A beginner’s guide to building a case for global payroll – Part one A beginner’s guide to building a case for global payroll – Part one

A beginner’s guide to building a case for global payroll – Part one
14 Nov 2017

If you are keen to encourage your organisation to adopt global payroll, it may be necessary to prepare a business case to back up your arguments. Questions such as “why should we go down the global payroll route?” or “how would we pay for it?” will definitely require a thoughtthrough response.

How will this article help?

This article will help you promote your global payroll project and prepare an appropriate business case. It will explain the basic concepts and help you understand what type of case to prepare. In part two next month, we will discuss practical tips on how to actually write it.

Why is a business case helpful?

A business case is useful as it gives you a forum to explain the benefits of global payroll to important stakeholders such as finance and HR executives. Organisations frequently use them to understand whether they should give formal approval for investment in significant initiatives such as a global payroll implementation.

Business cases also enable you to set expectations about how long a deployment is likely to take. They should always specify how many countries will be involved in the initiative and what benefits it should produce. Business cases can also prove useful if anyone subsequently tries to extend the scope of the project or query the level of costs and savings obtained.

What does a business case look like?

There is no exact, agreed format for writing a business case and they vary widely from company to company. But there are a number of key questions that should always be answered. These include:

- What are the project’s objectives?
- How large is its scope, for example, how many countries and employees will be involved?
- What will be the impact on the company’s profitability?
- Will it generate savings or higher costs?
- How much will it cost to implement?
- How long will it take?
- What are the associated risks and how can they be mitigated?

“Before starting detailed work on your business case, it is helpful to stand back and summarise the key benefits that you expect global payroll to bring to the organisation.”

What should be included in a business case?

Top tip: Check with the finance or business development team whether your organisation has a pre-existing template for writing business cases. It is very common for this to be the case - in fact, some firms even have a variety of templates for different types of projects. If a template exists, it will make it much easier for you to identify what to include.

If no template exists, prepare a spreadsheet model and presentation using either PowerPoint or Word. The model should show the financial workings of the project and related key performance indicators, while the presentation should provide an easy-toread summary of the initiative.

How to start

Before starting detailed work on your business case, it is helpful to stand back and summarise the key benefits that you expect global payroll to bring to the organisation. These benefits will be key to winning over the audience you need to influence.

They should also help you gain the upfront investment required.

Top tip: Try explaining to a trusted colleague in only 20 seconds why you think the organisation should implement global payroll. The key reasons identified should be reflected clearly in your business case.

Project benefits usually fall into one of three broad categories:

1. Self-funding: Making the payroll department more efficient and cutting vendor costs will save you money. The initiative will pay for itself quickly and generate ongoing savings;
2. Worth the money: While this kind of project may not save money, it is still worth doing because the other, often hidden, benefits are so large. These hidden benefits include improved compliance, fewer payroll errors and standardising the employee experience for international staff;
3. Win-Win: The initiative will deliver both cost savings and hidden benefits. It is a win-win because it is a sound financial investment and will improve payroll operations at the same time.

NB: Do not invent benefits that do not exist. For example, claiming that global payroll will boost your organisation’s revenues is unlikely to be seen as plausible and will, therefore, tarnish your credibility.

How to justify your global payroll project

Once you identify which category your initiative falls into, it is possible to adopt an appropriate strategy to help you win the necessary backing to proceed. Here we explore how to justify:

1. Self-funding projects: They need to meet the financial criteria specified by your finance team. For example, if your organisation has a rule that projects must pay for themselves within two years, your initiative will need to meet this target in order to be approved.

As a result, your business case will need to focus on the financials. It must quantify and demonstrate possible savings, clearly show when and where they will be generated, and prove that they are larger than the original investment.

2.Worth the Money projects: Gaining backing for these initiatives is typically more difficult than for self-funding ones because the company is being asked to invest money that it cannot recoup. As a result, your business case will need to major on the hidden benefits that a global payroll initiative will bring. The key to gaining approval here is to make it transparent to your executives what they will obtain in return for their investment - for example, investing US$X million will provide our 10,000 international employees with an excellent payroll experience, or £Yk will eliminate the chief financial officer’s Sarbanes-Oxley-related payroll issues.

3. Win-Win projects: These initiatives are very attractive as it is rare to find an investment that both saves money and improves your operations. If your business case falls into this category, it has a high chance of success.

Top tip: If you are concerned about whether your business case is likely to receive approval, do your best to make it a “win-win” project.

Conclusion

In the next issue, we will focus on how to put all of the above tips into practice and show you how to write your own business case.

 

John Galvin is CEO of awardwinning Galvin International, which provides independent, costeffective and compliant advice for clients setting up global payroll. John was awarded Global Consultant of the Year at the inaugural Global Payroll Awards. He and his team provide straightforward, fast advice and set-up support for a fixed price in over 70 countries.

