is one of the hardest areas to work in. Professionals need to be strong
finance, employment legislation, and have excellent people skills. But
when she spoke to Pauline Sullivan, there are reward
When Pauline Sullivan attended the ceremony for the
Business Enterprise Awards at the beginning
of April, she expected another nominee for Payroll Professional
of the Year to walk away with the prize. "Awards tend
to go to large companies, not to little people like me," she says:
"So I expected it to go to someone who runs a payroll for 600
people, or something. I was quite shocked when I won."
award, sponsored by the IAB, recognises individuals who have used IT to
improve the efficiency and control of the payroll operation: something the winner
has certainly achieved. Pauline runs her own small business
providing accounting, book-keeping
and payroll services to 30 or so local small business clients
in and around Godalming, Surrey.
clients include a construction company, recruitment agencies, web design
and biopharmaceutical research businesses.
has been running her own firm for 17
years. After starting her working life in a bank, she switched to
book-keeping at the suggestion of her
mum, who was starting her own small business and needed
someone to help with the accounts, and she studied to become a member
of the Association of Accounting Technicians.
Her earliest experiences of computerised
payroll were with Kalamazoo, and
she's since worked on numerous
accounting, book-keeping and payroll
systems for companies and clients of various types and sizes.
The average payroll run at Pauline's firm may
not be for 600 employees, but she has previously computerised the payroll
operation for a client with 450 employees. "It was being done
manually with hand-written pay slips," she says, and
the task of installing and tailoring the payroll
system was no small undertaking, and
gave Pauline "quite a feeling of achievement". It also reduced
the time taken to process and produce pay slips from days to
hours. "I still handle this company's payroll, but it's down-sized
since I installed the system," she adds.
nightmare to day dream
Now, all of Pauline's payroll clients are computerised.
"The difference from manual systems is enormous," she comments.
"My PAYE year end takes about
week with the computer; manually, it's a complete nightmare."
Pauline can process the year end for single client in about a half hour
using automation, even for client
with 40 or 50 staff.
she uses version 9 of Sage Payroll to handle most of her client payrolls,
some require more specialised systems. Pauline uses a package
called Red Sky for her construction client, and an
industry-specific package for recruitment called Aztech. "You can
and invoice out to clients, so it's
a sort of sales ledger type system," she explains.
Pauline's involvement in payroll also extends
into the classroom: she teaches students
in Hampshire studying part-time on a 20-week course for
the IAB certificates in computerised and manual payroll. "A
typical student is someone already working in payroll," she says,
though quite a few are returning to work
year, Pauline also taught at AltonCollege,
where her students won top marks for the IAB Certificate in
Computerised Payroll at the June 2002 sitting. So she's also
helping others to win awards. •