Global Payroll RFP: The 10 Essential Elements

August 31st, 2023

Looking for a global payroll vendor? Understand the top 10 areas you need to look at when choosing a suitable global payroll provider.

We live in a globalised world, and companies are increasingly expanding across borders. Even though growing to other markets can be extremely advantageous, it also comes with a set of challenges. Managing global payrolls is one of them. 

Efficient and compliant global payroll management requires a significant level of expertise and knowledge. For this reason, working with the right partner is paramount. When seeking a global payroll solution, a well-crafted Request for Proposal (RFP) is key. 

The complexities of international regulations, cultural differences and payroll processes demand a meticulous approach to drafting an RFP that encompasses all the critical aspects of global payroll management.

Read along to understand what a Request for Proposal should include and what your company should consider when choosing a global payroll partner.

What is a Request for Proposal?

A Request for Proposal, or RFP, is a formal document that an organisation prepares and sends out to potential payroll service providers or vendors when they are looking to outsource their payroll processes. The primary purpose of an RFP is to solicit competitive bids and proposals from different vendors so that the organisation can evaluate their options and select the most suitable vendor to handle its payroll tasks.

An RFP in payroll typically includes detailed information about the company’s payroll needs, requirements, and expectations. This information helps potential vendors understand the scope of work and the specific services that need to be provided. 

The RFP document might cover aspects such as:

Payroll processing

Details about the frequency of payroll runs (e.g., weekly, bi-weekly, monthly), employee count, and payment methods (direct deposit, checks, etc.).

Tax compliance

Information about handling payroll taxes, tax filing, and ensuring compliance with local, state, and federal tax regulations.


Requirements for generating and delivering payroll reports, including summaries of wages, taxes, and deductions.

Data security

Expectations for keeping sensitive payroll and employee data secure and confidential.


If the organisation uses other software systems (e.g., HR, accounting), ask for details about how the payroll system should integrate with these systems.

Customer support

Expectations for vendor responsiveness, support availability, and issue resolution.


Information about budget constraints and how vendors should structure their pricing.

Evaluation criteria

The criteria that will be used to evaluate the proposals which could include factors like cost, experience, technology capabilities, references, and more.

When potential vendors receive the RFP, they review the document carefully to understand the organisation’s needs and requirements. They then prepare their proposals, detailing how they plan to meet those requirements and why they are the best fit for the job.

Overall, an RFP in the context of payroll helps organisations streamline the vendor selection process, ensuring that they find a service provider that can effectively manage their payroll operations while meeting their specific requirements.

10 aspects to consider when putting together an RFP

When putting together a global payroll Request for Proposal (RFP), companies should consider a range of factors to ensure they find the right vendor that can effectively handle their complex payroll needs across different regions. 

Global payroll is inherently complex, and each organisation’s needs may vary based on factors like industry, size, and geographic presence. Tailoring your RFP to your company’s specific requirements is essential for attracting vendors that can truly meet your global payroll needs.

Here are 10 important things to consider:

1. Geographic coverage

Assess the vendor’s ability to provide payroll services in all the countries where your company operates. Verify their network of local expertise and knowledge of regional payroll regulations.

The geographic coverage directly impacts the vendor’s ability to effectively manage payroll operations in the various countries where your company operates.

A payroll vendor with strong geographic coverage will have experts well-versed in the intricacies of each jurisdiction’s legal and regulatory requirements. This ensures accurate and compliant payroll processing, reducing the risk of penalties or legal issues.

Language barriers can also lead to misunderstandings and errors in payroll processing. A vendor that covers multiple geographies is more likely to offer support in a variety of languages, ensuring clear communication with employees across different regions.

Global operations mean that payroll processing and support needs might arise in different time zones. It is important that the vendor you choose offers extended support hours, minimising delays in addressing issues and inquiries.

While managing payroll across multiple countries, maintaining consistency in processes and standards is essential. A vendor with experience in multiple regions can help implement standardised procedures that align with your company’s global payroll strategy. The company can also help you adapt to different regions if your company plans to expand into new markets, simplifying the onboarding process. 

2. Compliance expertise

Global payroll involves adhering to a multitude of legal and tax regulations in various countries. Ensure the vendor has a strong understanding of local compliance requirements and a track record of maintaining compliance.

Each country has its own unique payroll and labour laws, tax regulations, and employment standards. A vendor with strong compliance expertise understands these intricate details and ensures that your company’s payroll processes adhere to the specific rules of each jurisdiction. Failing to comply with local regulations can result in hefty fines, penalties, and legal complications. 

It is important to remember that payroll regulations can change frequently, and keeping up with these changes is a challenge. Vendors should monitor legal updates and ensure that their payroll processes stay current and aligned with the latest laws.

Compliance expertise can also help optimise tax withholding and reporting, minimising the risk of overpaying, or underpaying taxes in different countries. This ensures that your company remains in good standing with tax authorities.

Regulatory bodies may conduct audits to ensure companies are compliant with payroll regulations. A vendor with compliance expertise helps your company be prepared for audits by maintaining accurate records and documentation. 

Keep in mind that non-compliance can damage your company’s reputation, both internally and externally. 

3. Technology and integration

Evaluate the vendor’s payroll technology and its compatibility with your existing HR and financial systems. Seamless integration is crucial for efficient data exchange and reporting across the organisation.

A robust payroll technology platform automates many manual processes, reducing the time and effort required for payroll processing. This efficiency is crucial when dealing with the complexities of global payroll, which involves numerous calculations, deductions, and currency conversions.

Payroll errors can lead to dissatisfaction among employees and potential legal and financial issues. Integrated payroll systems minimise the risk of errors by allowing data to flow seamlessly between different systems, reducing the need for manual data entry. Integrated systems ensure that data is consistent across various HR and financial modules, which eliminates discrepancies and ensures accurate and up-to-date information.

Remember that global payroll often involves dealing with different currencies. An integrated system can also handle currency conversions and ensure accurate payment calculations while considering exchange rates.

Technology and integration play a crucial role in global payroll operations. They enhance efficiency, accuracy, compliance, and reporting while providing the flexibility needed to adapt to changing business needs. When considering these aspects, you ensure that the selected vendor can provide a technologically advanced solution that meets the complexities of your global payroll requirements.

4. Data security

Global payroll involves sensitive employee data. Confirm that the vendor follows robust data security practices to protect this information against breaches or unauthorised access.

Many countries have strict data protection laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union. A payroll vendor with robust data security measures helps your company adhere to these regulations and avoid legal consequences.

Payroll systems should have strict access controls, ensuring that only authorised personnel can view, modify, or process sensitive data. This prevents internal breaches due to unauthorised access.

Data security is vital for maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of employee information and ensuring legal compliance. Including data security considerations in your RFP helps identify vendors that prioritise the protection of sensitive payroll data and can effectively address the challenges of maintaining security in a global payroll context.

5. Cultural and language understanding

Consider the vendor’s ability to handle diverse cultures and languages. Effective communication with employees in their native languages is important for building trust and clarity.

Different cultures have distinct communication styles and preferences. A payroll vendor that understands these nuances can communicate clearly and effectively with employees, minimising misunderstandings and ensuring that payroll-related information is conveyed accurately.

A vendor with cultural and language understanding can provide support and documentation in the native languages of employees. This helps ensure that employees fully comprehend their pay statements, tax forms, and other payroll-related communications. When employees receive payroll-related information that is tailored to their cultural and language preferences, they are more likely to engage with the information and take ownership of their payroll-related responsibilities.

It is important to remember that some cultures have specific holidays, celebrations, or customs that impact payroll processing, such as bonus payments during festive seasons. A culturally aware vendor can adapt their processes to align with these customs.

Considering cultural and language understanding in your global payroll RFP acknowledges the diversity of your workforce and aims to provide an equitable and respectful payroll experience for all employees, regardless of their cultural background or language preferences. It helps create a more inclusive and supportive work environment while ensuring that payroll communications and processes are effective and accurate across diverse regions.

6. Service levels and support

Define your expected service levels and support requirements. Ensure the vendor can provide the level of customer service and issue resolution needed, especially considering potential time zone differences.

Payroll issues can have immediate financial and employee satisfaction implications. A vendor with strong service levels and support ensures that any payroll-related problems are addressed promptly to minimise disruptions.

Global operations mean that payroll-related inquiries and issues can arise in various time zones. If there’s a technical glitch or an unexpected problem, a responsive vendor can work swiftly to resolve the issue and minimise downtime in payroll processing.

Clearly defined SLAs in the RFP ensure that both parties have a shared understanding of the expected response times and resolution times for various types of support requests.

