Are they one department, separated, combined in some fun, different way?
HR and Payroll are separate departments but we both report to the CFO
Payroll is a part of Finance Department; separate from HR.
Payroll operates in a centralized shared service center and reports into Finance/CFO. HR and benefits are both decentralized and have a different reporting structure outside Finance.
We're the same as rlouis. Although, when I started with the company payroll reported to HR.
I am Payroll and HR and report to the COO/CEO as do Accounting/Finance. I do know that the Controller is the one who signs the payroll checks and reviews my payroll processing surrepticiously (Sp?) -- He thinks I don't know that he does, but honestly I am glad that he does. I've always preferred more review rather than less and would rather find a mistake quicker so it is easier to fix!
From an HR standpoint, I do "employee cost" reports to Finance annually for the budget and then update if large changes occur throughout the year.
I have done both way at different companies. I prefer reporting PR to Finance and I strongly prefer having the person in charge of both AP and PR.
The one thing HR does get right is that PR is a service function in a way accounting does not normally recognize. I had an upset employee being handled by a payroll staffer. I was listening in, to see how it has being handled (it was being handled just fine). My boss the Controller comes stumping in, sees a PR staffer "not working" and tells her to get back to work and visit with her friends on her own time. Upset employee is now very upset, complains to her boss, who complains up the chain. I, my boss the Controller, and his boss the VP Finance all get called into a meeting with COO and most of the Sales department brass to listen to them complain about payroll. My boss, who is a very good accountant, but cannot shut to save his life, jumps in and says he needs everyone in his area to work and not gossip. He does not hear a single word the other side said. He finally is asked to leave the meeting. I tell the COO that my staffer was handling the issue until told to stop and if Sales will send their employee over to see me, I will personally resolve the issue. Meeting done.
The Controller was probably the best accountant I have ever worked for, much better then I am. But he has the people skills of a dead plant. The VP Finance told him to leave PR the h*** alone, and if he has a problem with how I am running MY unit, then talk to me privately. He also said that if he ever has to go to that type of meeting again, the Controller's resume better be current. A week later the Controller still does not think he did anything wrong.
At the risk of stating the obvious, an employee has a problem, the PR staffer stops what they are doing and LISTENS to what is being said. ESPECIALLY if they think they know the answer. Then they tell the employee they will research it and get back to them. No guessing. No shooting from your hip. Ask the supervisor if you are not sure, but not while the employee is hanging around. You do not have to fix the problem right this second, but you do have to actually listen to the employee who thinks that they have a problem.