#HRandPayroll20: Global Payroll or Global EOR? with Special Guest Kira Rubiano

On this episode, Pete and Julie welcome VP of Payroll Operations for Atlas and all-around global payroll pro, Kira Rubiano to the show!

After getting to know Kira and her “path to payroll”, the group discusses the current and future state of global payroll, including the difference between global payroll and global EOR and how they uniquely support multinational organizations. They also explore how technology is shaping the payroll experience and profession, the path to payroll’s elusive “seat at the table”, and tips and insights for moving payroll forward in the modern organization!

Pulse Survey

HR and payroll practitioners, leaders, and executives are encouraged to join our current pulse survey, What Makes Leave Management the #1 Pain Point – and How to Fix It? Be sure to join in with input on your organization’s leave experience and look for the results to be published soon!


Our HR & Payroll 2.0 Series is also available as a podcast on the following platforms:

Apple iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/hr-payroll-2-0/id1643933833
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/10HlnoTCwGPVQEtUHNcCWl?si=197255cea5e949be
Audacy: https://www.audacy.com/podcast/hr-payroll-20-aa809
Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/podcast-show/649858828/HR-Payroll-2-0
Podbean: https://www.podbean.com/pw/dir-ur5np-280b3e


Pete Tiliakos 00:00
Welcome, everyone to another episode of HR and Payroll 2.0. I’m Pete Tiliakos. And as always, I’m joined by the legendary Julie Fernandez. Welcome, Julie.

Julie Fernandez 00:08
Thanks, Pete. It’s exciting to be here today. And I know we have a guest. Do you want to tell us?

Pete Tiliakos 00:12
Yes, yes. I’m super excited to have Kira Rubiano. Global Payroll Pro and VP of Global Payroll operations at Atlas. Super excited to have you here. Welcome Kira.

Kira Rubiano 00:23
Thank you so much, Pete. And thank you so much, Julie, for having me on your podcast. I’m super-duper excited to be here to share my passion with you and my knowledge and insight. And just to be a part of this really awesome and wonderful community. So super pumped. And thank you again for having me.

Pete Tiliakos 00:41
Yeah, thank you. I mean, as you know, right, we have payroll in our name. So, it’s a very important subject. We’re trying to do a lot more in this area and elevate the profession. Elevate the learning. And so yeah, just so happy to have an expert like yourself.

Julie Fernandez 00:52
So, Pete, we talked about a lot of events, but not HR Tech. And now that we have Kier, also with us, maybe we should just spend a little bit of time with the latest round of fall events. Yeah, chat a little bit on HR Tech. And I think you might have been to another Money 2020 and some other stuff last week.

Pete Tiliakos 01:09
Yeah, I’ve had a busy time. I even did a PayrollOrg presentation here at the local chapter event, right? It was able to speak on really what I think is the future of payroll, the profession, the people, rights, and what it’s going to, you know, what that role is going to look like and how you can impact your organization. So that was super fun. But yeah, HR Tech. What did you think? We had a great time, right? We recorded a fantastic episode with Jason Lee from Salt that’s out. Now everyone can go check that out. But what else? What were your takeaways? And then I can maybe share mine?

Julie Fernandez 01:37
So first of all, as big as ever, right? It’s just a huge, huge event in the industry. And so, it’s a great place to catch up with everyone. And all the folks, you know, as we move around in this community and end up in different places, so that was awesome. We always have a buzzword or a top theme, right? That just jumps out and smacks everybody in the face. And I think we both know what that would be like this year.

Pete Tiliakos 02:00
She left her friend of ours.

Julie Fernandez 02:02
Our two favorite vowels AI, you know, really kind of ruled the roost this year. And so, everybody, whether you were, you know, a benefits provider or a candidate platform or, you know, pay where it doesn’t matter who you were or what you’re doing there, there’s something AI about you, as a part of this year’s HR Tech. That’s fair.

Pete Tiliakos 02:23
I think every event that I’m going to that’s the predominant, you know, showstopper, show stealer is Gen AI, and I get it. It’s flashy, it’s exciting, it’s sexy. It’s Clicky. Everybody wants to talk about it. And it is going to be incredibly profound. But what I actually came away with from the week was one of the one just one key observational metric is, you know, every year they have the startup competition, right, they bring a number of startups in, right, they have the pitch fest stage, I think they give them a certain time limit, they make their pitch, and then they can win some sort of award. I think it’s money that they get, right? $50,000 or $30,000, something like that. And then, of course, I think they get some advisory or whatever. But look, what’s cool about that was is the winner, right? The winner was an organization called Manifest, and they are a 401k transfer solution. So just digest that for a minute. Right? Like, think about the fact that yes, there’s all of this great AI coming into play. And there were AI solutions that were in that in that that competition. But if you look at some of the runners up as well, Virgil, another one that is compliance related, it’s a compliance platform, similar to something like maybe Mineral where you can get help with things like handbooks and, you know, legal impacts of decision making in the workforce, and just help right consulting. So, I guess my point here is, is that, you know, the AI and all of that is going to be great, right? We need that. And I think it’s going to be a very big augmentative enhancer to our worlds and make life easier, hopefully, for all of us. But we still have a lot of work to do on the day-to-day stuff that is not that easy still, right? You’re doing some research I know and leaves, that’s an area that’s still got a right to innovation. And you listen to this right 401k transfer, if you’ve ever been through that process, you’ll know how antiquated and manual and silly that it is that we’re moving checks around in the mail, and hoping that you get it sent to the right person in the right, you know, made out to the right owner. Yeah, so that just tells me that there’s a lot of you know, while there’s a lot of flash to go and chase, sure, there’s still a lot of work that can be done on the basic day to day everyday things that we do on the frontlines of work and on the back office that can help us all out so and got a lot of work to still be done.

Julie Fernandez 04:29
That’s right. And I know you and I are planning a couple of conversations here and finding the right folks to talk to about AI in various forms. And we’ll have a lot to say about it. But I think we’ll just target for now and say that that was you know, definitely the buzz word or the buzz catchphrase for this conference. And we’ll be right on top of that here with our Podcast talk.

Pete Tiliakos 04:50
Beware of the AI washing. I didn’t create that word, but I’ve heard someone say that kind of kind of like the greenwashing right with environmental sort of things. It’s almost like lip service in a lot of ways. So, yeah, look, kick the tires on anything that you’re engaging out there the AI is important, but look at the underlying, you know, what’s it going to deliver the use cases is solving. That’s all important. What else? I’ve been to Money 2020. I don’t know if you want to hear about that a little bit.

