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Global Payroll Efficiency Index Report Reveals Economic Uncertainty Impacts Payroll Processing

For the first time in four years, the global first time approval rate fell year-over-year.

RALEIGH, NC, May 11, 2023CloudPay, a leading provider of global payroll solutions, today released its fourth annual Global Payroll Efficiency Index (PEI) report. The PEI report benchmarks payroll processing KPIs such as first-time approvals (FTA), data input issues, payroll calendar length, supplemental runs, and issues per 1,000 payslips across 130+ countries. The results are based on more than one million payslips, generated between January 1 and December 31, 2022, from businesses that use a unified payroll platform where these benchmarks can be measured.

This year’s report reveals an overall global decline in FTA for the first time in its history, however, the United States was the only country to improve its FTA rate. The U.S. also had the shortest payroll calendar length at 2.9 days.

The global drop in FTAs indicates payroll teams are making additional off-cycle payments as firms increasingly look at ways to support staff during economic uncertainty. This is further evidenced by additional research from CloudPay which revealed that the use of on-demand pay services increased last year, with withdrawal amounts doubling as users continued to use these solutions to manage their cashflow. The overarching FTA rate drop is driven almost entirely by a sharp fall of 2% in the EMEA region.

Despite the fall in FTA, the PEI report reveals that payroll performance has improved overall globally, largely driven by tech innovation and better integration with Human Capital Management Systems (HCMs).  This connection provides a united approach throughout the entire pay process, leading to greater efficiencies from payroll to payment.

A 3.6% reduction in payroll data input errors was noted worldwide, with the United States leading in improvements with a 10.32% reduction in issues noted last year. Issues per 1,000 payslips also fell to a global average of 8.64 – the lowest rate ever recorded by the PEI. These improvements are no doubt a direct result of software and technology developments in the payroll sector.

“The overall positive picture that we’re seeing in payroll performance is reflective of an increased desire and, indeed, ability, to innovate the pay process due to better tech integrations and a more joined-up approach on a global and local basis,” said John Pearce, SVP Payroll Operations at CloudPay. “Delivering a modern pay experience that is underpinned by technology, is simplified for the end-user, flexible, and is a top priority for global payroll teams.”

While the latest PEI report does indicate a fall in FTAs which are generally considered a catch-all KPI for payroll efficiency, this is more likely a result of businesses providing additional financial support for employees as rising costs of living impact household budgets. CloudPay expects that the adoption of new technology will only serve to improve pay efficiency further and, perhaps more importantly, bolster employee experiences on a global scale.”

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