You know the old cliché about work? There’s no such thing as a typical day? For Jessica Rowan, a Payroll Administrator for National Payroll Services at Mazars, that really is true. What’s even more remarkable about her day-to-day is that the salaries of literally thousands of people are dependent on her bringing her A-game. So, it’s just as well Jessica has razor sharp focus and, more than that, a clear awareness of the impact she can make on her clients.
“I joined mid-June this year, so I’ve not been here too long. Everyone has been really welcoming and everything moves at a million miles an hour. I work in a team of eleven, with Michael McAllister heading up our offering.
“I was looking for a challenge. Previously, my career had fallen stagnant and it was lacking the drive and progression that I wanted. When I came for my interview here, straight away, there was a sense of ambition, vibrancy and ability to learn and develop. It was exactly what I was looking for.
“I don’t feel like I’m just a cog in a support function, tucked away somewhere. Every day, I get a real sense that I am adding value to the Mazars brand.”
Throughout our time together, it’s incredibly clear that Jessica relishes the global network that Mazars enjoys. She places a lot of emphasis on the CIPP qualification that she is going to be able to work towards, thanks to the company’s focus on personal and professional development. Working alongside payroll administrators, seniors and supervisors, she was thrilled to note all of the internal promotions that have been put into place recently. Career path is of utmost importance.
“Like most great payroll professionals will tell you, I fell into this job! I left school and ping-ponged around a few call centre jobs before a friend of mine recommended that I went for a payroll position. I did, and five years down the line, I’m still here. The more involved I am in the industry, the more impact I want to make. I’m continuously honing my skills set, which is great.”
On a daily basis, Jessica typically runs three or four payrolls from start to finish – a task that she relishes, having never had the opportunity to start from scratch and see a payroll through to the end. It’s a level of responsibility that not only is she capable of, she absolutely thrives on.
Having previously worked in-house, it must have seemed daunting to take the step into bureau but, like most things, it seems like Jessica has also taken this in her stride.
“In-house, you can easily get stuck in a rut, running the same payroll in a monthly basis. It can become a habit of doing the same process, rather than a challenge. Now, though, every client has a different process and every payroll has its own particular set of requirements so I’m constantly busy! I feel like, with Mazars, I’m always adding to my skills.
“For me, the most important thing that I’ve learned by moving in to bureau, is prioritising my time and my communication skills to ensure that every client feels like they’re number one.”
Time management is a key skill when you’re juggling so many different clients, but Jessica makes it seem like second nature. For all the challenges that her job presents, she says with a smile on her face, that the seniors in her team are always available for advice and support.
“It’s the team and the company as a whole that really make it for me. I feel like I’m progressing every day. I’m completely engaged in the job that I’m doing.”
And, with that progression, where does she see herself long-term?
“Am I allowed to say close to Michael’s job?” she laughs. “I just want to be helping run the team and be involved in the managerial side of things.”
Jokes aside, what is most revealing about that answer is the excellent rapport that Jessica has quickly been able to establish with Michael, and how she looks to him as the standard to aim for. There is a clear mentorship and support scheme within the company which, as well as the opportunity for professional qualifications, is seen as lucrative to potential candidates.
Jessica was actually offered a position at another Top 10 CA firm before opting to pursue her career at Mazars. She said the choice was simple – there was a clear sense that she would really “fit” in – and she didn’t get that feeling from anywhere else.
“My expectations have been realistically matched. The career progression that I have been offered in here – that I discussed at interview – is definitely more than just lip service. I can see it happening around me.
“It’s rewarding and it’s fast … I’m never bored. I get complete job satisfaction and I get to feel like I’m making a difference and adding value. The job I do actually matters.”
So, what does it take to keep a fast-moving payroller entertained during their free time?
“Well, I have a wee boy and he’s football daft, so I spend a lot of my weekend stuck in goals! I also really enjoy hillwalking and I’m always looking for routes that I can do with my son so that’s he not always on his PlayStation!
“I’ve also completed the Kilt Walk twice – it’s 23 miles long so I guess I like a challenge outside of work as well! I raised money for cancer charities both times, though, so it was absolutely worth it. I’d like to keep that up and make it a yearly thing.”
If you had to compare yourself to an animal, which one would it be and why?
A lioness, I think. I’m quite protective over people and I’m fiercely loyal. A few people have described me as a lioness in my time, so I’ll stick with that!
Tea or coffee?
Neither! I drink diluting juice or fizzy juice instead.
Apple or Android?
Bus or train?
Sunshine or snow?
I like both – the snow is great for my wee boy. I actually like it when it’s just snowed and it’s still sunny. Best of both worlds!
Night in or night out?
Ooh a night out!