Julie Fernandez 05:15
I want to hear some highlights anyways.

Pete Tiliakos 05:17
Yeah, that was an interesting one. I mean, I got to be honest, I’ve never been to that one. And I think that for me, it was, you know, I do a lot of overlapping things, advisory and research when it comes to financial wellness, you know, money movement, you know, all these things that are adjacent to payroll. And so, a few of my clients were there like Highline, they had a big announcement for their pay through payroll API capability. And I was fortunate to with The Source as the host of the source by DailyPay, interview, a number of really cool founders and just leaders in the finance world and just see what’s coming. And the thing that I think I took away was the fact that we’re not all and I know this, right, we all know this, we’re not all starting on the same base in life when it comes to access to money, right, that has a lot to do with education, demographics, where we’re born, just in many, many things. And what I think I came away with was that FinTech and digital native Money, Money solutions, right, open banking, and various different things that we’re using in our world, is really very liberating and inclusive, more so than the banking industry has been in the past. And I think that that’s the positive thing, right? Is it’s this technology, still very nascent all very, you know, young, it’s, it’s still burgeoning. But I think at the end of the day, it’s going to be, you know, you hear a lot of these founders say, you know, we’re trying to make the world better by and then give you this pitch, but I think there’s, there’s a lot of that can be true for fintech. Right. And I think it’s opening the doors for a lot of opportunity for folks in places that maybe didn’t get opportunity before. And I think that just the beauty of the money movement, and how fast it is being enabled through digital technology is just creating a lot of incredible things. So, it was exciting. I’m looking forward to going back next year, I spoke at this one, we have not spoken but basically did those, those podcasts, and so got to speak to a lot of people, and really enjoyed it. So, I’m excited to go back. And it’s very exciting stuff to see what’s been built out there and how it’s converging with HR. That’s another thing, a lot of this is.

Julie Fernandez 07:11
That’s a piece that I’m always excited about is you know, you go deeper and some of the Fin-pay Tech stuff, but when it starts to hit HR, and where it starts to hit, you know that that’s always the part that’s exciting. And I know we’ll be talking about that in the future as well.

Pete Tiliakos 07:25
Yeah, just the whole, you know, the concept of money movement around health, wealth and retirement, those things, I think you’re going to see digital native solutions, disrupt that and make that a much more, like I said, inclusive, but also more real time or more digitally driven capability. So that’s where I think you’re going to see a bleed over into our world. And I think it’s great, right, it’s creating a lot of I think there’s a lot of inclusive elements to this that are going to be very positive for the workforce. So, it’s good stuff.

Julie Fernandez 07:54
Okay, let’s get back to Kira. I can’t wait for you to ask her our standard questions to find out how the heck we all ended up in the same ecosystem?

Pete Tiliakos 08:04
I know! Kira, it’s one of the things that we ask all of our guests are around, you know, just the simple fact of like, how did you get into payroll or HR? And why on earth do you stay? So that’s where that’s where I’d love to start with getting to know you, with our audience.

Kira Rubiano 08:18
Thank you. Actually, asked me that question every day, probably to be honest with you. So, it’s not a suit? Well, it’s kind of I would say it’s an It is an exciting story. So, like many which I’m sure you’re not surprised. I did not go to school and grew up wanting to be a payroll professional. It wasn’t anything that I even knew was a career. And in fact, you know, I have a little bit of beef with my college counselors. And advisors because they are never it’s not, it’s not anything you’re ever told is an option, right as you’re going through schooling. So, I have always had a passion for learning about the world and my degree and backgrounds in international studies and international law. And my goal was to work for the United Nations. When I got out of when I got out of school, and I was preparing to go to law school and by strange intervention, okay. I would say as I was studying for my LSAT at the time, my now aunt in law, I would call her was doing the nails of the founder of Celergo.

Pete Tiliakos 09:33
I love it. I love it.

Kira Rubiano 09:34
Michele Honomichl opened up to her saying, you know, I have this new global payroll company, I’m really keen to hire college grads. Do you know of anyone that would be interested in an international interest? And lo and behold, I interviewed within a few days and had my first job coming out of school. So, I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t plan on it being my long-term job, I was just, you know, keen on exploring what does Global Payroll mean? Because I really knew nothing about it at the time. And I don’t think anyone really knew, this was 16 years old. And the company was just kind of starting to pick up is, you know, the evolution of Michelle’s company has been wonderful and exciting to watch. And I would say that she has been, she has played a very profound impact in my kind of payroll life and career and has been a great mentor. It has shaped tremendously the kind of leader that I am today. And so, I’m forever grateful for that. And, you know, I started working and it was really hard. You’re trying to learn, like, you know, what is your role? What are our payments and deductions gross to net taxable wages, like what does it all mean? Meanwhile, trying to understand how does it work in Nigeria? How does it work in the UK, Philippines, Ireland, but what I realized is my passion for working globally, and my desire to work with people around the world was satiated by this industry. Yeah, I’m very honest. And I even tell my team and I have a very large global team here at Atlas, which I’m super grateful for, I call them my payroll Avengers, because we all have very powerful superpowers that help pay the world.

Pete Tiliakos 11:28
You’re magicians!

Kira Rubiano 11:30
We’re superheroes Pete. But I tell them, I said, you know what, I really don’t like numbers. It’s not the numbers. For me, it’s the fact that I get to learn about how the world works. And I get to learn something new every day, I get to connect with people around the world, I get to understand why certain countries, you know, work the way they do. And it gives me a greater foundational knowledge of why, why some things are the way they are. And for me, being a global geek, as I like to say, being in this industry has allowed me to expand my global knowledge, it’s allowed me to thrive in it, it’s allowed me to be excited about it. And the people that I’ve met along the way have been so passionate, so just vested in in doing the good work, and wanting to make sure that they take care of their employees, and you know, all the people that they touch, and give livelihood to right,

Pete Tiliakos 12:41
At the end it is very much a community. It really is.

