5 Payroll Challenges Unique to Franchises (and How to Solve Them)

July 4, 2024by Crystal Payroll

Running a franchise comes with its unique set of challenges, especially when it comes to managing payroll across multiple locations. From handling regional public holidays to ensuring compliance with local laws, franchise owners need a payroll system that simplifies these complexities. In this blog, we’ll explore common payroll challenges franchises face and provide practical solutions, including how Crystal Payroll can help streamline your payroll processes, ensure compliance, and save costs

Challenge 1: Managing Regional Anniversary Public Holidays

While New Zealand has the same employment laws across regions, there’s one difference you’ll have to account for when processing payroll. Those are regional public holidays, such as Auckland Anniversary Day and Wellington Anniversary Day. Ensuring the correct public holidays are paid at the right time can be difficult on top of ensuring the correct pay for employees. If using a centralized payroll system, franchise owners with multiple locations across different regions face the challenge of ensuring that employees receive the correct pay for these regional holidays. 

As a solution, franchises can opt for a decentralized payroll system strategy, where each franchisee handles their own payroll. This approach has the following benefits and considerations:

As a solution, franchises can opt for a decentralized payroll system strategy, where each franchisee handles their own payroll. This approach has the following benefits and considerations:

  1. Localized Management: With a decentralized payroll system, each franchisee manages payroll for their own location. This means that all employees within a franchisee’s location are in the same region, simplifying the management of regional public holidays.
  2. Reduced Complexity: By decentralizing payroll management, the complexity of handling multiple regional holidays across different locations is minimized. Each franchisee can focus on the specific holidays relevant to their region.
  3. Limitations: While this strategy reduces the need to handle regional differences, it may not be suitable for work-from-home scenarios or employees who work across multiple locations. However, this may be less relevant for franchises primarily in retail and hospitality, where employees typically work in a single physical location.
  4. Consistency Challenges: A decentralized approach might lead to inconsistencies in payroll processes and policies across different franchise locations. Franchise owners need to ensure that franchisees are trained and equipped to handle payroll accurately and consistently.

If a decentralized payroll solution isn’t an option, use Crystal Payroll. Crystal Payroll offers a specialized feature that allows franchises to set the region for each employee within the system. This ensures that employees are paid correctly for their specific regional public holidays. When setting up an employee’s profile, the payroll administrator can specify the employee’s region. Crystal Payroll then automatically applies the correct public holidays for that region.

Challenge 2: Maintaining Accurate Records Across Multiple Locations

Maintaining accurate payroll records is essential in New Zealand due to strict and complex employment legislation. Failure to keep precise records can lead to audits by labor inspectors, and without proper documentation, businesses may face penalties and legal issues.

If using a centralized payroll system, franchises should seek payroll systems that support cost centers, allowing them to sort and store payroll data by branches or departments. Having payroll data organized by location can be incredibly beneficial, as it enables the generation of detailed reports for individual branches or the entire franchise. This centralized approach simplifies the review process, eliminating the need to compare hundreds of separate reports.

Franchises that use a decentralized payroll system often struggle with maintaining transparency and obtaining comprehensive reports across all locations. Gathering and comparing multiple reports can lead to inconsistencies and errors, as each report may have different criteria and formats. 

To help franchises with this issue, Crystal Payroll provides exclusive reports for franchised clients, consolidating information from all locations into a single, comprehensive report.

These reports include:

  • Employee Monthly Summary:
      1. Provides a monthly summary across all franchise locations.
      2. Includes details on annual leave entitlements, employee terminations, and resignations.
      3. Highlights changes occurring during the given month.
  • Leave Taken Summary:
    1. Displays all leave taken across franchise locations, specifying the location.
    2. Allows determination of leave dates, enabling review of specific time periods.

These consolidated reports are highly beneficial as they provide a comprehensive view of the entire franchise in one place. This approach prevents discrepancies caused by comparing multiple reports generated with different criteria. Using Crystal Payroll’s franchise reporting features saves time, reduces errors, and ensures a fast, stress-free reporting process.

Franchise head offices can achieve greater transparency and maintain accurate records across all locations, facilitating better management and compliance with New Zealand’s employment regulations.

Challenge 3: Ensuring Consistent Payroll Training Across Multiple Locations

Maintaining compliance with payroll regulations can be challenging for franchises, especially when different locations may have their unique approaches to payroll. Misinterpreting payroll legislation is common and can lead to costly errors. Ensuring that all franchise locations follow the same rules and procedures is crucial for avoiding these issues.

Employment New Zealand emphasizes the importance of managing risks associated with franchisees from the beginning. There are three main stages to focus on for effective compliance:

  1. Pre-Contract Preparation: Before a franchisee signs on, it’s important to ensure they understand the payroll requirements and have access to the necessary resources and training.
  2. Contract Confirmation and Documentation: Clear and comprehensive documentation of payroll processes should be part of the franchise agreement. This documentation helps standardize payroll practices across all locations. At the minimum, the franchisee must understand the Holidays Act 2003 to ensure they are aware of the laws that affect their payroll.
  3. Ongoing Monitoring: Regular audits and reporting can help identify any deviations from the standard procedures, allowing for timely corrections and updates.

To facilitate consistent payroll practices, franchise owners should ensure that all franchisees undergo thorough training on the payroll system used. Crystal Payroll offers tailored training for all users, ensuring that everyone understands how to use the system effectively. This training includes setup and customization options that suit the specific needs of each franchise.

