Sue Richardson MCIPPdip
Payroll advisory officer
How did you start your payroll career?
At aged 17 I went to work for an accountancy firm as a temp – I originally wanted to be a nurse. I was put to work doing payroll and bookkeeping for the firm’s clients, and found I really loved the work.
How did you then move into policy and advisory?
After completing my Diploma in Payroll Management and working at the sharp end of payroll up to June 2005, I saw an advert for an Advisory service officer in Professional in Payroll, Pension and Reward (previous Payroll Professional) magazine. I thought that it looked a really interesting job role but thought I had missed the deadline. When I saw the advert in the following month’s magazine I had to apply and the rest is history, as I commenced working for the CIPP on 22 August 2005.
Did you study a specific course to help you enter this career?
No, but the Diploma in Payroll Management was an asset to me, and I am a lifetime learner advocate. Personally, deciding to study the course was the best decision I ever made.
Was there a moment in your career/life that made you want to enter a career in payroll?
No, because I honestly did not realise what went into paying people before actually taking on the task of calculating gross to net.
How do you feel when you know you have made a positive difference to someone through your advice?
When members tell me that my advice has helped them, I feel very thankful. If they have a particularly difficult situation, I feel like I want to go and help them out. A lot of the situations they find themselves in, I have experienced in the past, so it is easy to identify with their feelings as well as hopefully finding a solution to the problem.
What has been the biggest sense of achievement since joining the Advisory team with the CIPP?
Lending a sympathetic ear and being able to help members during this trying time of a pandemic. I also feel a sense of achievement when people ask me what I do for a living, and I explain that we assist members who at the moment are working long hours to ensure they are paid on time.
Tell us about a typical week as an Advisory team member?
The week starts by signing on to the CRM system and phone system ready to take calls from members. Then signing into Microsoft Teams to say hello to the other members of the team and looking at emails. Discussing who is doing what for the week and when we will spend time researching. Every day we provide answers to phone calls and emails. Where we cannot find the answer to a query, we discuss it between the team or put it out to the Policy team.I log the calls and emails I answer as I go along, providing guidance provided by HMRC or other Government bodies.
What skills does an Advisory team member need?
The skills you need in Advisory are to be able to listen to what the member is telling you and to be able to understand what they are experiencing. To empathise with their situation. You also must have the practical knowledge they need or to be able to point them in the right direction to access the proof they are doing the correct thing. Oh and you sometimes need a crystal ball.
Where do you receive your updates?
I keep my knowledge updated via GOV.UK, news online, ACAS, CAB and The Pension regulator
What techniques do you use to provide detailed accurate answers?
Translating legislation into payroll speak so that members understand the guidance which is available from Government bodies.
What processes do you use to keep up to date with general legislations?
Searching the web for information and reading our payroll magazine, News Online, government updates.