Kira Rubiano 12:45
I’ve been so grateful. You know, to meet people like you Pete over the years. And like Mary and Michelle and Nick, like everybody who’s in this community is so close and intertwined. And guess what? Eventually, like we all know each other, you say six degrees to Kevin Bacon, I say like two degrees in the payroll industry to everybody. Because I think everyone knows everyone somehow, whether they’ve met at a show or have like, work together or have service to customer or have just like, connected on LinkedIn.

Pete Tiliakos 13:19
Well, it’s so good, I’m so happy to have you in the community. And look, I think we’re here this week. I mean, Julie, you’re on all these we hear the same thing, right? Like people often just find their way here and find a very rewarding career and a great community and they stick around and, and that’s, that’s outstanding. And yeah, Michelle, for sure. Michele Honomichl should absolutely be on that Mount Rushmore of Global Payroll. I’ve heard multiple people say she’s helped them in the industry. And that good to hear that as well. So very cool. So, let’s, let’s maybe pivot a little bit, I want to kind of talk about the fact that payroll has undergone I’m sure even just in the time that you’ve been in the workforce and in the community, it’s gone through immense change, right. It’s gone through immense pressures with compliance. It’s gone through immense technological advancement. And there’s still a lot of work to be done, let’s be honest. But it feels like payroll is almost gotten harder, despite all of that, right. Like, despite all this innovation, it feels like it’s harder. Is that really, do you agree? Do you think it’s getting harder? Is it getting? What do you think about it?

Kira Rubiano 14:15
So, it’s a very interesting question. I think it’s always hard. Yeah, it’s hard because of the pressure of payroll by nature. Okay. So, there’s a saying, right, nothing short of perfection is good. And it’s interesting, because I just did a LinkedIn poll, where I asked the community saying, what is a successful payroll run to you? Is it 100% You know, accuracy, timeliness, or is it 99% of my employees got paid on time and accurate and it’s good enough. You know, what’s interesting is it’s there’s a bit of a split, I would say 5050 in terms of how people are responding to that. And that’s because 100% If you’re talking about especially Global Payroll, it’s not unachievable, but the work required is so immense that the pressures on as they say, like Donkey Kong, okay, it is incredible pressure to deliver good, accurate, timely payroll. And so, we have to have the tools and mechanisms and the support to be able to do that as payroll professionals. So has it gotten harder, it’s gotten harder, because there’s more and there’s a bigger need to be experts in Global Payroll, and quick and to be accurate and to be efficient, and to be perfect, agile, agile, it’s gotten a lot harder, in the sense of our the tools that are being made available to payroll professionals, allowing to create efficiency, and drive, you know, scalability and created an improved experience 100% The tools or have been in the tech and the tools and the resources available to people and professionals in the space are, by far, way more advanced than they were even, you know, 10, 15 years ago, I was yeah, you know, working off of spreadsheets and trying to do like calculations, which, by the way, still happens today.

Pete Tiliakos 16:34
I was just going to say there’s a lot of payrolls being processed on Excel, which is really disturbing that, you know, that kind of brings me to my other. My next question is, and, Julie, I’d love to hear your point of view, because you’re out there actually helping people make this happen in big and small companies as well. But what, like, are companies adopting this stuff fast enough? Are they using this technology? And because I’ll tell you, I outed HR tech, when we went to the dinner for salt labs, the gentleman who was to the right of me, who was a leader in an HR organization, a big organization was telling me, I don’t feel we’re adopting new technology fast enough as an HR operation. And so, I kind of sensed that as well. But is that being that fair? Julie? Do you think that’s the case?

Julie Fernandez 17:17
I don’t know if I would say it’s fair, I might probably counterpoint or argue a little different way. I definitely agree. As curious said technology is coming along fast and furious. In fact, the study, the payroll study that we did and have out from last year basically did show that when it comes to the pain points, and payroll, the ones that are no longer making the radar are the things that have plagued us for years and years, like variable pay, or, you know, all of those things that are so complex, and so difficult to do in spreadsheets. And in other things. I mean, like we’re solving for those really fast, and the technology has advanced, I would say, a lot, write an awful lot. And you can see that showing up in the surveys. But what I don’t think it cares for or I don’t think is accounted for in that is just the pace of change has become incrementally greater, there’s, you know, we’re never undisrupted we’re constantly re disrupted and compliance and, and legislative changes are just, you know, exponentially increased. And so, technology is, you know, working to keep up with that the tools that we have are striving to keep up with that. And it’s just coming at it at a breakneck pace. And there’s new innovation on top of that. So, you know, you kind of have to rely on yourself, your systems or your providers or your staff too, to keep up, first of all, and then to innovate on top of that. And I think that’s maybe what we’re feeling, plus less and less people, right. I mean, we’re aging out we’re losing folks, because of exactly what Kira said in the beginning, which is, you know, our counselors even letting people know that love international or love different have different types of aptitudes that this is a real career path, right?

Pete Tiliakos 19:05
Yeah, we got to hold on to that we’re losing talent. I mean, payroll hasn’t been immune to the talent crunch. And you’re right, I think less, and less people probably are thinking about it as a career opportunity. And I tell people all the time, it’s a brilliant place to start if an HR career, all roads lead there, right. And you can learn so much so fast.

Julie Fernandez 19:22
This change is table stakes, right? That’s the problem is, you know, when it’s regulatory, you have to make those changes. And so, you can’t let them split.

Pete Tiliakos 19:31
They’re coming hot and heavy it seems. Kira, you obviously are leading payroll for an organization where their product is compliance. Their product is helping people reach the world, right reach talent around the world. And we recently coauthored I helped coauthor a Global EOR Report, employer of record report, where we looked at kind of the viewpoint of what’s going on in the market, and where are things heading and you know, one of the things that came out very clear is that Corp companies of every size ‘s are fundamentally having to go beyond their comfort levels or their comfort zones, if you will, and reach beyond their borders and hire people to get talent right or to accommodate employee requirements, requests, right work from anywhere work from home, not to mention just the fact that we’re just a very global economy, the internet 5g, the creative economy, all of that has created a lot of opportunity for folks to engage with, with jobs around the world. And that’s such a beautiful thing. And I love the EOR model, right? I love what it’s doing. I think it’s human agility, or excuse me, human opportunity to enabler. But it’s also a business agility enabler. But like, I think there’s still just so much confusion between EOR and Global Payroll. And, you know, I’m not sure if that’s marketing, if that’s, you know, if that’s because there’s some very blurry lines on what Global Payroll is today. But what do you think about it like when you when you look at this solution, and how, you know, how it’s being adopted? Like, how would you explain the difference between Global Payroll, global EOR? And what do you see, like, as far as companies engaging in that?

