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Do you know what's happening in your Payroll team?
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Do you know what's happening in your Payroll team?

Posted on 20 December 2019

Through the lens of a recruiter blog series

The payroll industry is being propelled into a new age with innovation & customer delivery at its core. The evolution of a model for HR Shared Services enables companies to integrate HR Operations, Remuneration & Benefits & Payroll through the interface between HRIS systems, such as Workday & Success Factors, and payroll, creating a seamless experience across the employee life cycle. The demand for candidates, who can shift from their core function to other areas of a business, offers longevity to a career that is being irreversibly impacted by robotics & process automation. 


This evolution has been undermined by underpayment controversies that challenge the fabric of the payroll community itself. The industry and its partners have been forced to reflect and acknowledge that sophisticated systems in isolation, will not protect against the financial & legal implications of weak implementation & business integration. 

The controversy has put increasing pressure on the payroll talent pool & made it more difficult to attract candidates who are resilient & adaptable to the current climate. As the list of leading Australian companies who are affected grows, it is critical for clients to rely on market insight & trusted referrals when they hire in payroll, especially with the risk of serious repercussions, & prosecutions imminent. 

The current climate of uncertainty has added further challenges to payroll recruitment. Finding high calibre & unique talent is already fraught with difficulty, and it is extremely important for payroll professionals to disassociate themselves from these latest scandals. Companies need to take extra care during their hiring process, completing rigorous background checks & extensive reference checking to minimise their risk. The service of a specialist recruiter with access to networks & market information can prevent the damage of poor hires, and often mitigate risk & reduce cost due to errors. 

“Employers surveyed stated payroll was by far the most difficult area within accounting support to attract quality candidates.”

         - AccountAbility 2019 Market Trends report


The challenge for industry professionals is that the source of these business-critical issues does not always lie within the payroll function.  Investigations into high profile examples of payment errors found the fault often fell on historical & systemic problems flagged by the Head of Payroll, but ignored by Senior Management. In the current era of payroll & HRIS transformation, it has become important for candidates to define their ownership for business systems & separate themselves when data integrity is compromised by other business functions. We must ask ourselves, why don't internal business structures enable and support Payroll professionals to raise and resolve issues?  Whatever the malfunction, or failure of systems infrastructure, payroll is at the forefront of customer service & feedback. 

The decision of global companies to outsource, or to implement platforms that don’t seamlessly integrate with Australian legislation, has exacerbated problems. As a result, there is an increased demand for payroll consultants with the ability to rebuild procedures from the ground up. An increased appetite for interim talent to drive re-engineering projects has enabled Payroll Managers to focus on BAU delivery & operational leadership. Unless deep-rooted problems are resolved it is difficult to avoid these patterns of high attrition & poor performance in payroll teams. Seamless operational delivery & service are only possible when systems are functional & efficient. 

In summary, the elevation of payroll within business hierarchy is an extremely positive development.

The emergence of new career paths - aligned with changes in the economic & digital landscape - provide newly discovered opportunities for career longevity. Greater recognition - combined with the exposure of the industry to recent events - means it is essential for payroll professionals to validate their achievements & experience beyond scrutiny. Where the responsibility for these issues exists internally with Senior Management, there will be serious consequences & implications at an individual & corporate level. It is key for payroll candidates to be resolute in their convictions about decisions that may compromise an organisation from a legal perspective.

If you need support and assistance finding great payroll candidates at AccountAbility we have a brilliant team able to assist you. If you would like further information, don't hesitate to contact me.

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