As National Payroll Week is here again, time to meet our team. Starting with a Q&A with Donna Simons – Payroll Supervisor at Revell Ward (and rugby fan)
First of all, back to basics – what does the payroll service entail?
People often don’t really know what we payrollers do! In a nutshell: we help businesses big and small to keep up with legislation, pay their employees correctly and comply with statutory regulations. As a payroll bureau we receive payroll data from our clients – usually by spreadsheet through our secure portal. We then ‘process’ this information making sure that the employee receives the correct net pay. We also make sure that HMRC receive the correct information and the amount they are due. In recent years this has extended to autoenrolment pensions too. The mantra of anyone working in payroll is to ‘Pay Accurately and on Time’. National Payroll Week 2018 is about recognising that the people behind the scenes are ‘Keeping the UK Paid’. We’re the unsung heroes, really.
Tell us about your career so far.
My career spans 3 decades! As an office junior right at the start of my working life I worked in accounts – which included 2 days in the wages office. Even when I moved into a role within the Personnel office most of my tasks were around timesheets, holiday and sickness processing. Employees were paid in cash, but the size of the company meant we had a delivery of wage packets each week which I then had to sort and distribute to employees.
I have worked for a small company doing a weekly payroll – back in the days when people received cash, my Friday afternoon was being locked in a room with a pile of cash and making sure it went into the correct wage packets. This sounds easy – but you had to make sure the cash was ordered in the correct denominations to split into each packet. I have processed payrolls for a large company, a local authority, and a large multi-national bureau.
There have been many technological and legislative changes in those years – some good, some bad and many that most people would never notice. I even got my Foundation Degree in Payroll Management a few years ago – the qualification to back up what I had been doing for years. When I came for an interview at Revell Ward it was because it was close to home. I’d always rejected interviews at accountancy firms – payroll is usually something they offer but don’t value. Revell Ward were different – they recognised the importance of their payroll bureau. Payroll is often undervalued – many people see the various payroll systems and assume it is just ‘pressing a button’.
And how would a typical day look?
In payroll, every day is unique, there is no typical day in payroll. The last two weeks of the month will find me either processing payrolls – or reviewing those processed by the rest of the team. I receive the information from the client, make changes in the payroll system – both temporary and permanent. The next job is to reconcile what is calculated to make sure it agrees to what it is expected to, and return it to the client. I also spend my time checking what others in the bureau do. Some payrolls are complex or just large. We check what goes out very carefully.
In the first two weeks of the month, when it’s not so busy, you’re likely to find me implementing improvements to our systems or helping clients to make their processes more efficient and time-saving.
What makes you passionate about your role?
Every day is different, you learn new things all the time. You get a great sense of achievement when resolving a complex issue. Whilst it is ‘numbers’ you know that there is a person at the end of the process – and those ‘numbers’ need to be right, as they mean a great deal to the individual employee.
What are the main benefits clients get from working with the Revell Ward payroll team?
We care. (I could stop there).
We are professional, and we are always wanting to do our best – and to do it right. When things go wrong (not that often, but things do) we put it right. Legislation that affects people is always complex and a computer cannot possibly process all the variables – unless this information is put into the system correctly. A good payroller knows what they expect from a payroll system and doesn’t just accept the output is correct.
Tell us a bit about a project you have worked on that you found rewarding.
We’ve recently introduced a secure portal, MyePayWindow, as part of our GDPR compliance, although it comes with loads of additional benefits and more to come in future. I’ve enjoyed implementing that and updating our system notes and training the team (and clients!) accordingly.
What three words would you use to sum up the Revell Ward Payroll team?
Professional, efficient – and ginger!
If you weren’t part of the Revell Ward team, what would be your dream job?
I’m in my dream job! But I’d love to be paid to review hotels all around the world.
Give us a funny/unusual fact about yourself that no-one would guess…
I took a year out when I was 19 and lived in New Zealand for a year.