In our #WeAreMazars series this week, we’re getting to know Lisa Brennan. Lisa is a Payroll Supervisor in the National Payroll Services team. In her interview, she shares some of her tips for successes, the changes she’s seen during her five years at Mazars and what she believes it takes to create a culture of inclusion in the workplace.
Can you tell us about your career journey and how it began?
My career began after I left school and started my first job as an Office Junior in a payroll department at a small firm of accountants in Romford, Essex. I stayed there for four years and in late 2013, I joined Mazars as a Payroll Assistant.
After I joined Mazars, I decided to enrol onto the Payroll Alliance Professional Diploma in Payroll Management Course. This gave me a greater insight and understanding of management roles which was my goal to work towards in the future. A year later in September 2014, I was promoted to a Payroll Administrator which involved taking on a larger portfolio of complex clients, and I started assisting with training new members of the team.
Then in September 2016, I moved up to Senior Payroll Administrator. This role required me to be more heavily involved with training the team and also assist the management team with payroll implementations. A year after that, I achieved a promotion to Payroll Supervisor which meant I had a smaller portfolio of clients to process. However, I also took on the responsibility of managing members of the team, conducting appraisals, reviewing work, taking part in meetings and working closely with the Payroll Manager and Directors.
What does your role look like now?
I currently oversee a team of five and thoroughly enjoy the day to day challenges that this brings.
Why did you decide to work in payroll?
I don’t think anyone chooses to work in payroll, everyone I’ve spoken to has said that they have fallen into the role one way or another. I’d always wanted to work in an office environment and thought that this job would be a perfect starting point to gain office experience. After three years, I was introduced to processing basic payrolls and gradually started to increase my portfolio and also assist with accounts and book keeping (which I didn’t particularly enjoy).
I left this firm in 2013 to join Mazars, as I knew that there would be more opportunities for career progression and I’d also always wanted to work in London. Safe to say this was one of the best decisions I’ve made, as I’ve been supported fully by the management team at Mazars when it comes to progressing and developing my career.
Can you share three things that you feel have contributed to your success?
The first thing would be leaving my previous job and applying for Mazars, as I believe I would still be in the same position now that I was five years ago with no career progression.
The second thing would be studying and passing the Payroll Alliance Diploma in Payroll Management, as this played a massive part in enhancing my Payroll knowledge and helped to develop my management skills.
Lastly, it would be my fellow colleagues and the management team who have given me so many opportunities to move up the ladder, inspired me to continue to work hard and succeed in my role.
Do you have any tangible strategies for success?
Build strong relationships and trust – both internally and externally. Pay close attention to detail and take pride in your work. Always aim high!
You now manage a team of five, what’s something that you’ve learnt from this experience?
Developing people management skills has been one of the biggest lessons. Understanding that different people need to be managed differently has helped me to work within a diverse team.
Do you have any advice for the next generation of leaders?
I would advise the next generation that if they put in the time and effort, work hard and take pride in their work, then they too can be successful and progress in their careers. Always aim high and have faith in yourself that you’ll achieve your goals.
What’s one of the biggest advances you’ve seen during your time at Mazars?
I believe that the biggest advance would be moving towards a paperless system. When I started here five years ago, we were entirely reliant on paper and now we have two online payslip portals, a paperless drive to save our files and a new processing structure to facilitate this.
Are there any other changes that you’ve seen?
There have been other developments such as Elev8 People, our industry leading cloud-based solution, provides payroll clients with an HR solution to enable them to streamline their processes. This represents a new dynamic to the Mazars payroll offering, and provides even greater value to our clients.
How do you keep yourself going when times get difficult?
I’m lucky to have a close relationship with some of my colleagues who always support and provide solutions to any problem. If there is ever a tough situation and things are difficult, I will always take a break and return with a clearer head.
Finally, what do you think organisations can do to create a culture of inclusion?
Diversity is an important issue for any modern business but it’s not enough to hire people of different nationalities, races, genders and sexual orientations – everyone needs to feel like they are truly welcome, safe and free to be themselves in the workplace.
I think that the We Can Women’s Network at Mazars has excellent potential, as it provides a support network for women within the business. Likewise, the LGBT, BAME and Muslim networks provide similar support for staff and partners within the business.
By bringing people together and encouraging discussion and conversation with each other, there is always a benefit of gaining a greater understanding and empathy towards all people.
Thank you to Lisa for taking the time to speak to us. We will be publishing more #WeareMazars interviews over the coming months so stay tuned!