Yes, the payroll professional does know everything because we are expected to know everything! We know all about that which is happening in our organisation: from employee overtime, to employee leave and sometimes, even advance warnings of retrenchments too.
Sometimes, we’re also privy to sensitive information related to employees’ personal lives: sensitive information such as garnishee order details, it88a’s, turbulence in marriages and sometimes, the soon-to-be birth of an employee’s new baby.
In addition, it is without doubt, also essential for the payroll professional to be well acquainted with his/her organisation’s company policies and procedures.
Importantly, although our ‘knowing everything’ is of value to our organisation, the overriding ability to wisely utilise this all-knowing knowledge is the true differentiator that determines our ‘relevance factor’ within our organisation. In the eyes of management, this fact certainly does encourage the payroll professional to be highly relevant at all times.
As a payroll professional, if you wish to boost your ‘relevance factor’, why not try focussing on the following 5 pointers:
The ability to deliver a 100% accurately-processed payroll (that is always 100% on time) is the absolute minimum standard for your department. This is what senior management expect of the payroll professional. The payroll professional’s relevance is boosted, for example, by their ability to present a meaningful analysis of the most recent payroll-run. Be ready to provided insights on:
- New employees
- Overtime hours and cost breakdowns
- Leave provision numbers
- Gross salary costs
- Highlighting areas of concern and challenges
- A full expense line-by-line expense analysis
Be able to provide an analysis of relevant trends in the workplace
The printing of management reports is usually automated. These reports however, merely provide data that has been summarised in a viewable or printable format. Your relevance factor increases when value is added by proposing insights that have been extracted from these reports owing to the payroll professional’s discerning interpretation and analysis. This is done by, for example:
- Looking at the trends and proposing pre-emptive solutions.
- Highlighting discrepancies on a month to month basis.
- Comparing your company’s performance to some sort of industry norm or benchmark.
- Providing an analysis of past performance (e.g. last year’s numbers) versus current performance (this year’s numbers), including the ability to provide credible reasons for differences and discrepancies.
Acquire a solid knowledge (and understanding) of the statutory laws that impact your organisation’s workforce
Never forget that the payroll professional ought to be the favoured ‘go-to-person’ when the management team wishes to know anything about:
- fringe benefit taxes
- the basic conditions of employment act
- tax filing procedures
- retrenchment calculations
Consequently, the payroll professional needs to be certain that he/she is up-to-date and fully knowledgeable on the relevant legislation. This will facilitate the ability to readily (and competently) offer good advice to your management team. Be sure too, to ensure that when providing information, that it is accurate and without calculation error.
Acquire a solid knowledge (and understanding) of your organisation’s internal policies and procedures
That Policies and Procedures manual should be your most loved resource. Operational practices in the payroll department should not be allowed if it falls outside of the allowable parameters set out in this manual. Payroll departments do not bend policy! If policy does indeed need some degree of discretionary bending, leave it to senior management to decide on this course of action.
The payroll professional however, strictly enforces policies and procedures at all times. Consistency is what this is all about too. Be sure to treat all employees fairly: according to their allotted entitlements and not according to their likeability, or their lack thereof.
Understand your organisation’s employees — strive to truly get to ‘know’ your employees
More often than not, the payroll professional is first to know when there are individual challenges that employees may be facing on a personal (or work) level. We have access to sensitive personal information. For this very reason, the payroll professional is well-positioned to intervene early, often enabling them to ward off potential calamity or disaster in the process.
The payroll professional’s ‘relevance factor’ is founded upon the need for excellent operational systems, a thorough understanding of legislation, and full conversance with company policies and procedures. Relevance factors are even more greatly boosted when one works hard to regularly provide meaningful analysis and insights.
In our information-hungry business world, the payroll professional’s relevance factor is a primary determinant of organisational success.
What’s your relevance factor?