5 KPIs for Successful Global Payroll Performance

September 14th, 2023

In this blog, we have already discussed the importance of preventing errors in global payroll management and everything you need to know about global payroll. When it comes to a complex and challenging process such as global payroll management, understanding how to measure performance and results can make this activity easier. 

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can serve as a guiding light for companies aiming to optimise global payroll management, making it more efficient and effective. The intricate nature of global payroll management demands a data-driven approach that transcends borders, ensuring not only accurate payments to employees but also compliance with local laws and regulations. KPIs, as quantifiable metrics, hold the power to unveil insights that can shape the trajectory of global payroll operations.

In this article, we will discuss the KPIs that can help you track how well your payroll operations are performing and why they matter.


Understanding global payroll

Before covering the Key Performance indicators that can help you optimise global payroll management, it is worth understanding what global payroll is and what is usually involved in payroll management. 

Global payroll is simply the process of managing and administering employee compensation, benefits, and financial tasks in multiple countries. In multinational organisations, where employees are situated in multiple countries, global payroll ensures that each employee is accurately and timely paid according to the relevant local regulations, tax laws, and labour requirements of their respective countries.

Some key aspects of global payroll are:


Multi-country compliance

Companies must adhere to the payroll and labour laws of each country where they operate. This involves staying up-to-date with changes in regulations, tax rates, and employment laws.


Currency conversion

Many multinational companies operate in multiple currencies. Payroll professionals need to convert salaries and other compensation elements accurately to the local currency.


Tax withholding

Withholding tax amounts from employee paychecks and remitting them to the appropriate tax authorities is crucial. The withholding rates can vary significantly between countries.


Statutory benefits

Different countries mandate various benefits such as social security, pension plans, healthcare contributions, and maternity/paternity leave. Global payroll involves tracking and managing these benefits for each employee.


Data security and privacy

Handling sensitive employee data across borders requires compliance with data protection regulations like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in the European Union.


Integration with HR and finance systems

Global payroll systems often need to be integrated with human resources and finance systems to ensure accurate and streamlined processes.


Difference between global and local payroll

Global payroll and local payroll are two distinct concepts in the realm of employee compensation and payroll management. They differ based on the scope of their coverage, the geographical areas they encompass, and the regulations they adhere to.

Both global payroll and local payroll are crucial aspects of managing employee compensation, and organisations often need specialised tools, software, and expertise to handle these tasks effectively. Global companies often adopt a combination of centralised and localised approaches to ensure accurate and compliant payroll management across their diverse workforce.


Scope and Coverage

While global payroll manages employees’ compensations across multiple countries, local payroll focuses on managing the compensation and financial aspects of employees within a specific country. It involves complying with the payroll regulations, tax codes, and labour laws of that particular country.


Regulations and compliance

Due to its international scope, global payroll requires navigating the complex legal and regulatory landscapes of various countries. Companies must ensure compliance with different tax codes, labour laws, and reporting requirements.

Local payroll focuses on adhering to the specific payroll laws and regulations of the country where the employees are based. Companies need to stay up-to-date with any changes in local laws.


Taxation and deductions

Tax calculations and deductions need to be performed according to the tax rules of each individual country in global payroll. This involves understanding various tax brackets, rates, and deduction allowances.

On the other hand, when it comes to local payroll, tax calculations and deductions are specific to the laws of one single country. It does not require consideration of rules from other countries.


Currency and exchange rates

Since managing global payroll requires dealing with multiple countries, it also involves multiple currencies. There is a need to convert salaries and benefits accurately to local currencies.

For local payroll, transactions are conducted in the local currency of the specific country without the need for currency conversion.


KPIs for HR processes

Determining KPIs for departments such as Human Resources might seem unnecessary. However, it can be instrumental in transforming HR from a traditional administrative function into a strategic driver of organisational success. KPIs offer a structured and data-driven approach to measuring, evaluating, and improving various aspects of HR operations. 

By setting KPIs that are aligned with business objectives, HR can ensure that its efforts contribute to the overall success of the company. Some metrics can provide quantifiable data that allows HR professionals to make informed decisions. Rather than relying on intuition or assumptions, HR can base its strategies on real-time metrics, enhancing the effectiveness of its initiatives.

KPIs can highlight areas where HR processes can be optimised. By tracking metrics related to recruitment, onboarding, training, performance management, and more, HR can identify bottlenecks and streamline operations.

By tracking KPIs, HR can shift its focus from reactive, day-to-day tasks to strategic planning. This allows HR to proactively address challenges and seize opportunities that align with the organisation’s long-term vision.


The benefits of KPIs for global payroll performance

When it comes to global payroll, KPIs provide a structured and data-driven approach to evaluating the efficiency, accuracy, compliance, and overall effectiveness of the payroll process on an international scale. 

Some of the benefits of implementing metrics for this process include:


Performance measurement and monitoring

KPIs serve as benchmarks for measuring the performance of global payroll processes. They allow organisations to track how well they are meeting their payroll objectives and identify areas that need improvement. Without KPIs, it can be challenging to assess whether the payroll operations are meeting organisational goals.


Process efficiency improvement

KPIs highlight inefficiencies and bottlenecks within the payroll process. By tracking metrics such as accuracy rates, on-time payment rates, and cost per payroll processed, organisations can identify areas where processes can be streamlined, reducing manual efforts and saving time and resources.


