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A Modular Approach to Payroll Transformation

A Modular Approach to Payroll Transformation

Many global payroll teams recognize the need for transformations to improve operational speed, accuracy and efficiency, but find themselves asking the same question:

Where do we start? 

In fact, in a recent EY global payroll survey, as many as 54% of participants said they knew there was room for improvement in their current payroll processes - so what's stopping them - Costly implementation? Slow time to value? Unable to secure stakeholder approval? 

The key to executing a successful transformation initiative is don't bite off more than you can chew

Start by identifying one specific area where you're experiencing friction, and focus on this narrow scope first. By aligning the change to the organization’s broader needs, more stakeholders are going to back the transformation.

In this article, we’re going to explore the different models of change available to global payroll teams that are looking to make these improvements. But first, let’s take a look at some of the most common challenges faced by global payroll teams. 

Common global payroll challenges


Even from the very beginning of the payroll process, we run the risk of human error due to the amount of manual data entry. When managing payroll globally and involving multiple vendors, achieving process harmonization and standardization becomes challenging. Additionally, the requirement for GDPR compliance conflicts with the practice of sharing sensitive payroll data through email communications; the two don’t go hand in hand.  

Run Payroll

The biggest drawback at this stage is lack of choice. There’s no freedom to decide the partners you want to use in each country, as your accountancy firm or global aggregator will assign them for you. This might sound convenient initially, as it doesn’t require any research, but what happens when you're locked-in to the contract and start running into issues with certain partners? This situation highlights the importance of having control over your selection of local vendors and its impact on the flexibility of service level agreements.

Post Payroll

This is the stage where the finance department is sending in requests for general ledger files to be uploaded into its systems. These GLs need to be standardized to adhere to a global chart of accounts, so what do you do with multiple different general ledger files from various different countries? Or worse still, no GL files at all, just your gross to net mapping. This is what makes the process labor-intense and prone to errors.  


When it comes to making changes such as updating a new pay policy, harmonizing codes, or rearranging the chart of accounts, you want to be able to do this yourself. Making these changes via self-service means you can avoid the time-consuming back and forth with your provider. This allows your team to address issues in real time and  respond better to business needs. 

The balance in global payroll

When striving for balance in global payroll operations, the goal is to achieve the optimal combination of service levels and vendor profiles across the entire landscape. This approach involves mixing and matching, which is a relatively new concept in the global payroll market, but not for Payzaar. We've been providing organizations with this flexibility for years through our modular approach.

But what does ‘modular’ mean exactly? 

Modular, in this context, refers to an approach to transformation that breaks down a process into multiple smaller changes. To understand why this is so important, we first need to take a look at the traditional approach, and how they compare:

Traditional 'all or nothing' VS Modular Approach

As you can see, the traditional approach is both time consuming and disruptive, as it requires ripping and replacing existing systems and providers in all the different countries you operate in. But transforming your global payroll operations doesn’t have to be ‘all or nothing’. 

So what’s the alternative? 

A modern, technology-driven approach which delivers better time to value. By selectively addressing specific issues, on your timeline and terms, you can achieve much greater efficiency. 

What makes payroll transformation successful? 


The best way to get buy-in for a project is to start small and easily-achievable.

How? Prioritize.

Prioritization is essential as it enables agility, allowing you to make changes quickly and efficiently. If you want to be agile you can’t focus on everything at once, but rather break problems down into bite-sized pieces and address them one by one. This approach reduces costs, mitigates risk and minimizes project disruption, whilst also shortening your time to value so you can reap the rewards of the transformation faster. 

By delivering value continuously, you also build stakeholder trust and a positive predisposition to change. For instance, resolving a reporting issue demonstrates a successful track record to stakeholders, which then paves the way for future change. 

Low cost

By limiting the scope of the change you want to make, you can reduce the cost of the change initiative significantly, which makes it much easier to get stakeholder buy-in. A strong business case with a positive return on investment (ROI) is easier to make when costs are minimized.

Low effort

Changes should integrate seamlessly into existing processes, with minimal disruption. The more targeted and modular your changes are, the less disruption you will experience, and the higher likelihood of success for your change initiative. 


Payroll transformation isn’t something you have to plan for the future, it can happen now. Unlike traditional rip and replace approaches, which can span from months to years, adopting a modular, selective, and surgical approach reduces timelines to weeks or months. That means you can start benefiting from improved team and stakeholder satisfaction and departmental efficiency as quickly as 4-12 weeks from implementation. 

Which modules should your team implement first? 

The answer to this is going to vary from one organization to another, as every payroll team’s processes and priorities will differ, however the following five modules are designed to solve the most common challenges in global payroll.

Which one of these modules is going to provide the most immediate solution to your payroll team’s current challenges? 

Operations control

If boosting operational efficiency is your top priority, consider a centralized payroll control center. It simplifies workflow stages, from data submission to approval with automated controls, compliance tracking, and collaboration with providers and colleagues without relying on email. Plus, it maintains a complete audit trail so you’ll always be audit-ready.


Reporting is one of the biggest pain points for many global payroll teams. With Payzaar, you can quickly create graphical reports that can drill down to the employee level. You can also incorporate other organizational data. Additional features include automated exchange rate reporting, a query builder for custom reports, and self-service access for your stakeholders in FP&A, HR, Accounting, and others.

Accounting Connect

Your central hub for general ledger reporting, compatible with any finance system. With Accounting Connect, you can map your chart of accounts globally, solving local gross to net fields and standardizing general ledger files. The best part: build it once, use it as much as you want. This significantly speeds up month-end closing, saving your team hours of time, and enabling automated general ledger generation.

HR Connect

Save time and streamline data preparation with HR Connect. It converts your data into provider-friendly formats from various sources like HRIS, Benefits, Commission, T&A, etc. or you can also add data manually. Our error and change detection ensures accuracy by validating input against gross to net output, catching issues automatically, allowing you to do more with less effort.

Employee portal

No need for long email threads of questions from employees, as a full history of their payslips and documents will be accessible 24/7 through self-service from any device.

If you are facing any of these operational challenges, a modular approach to payroll transformation may be the answer. Book a demo with our team today to find out how Payzaar can help your organization optimize processes in order of priority, and start seeing improvements sooner. 

You can also check out our webinar on a modular approach to payroll transformation, for more information and a full business case with examples:

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