CEO Q&A: Anne Reilly, Paycheck Plus

Business, Interviews | Wed 9 Aug | Author – Business & Finance Anne-Reilly,Paycheck-Plus

Opportunity abounds in payroll outsourcing in the wake of Brexit and with the incoming GDPR regulations, according to Anne Reilly of Paycheck Plus.

Q. What are your main priorities and goals in your role?

To support, train, communicate and motivate the team enabling them to be the best that they can be.  To set the strategic objectives for the company, ensure compliance, monitor potential risks, threats, opportunities and ensure the right resources are in place for the future. To meet and exceed our client’s needs with superior service levels and exceptional customer support.

Q. What are your biggest challenges as a CEO? 

There is so much required in leading and developing our team and business – it can be difficult to ensure time is allocated correctly to keep all the various plates spinning as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Q. How do you keep your team/staff motivated? 

We believe in supporting, challenging and rewarding our team.  We focus on the strengths of each team member to ensure that they are utilising the skills they have to their best advantage.  As opportunities arise, we try to match the relevant staff skills with areas of particular interest to them and develop both professional and personal skills.  Good communications is essential so we have regular team and company meetings to keep everyone informed and enable them voice their ideas and concerns. We also take time to celebrate achievements to show our appreciation of the team’s efforts and most of all, have fun together.

Q. What are the challenges facing your industry going forward? 

The payroll industry is always changing with new legislation and client requirements.  Employee mobility presents many challenges as people work in different countries so international payroll is growing hugely, presenting challenges for organisations meeting the various geographical legislative and financial needs.  Political changes, technology advancement and compliance updates are happening at a pace that requires constant research, consideration and implementation.

Q. What new trends are emerging in your industry?

Flexibility in working arrangements, employee mobility across numerous regions, real-time reporting, financial and regulatory demands such as pension requirements, filing rules, GDPR and Brexit. These all add to the increasing demands of the payroll professional and we’re therefore seeing a growing trend in outsourcing the payroll function – we are finding that the more progressive companies recognise the benefits of outsourcing this necessary but non-profit making activity to companies such as ours.

“The more progressive companies see the benefits of outsourcing this necessary but non-profit making activity”

Q. Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector? 

So far, the payroll industry is not regulated. With payroll taxes accounting for more income to the exchequer than both VAT and Corporation Tax combined, it would make sense to ensure that the payroll spend in organisations is managed by a professional that has to adhere to a regulated body.

Q. As an employer are you finding any skills gaps in the market? 

A payroll bureau manages payroll for many different sectors and sizes of organisations each with unique requirements.  Regardless of experience or qualifications, we made the decision many years ago, that each team member would need to be trained in-house to fit the “Paycheck Plus way” of doing payroll.  While experience and qualifications are certainly a requirement, we look for the right attitude and believe that we can train for skills.  It is always challenging getting the best person for the job but it’s better to take the time than make the wrong decision. Many of our team travel quite a bit to work with us so we have to ensure that in widening the search for the right people, we have the right environment, culture, rewards and motivation to keep them with us.

Q. How did your strategy develop in the context of the banking crisis and economic crisis? 

Paycheck Plus was founded in 2005 so we were just hitting the ground when crisis struck.  But in one way, this helped shaped the company to what it is today.  The crisis certainly lead to an increase in requirement for outsourcing payroll as companies focused on core profit making activities. But along with that, came a need for bolt-on services such as our Redundancy Project Management which required training for the in-company Financial and HR teams, workshops with the employees to explain the calculations and choices available to them and the management of the redundancy payments and associated filings. The banking crisis lead us to create alternative payment options, particularly for our overseas clients who needed managed FX payments.  We also developed our consultancy services assisting companies in reviewing their entire process for payment of staff, from the mapping of data flow at the factory entrance through to the authorisation of hours and payments and the optimisation of their payroll spend.

Q. How will Brexit affect you, or have you started to feel the effects already?

The day after the vote results were announced, we had enquiries from several entities in the UK who immediately decided to create an entity here in Ireland.  As we offer both Irish and UK payroll services, we are well placed to manage the transition of staff from one country to another and work with many clients who have operations in Ireland and Northern Ireland or the UK mainland.  By listening to our clients, we are further developing other service offerings to meet their needs particularly for those international companies who are now considering Ireland as an alternative to the UK. Brexit, and particularly its combination with the GDPR, will have significant implications for businesses and their employees, especially those employees in HR, accounts and payroll. We have developed a useful article (“Brexit and the GDPR – A Complex Time for UK and Irish Payroll”) that provides insights, expectations, potential new requirements for payroll personnel and a guide on how businesses can prepare for the GDPR, which your readers might find helpful.

Q. How do you define success and what drives you to succeed? 

Every morning, when I get up, I take a minute to look out the window and be grateful for what I have.  Coming to work and utilising the passion we have for payroll with our clients, solving a problem for them, ensuring their employees get the best net pay possible drives me towards what we call continuous improvement. I love doing what I do and to me, that’s success.

Q. What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business? 

1. Hire only the best. Then support, encourage, motivate and reward them.   

2. Listen – to clients, staff, competitors, trends.   

3. No matter how big the challenge, don’t be afraid to just break it down into little pieces and tackle it one bit at a time.  1% improvement every month makes a big improvement over a year. 

Q. What have been your highlights in business over the past year? 

As our business has grown we have added some amazing clients to our portfolio and each of those has been a highlight in itself.  We have just returned from Amsterdam where we were awarded the prestigious “In-country Payroll Provider of the Year 2017”, which effectively means that we have been recognised by our peers in the Global Payroll sector as the best payroll provider in the world.  Our Senior Payroll Specialist Michelle Melia received the “Highly Recommended Payroll Specialists of the Year 2017” award at the same ceremony.  Despite our excitement with our many previous awards on a local, regional and national level, it’s hard to beat these! 

Q. What’s next for your company? 

We want to expand our market share both at home and internationally.  We will be bolting on additional services in response to client challenges as our team grows and we are creating a new look for Paycheck Plus which will be launching in the Autumn, reflecting the range of services and company that we have evolved to be. 

Q. What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2017?

Our Irish and UK payroll services continue to grow with many new clients scheduled to join us in the next few months.  As the economy improves, we have seen an increased demand for our employee workshops and helpline while the Consulting part of our business is busier than ever as companies seek to ensure they are using Best Practices in the collation and processing of employee data, adherence to employment legislation and the management of their payroll spend.

Q. Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year? 

The launch of our new branding identity in the Autumn will be exciting for us.  We expect that our messaging will resonate with clients who are seeking confidence in selecting the best payroll provider for their company.  We have proven we are the best payroll company in the world – we hope the new branding will help us let others know it when they are seeking an alternative solution.