Kira Rubiano 21:02
Yeah, I think that’s that confusion requires a lot of education, right, as well. And I think that’s what you’ve seen that your community really trying to do is to educate the overall like, HR Payroll community, because there is a difference. So what I would say is that, you know, one of the biggest mistakes that I’ve seen companies make when they are in pursuit of talent anywhere in the world is that they underestimate the requirements needed to hire in a country, as well as the time needed to be ready to hire and what that actually entails. So yeah, I have experienced also, you know, my entire career has been an outsourced Global Payroll. So, I’ve worked for Global Payroll Companies, supporting customers in their own entities from a payroll perspective. And then on the ER side, now, it’s supporting that er structure. So, we run payroll, or my team runs all the payroll for all of our local entities around the world, which employ people on behalf of our customers. So, I get to see both perspectives and call it the outsource kind of external view and that internal support view. So, the biggest difference is that, you know, as a business, you have to always assess, you know, the nature of your business and the activities of the business that you’re going to do in a specific country. And while you’re hiring talent in that country, because depending on your needs, and depending on what your you believe your plans are, that will dictate what is the best option for you to take. So for example, if you are looking to really set up in a country and start generating sales and revenue, and you’re going to kind of build out a manufacturing facility, or whatever that may be, right, you’re really looking to generate money, it may be that you have to set up an entity and incorporate in that country, because you’re going to have obligations, such as that and corporate tax and in what we would call permanent establishment obligations that you have to meet, because you are going to have a thriving business and, and guess what, that’s great. And that would be probably the right decision for you. But that takes time, that takes money. But you might be a company who says, look, I either really liked this one person who could do a great job for me, and I want to hire them, or I just want to test the market. Like, look, I don’t know what it means to be in Spain. But I want to see, you know, what is my market opportunity. So, I’d like to hire somebody to help do some field research or whatever that may be. And guess what, if you try to set up an entity just to do those two things, is going to take you time, it’s going to take you money, and it’s going to take a lot of investment on that side. And that’s where you’re kind of starts to come in to say, look, if you’re looking to, you know, you found really great talent or if you’re looking at test the market, or if you want to try to ramp up in a quick way, before making a decision on whether or not you start an entity and really incorporate in that jurisdiction, er is a great way to do that because it allows you to hire compliantly right, making sure that your employee is registered in that country as per local regulation, that they are legally employed cause that they are payrolls meaning you can actually run and pay them in the local currency and that they have benefits as well. Without having to think about oh my gosh, it’s going to take me one year to open this entity. You know, it sometimes it takes like six months to a year to open even a bank account in a country.

Pete Tiliakos 24:51
I mean that’s where the that’s the beauty right? The speed to market of which you can get that that up and running so fast. That’s what I love about EOR is it’s a vehicle a turnkey vehicle for really, org agility, right? Just popping into an area and saying, hey, let’s try this out, let’s test this market. Let’s see if we can be viable here exactly the time to do that to your point. And all that complexity of building all that is, is very time-consuming and costly. So

Kira Rubiano 25:15
So, what I would say is that, like, if I want to get my name, sorry, because I want to get back to that. Yeah, no question like, what’s the difference? The way I look at it is having worked in both world is Global Payroll is payroll for your own entity. It’s a business that you’ve established in a country, and you need somebody to help you run the payroll for that country, because you can’t do it in house, which is Global Payroll Services, right. EOR is, I don’t have an entity, I have no mechanism of legally employing somebody, but I really want that talent, or I really want to hire someone there. So how can I do it so that it’s compliant and legal? And that’s where er comes in, is that it’s, it’s providing you a service of employing someone with a compliant umbrella so that you don’t have to worry about making sure once again, that they’re registered in that country, they have social security coverage, they have benefits, and they can get paid for the work that they do. Yeah, I look at it in those kinds of two perspectives zero.

Julie Fernandez 26:20
And when I’m looking at that within internal organizations, right companies and HR organizations or finance organizations that are trying to sort this out, I think, oftentimes, they think in terms of, you know, their functional or department areas. And if you just made a great summary, that highlights how much finance activity. And legal at least employment law and recruiting activity is in the scope of EUR. Because you’re not specifically trying to be an employee in that space, you just need the talent, and you need to run and go. Whereas in the Global Payroll space, you know, you’re more you are the HR an extension of HR. So, it’s more about HR and Payroll. And operationally, I find that business leaders think or start to align the services of, of those different models, with owners in their organization. And or is just so much more complex, right, because of the services that are provided on behalf of the client.

Kira Rubiano 27:21
100% There’s a funny way I have of putting this in like this is how it made sense to me. When I joined this interesting industry a few years back, I went when I worked at a global payroll company, right? And we had a customer who needed help in 10 countries to run their payroll, if something went wrong, for example, with like, entity tax notice, or like a registration or there was something that like they forgot to do when they were registering the entity or something went wrong with their bank account. I used to go, That’s not my problem. Like they’re responsible, they have to figure it out. Now in EOR everything is my problem.

Pete Tiliakos 28:02
That’s a great point.

Julie Fernandez 28:03
It makes me think just even skills wise. Right, your story about how you got into and being kind of a global geek is definitely my story as well. And yet your background and interests, you know, aligning with the legal, you know, some of the legal learning and where you were headed with international law, are so are so much more aligned to EMR, then my background, which was, you know, more aligned to the people in the HR operations and organization and people serving along with the global geek, right. So even when you’re thinking about talent in this space, if the company is trying to look at talent, I mean, they’re different. They’re different interests, right, or different aptitudes.

Pete Tiliakos 28:41
Kira, do you see this as is as more still largely a small business mid-market sort of solution? Or do you see larger companies also sort of looking at this and saying, how do we leverage it as an agility enabler in our ecosystem, our HCM strategy? I’m Julie, you are too. What do you see on the front lines as far as the or up market?