If you are keen to encourage your organisation to adopt global payroll, it may be necessary to prepare a business case to back up your arguments. Questions such as “why should we go down the global payroll route?” or “how would we pay for it?” will definitely require a thoughtthrough response.

How will this article help?

This article will help you promote your global payroll project and prepare an appropriate business case. It will explain the basic concepts and help you understand what type of case to prepare. In part two next month, we will discuss practical tips on how to actually write it.

Why is a business case helpful?

A business case is useful as it gives you a forum to explain the benefits of global payroll to important stakeholders such as finance and HR executives. Organisations frequently use them to understand whether they should give formal approval for investment in significant initiatives such as a global payroll implementation.

Business cases also enable you to set expectations about how long a deployment is likely to take. They should always specify how many countries will be involved in the initiative and what benefits it should produce. Business cases can also prove useful if anyone subsequently tries to extend the scope of the project or query the level of costs and savings obtained.

What does a business case look like?

There is no exact, agreed format for writing a business case and they vary widely from company to company. But there are a number of key questions that should always be answered. These include:

- What are the project’s objectives?
- How large is its scope, for example, how many countries and employees will be involved?
- What will be the impact on the company’s profitability?
- Will it generate savings or higher costs?
- How much will it cost to implement?
- How long will it take?
- What are the associated risks and how can they be mitigated?

“Before starting detailed work on your business case, it is helpful to stand back and summarise the key benefits that you expect global payroll to bring to the organisation.”

What should be included in a business case?

Top tip: Check with the finance or business development team whether your organisation has a pre-existing template for writing business cases. It is very common for this to be the case - in fact, some firms even have a variety of templates for different types of projects. If a template exists, it will make it much easier for you to identify what to include.

If no template exists, prepare a spreadsheet model and presentation using either PowerPoint or Word. The model should show the financial workings of the project and related key performance indicators, while the presentation should provide an easy-toread summary of the initiative.

How to start

Before starting detailed work on your business case, it is helpful to stand back and summarise the key benefits that you expect global payroll to bring to the organisation. These benefits will be key to winning over the audience you need to influence.

They should also help you gain the upfront investment required.

Top tip: Try explaining to a trusted colleague in only 20 seconds why you think the organisation should implement global payroll. The key reasons identified should be reflected clearly in your business case.

Project benefits usually fall into one of three broad categories:

1. Self-funding: Making the payroll department more efficient and cutting vendor costs will save you money. The initiative will pay for itself quickly and generate ongoing savings;
2. Worth the money: While this kind of project may not save money, it is still worth doing because the other, often hidden, benefits are so large. These hidden benefits include improved compliance, fewer payroll errors and standardising the employee experience for international staff;
3. Win-Win: The initiative will deliver both cost savings and hidden benefits. It is a win-win because it is a sound financial investment and will improve payroll operations at the same time.

NB: Do not invent benefits that do not exist. For example, claiming that global payroll will boost your organisation’s revenues is unlikely to be seen as plausible and will, therefore, tarnish your credibility.

How to justify your global payroll project

Once you identify which category your initiative falls into, it is possible to adopt an appropriate strategy to help you win the necessary backing to proceed. Here we explore how to justify:

1. Self-funding projects: They need to meet the financial criteria specified by your finance team. For example, if your organisation has a rule that projects must pay for themselves within two years, your initiative will need to meet this target in order to be approved.

As a result, your business case will need to focus on the financials. It must quantify and demonstrate possible savings, clearly show when and where they will be generated, and prove that they are larger than the original investment.

2.Worth the Money projects: Gaining backing for these initiatives is typically more difficult than for self-funding ones because the company is being asked to invest money that it cannot recoup. As a result, your business case will need to major on the hidden benefits that a global payroll initiative will bring. The key to gaining approval here is to make it transparent to your executives what they will obtain in return for their investment - for example, investing US$X million will provide our 10,000 international employees with an excellent payroll experience, or £Yk will eliminate the chief financial officer’s Sarbanes-Oxley-related payroll issues.

3. Win-Win projects: These initiatives are very attractive as it is rare to find an investment that both saves money and improves your operations. If your business case falls into this category, it has a high chance of success.

Top tip: If you are concerned about whether your business case is likely to receive approval, do your best to make it a “win-win” project.

Conclusion

In the next issue, we will focus on how to put all of the above tips into practice and show you how to write your own business case.

 

John Galvin is CEO of awardwinning Galvin International, which provides independent, costeffective and compliant advice for clients setting up global payroll. John was awarded Global Consultant of the Year at the inaugural Global Payroll Awards. He and his team provide straightforward, fast advice and set-up support for a fixed price in over 70 countries.

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