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An Employers Guide to Hiring In-House Payroll People

Deciding on how to fill your in-house payroll team is a dilemma faced by many growing businesses, and choosing the right payroll people is crucial for your in-house payroll processes.

Many small businesses and start-ups will utilise an in-house payroll process early on, with a director assuming the responsibility for payroll management in addition to their core functions. This is usually done in an effort to minimise costs, but as the organisation expands, there is a need to manage additional employees. Consequently, managing an in-house payroll function as part of a wider job can become unwieldy and dedicated payroll people are often required.

Whether this takes the form of senior payroll specialists and payroll managers or junior payroll processors will depend on the payroll in question. An analysis of the company’s payroll requirements will be necessary in order to identify where the costs and benefits lie and while there are no set guidelines on how best to staff your payroll team there are some considerations that may guide your decision.

Payroll Type

The first thing to consider is what type of payroll is processed. With a straightforward payroll a junior payroll specialist may provide better cost-efficiency than a senior payroll manager (or team). But where the payroll is complicated by multiple locations, payment methods, commissions, bonuses, pay schedules and salary scales your in-house payroll people will need to have an understanding of the payroll processes that only senior payroll professionals can provide.

Company Fit

It is easy to forget about the company culture when recruiting payroll people and to focus entirely on the work involved. But recruiting people who will be ‘happy’ in their work environment is key to maintaining low staff turnover rates. Often this means recruiting payroll people who share your organisation’s values and goals and fit in with your company’s culture. Similarly, where recruiting into an in-house payroll team, it is important to hire payroll people who will fit in with that team.

Payroll Costs

While an in-house payroll service comprising of junior payroll staff may provide a low-cost service, it may also produce a lower quality service. Junior payroll professionals may not have the ability to produce detailed reports, or the capability to integrate their systems and data with other departments and so organisations may find that their Time and Attendance systems are not integrated with their Payroll Software. On the other hand, more senior payroll professionals may be able to produce detailed, accurate and insightful analytics but at an increased cost.

Small and Medium sized organisations need to be especially mindful of the payroll people they hire.  Costs can quickly become prohibitive where roles are filled with senior payroll people and so it is critical to be selective about the roles you need and the hires you make (and in some it may even be more cost efficient to outsource their payroll requirements altogether).

It is also good practice to be aware of additional costs, that might occur further down the line. For instance, junior payroll people and long term hires are more likely to require additional training costs as they seek to further their payroll careers.

Payroll  Knowledge and Experience

When hiring payroll people, more than 70% of organisations will look to employ someone with previous experience using a specific payroll system or application. While this is certainly beneficial in the short term it may not produce the long-term gains that hiring a candidate with a strong technical understanding of the payroll function will yield. It is important to remember that sufficiently experienced payroll people will be able to adapt to any in-house payroll system.

We also need to be mindful of candidate’s experience, as payroll positions can vary significantly from one organisation to the next, with organisations using the same terminology to describe vastly different roles. And so, while it is easy to assume that once someone has performed a specific job in the past they will be able to perform the same role in your organisation, this may not necessarily be the case and so you must ensure that the payroll people you hire understand your specific requirements.

Expected Service Level

Payroll service levels can vary wildly from one organisation to the next and from one payroll team to the next. In some organisations In-House payroll people merely provide a basic administrative function while in more progressive organisations the payroll function is driven by a high client service ethic, catering to the varied needs of employees and management. Knowing what service level your payroll people will be expected to deliver will be key to hiring the right candidates for your in-house payroll team. Additionally, be sure to let the potential candidate know how the payroll function will relate to the business during the interview process.

Looking to hire the Best Payroll People

If you are looking to hire payroll people for your organisation our specialist recruitment consultancy can connect you with Ireland’s largest pool of payroll talent. Whatever the payroll job, we have the right payroll candidate for you. To speak to someone about your payroll vacancy call +353 (0)41 989 4890 or follow the link to submit a payroll job.

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