Data-driven decision-making

KPIs provide quantifiable data that can guide decision-making. When organisations have access to accurate and up-to-date information about their global payroll operations, they can make informed choices about resource allocation, process enhancements, and compliance strategies.


Risk mitigation

Global payroll operations are subject to complex regulations, tax laws, and labour requirements in various countries. Tracking compliance-related KPIs ensures that the organisation remains in adherence to these rules, mitigating the risk of legal issues, penalties, and reputational damage.


Transparency and accountability

KPIs promote transparency in payroll operations by providing clear metrics that can be communicated to stakeholders, including executives, HR teams, and employees. This transparency fosters accountability for meeting targets and encourages continuous improvement.


Continuous improvement

KPIs facilitate a culture of continuous improvement. Organisations can set targets based on historical data, monitor progress, and implement corrective actions when necessary. This iterative approach helps refine processes over time.


Employee satisfaction and engagement

KPIs related to on-time payment and accuracy of pay contribute to employee satisfaction. When employees are paid accurately and promptly, it positively impacts their morale and engagement with the organisation.


Resource allocation optimisation

By tracking cost-related KPIs, organisations can optimise resource allocation. They can identify areas where costs are high and work to reduce them, reallocating resources to other strategic initiatives.


Benchmarking and best practices

Organisations can compare their KPIs with industry benchmarks and best practices. This allows them to identify areas where they may be lagging behind or excelling, promoting a culture of learning and improvement.


Strategic alignment

KPIs help align global payroll processes with overall organisational goals. By setting KPIs that align with the company’s strategic objectives, payroll becomes a more integral part of driving business success.


Top KPIs for global payroll performance

Now that you understand how complex and challenging managing global payroll can be and the importance of KPIs in tracking performance in HR, we can look at what are some of the essential metrics that help organisations assess the efficiency, accuracy, and effectiveness of their global payroll processes. 

When managing payroll on an international scale, tracking specific KPIs can provide valuable insights into the overall health of the payroll operations. 


Payroll accuracy rate

This KPI measures the accuracy of payroll calculations and payments. It’s crucial to ensure that employees are being paid accurately and in compliance with local regulations. 

To calculate the payroll accuracy rate, you should divide the number of accurate payrolls by the total number of payrolls and multiply it by 100.

Tracking this KPI helps identify any inconsistencies or errors in payroll calculations, reducing the risk of financial discrepancies and employee dissatisfaction. If the rate is too high, it might be necessary to address mistakes and take measures to prevent errors. 


Compliance rate 

Compliance with local tax regulations, labour laws, and reporting requirements is of paramount importance in global payroll. This KPI measures the extent to which payroll processes adhere to these regulations.

Similar to the payroll accuracy rate, the compliance rate is calculated by dividing the number of compliant payrolls by the total number of payrolls and multiplying it by 100. 

Monitoring this KPI ensures that the organisation avoids penalties, legal issues, and reputational damage that might arise from non-compliance.


On-time payment rate 

Timely payment of salaries is critical to maintaining employee satisfaction and motivation. This KPI tracks the percentage of payroll processed and paid on time. 

To calculate the on-time payment rate, the formula is simple. You must divide the number of on-time payrolls by the total number of payrolls and multiply it by 100. Consistently high on-time payment rates indicate efficient payroll processing and contribute to a positive employee experience.


Cost per payroll processed

This KPI evaluates the cost efficiency of payroll operations. It measures the average cost incurred for processing each payroll. 

To calculate the cost per payroll processed, you must divide the total payroll processing costs by the number of payrolls. 

Tracking this KPI helps identify opportunities to streamline processes, reduce expenses, and improve overall operational efficiency.


Employee self-service adoption rate

With global payroll, employee self-service portals have become important tools for accessing pay information and managing personal details. This KPI measures the percentage of employees actively using the self-service platform. 

To calculate the employee self-service adoption rate, you must divide the number of employees using the platform by the total number of employees and multiply it by 100.

A high adoption rate indicates successful implementation and utilisation of self-service systems, reducing administrative burden and improving employee engagement.


Final thoughts

Effectively managing global payrolls is a challenge that requires meticulous attention, unwavering accuracy, and a keen understanding of diverse regulations. The journey to efficient and effective global payroll management is paved with complexities, but the implementation of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is the compass that guides organisations toward success.

Implementing metrics can lead to significant improvements in global payroll processes, optimising HR activities and facilitating what can be complicated procedures. The KPIs we have listed in this article can give you better insight into how to better handle the payment of benefits. 

Briars Group can help you optimise payroll management processes, analyse the right KPIs for your businesses and guide your company through important decisions. Contact us to learn more.

Amanda Simon

Amanda is our Chief People Officer and joined in 2022 with over 30 years HR experience focused on International Consultancy services. As a member of the Executive Leadership Team she is responsible for HR and Payroll services and internal HR strategy. Amanda has CIPD, FedEE and SHRM certifications to support her technical knowledge and has a passion for improving employee engagement. Amanda spends much of her spare time with her family, including 5 grandchildren, her role it seems is to provide snacks, food and the odd taxi service! When she is able, she prefers winter sun breaks to get away from the harsh UK weather!