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5 watchouts with international payroll


Every country abides by different regulations and procedures that ultimately impact payroll and other business practices. When you incorporate a company internationally, it is fundamental that you understand the rules, regulations, and employment systems within the geographical market. 

The failure to comply with the correct payroll procedures for each country can result in fines and pose financial risks to your company. 

As a reputable payroll company, we recognize the complexities involved in international payroll and strive to provide support and guidance to companies of all sizes. Whether you simply take our advice or want to enroll in our services, Polite Payroll can guide you through the steps required to find a successful international payroll system for you. 

What is international payroll?

International payroll is necessary when hiring outside of your business’ resident country. Your current business operations could include foreign agencies, offices abroad, or contract staff from other countries. Any one of these specific situations would render international payroll necessary. 

International payroll manages the payment and payroll processes to all employees within each country, ensuring that it meets the financial, legal, and operational guidelines. Managing global payroll can be intimidating, as each country has different regulations. However, international payroll can become more accessible and manageable with a sophisticated system in place. 

Your international payroll system must consider every applicable country’s legal and financial rules to operate successfully. Therefore, setting up an international payroll service is a key ingredient for any multinational company to ensure compliance within all geographical markets.

What are the benefits of outsourcing international payroll?

International payroll can be strenuous, so outsourcing your global payroll needs can be highly beneficial for many reasons. Professional outsourced providers, such as Polite Payroll, will manage all of the financial, legal, and administrative responsibilities involved in the international payroll setup. This coordination of activities removes several operational barriers and allows you to concentrate on other parts of your business. 

There are many positive reasons to outsource all of your international payroll requirements to a third-party company. Not only will outsourcing your payroll saves you money and time, but it will also provide you with the security and peace of mind to safeguard your business. 

By using these outsourced providers, you will get a cost-effective solution that reduces errors, maintains compliance, and offers your company increased financial security both in the short and long term. 

It’s the most efficient choice to help your business succeed across international boundaries, and below is a more in-depth analysis of the top 4 benefits:

1. Cost-effective 

International payroll requires you to expand your payroll and HR departments to handle the excess of issues that will occur during each pay period. These departments will need to work within multiple time zones to fulfill the duties involved in international payroll. 

By outsourcing, neither of these departments needs to expand as the third party company will take on the payroll burden.

2. Reduced errors

An authorized payroll company will have a greater understanding of the legislation in place in each relevant country. As a result of their expert knowledge, fewer errors will occur during payroll removing any compliance or employee issues.

3. Maintain compliance

These outsourced payroll providers employ experts within each country to ensure compliance with all regulations. These experts will have a greater understanding of national, regional, and local laws relating to finance and employment that will impact payroll procedures. 

With their knowledge, they can ensure that payroll for your company is processed efficiently while maintaining compliance within each legislative country. With outsourcing, your company will be more protected than if you had organized payroll independently. 

4. Highly secure 

Payroll fraud is the sixth most common form of occupational fraud to occur within a company. In-house payroll management puts you at risk of being a victim of such fraud. 

Whereas an outsourced company is often a highly trusted and reliable business, as they have no association or contact with specific employees in your company, reducing the risk of payroll fraud. 

5 things to look out for with international payroll

When coordinating your own international payroll system, there are many logistics to consider to remain compliant with each government and avoid incurring fines. There are five essential things to do when launching payroll in each country. 

  • Register your organization – In some countries, you will need a local taxpayer ID for tax purposes. To do so, you must register your business with the relevant government. 
  • Employee entitlements – Compliant payroll includes recognizing employee entitlements in each country. These may consist of sick pay, maternity/ paternity leave, and paid holidays. 
  • Contracts – Each country will have different employment contracts that will impact the terms of each contract, such as length, notice period, etc. 
  • Payroll administration – There are various logistics to navigate when coordinating payroll in different countries. Regulations will differ for tax, conversion, and more depending on the country, which will affect the process of payroll. 
  • Additional contributions – Different countries have different rules based on each country’s social security, pension, and healthcare services. Your company will have to pay a different percentage towards these services for each different country. 

Outsource with Polite Payroll

We have covered the complexities of coordinating your own international payroll without significant knowledge and experience. There are dozens of ways that it can go wrong in each country that can incur steep consequences. To prevent this, we recommend pairing yourself with a payroll company like us to take on this burden for you.

Polite Payroll is proud to offer international payroll services to American businesses. We support companies in paying their Canadian employees correctly and on time to avoid unnecessary fines. Contact us today if you’d like to hear more about our exceptional service.