5 Frequently Asked Questions about a Global Payroll Implementation

By Sarah Townsend | Updated February 27, 2020

Global Payroll Services

Implementation of a global payroll solution is a months-long task that can at first seem daunting. But, understanding the process and requirements up-front can alleviate the fear of the unknown.

When done the right way, an implementation doesn’t have to be a struggle fraught with miscommunication. The key to an effective implementation is teamwork and communication, and its serious business.

Payroll affects people’s livelihoods. Employees may be living paycheck to paycheck and it’s important to get an implementation right so there’s no gap in service.

At iiPay, we customize a global payroll system based on requirements from the client and walk side-by-side throughout the journey. From this process, we’ve heard many of the same questions repeated and here’s a list of the top implementation inquiries we regularly receive.

How much time does an implementation take?

A best practice is 5 months with key milestones along the way. iiPay breaks the process up into 5 stages: requirements, data take-on, parallel one, parallel two, and a go-live phase.

From an implementation point of view, the vendor is only involved for four months. During the fifth month, the go-live phase is handed over for operations to take the lead with oversight from implementation to ensure a smooth transition.

How much time does a client have to provide?

Every client is different, depending on head count and countries, which makes a general answer difficult. A good rule of thumb would be to dedicate one business day for every 15 employees.

Implementation is not experimentation. It’s the vendor’s job to create a concise program that engages all key stakeholders to ensure success. During the requirements stage, the provider should define all of the roles and responsibilities so that each team member understands needs and deadlines. At iiPay, we ask clients to dedicate one person to complete implementation templates, to be on weekly status calls, and to sign off our key milestones.

Who will be working with us?

In addition to the implementation team, iiPay includes a project management team that provides documentation and supports the client’s needs.

The project manager is responsible for the overall project pack while your implementation consultant will be your day-to-day contact and expert. The project is overseen by the global implementation director and head of PMO, who are directly supported by the chief operating officer.

What are some potential challenges?

Inconsistent, historical data and the client point of contact’s day job are the most common challenges. It’s common to not have a clean, standardized format for aggregated data. Within the project scope, we collect your data, configure it to our system and upload the data to GPMS to alleviate burden.

In addition, depending on the requirements, the client might have specific pain points. They might say Spain is a really painful payroll for them to process. In these situations it’s necessary to move things around and make sure these pain points are covered.

How can inefficiencies be mitigated?

A defined process and project charter can make all the difference in removing doubt and inefficiency from the implementation process. Again, communication is the key.

At an iiPay implementation project meeting, we cover the project charter, the project team, the methodology, the implementation and its key milestones. A high-level project plan and weekly status report calls per country are necessary keep everyone on course. Additionally, the client has one key account manager from the beginning right through go-live who is aware of specific needs and challenges and can relay them to the appropriate parties efficiently.

Success and failure in these implementations is often a function of the provider chosen and how that determination is made. With an experienced team in place, focused preparation and a steady pace, everyone involved can not only finish this race, but finish strong.

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