CIPP future of payroll survey report 2019


Is payroll a strategic or operational function?

Back in 2017 we asked the very same question and the results this year have come back with a slightly different view; in 2017 only 21% responded by saying that they felt payroll was strategic but, in 2018 the response came back with 4.98% saying that payroll was out-and-out strategic whilst, 59.24% said it was both.


BOTH 59.24%


Earlier in the report, we talked about payroll standing as its own function and until it does it cannot really drive strategic thought. Why? Payroll will always be the poor relation to HR and finance and the air-time that will be given in the boardroom will centre around their strategic needs. Contentious, yes, but that is the truth of the matter. There is food for thought here, the more we continue to think/say this, the more it will be believed and will never change, think about what you can do to change this. CIPP agrees that payroll should be a standalone function, it needs to work with finance and HR but cannot be ‘part’ of either as it influences both. CIPP is seeing a shift towards pay and reward, which would indicate more focus on HR, as does a lot the legislation, BUT, payroll is still transactional and a large proportion of the budget for most businesses. It can report costs of absence, required by finance, but recommend ways of limiting those costs which impacts HR. Is payroll represented at board level within your organisation? Interestingly 36.45% answered by saying ‘yes’; however, what does this mean? Is there a specific payroll director who sits alongside the chief people officer and chief finance director or is it the latter roles that were mentioned? it’s one to dig into deeper next time around. Controversially, we think it’s the latter.

Interestingly 36.45% stated that payroll is represented at board level. When cross referenced with the job titles of those answering the survey, only 5% were payroll director. This suggests that the representation at board level could be through HR and/or finance director roles. The CIPP continues to promote payroll as a strategic function, and therefore will push for a voice at the board table. At a roundtable held during National Payroll Week, and alongside this survey, we committed to working with the industry to identify what this role looks like.

36.45 % said payroll was represented at board level


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