Payroll Shared Services Centre: Unconventional Strategies for Success and Pitfalls to Avoid

Article By
James Cumming
James Cumming
Posted On27th October 2023
Posted On27th October 2023

As an executive search business with a niche in shared service appointments, a question frequently asked is the strategic placement of the payroll function.

Although the landscape of organisational efficiency is evolving, and decisions about where Payroll Shared Services Centre should reside – within the synergies of HR Shared Services, strategically aligned within a Business Services function, or standing independently.

Furthermore, in my role, I am often confronted with queries from business leaders seeking the optimal structure for their payroll operations. Subsequently, the answer is far from one-size-fits-all, as each organisation’s unique DNA, goals, and operational nuances play a significant role in determining the most effective placement.

Opting for the HR Shared Services Synergy:

Though the integration of a Payroll Shared Services Centre within HR Shared Services often represents a symbiotic relationship, echoing a time-tested combination. Here’s why it might be your winning formula:

  1. Unified Employee Experience: Suprisingly by consolidating payroll within HR Shared Services, you forge a unified employee journey. Overall you can eliminate the need for employees to navigate through multiple departments for routine inquiries.
  2. Stringent Compliance Oversight: Evidently HR possesses an innate understanding of compliance intricacies, and payroll is no stranger to regulatory demands. Particularly, merging these functions ensures a vigilant partnership, safeguarding the organisation against compliance pitfalls.
  3. Harmonised Data Management: Generally speaking, HR and payroll data are interwoven facets of workforce management. Housing them together in shared services ensures a seamless exchange, mitigating the risk of data discrepancies.

Embracing Business Services for Strategic Alignment:

Positioning Payroll Shared Services Centre within Business Services is a strategic manoeuvre, fostering alignment with the core objectives of the organisation. Here’s the rationale:

  1. Strategic Business Integration: Although placing payroll in Business Services aligns it strategically with the organisation’s core functions. It transforms payroll from a transactional task to a strategic contributor to overarching business objectives.
  2. Operational Cost Efficiency: Because Business Services are engineered for efficiency. By housing payroll here, organisations may capitalise on synergies that drive down costs without compromising operational excellence.
  3. Adaptive Scalability: However as Business Services are inherently adaptable to changing organisational needs. A payroll function within this framework ensures scalability that mirrors the growth trajectory of the organisation.

The Maverick Move – Standalone Functionality:

Consider the audacious choice of a standalone Payroll Shared Services Centre function. This approach is characterised by its singular focus and offers distinct advantages:

  1. Specialised Precision: A standalone payroll function signifies unwavering focus. Freed from the distractions of broader shared services, it allows for a dedicated team committed to delivering precise payroll services.
  2. Tailored Solutions: Every organisation possesses its unique intricacies. A standalone payroll function offers the flexibility to craft tailored solutions that align precisely with the specific needs of the organisation.
  3. Transparent Accountability: Operating autonomously, a standalone payroll function provides transparent accountability. Performance tracking, issue resolution, and showcasing direct impact on the business become more streamlined and evident.

The Final Verdict: Navigating Your Payroll Landscape

Choosing the ideal placement for payroll hinges on a nuanced understanding of your organisational culture, objectives, and operational intricacies. Unquestionably, whether its the efficiency of HR Shared Services, the strategic allure of Business Services, or the autonomy of a standalone function… undoubtedly the key lies in aligning with your organisation’s unique rhythm.

The journey into optimising your payroll structure begins now!


At re:find we have been in Executive Search for over 20 years. We believe that recruitment is not a one-off transaction but rather a long-term partnership. We aim to build long-term relationships with our clients, providing ongoing support and advice to help them find and retain the best talent for their organisation.

In addition, as a business, we understand that every organisation is unique and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to recruitment. That’s why we offer bespoke recruitment solutions that are tailored to meet the specific needs of each client. Whether you need help with a single hire or a full recruitment campaign, we can help.

We are committed to providing our clients with the highest quality service. As part of this, we ensure that we take the time to understand your organisation’s culture and values, as well as the specific skills and experience needed for each role.

For more information on our executive search practice
please get in touch with our Managing Director, James Cumming.

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