Thursday, 20 August 2020 14:38

My Career in Payroll - Not just a trend

My Career in Payroll - Not just a trend

As seems to be the way with the majority of people I’ve met in the payroll world, I fell into a career in payroll almost by accident.

Having always been creative and usually quite bored by subjects like maths and science, I completed my studies at Edinburgh in Art and Fashion Design. Once I graduated, I was looking for a steady 9-5 job to pay the bills while I weighed up my options in fashion.

I was offered an interview at a relatively small payroll bureau in Edinburgh and was delighted when I was offered the job, although I soon found out that payroll was anything but a 9-5!

Working within a small UK payroll team, I was responsible for processing a range of payrolls for several clients and quickly found, admittedly to my surprise, that I loved it!

Having joined as an administrator, I gained valuable experience in that bureau working with various sized clients, complexities, process improvements and system upgrades, implementations, and sales presentations to potential new clients. The business had grown so quickly and by the time I left as Payroll Manager, the team were processing thousands of payslips every week.

I found that I loved the variety that a bureau brings, working with all kinds of companies and people, and I really enjoyed the customer service aspect of the role. Maybe a career in maths and numbers wasn’t so boring after all…

I then joined another payroll bureau who were looking to open and grow an office in Edinburgh. This gave me further opportunity to bring my experience and skills from my previous role to a whole new range of clients. Although there were challenges and some long days, I made some lifelong friends in that role and even met my now husband!

After deciding I needed a change of scenery, I moved from Edinburgh to Aberdeen and transferred within the company to their local office. Although there were no roles available in UK payroll, there was an opportunity in the Global Payroll team.

I soon found that the variety I had always enjoyed about working in a bureau and communicating with a range of people was even better in global. Not only are you speaking with the clients, but also teams in-country and learning all of the local rules and legislation for each jurisdiction.

Although I enjoyed the role I was doing, I was looking for an opportunity to utilise the skills I had developed over the years, and I decided to put my CV into AAB.

I had heard AAB were a forward-thinking business and a great company to work for, and during my interview with two of the Directors I discovered that AAB were looking at growing their global payroll service – a perfect fit for me!

When I started at AAB, I immediately felt welcome and everyone was so friendly and approachable. Payroll is a sensitive subject and when you are dealing with people’s pay, it can be stressful at times. However working in a good environment makes all the difference and you can deal with anything the day brings!

In my 2+ years at AAB, the global payroll offering has and is ever-growing. AAB truly is a great company to work for. They look after their employees and hard work is acknowledged, I now lead the global payroll team on a day to day basis.

The team and I cover a range of countries all over the globe from Mexico to the Marshall Islands, Australia to France and everywhere in between.

The variety I have always enjoyed about working in a bureau and specifically global payroll is still there and no two days are the same. We can be in Libya one minute and China the next, back via Norway, Nigeria and then over to the USA with a quick stop in Brazil.

What I find most fulfilling about my role is helping our clients navigate through the ever-changing legislation of each country and supporting them with whatever their payrolls bring. Along the way building good working relationships with the clients and our affiliates in-country to provide the awesome service that AAB prides itself on.

Global payroll is not without its challenges of course, different time zones, language barriers and cultural differences to name a few but all those things also provide variety and I love learning about different cultures!

The most recent challenge of course being COVID-19. Where the UK had the furlough scheme, we saw a range of similar subsidy schemes across the globe and supported our clients with administering these. I also found it fascinating speaking with our affiliates in each country to get their experience of local lockdowns directly rather than what you hear on the news.

No doubt the world has changed because of COVID-19 but I’m sure the world of global payroll will continue to keep me on my toes, and I look forward to what the future brings at AAB!

By Katie Fullerton, Global Payroll Assistant Manager