As Part Of National Payroll Week 2020, We Have Interviewed Our Payroll Expert, Carol Webb PM Dip About All Things Payroll

National Payroll Week Is A Fantastic Opportunity To Make People Aware That Our Industry Is So Much More Than Clicking A Few Buttons

How did you get in to payroll?

Payroll was a natural progression from bookkeeping. All through my office management and finance management life someone else did the payroll so it was not something I had ever thought about. Then, when I first started on my own I was asked to provide maternity cover for another bookkeeper. When she showed me the ropes she asked me to do a simple payroll, that's when the realisation hit me that I would need to understand payroll to be an efficient bookkeeper.

Luckily, I had taken a City and Guilds in Sage bookkeeping when I was an office manager for a medical robotics company and I had to understand the implications of payroll at this point, so I took it upon myself to understand. This was a while ago and it was then a very manual process of how tax tables worked and how to calculate payroll.

It was ten years of working within my PM Dip (payroll qualification) from ICB (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers) that I realised that having more formal qualifications would not only help myself but help my clients so I became a member of CIPP (The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals.) 

At the time of taking my PM Dip with ICB, payroll was relatively easy, I passed with distinction and it is something I am very proud of. Continual professional development (CPD) is compulsory for membership of both the ICB and the CIPP, I therefore stay on top of all of the changes within payroll and I attend the legislation updates that CIPP provide. There is so much that a small Bureasu like ours does not need to do on a day to day basis but understanding all of the extra areas of payroll helps. As part of the legislation updates, we have refreshers on levy for CIS and apprenticeships as well as completion of reports for gender gap and other such government reporting. 

What do you like about payroll?

Payroll is all about deadlines, people’s livelihood can depend on you getting it all done in time for the payments to be made,  which can be daunting, but equally it is very satisfying when you meet the deadline. Some payrolls are incredibly complex, this is not helped when you finish and the client tells you that they didn’t send you everything or the time sheets were last months and you have to re work it all. Once you are done and everything is accurate and you have happy employees, it is great.

I have helped our clients out with advice during the coronavirus pandemic, explaining the furlough scheme, helping them understand what they need to do from their end, and where we can help. A lot of them were really confused with what applied to them and what didn’t. This was especially so with our clients that are early years providers, as government funding affected their claims. The thanks and appreciation I have received from this was amazing, it has meant a lot to me.

What do you dislike about payroll?

The most difficult thing about payroll is the lack of understanding of what we do as payroll professionals, most people (including employers) do not know where HR ends and payroll begins. Many employers don’t understand that they need to give us the right information to make the appropriate decisions and it can be very difficult to explain that payroll is not just a matter of entering numbers into a piece of software. 

You prefer BrightPay payroll software, why is that?

I trained on Sage payroll, at the time I felt this was a really good and simple payroll software but as things progressed and we had RTI (Real Time Information) to contend with, things became more complicated and more software packages seemed to appear which was the nail in the coffin for many with Sage payroll. When we had auto enrolment pension to deal with, the way in which Sage handled it, in my opinion became very complicated.

I met Anne and Amanda from BrightPay at an ICB Summit event and I have not looked back since! It is so intuitive and the API (Application Programming Interface) connections to accounting software help with the journals that can be complex in some cases and make the experience of auto enrolment submissions so much simpler than my days with Sage.

Name one thing about running payroll that surprised you?

It is the compact payroll reference book that the CIPP supply their members with. This ‘compact’ book has nearly 700 pages to it! Payroll is not simple! The legislation update that I went to earlier this year had over 200 pages of information in it, lots of it contains legal cases that are not legislated for yet but do have an impact on how we do payroll and these have to be considered in certain cases.


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