My Payroll Epiphany – the inspiration for payroll that’s better all round
Ink Payroll Director Ruth Johnson tells us what sparked her passion for pulling payroll out of the past…
Prehistoric payroll … the way it used to be.
My first ‘proper job’ (as my parents used to call it, in tones of relief mixed with derision) was in a small, family business in the sticks. The boss was a rather aloof and generally wary individual, whose presence was heralded by the heady aroma of his morning pipe and his afternoon cigar (without the scent of which we lowly workers wouldn’t have known whether it was dawn or dusk).
I can’t remember much about what went on at my keyboard (it was 35 years ago after all), but I was kept busy enough and I felt I earned my crust. And my crust? I remember that very clearly; £416 per calendar month, just enough to cover my young person’s meagre outgoings of rail fare, Fridays in the pub, mixed fabric fashions, Cosmopolitan, sandwiches and shoes.
On the last working day of the month the boss would lay low for an hour or two as he double checked his figures. I could hear his poor old calculator yielding to the fury of his doubting fingers as he hammered in the numbers hoping for a better answer this time. When, finally, all the subs and additions had been tallied, the printer would get fired up and the sorry truth would be committed to paper (in rather faded ink, it must be said). A rustling of envelopes followed, some indelicate ‘stuffing’, and then a small and rather poignant silence as the boss, I imagine, surveyed the crumpled bank notes and coins that sat on his desk; something of a holy ground between his very precious bank account and the unworthy back pockets of his employees. An inaudible sigh, and then the pounds and pence transitioned to join the payslips in the hungry envelopes. Another brief pause, followed by the striking of a match as the embers in the pipe were reignited. A couple of puffs, and having made his peace with the sad truth, the boss emerged from his office with an expression of pained benevolence on his face. He then toured the office, distributing the wages in a hierarchical order – sales first, admin last – all in a somewhat papal, silence, and with a slow motion nod of the head to acknowledge the gratitude of his people. When, finally, I received my alms, the boss would play a little game whereby he held onto the envelope for a moment or two longer than necessary, implying it was his and not mine and that I would have to wrestle him for it. I do hope he never tired of my nervous little laugh.
Progressive payroll… moving on.
When I finally broke free I went to work in corporate London. Similar toil at the keyboard, but double the salary – kerrching! – a clear job description, a boss who cared enough to know my name, and a little treat each month in the form of a payslip that arrived at my home address. Marked ‘confidential’, the payslip confirmed that my earnings had been paid directly into my bank account. This monthly missive was the gift that kept on giving; I looked forward to it not just because I liked the numbers it revealed but also because it was private, discreet, professional, and grown-up. Just like me!
Present payroll… modern day.
Roll forward to the cusp of 2019 and the dear old internet has replaced Royal Mail in delivering the good news. A lovely little email message directs me to a secure portal where the latest – and all preceding – payslips can be found. In the same portal I can see my P60, my pension details, and everything I need to know about the financial history of my current employment. There are no paper versions – unless I choose to print something off – so I know that this information is secure and for my eyes only.
Payroll efficiencies…a benefit to employers as well as employees.
All this, of course, is not by chance. I run a payroll bureau, designed to help employers to improve their operational efficiencies, decrease their risk of data breach, and reduce the costs associated with in-house processing.
And the icing on the cake, in my view, is that our clients’ employees are reassured by a slick and modern service that makes them feel valued, respected, and grown up.
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