Accountemps Monthly Newsletter – April

Relationship Management Demystified:

5 Tips for Payroll Pros

Excelling at relationship management is critical to a payroll specialist’s role. You should aim to be on good terms not only with finance colleagues and vendors, but also with your company’s employees who rely on accurate recording of their compensation and prompt feedback to their questions. The communication required to keep these relationships robust may take considerable effort, but it is typically worth it in the end.

Here are five relationship management tips that aim to build and strengthen ties, whether you’re a reluctant schmoozer who shies away from small talk or a manager looking to boost your payroll team’s abilities. 

  1. Delegate decisively. If you’re a manager, sit down with your team to determine which payroll pros will be handling specific accounts, vendor partnerships and departments based on their communication strengths and areas of expertise. Having a direct relationship with a vendor or employee can lead to quicker responses and decisions. The purpose of relationship management is like that of a non-stop flight. The fewer stops along the way, the stronger a bond can be. 
  1. Lead by example. The way you interact with clients, vendors, or other employees shows any staff member that may be observing you how you handle those important relationships. If they hear you getting snippy with a caller, they might think that’s an acceptable approach. Without fail, be consistently friendly, respectful and professional. You will uphold a gold standard for relationship management and professional communication, and others will likely follow suit. 
  1. Tap your team’s wealth of relationship management knowledge. Each payroll specialist takes their own approach to relationship management. Collaborate and brainstorm with employees and colleagues about best practices in strengthening alliances. If you are a manager, consider discussing relationship management at your next group meeting. Ask your team to present an example of a communication success and pitfall to avoid, such as how they handled an angry employee whose paycheck had the wrong deductions. 
  1. Let respectful communication be your default. Civility is the glue that strengthens bonds in relationship management. Show people you value their time, talents and efforts by being prompt, listening with an open mind, sharing facts judiciously and showing your appreciation. 
  1. Address mistakes without delay. Payroll errors are bound to happen. When they do, it’s important not to focus on the blunders, but on how to fix them — promptly. Pointing fingers or getting defensive can only undermine relationships, so make sure you apply tact and diplomacy in these situations. Afterward, learn from the mistakes, regardless of whether they were yours or someone else’s.

Relationship management plays a crucial part in a payroll department’s success. To provide the best customer service, place as high a value on communication skills as payroll expertise. Your boss, coworkers, employees and vendors will thank you.

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps has more than 330 locations worldwide. More resources, including online job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at