Samantha: Like so many, I fell into payroll. My first job leaving school was working at a local branch of Forbuoys newsagents, as a Branch Trainee Manager. This role was multifaceted and included customer service, stock control, ordering, cashing up and banking, and payroll, specifically the weekly wages of the branch staff. This included, at the that time, the manual calculation of income tax, NICs and Statutory Sick Pay.
My manager let me loose with wages but oddly enough not the weekly accounting sheets (until I had completed training at head office). When PAYE was first introduced in 1944, Inland Revenue carried out its biggest employer PR exercise ever, the key message being Pay As You Earn (PAYE) was easy – which I believe contributes to why people still think payroll is easy – the belief is ingrained in our society.
As a result of that job, I had payroll on my CV. When I later moved into accountancy and bookkeeping, colleagues knew I could do payroll and naturally started giving me more payroll tasks. This led to me leading on a project to launch and deliver payroll services to Registered Charities and voluntary organisations in the East Midlands. Delivering payroll services to a large number of employers, particularly when you are the only payroll specialist in your organisation, ensures that you build a wide range of skills and knowledge.
Since then Payroll has been my chosen career path. I joined CIPP as a student member in 1997, later becoming a Tutor and I have been in the Policy team (on and off) since 2004, and in 2012 I became Senior Policy and Research Officer, before becoming Policy Lead in 2020 just as the pandemic began.