The Payroll Game Changer

Articles following on from the conference

What’s better? Being based in HR or Finance?

At the first Payroll Game Changer conference back in 2014 we had a debate about whether Payroll belongs in finance vs HR. Of course, our third panellist who argued payroll should have their own department won the day!

But at the February 2018 Payroll Game Changer we wanted to talk about what it’s like being a payroll team based in finance vs being based in HR. What are the challenges in each? What can you do to work better with the department you are based in?

And so we had an interactive session. Interestingly almost half of those attending were based in finance and half were based in HR – almost an exact split. We asked each group to write up the challenges and ideas on the whiteboard.

Here’s what the payroll professionals based in Finance came up with:

Payroll finance2

So interestingly when you’re in payroll based in finance, you’re seen as less black and white than other areas of finance – whereas compared to HR who work in the grey alot, payroll is the black and white and clear cut area. The other key issue is there are a lot of exceptions in payroll thanks to the wonderfulness of the Holidays Act, whereas finance does not like exceptions.

The ideas that the conference attendees had around working with finance is to always talk numbers, make sure finance understand payroll is money, and be proactive in reporting what’s happening – deadlines, issues and financials.

The half of the conference who were based in HR had a bit more to write on the whiteboard (does this signify that it’s more challenging to be based in HR, or just that this group were more extroverted?). Here’s what they came up with:

payroll HR2

Challenges included HR not being as comfortable with data, unlike finance. Payroll having to step over into advising on legislation and processes which are really HR, not payroll and there’s also a blurry line between what HR and payroll should advise on anyway. And while finance understand deadlines as they work to them constantly, HR teams have less understanding that something has to be processed NOW or people won’t be paid.

The ideas this group had for working well within an HR team included broadening your payroll skills so that they include HR, and also including HR in your payroll training so they understand what’s happening.

So whether you’re based in finance or HR, there are different challenges and it’s useful to think about what you can do as a payroll professional to overcome these!

If you’d like more ideas, the Payroll Game Changer is coming to Wellington in September to explore payroll Excellence! Super Early Bird tickets are now available. Check it out at

Payroll Excellence Banner



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This entry was posted on May 8, 2018 by in Payroll.


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