Comment from Keith Rodgers
Shrinking the vendor selection cycle
 

Caught between a failure of communication from vendors and a failure of imagination among customers, the much-maligned RFI has somehow managed to keep its place in the international payroll vendor selection cycle. But is it time to put it out of its misery? 

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De-aggregating the aggregators
 

A couple of years ago when I was chatting with the senior management team at a small multi-country payroll aggregator, I asked how they went about sourcing the different partners they use to process payroll. “Everyone talks about how difficult this is,” a senior exec told me, “but it’s really easy. You just do a Google search.”

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Making the most of customer references
 

Why do so many organizations spend months going through a detailed vendor selection cycle – and then, right at the last minute, throw away a gilt-edged opportunity to find out just how good their prospective supplier really is?

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Who owns multi-country payroll?
 

One of the most enjoyable projects I’ve worked on in recent years was when we were asked to demolish a global payroll business case put together by an IT consultant for a European multinational.

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After outsourcing: is payroll still oversized?
 

Earlier this year when I was hosting a small workshop of global payroll managers, one of the participants made a revelation that stopped the conversation dead in its tracks. His company had switched in-house payroll over to a managed services provider for many thousands of employees in multiple countries – but it hadn’t managed to reduce its overall payroll headcount by a single person.

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From Singapore to France – managing payroll complexity
 

When I first prepared to move to Singapore six years ago to set up Webster Buchanan’s new AsiaPac HQ, one of my first jobs was to outsource anything that remotely resembled a support function. Top priorities were corporate and immigration lawyers and a company secretarial service to get us set up, quickly followed by accountants, auditor, a bank and HR advisory services. While hunting for lunch near the famous Raffles Hotel one day even stumbled across the best local print shop for business cards and marketing collateral. Oh, and while we remembered, we did a little bit of research into domestic payroll providers. 

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The smart way to play dumb
 

Have you ever considered that the best way to improve your international payroll organisation might be to play dumb and earn a reputation for being a pain in the butt? Granted, it’s probably not the self-image you had in mind when you set out on your payroll career – but while most of us spend our lives trying to cover up our knowledge gaps, gloss over our mistakes and deflect attention from all the stuff we never got round to doing, there’s a different way of approaching all of this.

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From single to multiple vendors
 

How times change. A few years ago, one of the common questions asked in the multi-country payroll field was: is there one global vendor who can manage your payroll in every country you operate in? Today, a more useful question to ask is: do you actually want a single provider?

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Managing conflicting objectives
 

If you ever need to register for a new doctor in California, leave yourself plenty of time. Thanks to the state’s obsessive focus on preventative care, the process involves lengthy questioning, intrusive examinations, and a battery of tests that only go to highlight the alarming number of ways in which it’s possible to meet one’s Maker. It’s great for making sure that the internal plumbing’s all fine and dandy – but a little irritating if you were simply nipping in for a travel vaccine and some sleeping pills.

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