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Backup for payroll

edited September 2010 in Let off some steam
Ok, let's talk backup for payroll, because occasionally Payroll people like to take vacation, are sick, kids are sick, other emergencies, anyway you get the picture.

I am a one person payroll department, biweekly payroll, and the Benefits Manager is my backup. I am very happy that she is willing to be the backup and is a good backup, too. I schedule my time off, as best as I am able, to not be on the week of payroll processing. But, oh goodness, sometimes that isn't possible :roll:

Anyway my backup does make mistakes, but the payroll turns out perfectly and everyone gets paid on time and accurately.

But my manager has the idea that payroll should run as smooth as when I process it! Ok, I have almost 25 years of experience in payroll and I still make mistakes! How can he expect that she would have perfect payrolls every time with no problems!!!! But he does!

I have written work instructions with pictures for all the payroll procedures which are updated as often as something changes. (When I started I received two one-sided sheets, no pictures, no nothing!) Also, she has practised several times when I am here, she does some data entry for benefits in the system so is very familiar with screens and data entry.

Now he wants a plan of how we are going to avoid making a mistake ever when she processes it. SHHHHHEEES!

Comments

  • I think the plan should be reincarnation. :twisted: :twisted:
  • OMG!
    I am also a one person payroll and I don't even have a "back up" person. The lady that used to do payroll before I took over does benefits now, but she hates payroll, she says she doesn't like the "responsibility" of someone else's pay check being on her shoulder :shock:
    I also run bi-weekly payroll and I can only be off during "my off week" before leaving on vac, the HR Director thought no-one was going to be fired! LOL ...sure...well, I came back and sure enough someone was fired. The lady that "hates" Payroll had still access to the payroll systems and tried to do his final check. Good Lord! she had so many mistakes, it was not funny.

    Mistakes will always be there, we're not perfect :) but we cannot be responsible for the actions of others. You can draw, explain in details, translate in 100 languages, but if the person doesn't have common sense, forget it.
  • Seriously, nobody is perfect. Nobody still walking on this earth, at least.

    Your documentation should be step-by-excruiating step, including how to fix an error or issue an immediate check. Your backup should do the FULL payroll process periodically, say once per quarter.
  • I am lucky enough to have a back-up, but unfortunately my back-up does not possess much attention to detail and has the know-it-all/done-it-all attitude so it's difficult to teach her anything. She's been my back-up for about 2 years now. I've gone over things with her in detail numerous times but she rarely takes notes (that really annoys me!). And I really hate having to repeat myself time and time again.

    Anyway, I get roughly 7 weeks of leave I must use every year (we can only keep 2-years worth of leave on the books and I stay at my limit pretty much all year-round). I schedule most of it outside of payroll processing days, but I do take 2 weeks in the summer which means I miss a payroll run. I took my annual 2 week vacation in July this year and prior to my departure, I sent her an e-mail with detailed instructions about an employee who was retiring and which pay out codes to use.

    I come back from vacation and first thing I look at is the last paycheck for the employee who retired. Right away I noticed the wrong pay codes were used. That resulted in the employee underpaying his retirement contributions by roughly $150. Nice. Last thing I want to do is call a retiree at home to tell him he owes the company $150 because we screwed up his last paycheck.

    If it was up to me, our AP person would be my back-up because she has the level of attention to detail that is needed for payroll. My boss (controller) thinks this would be too much for the AP person and it would leave my current back-up with not enough to do (my back-up helps me process payroll).

    God help 'em if I ever leave and they give my job to my back-up.
  • Oh, I forgot to add that my manager won't promote me either. I am a Specialist 30. (We have Specialist 10, 20, 30 and 40.) His reason is "you don't specialize in payroll" and compares me to the tax department (who make 25% more than me) who specialize in tax!

    Well to set the record straight the two tax people don't specialize in just tax, they also work with stock options, general ledger, other stuff.

    I agree I don't specialize--I administer Short Term Disability, Long Term Disability, HRIS, manage payrolls in Europe, Asia and US, interview, select and train new hires in HR, administer Work Comp, back up the Benefits Manager, and a member of the Wellness Team! So no I don't specialize, but we are a small department and I step up to the plate to take on more rather than say "NO" like our HR coordinator gets away with saying.

    So no promotion for me and I can't be paid more than the Benefits Manager (or the same) as "Payroll people don't get paid the same as Benefits people"!

    Ok, enough venting--thanks for listenting. Maybe when cloning of humans is perfected--then our managers won't be so parinoid about payroll people wanting to take time off!!! :lol:
  • At my company I am the sole contact for payroll, hris, and security for support of 8 different HR/Payroll systems.

    I have no backup. If I am in the office, I am able to support our 10 companies. If I am out of the office, threre is absolutely no support available whatsoever.

    Need to plan even one vacation day very carefully, a week is out of the question. Who will run payroll or support our companies when I am out of office has been on the table since mid-2007.

    Still no decision by senior managment.
  • Now he wants a plan of how we are going to avoid making a mistake ever when she processes it.

    So --- if you get it to the point where you are going to avoid making a mistake ever when she processes payroll and you are still making mistakes, are you out of a job?
    Oh, I forgot to add that my manager won't promote me either. I am a Specialist 30. (We have Specialist 10, 20, 30 and 40.) His reason is "you don't specialize in payroll" and compares me to the tax department (who make 25% more than me) who specialize in tax!
    Hmmm - I was under the impression that in a good management system, people who have more skills (less specialized and cross trained) are actually MORE valuable because they can do more than just what they specialize in.
    Need to plan even one vacation day very carefully, a week is out of the question. Who will run payroll or support our companies when I am out of office has been on the table since mid-2007.

    Still no decision by senior managment.

    Senior management needs to get dope slapped by the auditors for poor risk management and poor internal controls. Not being able to get you out of the office for at least one pay cycle is actually a fraud risk. Not that you would consider it - but there are all sorts of things that are discoverable by "backup" or "rotation" workers - including unintentional errors, lapses, or misunderstandings which could cause problems down the road. It is a good idea to have someone else look at your work periodically. Case in point, I did parts pricing for 4 years and when I got moved around the organization, the job went with me - I tried (in vain) to cross train (yes it rhymes, that happens sometimes) but when I left the job behind, a replacement was hard to find - they went through 11 people in 12 months - nobody - certainly not my supervisor - understood what was involved.
  • I have been the only payroll tax person for a Fortune 500 company for the last 6 years. Prior to ADP assuming compliance on 7/1 I was responsible for 4 companies in 31 states/62 localities for bi-weekly and semi-monthly payrolls. Last year we generated 85K W-2 forms. I have no backup and have never had the time to write desk procedures, which they also never asked for. I kept warning them that a trained backup was vital and that deciding that one wasn't important would come back to haunt them.

    Well, it came back to haunt them. Last month I gave 8 weeks notice that I was leaving the company on 9/30. I still have no one to train. I spent 30+ hours at work over the holiday writing procedures for the non-payroll clients, eg Tax Department (PBC's for corporate taxes) and Risk Management (workers comp audits). There's no one to even run through what I wrote so they can see how the processes work.

    They're going to have a verry interesting time running their first QE with ADP, processing year-end, and sending the employee W-2 file to TALX for US/Guam. I'm doing the very best I can to mitigate the effect of my departure but I do feel that whatever problems they have are of their own creation.

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