Including detailed expectations for support in your RFP helps you select a vendor that can provide the level of assistance required to maintain accurate and compliant payroll processes across diverse regions.

7. Scalability

As your company grows or enters new markets, the payroll vendor should be able to scale their services accordingly. Confirm that their infrastructure can handle changes in your global footprint.

In the event of mergers or acquisitions, your company may need to integrate new employee populations and payroll systems. A scalable solution can smoothly incorporate these changes.

Fluctuations in employee count can also occur due to hiring, seasonal workforce changes, or other factors. A scalable solution can adjust to accommodate these variations without compromising efficiency.

As your company grows, the complexity of payroll structures may increase. This includes dealing with various compensation plans, benefits, and deductions. Entering new countries entails diverse legal requirements and payroll complexities. A scalable system can adapt to different regulatory environments and ensure compliance.

Scalability ensures that your chosen global payroll solution can adapt to the changing needs and complexities of your organisation. By considering scalability in your RFP, you ensure that the selected vendor can support your company’s growth and evolution while maintaining efficient and accurate payroll operations.

8. Reporting and analytics

A robust reporting system is crucial for tracking payroll expenses, taxes, and compliance across different countries. Ensure the vendor can provide customised reports and analytics that meet your needs.

Accurate and comprehensive payroll reports provide valuable insights that can inform strategic decisions related to budgeting, workforce planning, and resource allocation. They enhance transparency by allowing stakeholders to understand how payroll expenses are distributed among different departments, locations, and employee categories.

Robust reporting also enables you to analyse payroll costs, identify cost-saving opportunities, and optimise budget allocation across multiple regions. It can also provide insights into employee compensation, benefits utilisation, and performance-based incentives, helping in employee retention and engagement strategies.

Reporting and analytics should be customisable to meet your specific business needs, allowing you to generate reports tailored to different stakeholders’ requirements. It is essential for gaining visibility into your global payroll processes, understanding financial implications, and making informed decisions to enhance efficiency, compliance, and overall business performance. 

9. Disaster recovery and business continuity

In case of unexpected disruptions, such as natural disasters or system failures, the vendor should have a solid disaster recovery and business continuity plan in place to minimise downtime and data loss.

Payroll data is sensitive and confidential. A comprehensive DR plan ensures that payroll data is backed up and protected, preventing data loss and ensuring data integrity. Failure to ensure business continuity and timely recovery of payroll processes can result in legal liabilities, penalties, and reputational damage.

Payroll disruptions can lead to employee dissatisfaction and mistrust. Demonstrating a commitment to business continuity reassures employees that their pay and benefits will be handled reliably.

10. References and experience

Request references from the vendor to understand their experience in managing global payroll for companies of similar size and complexity. Contact these references to gain insights into their satisfaction and the vendor’s performance.

References allow you to gauge a vendor’s performance history by learning about their successes and challenges in managing global payroll for other clients. A vendor with experience in your industry is more likely to understand the unique payroll requirements, regulations, and challenges specific to your business sector.

References and experience provide you with valuable insights into a vendor’s ability to effectively manage your global payroll needs. By speaking with past and current clients, you can assess a vendor’s performance, reliability, and alignment with your specific requirements, ultimately helping you make a well-informed decision when selecting a global payroll provider.

Why use a global payroll solution?

When considering all of the aspects listed above, you may find vendors that meet your current needs but might not be able to scale up if you expand your business abroad. 

A global payroll solution can streamline payroll processes by providing a centralised platform to manage payroll operations in various countries. This efficiency extends to the RFP process itself, as you can communicate with and evaluate potential vendors through a unified system.

If your company already uses other HR or financial systems, a global payroll solution can often integrate with these systems. This integration simplifies the RFP process by allowing you to assess how well potential vendors’ solutions align with your existing infrastructure.

Final thoughts

Effective payroll management is the cornerstone of a successful international expansion strategy. Crafting a comprehensive RFP for global payroll services is not merely a procedural step; it’s a strategic endeavour. By considering crucial elements such as compliance expertise, data security, scalability, technology integration, and more, organisations can pave the way for a streamlined and compliant global payroll operation.

Working with a reliable company with a proven track record in managing global payroll, such as Briars Group, can help you optimise this challenging process, allowing you to focus on your core business. 

Contact us to learn more about our global payroll solution.

Read more global payroll articles here.

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!