Kira Rubiano 29:04
So, I would say, you know, it’s interesting, I think when it initially started, a couple of years back, I would say it was more of kind of like a small startup type enabler. Right for growth for FinTech and tech companies in general. What we’re seeing now is larger multinationals coming in and actually requesting this type of support, because one, what we’re seeing is that a lot of companies are realizing, you know, we don’t want to necessarily continue to keep our entity open in that jurisdiction, because maybe there’s not a requirement for it or they’re not looking to do a big investment there. So, they might downsize and then use EOIR as like an as a way to keep certain talent employed. So, we’re seeing A lot of that kind of like a reverse. Yeah, I had an entity, I don’t need the entity, or we have decided for business reasons, we don’t want to keep this entity open. Because remember, it’s very costly. Yes, it is very costly to give an entity open, and there’s a lot that goes into it. And so, if you’re not looking to necessarily employ a large volume of employees there, you might decide, you know what we’re going to close this operation down. But we want to keep, you know, these 234 people, or we want to maybe test the market later. So, we’ll go with EOR. And we’re definitely seeing more multinationals that are of larger size testing markets. So, they’re saying, well, we’re going to start with just like, a couple employees, five, here and there. And as we grow, we will look to, you know, in the background, we’ll work on getting an entity ready. So, they’re using it also as an enabler to ramp up quicker. whereas traditionally, larger companies would usually go, okay, we’re going to invest a year to set up open the bank account this and that. Now, they’re saying, well, we don’t have to wait a year, let’s kind of get going with the talent. And they’re getting way more comfortable with that idea. So, we’re seeing a change in the type of prospects that are interested in this space.

Pete Tiliakos 31:21
Right, right. Very good. Julie, anything, anything you’re seeing in your world.

Julie Fernandez 31:25
I’m not seeing things differently than Kira, I am thinking that it’s maybe not always it’s less about the size of the company itself and their operations, and more about the size or scale, and permanence of, you know, the country or the operation, the local operation they’re looking at. And so it almost, it almost naturally leans to tail countries, right, or wherever it is, you’re going to have your we use that term, sometimes on this podcast, meaning the longer list of smaller countries, because the commercial model is better suited for, you know, the smaller scale. And once you start to get scale, a company often will bring that in house. But if you’re also just testing, or you have a spot need, and you’re going to be there for some period of time, but maybe not in permanence. Those are great use cases for EOR. And I think more and more companies, large and small, are catching on. In the large company mix, they often have enough resources to try to do it themselves. But I do think that strategically, larger organizations are realizing like, why would I do that, you know, I don’t have to do that. And it can be a lot of overhead spread across many different departments. And so, it may actually be more efficient, even if I have a boatload of people to tap into the EOR model. And that’s refreshing. And, and so I’m not surprised that you’re seeing, you know, kind of all across the market size, folks looking at EOR.

Pete Tiliakos 32:52
I think more CHRO’s need to know about it, I still don’t believe that most don’t, and see if those two right there, they’re often, you know, the ones sort of approving the go forwards on some of these strategic moves. Right. And this is, this is a great again, an agility enabler. But also, I just love the fact that it also is bringing people to opportunity and connecting people in in places in emerging markets where there’s not opportunity for them locally, but there is the immense skill that they can bring externally. So, you know, Africa is a great location, South America, there’s some pockets down there that are becoming very, very rich with talent, it’s beautiful to see that those people are getting these opportunities. So, I love the global nature of us of our world. And the EOR model has been great for that for both business and people.

Julie Fernandez 33:36
Tap into some of the confusion that’s out there. Because in fact, there are a number of organizations that have either started on one side of the house or the other, right, you are a Global Payroll. And if you didn’t have a good footprint entail, tell countries or tell activities, we’re seeing some seeing bleed over that, that could be creating as much confusion as anything, right.

Pete Tiliakos 33:58
Yeah, it is. I mean, these offerings, look, let’s face it, if you’re an EOR, most of them are wanting to now enable more of a managed payroll capability to complement that not all of them, but some of them, I think that creates a stickiness with the clients, hopefully, but also broadens and diversifies their capability. And a lot of them, I find a lot of the yards that have been around a while started in one thing or the other and ended up there. Maybe it was contingent workforce, or maybe it was payroll, and then they started to add those things. So, I think it’s a nice complement, right, that you can that you can use. But there’s just so many options. And I think you got to really be careful and kick the tires on these things and know what you’re buying know what it’s supposed to do, and understand how it’s going to work again, within your strategy.

Julie Fernandez 34:37
We see, you know, folks that let’s say had been in the Global Payroll business, then marry up with somebody that was in the, the recruitment side, right? I mean, because of all of those pieces exactly. Come together. And so, the market is, you know, racing to assemble the same pieces if they weren’t there natively to begin with.

Pete Tiliakos 34:57
Yeah, and you know, the payroll providers have even been telling me for a while now that they’re the pureplay Global Payroll providers, they’re getting pulled a little on the HR compliance side of things like, hey, can you help us off board? Can you give us some guidance on this? You know, and that starts to dip into, it’s not an EOR solution at that point. But it does dip into that broader HR or kind of capability where these, these firms weren’t designed for that. And they weren’t necessarily doing that in the past. And so, a lot of them are partnering, or bringing on capabilities to try and support that. So, you can see that the long tail that you talked about is pulling vendors into more work and more scope than maybe they had didn’t necessarily signed up for hope for. And yeah, I think that’s where the EOR model comes into play, where it’s like, look, I’ve got this long tail. I don’t know how to support them. I don’t know what I’m doing. Maybe you will get some help there in that way, as well. So yeah, I love it. I think it’s you know, it, look, this is a growth area, it’s going to continue to grow as long as people are leveraging independent contractors, and people are leveraging talent, you know, wanting to access to talent everywhere, which every company needs right now. So, I just think it’s going to be a very, very normal part of what we do. And I’m sure eventually we’ll see some more adjacencies between, you know, regular managed payroll and EOR to develop,

Kira Rubiano 36:10
I would add to that piece. So is you’re seeing a lot of people trying to get into this space. So, for the past two years, I have been like who’s this. And then I go to myself, because, you know, Atlas has been rebranded, but it was Elements and it’s been around for a while now, I would say one of the original, the OGs in the space. But I see, it’s complex, it takes time to understand what you’re really doing. And sometimes I look at the new guys, and I go, either they’re naive, or they’re they’ve got something that we don’t know. But it takes time to master the wisdom of operating in a country. Because if once again, if you’re legally employing contracting, payrolling, benefiting, there’s a lot that comes under that and that includes managing your local books, it includes managing your local tax compliance, it includes managing your entity operations, all that stuff in that, that takes time that takes money that takes sometimes learning hard lessons. Yeah. And so, what I would say is like for those that are out in the market, and they’re like, Ooh, there’s these new guys. They’ve been around for six months, and they’re saying they could do EOR. In, you know, 100 countries, it’s like, kind of question them on that. Because, yeah, it’s not that easy to get up and running and get established so that you can legally employ people. So how are they? You know, how are they doing that? What kind of experts do they have? How, you know, are they servicing that? Because I’m personally skeptical to be honest, when I see all these new players, but it doesn’t mean they might be doing something we haven’t.

