Alison Sellar
Chief Executive Officer

Alison Sellar launched activpayroll in 2001 in Aberdeen, North East Scotland. The company is now in its 19th year of successful business, servicing more than 1000 customers and operating in over 140 countries around the globe.

From a young age, Alison worked in her parents’ firm, Grampian Business Bureau, and had several part-time jobs. She then became a partner in the firm in 1999 and asked her father if she could grow the payroll department which she was running. It was agreed that Alison would launch a separate company: activpayroll.

activpayroll was set up as a local firm specialising in payroll for the oil and gas market in Aberdeen. Now operating in 140 countries, activpayroll started off with just one Aberdeen-based client and has expanded from there. The first overseas office was opened in 2005 in Perth, Australia and it was during this experience that the challenges to be faced in becoming an international business became clear. Despite the difficulties, Alison overcame all obstacles; breaking through cultural, distance and language barriers. Not to be underestimated are the differences in payroll and tax processes around the globe which have been surmounted whilst establishing a network of international offices and managing diverse payroll teams.

Alison has built one of the strongest global teams of specialists in payroll, expatriate tax and human resources and attributes the spectacular global success of activpayroll to filling a distinct gap in the market for fully integrated payroll services. Anytime Alison is praised for her tremendous efforts and success, she states that it is all about her team and the people that have got het to where she stands today.

My vision for activpayroll

activpayroll’s growth strategy has been carefully planned to establish us as the leading global provider of payroll, expatriate taxation services and online people management tools.

We are achieving this in two ways:

In the first place, activpayroll is building its customer base by developing core technical expertise in several key industry sectors including: Investment, Oil and Gas, Construction, Aviation and Technology.

We are also targeting international businesses that require a complete global payroll service. This has led activpayroll to take on local offices in other countries and allows us to compete with the major players in this industry.

My ultimate vision is to build on our payroll expertise to offer full-scope tax advisory and compliance services on a global basis. The biggest challenge, I believe, in achieving this is to develop products and services that help organisations understand and control the cost of managing their most important asset: their people.

Alison has won a number of business awards.


Best Payments and Collections Solution - Financial Services

The Asset Triple A Asian Awards

Highly Commended International Service Provider of the Year

The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals


Export Business of the Year

Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce

Director of the Year

Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce

Partner of the Year Award

Justlogin Partner Awards

Long Service Award

Justlogin Partner Awards

Influencer of the Year

Ultimate Software Partner Network Award


Honoured with an OBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List

International Payroll Award

The Rewards

Highly Commended Global Transformation Project

The Global Payroll Awards

Reward 300

Reward Strategy

Highly Commended Going Global

The Northern Star Business Awards

Best Payroll Outsourcing Partner - Bronze Award

HR Vendors of the Year Awards - APAC


Reward 100

Payroll World

Global Payroll Supplier of the Year

The Payroll Awards

CIPP International Payroll Service Provider of the Year

The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals

Partner of the Year 2017 – Top Outsourcing Partner

Justlogin Partner Awards

Top 50 Private Companies 2017



Payroll Top 50

Payroll World

Tremendous Training & Development

The CHeRries Awards

Highly Commended Best Payroll Support Team

Payroll World Awards


Payroll Top 50

Payroll World

Private Business Woman of the Year

UK Private Business Awards

CIPP International Payroll Provider of the Year

The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals

Female Business Leader of the Year

Scottish Business Awards

Best Company to Work for in Payroll

Payroll World Awards


Most influential in Global Payroll

Payroll Top 50

International Payroll Award

Payroll World Awards


Global Payroll Team Award

Payroll World Awards

Outstanding achievement Award

Payroll World Awards

Achievement in International Business Award

Northern Star Awards

Payroll Top 50

Payroll Top 50


Multi-Country Payroll Team Award

Payroll World Awards


Business Success Over Three Years

The Grampian Awards for Business Enterprise


Entrepreneur of the Year

The Chambers Awards

Smaller Business Category Award

The Northern Star Business Awards, Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce


Business Growth Award

The Grampian Awards for Business Enterprise

Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Ernst & Young Awards


Female Director of the Year

The Institute of Directors Award

About Alison Sellar

Additional Roles

I’m a great believer that if you’re in a position to help other businesses, you should make the effort to do so - and I’m happy to share my experiences with other business people.