To celebrate St Patrick’s Day, activpayroll checked in with Paul Shelley, our Head of Payroll for our Ireland office, to see how the last year has been at one of our newest offices. Paul is busy looking after our customers and his team, but he had a little time to answer our questions.
Q. Paul, the Activpayroll office has been open for about 12 months now - how’s it going?
A. Really well! I have been able to recruit a fantastic team and we have brought across over 70 existing customers, who were our absolute priority to look after. It has been a lot of work, it felt like too much work some days, but as I reflect back, we have built something to be proud of and I’m delighted at that.
Q. Ok, so far so corporate. What’s it really been like?
A. Very funny! It has been tough, I’m not going to lie. Bringing 70 customers across in such a short space of time was ambitious and honestly, without the goodwill and hard work from my team we would have missed deadlines. My family are starting to wonder what I look like though, so I’m going to take a break soon.
Q. How big is the team? And where’s the office?
A. Four brilliant payroll administrators, and me. We are a small team but we punch above our weight. There’s lots of payroll experience in the team, I count 40 years between us, so we can tackle almost everything related to paying people. The office is in beautiful Dublin, in the North Docks which is pretty exciting and close to everything that is good about the city. And it’s a dog-friendly office…We’re pretty happy!
Q. Paul, it’s payroll. Surely you have bad days?
A. Not so much. I’ll tell you why: it’s the customers. We know them and they know us, so it’s personal and we feel close to them. We actually like them, and I think that’s reciprocated. The other thing is, they are all so different. We have customers in e-commerce, manufacturing, software, insurance, financial services, real estate, and many, many more. That variety makes every day interesting, which makes a huge difference and keeps us on our toes. That said, the big contributor to a bad day – for our customers and for us - is how integrations can be very manual, lots of detailed process work and not much consistency. But we’re working hard to get more structured and more efficient and that is helping. It’s going to be nice to not have to do everything from scratch in future!
Q. You’ve been a manager for many years - what’s your best advice for being a great manager?
A. So much I could say on this topic! But I guess my best advice is to not ask anyone to do something you aren’t prepared to do. You have to be in the mix with your team, with your sleeves rolled up, otherwise they think you don’t really understand what it’s like. Oh, and always listen to them. There’s a good chance they know better than you do. Certainly that’s what I have found.
Q. Any thoughts on doing business in Ireland?
A. Ireland is a great place to do business, and is a brilliant bridge between EU efficiency and global connectivity. There are some amazing home-grown success stories of course like Ryanair, Kerry Group and Smurfitt Kappa. Also, some of the world’s largest tech companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple have their European or EMEA headquarters here, taking advantage of the amazing people we have, the supportive environment and the connectivity.
Q. Hopes for St Patrick’s Day?
A. I love a good party, and a celebration feels well-deserved. We have worked hard and this year the team will be reflecting on a job well done. I have to also say, alongside the celebration of a good six months for us, we will also be praying for peace and being thankful for our health. Payroll is our passion, but the wider world matters just as much.
To find out more about doing business in Ireland, browse activpayroll’s dedicated Global Insights Guide to Ireland.