Pete Tiliakos 38:04
This market isn’t incredibly incestuous. And you’re right there. There’s a lot of partnering that goes on around this space. And yeah, totally. We’ve we won’t belabor this subject. But yeah, but kick the tires, right? Know what you’re buying and understand there are a lot of options. And you really need to understand. Yes, yes, question? Absolutely. So, Kira, I want to kind of take us back maybe a little bit differently in a different angle, right, we kind of talked about technology for what it’s doing for payroll, and sort of the adoption around that. But one of the things that I think I’ve been I’ve become very passionate about over the last few years, and I’m really trying to create as many ways as possible to influence this is just helping to elevate the profession, to your point around people coming into this market, often by accident, or by out of necessity, and not necessarily growing up and saying I want to be a payroll leader, which is unfortunate. It’s a great career path. I can I can tell you, you can obviously tell them, but like, what is it going to take for payroll to get that respect, I wrote an article recently about payroll being at an inflection point and I talked a little bit about the less than treatment and the less than stigma on payroll. And there’s a lot of there’s a lot of thought around the whole seat at the table, right? Like should payroll have a seat at the table. I don’t know what table it really is. But the point is, is this people will need more respect and I did some posts on this recently off of Ann Marie I always say her name wrong I think it’s a wage and she had a great she’s the one of the payroll leaders at sip, global, longtime payroll practitioner had a great point about maybe it’s time payroll goes and makes its own table, so to speak, right and then and I kind of second that to say yeah, you’re going to have to push your way to the front of the line but what do you think about payroll having a seat at the table? Right? I mean, what do you think about that? And what do you think about going and getting that seat in general?

Kira Rubiano 39:50
Yeah, and I would say throughout my career, that’s always been a topic and a key question that all pale practitioners discussed with passion. Well, first and foremost, I think payroll needs to bring some sexy back. Because, yeah, it’s, it’s, I think the nature of the word in itself. Like it just doesn’t necessarily Excite, you know, something within people. Like, it’s just not a topic that comes up at the dinner table. You know, very often. So, I think as an industry, we have to figure out how we can make payroll more relevant and more exciting, so that people do talk about it more, because it’s taken for granted? Yeah, 100. It’s taken for granted, every single day. Now, in terms of seats at the table, I would say, if you asked me five years ago, I was very confident that payroll was gaining a seat at the table. What I’ve seen over the past five, six years, I think we’re still a little stuck. I don’t think that payroll is brought in early enough by organizations to make, you know, those critical talent or business decisions around, you know, where do we expand? Where do we grow? Why? And that’s unfortunate. That’s at least my perspective, I think we still have a way to go there. Maybe what do go back to your comment that payroll needs to make a seat? To be frank, I am a person who’s quite vocal, and I’m not afraid to like to give my perspective to my leaders and say, when something is right, something is wrong, what do we need to do? I think it’s about payroll practitioners also gaining confidence within themselves to be able to voice their opinions and concerns, because I think, traditionally a lot of this kind of professional spaces, I would say, a little quieter, sometimes by nature.

Pete Tiliakos 41:57
Oh, yeah, it’s a very reactive way they’re treated right. And often they react that way Instead of being proactive.

Kira Rubiano 42:04
I think, instead of getting the industry or the overall kind of business to always think, oh, we got to bring payroll here. It’s about you, yourself. Yeah, pushing payroll to the forefront in your organization as well.

Pete Tiliakos 42:24
That’s the advice I’ve been really giving is like, look, you’re going to have to what’s that saying about dressing for the job you want, it’s like, my thing is, you’re going to have to behave for the job that you want, you can’t continue to behave like a processor in the back office, you’ve got to start behaving and walking and talking like a strategic adviser, who’s bringing data, who’s removing emotion, and talking in terms of moving the needle from an ROI perspective, or addressing something that needs to be supported in the business right through data. And I think that’s going to be a big part of it, payroll is going to have to start seeing themselves as leaders, as strategic leaders seeing themselves as advisors and leveraging their data to position themselves that way. And I think it can be, it can be very powerful, right? We’ve seen examples of it. You know, in the market, I’ve studied multiple examples of organizations that do very well with investing in their payroll, both from a monetary perspective, but also culturally, and they get a lot of tremendous value out of it in that way. So yeah, payroll is going to have step up a bit.

Julie Fernandez 43:19
I have some thoughts in this area as well, and things that as you know, I do a lot with clients in their transformation journeys, right? And as we’re talking about seat at the table, you know, the first thing that kind of strikes me is like, which table what table are we at? And organizationally, yeah, it matters. And you have to know where you’re, where you’re playing, or which room of the house you’re even in before you’re finding a table. And we do see, you know, less and less, I think in it, that’s fair to say, but you might be, you know, HR owned, or finance owned or shared services might own you. I think, in any case, operations, local operations. And the movement to push a lot of the payroll oversight and harmonized processes up into some central organization is helping to drive conversations that put us more at the table, right? Regardless of which one of those operational areas you fall into. And the more that your organization, you know, sees, you know, everyone sees that it’s the same room, you know, everybody agrees is it should be part of finance or shouldn’t be part of HR, you know, the more likely it is that you end up having that seat at the table. And then you figure out like, which one of those are you in because your HR stakeholders and leaders have very different objectives and priorities and kind of valid values, intrinsic values, then finance or then shared services, they’re all aiming for a different, they’re all marching to slightly different drums still in the same band, and so you’re able to navigate and kind of, you know, understand stakeholders broadly and then understand how your organization values, payroll based on that. Where it where it is and where it isn’t? You know, I think that just becomes difficult, you really need prowess to be able to navigate that and it changes.

