Global Mobility – Struggling to Keep Track?

02 May 2017

We live in a fast-paced, mobile and data driven world where geography is no longer a barrier to prompt and effective service delivery, social media has heightened user expectations of instant communication and collaboration, and data is fuelling business insight. Nowhere are these changes more apparent than in the world of global mobility, where by definition instant global access to data and service via mobile platforms is critical.

A recent survey of employers with globally mobile employees identified a number of key challenges facing Mobility, HR and Finance teams over the coming 12 months, with the following areas highlighted as critical to the overall success of any companies global mobility program;

Top challenges facing companies

Percentage of respondents

Cost control

71%

Visa and immigration regulations

63%

Assignee tracking and reporting

54%

Policy development

39%

 

As companies grow and become more global in scope, employment issues become more complex. Given this, compliance, be it tax, legal or data security is also clearly a hot topic with 79% of respondents stating that their company’s focus on compliance had increased substantially over the past 2 years.

An important corporate legal and reputational risk that global employers must contend with is ensuring they and their employees are aware of and comply with local filing requirements. A successful global mobility program requires companies to strike a balance between competitive compensation and cost control, always taking care to have effective policies and procedures for regulatory compliance.

Compliance is not a downstream issue, it is a source issue. Assignments cannot be planned, let alone begun, without addressing compliance issues first. Understanding the true tax, social security and compliance cost burdens around a job before finalising the bid will ensure profitability is key in any decision to move forward.

In addition, earlier involvement with the appropriate Mobility, Finance and HR teams will also allow for identifying ideal candidates that will minimise this cost burden, rather than increase it.

Linked to this is the need to properly track assignee days in country. Exceeding allowable days or other non-compliant presence can trigger costly tax implications, such as the unintended creation of permanent establishment, or breaching the threshold at which an individual becomes liable to tax and social security in the host country.

It is clear then that in order to have a successful global mobility program, companies need to know all of the burdens they will face when assigning employees, which employees would be the most cost effective to assign, how to minimise tax and social security costs on an ongoing basis, early warnings to tax trigger points and how and when compliance is due in the host location.

At AAB, we have developed a Global Tracking software which enables companies to achieve all of the above. Working with your existing software solutions where appropriate, our solution is bespoke to every client. We use the data received to process and manage global payrolls and compliance in approximately 80 countries worldwide on a monthly basis. Clients can access the interactive dashboard technology on a real time basis to identify travelling employees who trigger compliance risk for themselves or for the company; assess tax reporting and withholding obligations globally and ensure all reporting and filing obligations are discharged on an easy to view basis.

The system is also able to provide various reports around the potential burdens at bid stage, as well as provide valuable data and analytical reports for Mobility, HR and Finance.

Global Mobility Tracking – Case Study

With a significant internationally mobile workforce we are faced with the challenge of tracking employees’ movements whilst achieving global tax compliance.  AAB’s expertise in this area has proved invaluable and their collaborative approach has been really refreshing.  The project team have identified a number of integration opportunities within our existing systems, challenged how we capture data and introduced automation to improve the efficiency of our overall global compliance process.

The solution implemented has been truly customised for our business and developed jointly with our technical teams in IT, Tax, HR and Finance based in our Houston and Dubai offices.  As a result, we now have access to AAB’s online dashboard system which is providing the business with a real opportunity to identify cost and assist in the global mobility planning process. 

Having established a great working relationship with the AAB team, we have found them genuinely fun to work with and they are now seen as an integrated extension to our overall team.”

To find out more about our Global Mobility Tracking software, or to discuss any of the issues raised in this blog please contact Charlotte Stewart, Manager (charlotte.stewart@aab.uk) or your usual AAB contact.

Global Mobility is changing - how robust is your policy? Watch our video below. 

 

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