Why finance and HR silos may be limiting your payroll data potential

August 20, 2019

Global Payroll

Payroll data and functions fall within both HR and finance departments, yet it’s often the case that they act independently of the other, each with its own processes for maintaining the data.

The conventional wisdom is, why shouldn’t they? After all, when talking about what payroll represents—employees—finance and HR have different priorities. Finance is concerned with the costs: how salaries, benefits, hiring and firing affect the bottom line. HR, on the other hand, measures things like employee performance, creativity and problem-solving, and views them as business assets.

Payroll data risks and rewards

The problem with payroll crossing silos, however, is that the organization runs the risk of security and integrity issues, duplication and inconsistencies. And in multinational organizations, where payroll data may traverse languages, currencies and time zones, the risks multiply. Not to mention, if the payroll data from each silo is telling a different story, which version do you trust? The organization has no single source of payroll truth.

Fortunately, the conventional wisdom of payroll separation is changing: In a recent global survey of business leaders, 82% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that integrating HR and finance data is a top priority. They recognize the potential that payroll data represents to the global organization.


Especially for organizations with employees in the European Union, adhering to GDPR becomes a priority. GDPR defines how employee data—and that includes payroll data—can be collected, categorized and retained. Companies found to be improperly storing and processing employee information can face fines of up to 20 million euros or 4% of annual revenue, whichever is higher.


In order to ensure compliance with country-specific employment regulations and requirements, such as tax codes and deductions, payslips, benefits, immigration and visas, and employee onboarding, payroll data needs to be accurate and consistent. This is also crucial when the company is planning large-scale organizational change, such as a merger or acquisition. Activities like data migration for taxes and wages, pay history and scheduling, and audits would be severely hindered by data duplication or discrepancies.

Strategic value

Perhaps most important is the strategic value of payroll data. When payroll is dispersed between HR and finance, it’s nothing more than a tactical function: data input, pay output, repeat. But because payroll data often represents one of the largest expenditures for an organization, more care should be taken to fully understand the depth of insights that can be obtained from payroll data.

For instance, with a complete, consistent view of payroll data, a company could perform better workforce spend analyses, moving from descriptive, to diagnostic, to predictive, to prescriptive. And be able to answer questions like:

  • Could we save the company money by shifting some roles to lower-cost labor markets?
  • Are employees in a particular area providing better ROI than in another?
  • Should we redirect hiring efforts from one discipline to another to boost performance?

An organization can only perform these assessments, however, when payroll data is unencumbered by HR and finance silos—and when there’s a standardized view of payroll data across the global organization.

Contact us today to speak with one of our global payroll expert to learn more about the benefits of a standardized view of payroll data. 

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