Pete Tiliakos 45:10
That’s a great point, you know, I think back to when I was a payroll leader in a Fortune 100, global firm, very, very complicated. And even after that, when I went to work for IBM, and TCS and was working with some of the biggest companies on this, I noticed that, that my success, and many of their successes were often very, I wouldn’t say entirely tied, but very important that they had, I had a sort of ally in the executive level that was bought into payrolls importance, and would fly air cover for me and would back me up and support me. And that’s, that’s, that takes relationship building and collaboration and again, using that data, but I think it’s always good when you can have that executive ally that is there to help you, you know, we get that seat at the table, have those conversations, and then it’s up to you to bring that data and perspective and shine and those moments, and that’s where I think payrolls, got too got to bring a new skill set to take the rich skill set, flip it, use their data and get away from sort of being reactive and being proactive advisors. A lot more success.

Julie Fernandez 46:09
I wonder, do you have a better chance? Or, you know, are you more likely to have a seat at the table or a bigger voice? If you’re, you know, aligned with HR or finance, or it or services?

Pete Tiliakos 46:20
If you’re invited by someone who’s already at the table.

Julie Fernandez 46:23
If you’re aligned with HR, then there’s not a lot of folks that are really dying to crunch into numbers. And like, there’s just different skill sets. Yeah. So yeah, so you’re super valued for those skill sets. When do you see payroll as part of the finance organization? It’s like, Yeah, but your payroll and we do you know, FP and its financial planning and analysis, and so we’re the strategic dog, right. And so, I do think there probably are some reasonable thoughts about maybe you have more weight or more, more pole if you’re part of one organization or another.

Pete Tiliakos 46:56
Yeah, depends on the Org I think, how they Yeah, how they are, but yeah, so Kira, Kira, I’m sorry, what would you like? What advice would you give to somebody who is, you know, a payroll leader who, who either does or doesn’t have the support of their leadership, but has a point of view, has obviously data to speak to and wants to make some change? Like, what would you what would you say to that person?

Kira Rubiano 47:22
One, take, take some solace in the community as well, because there’s many of us who have gone through that before or going through right now. I mean, I’m actually in it, right now in the process of putting together like a business case for something that I want for my team, because it’s going to drive improvement in efficiency. And so, I am getting ready and gearing up with my data, and information and my findings and my conclusion. So, you know, don’t ask for something, just to ask for it. Right, you have to be prepared to back it up. And to back it up. I mean, you know, if you want to be heard it says why you need to be heard and how this is going to create a better impact on the business. And why it’s important to the business. Because I think, you know, what’s taken for granted, I always see the payroll is the heart of the company, because the minute we stop beating, the whole-body collapses.

Pete Tiliakos 48:24
It comes crashing down.

Kira Rubiano 48:26
So, the heart is forgotten as advances, it’s always there. And it’s always beating and nothing’s ever, you know, like, that’s a great shouldn’t be anything wrong with it usually, right? Yeah. But the heart sometimes needs to kind of pound a little harder, right to say, hey, I need you to do this for me. Otherwise, we’re going to have, you know, continued challenges, especially if you’re in a business that’s looking to scale, right? If a business is growing, and the company has amazing goals and trajectories for the coming year, like in your operating Circa 1999, you won’t be able to keep up which impacts your talent experience, which impacts the hiring managers, right? All these different things get impacted. And so then the business gets hindered from being able to grow, if you can’t, yeah, so it’s articulating that to say, Look, I am all here, you know, for the ride, but I need to, you know, be supported so that I can I ensure that all of our experiences are positive, and we do it together. So, it’s really about articulating the why. And being clear with your needs and you ask it is that you want and then seeking guidance from others is huge. No one shouldn’t be afraid to say hey, community, I love your guidance, and this has anyone ever experienced this or how do I go about this, and I don’t doubt people will come to give that advice.

Pete Tiliakos 50:01
People are starving for that, and I’ll tell you, I’ve always said the payroll has one of the richest communities when it comes to supporting each other and taking care of each other. And really, look, there’s no reason to struggle, right? We’ve all probably been through the thing that a lot of us might have been through one of the things that you’re dealing with, as a practitioner, reach out, let’s compare notes, let’s talk, let’s collaborate, because there are answers there are, you know, they’re probably using the systems you’re using. The community is really fantastic in that way. And I think it’s, it’s very unique. But yeah, Julie, what do you think about all this? And any extra thoughts here?

Julie Fernandez 50:32
We’ve been all over the place. So no, I think it’s awesome. And I know, we talked a lot about payroll as a career path. And, and I do think that as we get folks that navigate payroll, I mean, the first place where payroll gets a voice and a seat at the table and, and has a little bit more weight is when a payroll professional has worked their way up the ladder, and has been recognized and becomes a part of a leader in shared services, or, you know, a broader total rewards part in the HR organization or takes on a bigger finance role that includes accounts payable and expense or something. And so, you know, those who are navigating and who are really are enthusiastic and in love this space, there are just so many ways to grow and advance and as you do your knowledge and appreciation for what it takes to really do payroll, and a world of payroll Well, you know, begin to make a make their way into the voice of senior leadership ranks, right.

Pete Tiliakos 51:34
And I think that yeah, I mean, the payroll, the payroll practitioners, you know, you have immense in leaders, right, immense skill sets, right? I mean, all the things you’re going to need for the future of work, you know, when you look at, I talk about this a lot, but the World Economic Forum, put out their jobs report, and one of the things they showed was this matrix on all the skills that are going to be essential over the next five years, where folks where companies are investing where you know, the skills they’re going to prioritize, and it’s analytical thinking attention to detail, adaptability, creativity, leadership, you know, technical acumen sounds like a payroll managers job description, really. And so, I think the payroll, the payroll profession is really poised to shine. And they’re in a great position, they just need to be fostered and curate it and support it and given the technology and the help. And I think they can do great things, and they are going to do great things. And so, I’m excited for the profession. I’m just hoping to move it forward in that way. Would you agree Kira, do you think you feel like your skill set is set you up really well as AI kind of pushes in and changes our roles here in payroll?

