The role of the global payroll professional is changing and it is important to develop skills to be a strategic leader within a company, two payroll professionals said Sept. 23.
Payroll work is more manual and a transactional function, said Mary Brumm, director of global payroll training and development at the American Payroll Association’s Global Payroll Management Institute. Shared-services models are used and companies are starting to look at Software as a Service (SaaS) model solutions, she said. However, the role may change in the future to include more advanced analytics to address how, why and when employees are paid across global operations, she said.
Brumm said one of the most important questions a global payroll leader can ask is, “Where is the company today and where are we going?” A useful exercise for all payroll professionals is to “sit down for a moment and assess your skills. Put something on your outlook calendar, set aside an hour to determine what skills you have today,” Brumm said at the APA fall forum in Las Vegas.
“To be a leader, you have to understand technology, culture and communications. And don’t underestimate the role of technology,” Brumm said. “Otherwise, you might find yourself obsolete.”
Highlighting his own experience, Joe Almodovar, senior director of global business systems at A.T. Kearney Inc., said he focused on three areas to assess his skill level. Payroll professionals should examine competencies including communication skills, accountability, industry knowledge, teamwork and collaboration, he said.
Skills like project management, six sigma methodology, working across cultures and payroll compliance knowledge also should be examined, Almodovar said. When evaluating general knowledge, Saas, global mobility and cross-functional capabilities should be evaluated, he said.
Almodovar highlighted different technologies that might be beneficial for global payroll professionals: SaaS, Cloud, Data Lakes, In-Memory Processing, Big Data, PaaS, IaaS, Payroll Aggregators, Embedded Analytics and mobile applications.
Cultural awareness is another core competency, Brumm said, and is the bridge to successful communications.
“Make sure you’re using the correct language,” Brumm said. “You can ruin a relationship by showing up in gym shorts. A lot of cultures are vegetarians, so you can’t take them to a steakhouse, and if you’re on a cultural visit you’re going to see cultural difference between men and women.”
Vendor management also is an important aspect of global payroll, Brumm and Almodovar said. Cloud computing has introduced new requirements for engaging and managing software vendors, who are placing an emphasis on cloud-based solutions. Payroll leaders must be able to comprehend and articulate the benefits and limitations of SaaS to managers and respective organizations, Almodovar said.
“It’s not about being an expert,” Almodovar said. “It’s about being informed enough to go off and do further research.”
Take a free trial to Bloomberg BNA’s International Payroll Decision Support Network. With more than 90 countries covered, this is your one-stop resource for reliable, up-to-date guidance and analysis in every area of global payroll administration and compliance.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)