Payroll and HR

Jill Rosemary

| 112 Posts

Chartered Member

12 Mar, 2014 12:30

Hi everyone, haven't been on in a while.  Just a bit of feedback. Do you consider Payroll to be a HR function or a Finance function?  It does fall under both, but for purposes of reporting to, for those of you with someone working internally on payroll (i.e. not using an outsourced provider) does that person report into finance or to HR?  The reason I ask is because I am continuing to have problems with our payroll person (long story)! Her antics are extremely disengaging (e.g. docking pay for the odd time someone may leave 5 mins early, not noting the times they may have stayed behind) reporting senior managers for not using the clocking system - even though they are salaried and not paid by the hour! Generally back stabbing and being Big Brother! She has created a terrible atmosphere. Her direct manager is unable to handle or manage her, so for purposes of trying to change her ways I thought perhaps it could be an idea to have her dotted line reporting to me, at least when it comes to the payroll side.  However don't wish to upset the apple cart with our financial director either, but if thought operationally a lot of Payroll personnel reported to HR would have a good case to alleviate him of the responsibility...In my last role our Payroll administrator reported to myself, dotted line to finance.

  • Steve Bridger

    | 6927 Posts

    Community Manager

    12 Mar, 2014 12:36

    Hi Jill,

    See Eizabeth's response to a similar question here.

    And other threads, which may be of interest.

  • Lisa

    | 49 Posts

    Chartered Member

    12 Mar, 2014 13:57

    Hi Jill,

    In both my current and a previous organisation payroll has reported into HR, after having previously reported into Finance. This has been a deliberate decision in both cases after having experienced difficulties in properly linking payroll processes to people processes that sit with HR. Plus, there's no doubt that staff and managers tend to involve HR when pay problems arise and HR tend to have to advise on pay-related situations so there is definitely a case to be made in my view for payroll reporting to HR. 

    I also believe that both the organisations I've mentioned have benefitted from the change in the long-term and it has had a positive impact on our ability to manage certain situations with employees.


  • Wow Jill!! Dont do it haha if payroll falls under another dept I'd be inclined to leave it there and help the Manager manage their staff! I shudder at the thought of payroll!
  • David Perry

    | 4850 Posts

    Chartered Member

    12 Mar, 2014 15:54

    one problem that springs to mind here is regardless of who the payroll person reports to, you feel she's overstepping her responsibility and roles.  In this case she is making decisions which,in my view are not hers to make.

     If you feel assertive enough, then I'd suggest having a word with her, firmly if need be.  If you think she's stepping on your toes, or others who are not payroll, ie operations etc., then she can't have a leg to stand on.  However it might be prudent to tell/inform her line manager what you are doing or at least get their approval. 

  • Keith

    | 9892 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    12 Mar, 2014 16:22

    Dotted lines rarely (in my experience) facilitate changing behaviours - hard lines do.

    I have had payroll reporting into me in the past and also into finance. To be honest hasnt made a huge amount of difference.

  • Hi Jill

    I have read this post with interest as it always seems to come up wherever I work!  I agree with both what Keith and David have said - it seems a more hard line approach needs to be taken here.  To start with the employee in question needs to be managed appropriately and go back to basics by evaluating her job specification.  What problems is she having and why - what can be done to make her job more efficient/streamlined as well as everyone else's.  Whilst I totally understand where you are coming from with your comment about senior managers being reported for not clocking in as they are salaried and are expected to manage their times appropriately - surely this is something that would come up under a H&S aspect?  What if there is a fire in the building - how would you know everyone was out of the building etc.  Where I work we all have to either clock in or sign the attendance book and a lot of managers including myself have to work/visit other offices etc and have to register our attendance in the buildings.  (Ok I have to be honest here my hubby is a firefighter so I am a little passionate about this aspect!!)

    Are there clear rules with regards to docking pay or not etc and does everyone know this (not just payroll).  Having dealt with a similar case recently one of our managers wanted to remove an employee from a particular post because they were "not doing" what they should have been" but it turns out that we had failed to appropriately "manage" the indiviudal for several years and just let them get on with it.  Completely our own fault.  We have now had to ensure a proper performance management structure is in place etc etc and we also need to ensure the manager is doing what needs to be done.  So far whilst it is taking time we are seeing some positive results and we have had to be a little tough both on the employee in question and the manager! 

    I dont agree or disagree about whether payroll should come under the HR umbrella - i have had dealings with both and either way has its pros and cons.  (certainly sometimes I can feel that all I seem to be doing is sorting out payroll issues!!!) Not sure if a "dotted" line will make any thing easier - could it just confuse the issue for the individual in question and make her more difficult?  As Keith has said some changes in facilitating behaviours needs to take place.


  • Jill Rosemary

    | 112 Posts

    Chartered Member

    18 Mar, 2014 12:42

    Sorry all, was on annual leave so just catching up on replies now.  I think David you have hit the nail on the head, am I brave enough to broach this with her? I think I am but timing will be everything and indeed also with the support of her manager (who is a whizz at finance but dreadful when it comes to people management!!)  Thanks for all the replies.  
  • Sounds like a nightmare, but to some extent I have sympathy for this lady. Working as a lone payroll person isn’t easy.

    As a payroll manager with 14 years experience of in-house payroll operation, I do not believe that either reporting line is intrinsically better. A strong and collaborative relationship between HR and payroll is essential to smooth payroll operation. Reporting figures through to finance is simpler than compiling and understanding all the people information needed to run payroll effectively but this doesn’t necessarily mean sitting within HR. Breaking down communication barriers is more important than formal reporting lines.

    Neither HR managers nor financial controllers generally understand the payroll function well, many freely admit to this.  Unfortunately this leaves payroll too often left to sit in the corner and fend for itself, poorly performance managed, denied development opportunities and with little visibility of the rest of the business. When we are set goals it is most often simply to pay people on time, again, or to police organisational rules more firmly.

    We are naturally rule oriented people and I find that most payrollers hold firm black and white rules regarding what is right and wrong. Some of these are accurate reflections of HMRC or organisational rules, but others exist only in the mind of the payroller. Such rules many been inherited from the previous incumbent in the role, but may have been constructed based on past demands from managers and individual moral code. Many payrollers have a wealth of experience but little or no formal training, myself included.

    At some point in her career she will likely have been criticised for failing to police managerial behaviour that is out of her control. For example senior managers sometimes make mistakes in bonus calculations.  It falls to payroll to help them correct the error, smooth the consequences with the employee and placate the financial controller, angry at having mistakes in their accounts.  A good payroller acts as a buffer, but that leaves us subject to criticism from all parties. Policing attendance data is something over which she will feel able to gain control.

    We’ve faced a lot of unique pressures lately in our normally steady profession; RTI and Auto-enrolment are massive challenges for a system largely unchanged since the 1940’s. I’m sure there’s much more to the scenario than the information you’ve posted, but might is be possible that this “acting out” stems from a lack of support and feeling of losing control? In that case reaching out, either with a firm or a dotted line, might be just what’s needed.
  • Steve Bridger

    | 6927 Posts

    Community Manager

    19 Mar, 2014 12:46

    Thanks for this, Jane. Welcome to the Communities.
  • Jacqueline

    | 1931 Posts

    Chartered Member

    19 Mar, 2014 13:29

    Jane, that's a brilliant insight - thank you for sharing it!

  • Jill Rosemary

    | 112 Posts

    Chartered Member

    19 Mar, 2014 14:45

    Thanks Jane, appreciate the insight from payroll's perspective!  Food for thought!
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