With Crystal Payroll, franchises benefit from:

  • Standardized Training: Ensuring all users are trained on the same system, promoting consistency across locations. Crystal Payroll even offers an accreditation course which is designed to give the ins and outs of our system for anyone who wants to be well-versed in their payroll processing.
  • Comprehensive Documentation: Clear, easy-to-follow instructions for all payroll processes.
  • Detailed Reporting: Consolidated reports that provide insights into payroll activities across all franchise locations.

Challenge 4: Integrating Payroll with Existing Systems

One of the challenges franchises face is integrating their payroll system with existing banking, accounting, and time clocking software, especially if different locations have different needs. Seamless integration is essential for ensuring data consistency, reducing manual entry errors, and streamlining operations across multiple locations.

Franchises often use a variety of systems to manage different aspects of their business. Without proper integration, payroll administrators may need to manually input data from one system to another, leading to inefficiencies and potential errors. This can complicate payroll processing, compliance, and reporting, especially when dealing with large volumes of data across numerous locations.

Here’s how franchises can solve this issue:

  1. Comprehensive Integrations: Look for a system that offers extensive integrations with various banking, accounting, and time clocking software, making it highly flexible and compatible with any existing systems. This means franchisees can maintain their current setup while enhancing their payroll processes.
  2. Custom Integrations for Franchise Needs: Franchises that have unique requirements and have their own custom solutions already in place, finding a payroll provider that is able to implement custom integrations is a big advantage. That’s why Crystal Payroll provides custom integration solutions. For example, we have integrated with Hell Pizza’s Hell Hole time management system and Oracle Hospitality for Pizza Hut, ensuring that their specific operational needs are met seamlessly.
  3. Streamlined Data Flow: By integrating payroll with existing systems, franchises can achieve a streamlined data flow, reducing the need for manual data entry and minimizing the risk of errors. This ensures that all payroll-related information, such as hours worked, leave taken, and pay rates, is accurately captured and processed.
  4. Enhanced Reporting and Compliance: Integrated systems enable comprehensive reporting capabilities, allowing franchises to generate detailed reports that combine data from multiple sources. This helps in maintaining compliance with local labor laws and simplifies the audit process.
  5. Time and Cost Savings: Automating data transfer between systems saves time and reduces costs associated with manual data entry and corrections. It also frees up payroll administrators to focus on more strategic tasks, enhancing overall operational efficiency.

Challenge 5: Finding a Cost-Efficient Payroll System that Fits Franchise Needs

Selecting the right payroll system is crucial for franchises, but finding one that fits both needs and budget can be challenging. Many payroll systems are expensive due to the complexity and importance of accurate payroll processing. Some providers even offer outsourced payroll services where they handle everything, but these services come at a high premium.

A suitable payroll system should regularly update to stay compliant with changing legislation and offer robust reporting capabilities to handle the complexities of a franchise business structure. It’s essential to have a system that can seamlessly manage payroll across multiple franchise locations.

Here’s how franchises can ensure they choose a cost-efficient payroll system:

  1. Self-Service vs. Outsourcing: While outsourcing payroll can save time, it is often more expensive than a self-service subscription. Processing payroll in-house gives franchises complete control over how payroll is managed, which can be more efficient and cost-effective. By managing payroll internally, franchise owners can ensure that all specific needs and unique scenarios are handled directly, reducing the risk of miscommunication or delays that can occur with outsourced services.
  2. Special Deals for Franchises: Franchises can leverage their status to negotiate discounts or special deals with payroll providers. Larger franchises often benefit from bulk pricing or other perks, making it more affordable to implement a standardized payroll system across all locations. This not only reduces costs but also ensures consistency in payroll processing. By negotiating as a collective, franchises can secure more favorable terms and additional benefits that might not be available to smaller, individual clients.
  3. Preferred Payroll Partner: Establishing a preferred payroll partner can streamline payroll processes across the entire franchise. This relationship can lead to customized solutions and exclusive offers, enhancing efficiency and cost savings for the franchise. Having a single provider for all payroll needs ensures that all franchise locations are on the same system, simplifying training, support, and integration with other business systems.

Crystal Payroll is the preferred payroll supplier for Four Square and Super Liquor. Both franchises have benefited from our services through exclusive perks, such as free training for all their franchisees, tailored reporting solutions, and dedicated support. These benefits have enabled them to manage their payroll processes more efficiently and cost-effectively, ensuring compliance and smooth operations across all their locations.

See how Crystal Payroll improved payroll efficiency and transparency for Four Square North Island with our testimonial with Arron Buchanan, HR Business Partner at Foodstuffs.


By focusing on these strategies, franchises can find a payroll system that is both effective and budget-friendly. Crystal Payroll, for instance, offers competitive pricing and tailored solutions for franchises, ensuring that all locations can benefit from a unified, efficient payroll system without breaking the bank.

Are you a franchisor looking for a payroll solution that truly fits your needs? Contact us today to learn how Crystal Payroll can offer you the compliance, efficiency, and cost savings your franchisee’s deserve. As the preferred payroll provider for Four Square and Super Liquor, we’ve already helped numerous franchises streamline their payroll processes with our New Zealand based support team and customized franchise reporting. Let’s work together to ensure your payroll is handled smoothly, so there’s peace of mind for every member of your franchise family.

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for informational purposes and should not be considered as financial or legal advice. Always consult with professionals for tailored guidance.

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