Angela Adams MCIPPdip

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Payroll Advisory Officer

How did you start your payroll career? Was it a choice, or did you fall into the role like many payrollers do?
I fell into the role. I applied for a job, and the application said ‘payroll’ which was not what I sent for, but I filled it in any way. After my interview, I got the job on the spot (age 20) and never looked back! I then spent 10 years at Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council as a payroll clerk, then a deputy team leader and also a team leader.

I wanted to work closer to home having become a mom, so decided to move jobs and worked at Birmingham City Council for nine years again as a payroll officer, then as a deputy team leader and as a senior payroll officer. I moved areas and moved back to Solihull council as an HR & payroll officer for a further five years and during this time they encouraged me to complete my CIPP Foundation degree.

Finally, having graduated in November 2013 a role came up at the CIPP on the advisory team and I have now been here for seven years. It now feels like home.

Did you study a specific course to help you enter this career?
Like most payrollers, I fell into it and only became qualified with my Foundation Degree after 23 years in the industry.

Was there a moment in your career/life that made you want to enter a career in payroll?
No, but I love all aspects of payroll especially the ‘number aspect’ of the job. The complexities of payroll are 50 times more complex now than when I first fell into it.

How do you feel when you know you have made a positive difference to someone through your advice?
I feel a sense of achievement to be able to support the many thousands of payrollers who seem to be the invisible team that just gets the nation paid week after week and month after month. I get a great feeling of satisfaction helping members work through the complex payroll changes, especially during 2020.

What has been your biggest sense of achievement since joining the Advisory team with the CIPP?
Getting through over 2000 questions in one single month (mainly furlough related) and actually just getting through 2020 here on the advisory team, understanding all the complex guidance with my team and our members.

Tell us about a typical week as an advisory team member?
No two days are the same. Fast-paced, funny, interesting, hard, and confusing but keeping a sense of humour and chatting to members as if they are work colleagues on your payroll team. The questions change from one call to another, and emails can range from easy to answer to really complex, so hours of research are needed.

What type of skills does an advisory member need?
Lots of patience, a good sense of humour, ability to work under pressure, being human and being understanding. Listening to the members is also important to fully understand their questions and of course giving accurate and timely information and guidance.

What’s the most interesting fact you have ever heard about payroll?
Estoppel - Three main points are relevant to estoppel, which are: when an employee is accidentally overpaid, they can claim’ estoppel’ if the following principles apply;

  1. The employer must have done something which led the employee to believe the money was rightfully his (or hers).
  2. The employee must have “changed position”, which usually means that they have spent the money.
  3. The overpayment was not the employee’s fault.

Where do you receive your updates?
News Online, the HMRC Employer Bulletin and the HMRC Agent Update and LinkedIn

What techniques do you use to provide detailed accurate answers?
Always provide a link to current guidance from GOV.UK/HMRC, the links to legislation or HMRC manuals.

What processes do you use to keep up to date with general legislation?
As a member of the advisory team,– it’s all about sharing knowledge and updates as often as necessary, to be on top of all things payroll-related.

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