  • How many providers are you currently working with?
  • How do you reconcile your General Ledger?
  • What measures are you taking to protect against fraud?
  • How do you know you’re getting the best FX rates?
  • What happens when an employee does not receive their pay?
  • Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with your bank – does your bank provide timely and proactive service when you’re under tight timelines with payment cut-offs?
  • Would your organization benefit from one payroll provider, both for payroll compliance and payments?

Is there a better way to manage global payments?

Yes. First, let’s look at a typical scenario.  A large organization with employees in multiple geographies works with numerous banks and local in-country vendors. Each payroll period is a scramble as payroll teams wrangle with incompatible funding processes under incredibly tight payroll timeframes. On top of that, there are pressing deadlines for coordinating funding and issuing payments.

Payments are issued, and before payroll teams can even take a breath, they need to start the whole process over again, spending precious time and money navigating, often manually, through a tangled web of disparate systems across multiple touchpoints. On top of this, payroll teams and the organization lack the transparency that can provide the peace of mind that payments issued are accurate, compliant, and secure.

Now, let’s imagine an organization armed with a single holistic solution for all payment and reporting needs. This payment solution establishes a central hub for all payments and eliminates the need to manage multiple payment vendors. The solution streamlines international payment delivery with end-to-end automation across the entire payment process. The automation efficiencies delivered save organizations time, reduce costs and risks, enhance security and establish a clear audit trail. On top of all of that, the solution improves the employee experience by ensuring each person in every part of the world is paid accurately and on time.

This is what’s possible with a single international payments provider that does the hard work behind the scenes so payroll teams and organizations can focus on strategic initiatives.

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