Kira Rubiano 52:35
To comment on the AI component. So, I what I tell my team every single day, work smarter, not harder. For me, AI allows myself and my team to work smarter. But we’re still working. We’re still doing, you know, analytical thinking, problem solving, like literally working in this industry, you’re problem solving every single day that doesn’t go away and AI might help you calculate an answer quicker, or come up with a format or give you some sort of guidance, but it’s not going to instantly put all the pieces puzzle pieces together for you. So really, it’s about how do we work smarter, not harder? I think in terms of skill sets, what I’m seeing in this is a difference between what I call my diamonds and my solid players. Yes. Are the diamonds always thinking one step ahead? How can I do this better? How Should I’ve have done it better? What can I do to improve? What are the questions I need to ask? And then the kind of what I call the steady players are doing their job, they’re doing it well. And they’re going through the motions every single day and executing. So, we need a gap. As we continue to focus on this career path, it’s really about preparing that, you know, individual or that group of individuals coming up in the ranks about how they think beyond, yeah, okay. It’s a mindset. You have to think, what are the risks? What are the questions I need to ask; how can I solve this? Because I always tell people, I’m not an expert in every country, I will never claim to be one night and I get every single day, an issue happened in Djibouti in their Nisha, I don’t know but I know how to address it. I know what I need to do to solve it. And I know how to how to get there. I don’t necessarily know the answer right away, but I know how to get there. So, I think it’s about preparing yourself with a new mindset that’s beyond just kind of that execution or that kind of doer and saying how do I change Just my mindset to think beyond that. And if we can do that, then boys will be avengers for sure.

Pete Tiliakos 55:10
So, you guys are superheroes, and you’re definitely going to level. I believe that, you know, the augmentation is really going to free payroll to be the best they can be. And I’m just excited for the skill set and the data to get engaged. I think it’s going to be a great a great profession to continue to be in. And I thank you for sticking around. And we appreciate you. Where can we find you, and we’ll share your links, but what anything you have right now you want to you want to share as well.

Kira Rubiano 55:34
Thank you so much. It’s been awesome. Really, really awesome to talk to people who have the same amount of passion and vigor for this industry. And thank you for, you know, perpetuating it in the right direction and propelling it forward. So, thank you for that. You can find me on LinkedIn. I’m the only Kira Rubiano out there. I don’t know other ones; I stole that domain.

Pete Tiliakos 55:55
We will make sure we share that.

Kira Rubiano 55:57
So, I am very open. If people ever want guidance or mentorship, please feel free to reach out, you know, just focusing on the end of the year at the moment, which is I don’t know if I’d call it my favorite time of year personally. Yes, wonderful time of year, but not for payroll.

Pete Tiliakos 56:15
It’s a season, it’s a full season. I feel it’s it goes on for so long.

Kira Rubiano 56:19
He always keeps on giving.

Pete Tiliakos 56:24
That’s where that’s the final exam for payroll every year is year end.

Kira Rubiano 56:28
And really, you know, there’s some exciting stuff going on, I can’t say, and I’m not going to say, but I found something that I think is going to be quite a game changer for the industry. And I’m really excited to be one of the first to kind of figure it out. So, I’m going to keep my mouth shut for now. I will tell you what that is afterwards.

Pete Tiliakos 56:51
We will be the first to know we want you to come back on.

Julie Fernandez 56:52
It’ll be on our news as soon as you give us the okay.

Pete Tiliakos 56:57
Yes, soon as the NDA is released, we’ll shoot it.

Kira Rubiano 57:01
For sure. But I’m really excited about this and working on it right now. And yeah, hoping to do more of these types of podcasts. Get out there, get more, you know, thought leadership out. And yeah, just keep on trucking. Awesome.

Pete Tiliakos 57:17
Well, thank you. Thank you for what you do. We appreciate you. And listen, everyone, I’m going to share Kira’s LinkedIn link. Definitely go there. I know, you post some good thought leadership here and there on your perspectives on these things, too, which is definitely why we wanted to have you on so keep Be sure to follow her for that. And there’s some great POVs as payroll leaders.

Julie Fernandez 57:37
The big fall conference, I think there’s one typically one December 4th through 6th, which is the NAHRES conference. That’s the North American HR executive summit that usually draws about seven or 800 folks fancy from companies of all sizes. And that takes place in Orlando each year. And so, I’m a mainstay there, I’m often there, and folks can find me there. Or if you’re in the Orlando area, I will be down there the very first week of December. As many folks know, working with practitioners, so much gives me a feel for what some pain points, some unique pain points are and leave pain points, especially their impact to payroll, were something that more than 60% of our survey respondents grumbled about and so I have a micro survey out is less than 20 questions, it’s on leave pain points. And we’re really asking some questions to try to dig in a little bit into what are the dimensions and characteristics that companies are experiencing that make that so painful. And hopefully that’ll give us some insights into how we might be able to solve it or what types of trends or, or different directions those lead pain points might be taking. So that would be fun love to have folks that feel pushed out there, via LinkedIn is have the QR code for participating. But please, folks, get your leave persons or your HR person or whoever can give us some insights into that help us diagnose why leave is the number one pain point for payroll. And one other item that will be coming up, I’ve been tackling some content around workday benefits versus best of breed benefits. And as the workday goes down market and large companies have traditionally used a lot of best of breed benefits. And I find a lot of questions come up about you know about one versus the other. And there’s no right or wrong answer. But there’s a lot of different contexts in between that make something works for one company that doesn’t work for another. So, lots of content forthcoming here at the end of the year on some of those touch points as well. So, for that, and I’ll share it out, as you know.

Pete Tiliakos 59:41
Very good. Yeah. I wanted to make sure we get the survey in there. I was wondering if that was still going. So yeah, please, if you haven’t taken that survey, I’ve shared it. I know Julie’s shared it. I’ll reshare it again, and we’ll make sure it’s here in the description. Yeah, and for me, look, I’ve got a few more events left to go to heading out to UKG’s Aspire next week. So, if any, I don’t know if the It’ll be up by then. But look for me there, if anyone’s out there, and I just recorded, I think we did six or eight episodes of the source by daily pay live from money 2020. And that’s going to feature multiple founders from around the FinTech space, the finance world and money movement. So, look for those soon. I’m going to see if we can share them on this platform as well. And then, of course, I did a couple of podcasts or excuse me, not podcasts, webinars this week with pays lip and Eisav, both on payroll and Global Payroll technology. So, check those out if you can for the replays, they’ll be coming out soon. Well, listen, Kira, thank you so much for coming on. It’s great to have you and Julie, thank you as always, and yeah, we’ll talk to everybody soon.

Kira Rubiano 1:00:37
Thank you so much.

Pete Tiliakos 1:00:38
Take care.

Julie Fernandez 1:00:40
Bye bye.

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