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Executive Spotlight

Meet Kiki Stannard, Chartered Tax Advisor at Fitzgerald & Law

By Frank J. Mendelson

Editor’s Note: Kiki Stannard is a U.K. Chartered Tax Advisor (CTA) with Fitzgerald & Law. She is responsible for all aspects of employer tax, payroll, and HR. Her expertise includes creating employee reward programs and incentives, employment-related taxes and payroll, HR, stock options, and international assignments. Her responsibilities provide a mix of payroll, employer taxation, and HR expertise required for effective employer planning and communication. Her clients range from small start-ups to large, privately owned businesses and international groups operating in a variety of sectors.

1499849314_fhh75respkHow is the changing role of the global payroll professional—typified by greater interaction with the human resources department, data analysis, and strategic planning— making an impact in the field?

The advancement of technology to assist with providing improved—truly global—payroll reports and reporting tools that incorporate aspects of HR is exciting. There is a concern, however, that technology will run the process and professionals new to the business will find it harder to gain fundamental knowledge required to understand the data.

How would you advise someone whose company is just beginning to expand to a global payroll with regard to risk management and compliance?

It’s important to understand the compliance responsibilities from the get-go. It’s really easy to concentrate on getting the people in place and to worry about the payroll compliance later, but knowing what you’re committing to in advance is essential.

Is it possible to have a single global payroll solution and service?

It’s certainly what global organizations want. The complexity of the different rules and compliance in each location makes it so difficult. Even providers with highly developed global technology platforms can struggle with the cross-border complexities and keeping up to date with in-country changes.

What are the biggest challenges for global payroll teams?

Recruiting, developing, and retaining good people will always be a challenge. Technology can’t replace the cumulative years of experience a good global payroll professional will have. It’s the ability to have awareness of the technical issues, good customer service, and problem solving skills all at the same time.

What are the key considerations in managing risk and compliance across your annual timeline?

The right technology can be a great support to monitor deadlines and keep you organized. More importantly, it’s having strong service providers in each location who can work as business partners to ensure changes can be implemented in advance and offer pragmatic solutions on issues.

How did you become involved in global payroll?

I came from a tax background, having qualified with one of the Big 4 accountancy firms, which has given me a “big picture” viewpoint. I have always helped companies and their people with the employer-employee side of payroll tax and HR. Fitzgerald & Law is a global professional services firm, so the blend of my role in payroll, employee reward, and HR seemed like a natural fit.

What are some of the skills you bring to your position that are particularly suited to a position in global payroll?

Staying calm under pressure is also vital. Deadlines are always looming, and we’re working with one of the most important aspects of employment (making sure people’s pay and associated benefits, tax, etc. are all calculated correctly and paid on time) but to demonstrate calm even when under immense pressure helps the team to maintain perspective and deal with difficult circumstances.

What is your leadership style now?

You would have to ask my team! I would like it to be calm and considered. I want to encourage the team to think of a solution or give their view of how to deal with a situation, rather than tell them what to do.

What are key qualities you look for in people you hire?

An important quality is an interest in numbers, as well as a desire to take pride in a job well done. A good cultural fit with the wider team and personality is important too, especially when they have to work together under pressure. The main quality is gumption—you know it when you see it.

What strategies do you use in team-building?

It’s important to recognize that each member of the team contributes different skills to the firm—and has individual needs in respect of their work and overall career. We aim to develop a role to fit someone’s skill set to enable high performance and recognize where some skills need to be improved with training and support. Then, everyone wins.