Complexity, fragmented processes and compliance risks topped the list of issues facing Microsoft’s global payroll teams. The only answer was a global solution.

Microsoft believed it could successfully address those challenges while also improving the employee experience, but nobody believed it would be easy. In fact, it wasn’t clear a true global solution was even possible.

Microsoft was unable to identify a similar payroll unification and transformation project that addressed so many employees across so many countries. Further complicating the initiative was the need to deal with multiple stakeholders, challenging controls and operations complexities while simultaneously addressing potential privacy risks and data accuracy concerns.

What Accenture did

Based on a long and successful history of prior engagements, Microsoft contracted with Accenture to serve as the single global supplier of payroll governance and data administration, to help implement the ground-breaking global project named OnePayroll.

More than 50 external suppliers providing payroll services in 85 countries were then consolidated to three. Accenture and Microsoft worked together with them to standardize their payroll processes, handoffs reporting and other workflow.

Accenture supported Microsoft in creating a “one-stop-shopping” Global Payroll Services Portal enabling employees to easily submit and escalate inquiries. To facilitate the early and ongoing success of OnePayroll, Microsoft and Accenture worked together to:

Greater Visibility

Create a framework to help global stakeholders obtain greater visibility into major operational issues in specific countries.

Improve Quality

Improve quality of service by restructuring service delivery teams to expedite inquiry response rates.

Communication Framework

Establish a formal communication framework to track performance and provide Microsoft with regular visibility.

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Managing transitions to reduce risk and disruption

  • Comprehensive planning exercises to define the global process for payroll in each country.
  • Transition broken into waves over 2.5 years, with a typical wave including more than 20 countries.
  • Development of two key roles: Accenture’s Assistant Payroll Consultants (APCs) Microsoft’s Payroll Service Delivery Managers (PSDMs)

Ongoing improvements in real time

  • Quality Assurance and Training team focused on improving standardized processes across all service regions.
  • Traditional monthly business reviews were restructured to stimulate engagement with a broader range of stakeholders.
  • Developed and implemented a Power BI tool, providing a consolidated dashboard of service metrics.

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People and culture

Accenture continues to support high performance in Microsoft’s global payroll through commitments to efficiency, quality, consistency and continuous collaboration. Rigorous attention to service level agreements and a mindful focus on the employee experience enables the team to apply valuable learnings as each new country joins OnePayroll.

With stable operations seen across regions, Accenture and Microsoft are shifting focus to see how to automate processes to minimize manual entries and improve quality. Plans are underway to bring the full scope of OnePayroll service to more than 100 countries – proving once again that when two leading companies collaborate, anything is possible.

Value delivered

OnePayroll, which offers a single, standard way for employees to interact with payroll operations is now:


Serving more than 43,000 employees in 88 countries.


Operating in 15 languages from four Accenture Delivery Centers.


Managing, on average, nearly 2,900 employee inquiries per month.


Preventing overpayments and underpayments, including more than US$10 million to date.

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Mission Impossible: Find out how Microsoft and Accenture turned the "impossible" into an opportunity.

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