A Complete Guide to Payroll

This guide shows you there’s more to payroll than just getting employees’ wages paid on time.

Each month, HR professionals must manage salaries, employee benefits, holiday and sick pay and more. It certainly gets more complicated when you’re a global company looking after multi-country payroll and balancing each country’s employment legislation.

Therefore we’ve put together a handy overview of payroll services.

What is payroll?

Payroll refers to everything to do with how much you pay staff. This is both in salary and benefits. Furthermore it includes what’s owed in tax to the local tax office.


Employers have a responsibility to pay employees’ wages accurately and by the day agreed in their contract. Because if they don’t, it’s not just the employee who could end up in taking the hit. Payroll is a legal requirement. So, if you’re not on top of it, you risk a fine or penalty.

Payroll accounting can be done manually or it’s automated using payroll solutions. It is usually therefore managed by an accountant or outsourced to a payroll company.

Employee benefits

Most businesses offer perks or benefits to employees, on top of their salary. This also includes things like healthcare schemes or company cars.

Employers need to tell their country’s tax regulator about any benefits given to employees at the end of the tax year. It’s also down to the payroll manager to make sure all benefits are reported accurately.

Time off

It’s important to track employees’ time off, whether it’s sick leave, holiday or parental leave. So, integrating payroll and HR saves you time and effort in aligning your data and spreadsheets.

Human Capital Management(HCM) systems like SuccessFactors, Workday and Kronos Human Capital make it easy to connect your payroll. This therefore minimizes mistakes and gives you greater accuracy when it comes to managing payroll.

Tax and employment laws

Managing payroll across multiple countries is a challenge, as different states may have more complicated tax rules. Consequently, outsourcing multi-country payroll can take away the stress of juggling international tax laws.

There’s also employment law to consider, which differs between countries and changes regularly. Hence, it can be a lot for payroll managers to stay on top of, especially if they’re managing payroll for multiple countries.

So, outsourcing payroll management to specialists in regional tax and employment law can be a lifeline to global businesses.

What about temporary staff and
contract workers?

As the ‘gig economy’ becomes more widespread, it’s impacting the payroll run. Hence, we’re seeing more temporary staff on the payroll and their rights are changing.

As a result many contract workers are now being offered employee benefits they wouldn’t have qualified for in the past. Consequently, payroll managers need to stay on top of benefit offerings and make sure payroll systems are fit to deal with this new trend.

What to consider when choosing payroll

Multi-country payroll

Managing global payroll is a challenge, with legal, cultural, compliance and data quality to consider.

We surveyed international payroll experts to find out which of 48 global countries presented the biggest payroll challenges. Read the results in our Global Payroll Complexity Index Report here.

User experience

A service that integrates with HR and offers flexibility at the point of use makes it easy to deliver reliable payroll. But how can you set this up without interrupting the business?

We’ve therefore put together a whitepaper, giving you a step-by-step guide to setting up a business case for your payroll transformation, which you can read here.

How can I improve my current payroll system?

Connecting your payroll process to your time and HR services gives you a timely, accurate and reliable service.

For more information on how Alight NGA HR can transform your payroll offering, visit these pages: