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Emma Meets: Vickie Graham, Business Development Director at CIPP

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Emma Peterson,  Director FinTech Awards Wales & Finance Awards Wales Meets:

Vickie Graham,

Business Development Director,

CIPP

Continuing this new 11 part series of ‘Emma Meets', Emma Peterson, Director of Recruit 121 Finance & Accounting Solutions, finds out more about the sponsors of the up and coming Finance Awards Wales 2022.Finance Awards Wales is designed to recognise, attract and invest in the talented finance professionals working in Wales, showcasing the best of the best in the finance industry. In this edition, Emma meets Vickie Graham, Business Development Director at CIPP.

Tell me about yourself and career to date?

I have been working at the CIPP, and therefore in the payroll industry, for nearly 20 years. I started as an administrator and have worked in various positions up to Business Development Director. In this role I work with partner organisations with an objective of raising the profile of payroll as a recognised profession.

Payroll is such an important part of all businesses; people wouldn’t go to work if they didn’t get paid. But quite often it is under valued as simply ‘pushing a button’ due to great advances in technology which have streamlined some of the transactional aspects of the role. Those within payroll know that it is so much more than that. There are over 185 pieces of legislation, some conflicting, which impact on payroll in the UK alone. In addition, payroll often holds vital data for consideration when thinking about strategies in relation to employee engagement and reward.

It is my role to represent payroll and ensure that business owners, finance and HR teams realise the true value of the payroll team, the strategic aspect of the role, how payroll can influence and impact on employee engagement, and what data analysis is possible through the payroll software and department which will benefit the organisation’s overall strategy and performance.

Within the Business Development team, I have overall responsibility for the strategy in relation to Membership, Consultancy, the Payroll Assurance Scheme, Marketing and Sales, Events and the IT supporting the CIPP.

Can you give me an overview of your company and what you do?

The CIPP is the only Chartered professional body representing individuals responsible for UK payrolls. We provide support, guidance and education on all aspects of payroll legislation and technical payroll processing to ensure that our members, students, course or event delegates, and the wider profession overall are able to deliver compliant, efficient and effective payrolls within their businesses. This is done through member benefits such as Professional magazine, News Online and events such as our BeKnowledgeable webinars on topics such as National Minimum Wage and Holiday Pay, and our BeConnected series which provides new tax year updates to our members free of charge. We also offer training courses and education programmes across all levels within payroll, from those new into the industry, to payroll professionals who have been in the industry for years and are more strategic within their organisations.

We also provide a voice for the payroll profession within Government, as our policy and research team sit on more consultation forums impacting payroll legislation than anyone else in the UK. These forums enable us to discuss with Government first-hand what the impact of proposed changes to legislation will mean in practice, and what the impact will be for payroll and organisations generally as a result. Attendance at these forums also provide us the opportunity to conduct research amongst our members and provide the results of that research within the consultation responses when changes are proposed.

What has been the biggest challenge the company has faced and how have you responded?

Recently, the biggest challenge that we have faced, like with many businesses was the Covid-19 pandemic. For us, the challenge was the introduction of the Governments Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the speed at which the legislation, and subsequent changes, were announced. Our members looked to us to understand the legislation as it was announced and keep them informed on how to ensure that they were compliant, but we received the updates at the same time as everyone else. To support members, we introduced the Covid-19 HUB, through which we posted updates, factsheets and videos to keep members informed. The BeKnowledgeable webinar series was launched with webinars initially focussing on CJRS to inform large volumes of members at once, and the Advisory Service team was increased to cope with the increased number of calls coming in. Whilst the CJRS has now come to an end, the introduction of the BeKnowledgeable webinars was positive and these events are continuing as a member benefit and calls to the Advisory team remain high.

How do you feel the Welsh economy will fare over the next 12 months?

According to the Office for National Statistics, at 6.2%, the Welsh economy has seen the biggest quarter on quarter growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of any of the UK nations. As we come out of the Covid-19 pandemic, changes to how we operate as a result of the UK leaving the EU and deal with the current situation in Eastern Europe, the Welsh economy is in a good position as the main industries within Wales include agriculture, oil and gas, renewable energy and tourism.

What plans do you have for your business in 2022?

During the next 12 months, we hope to expand our business in Wales by working with partners to deliver our Payroll Update training course at more Welsh locations. We’ll also be bringing our Annual Conference and Exhibition to Wales at the Celtic Manor Resort, somewhere we have held our conference since 2012.

Why did you choose to sponsor the Finance Awards Wales 2022?

We are proud to be supporting the newly created Payroller of the Year category at the Finance Awards 2022. The introduction of this award shows how important it is to invest in developing payroll talent within finance teams and businesses.