Cathy Wicks

I am very proud to say I work for Almac and have seen my moderate payroll of 600 employees grow to now over 3,000.

What does a typical day in your job involve?

My job can vary on a day to day basis giving the nature of working in a very busy payroll office. My role as Supervisor is ensuring that myself and the team work together, often to very tight deadlines with a monthly end goal of producing an accurate and timely payroll. Payroll has very strict timescales in place, as well as important processes to complete at various stages of each month. These processes need to be replicated across each of the 9 UK Business Units, also, 5 ROI Business units. A typical day in my month would always start with me answering emails with various payroll and policy related queries. Prior to opening the payroll for the month, TMS reports need to be generated, checked and imported into our software. Once all payrolls are opened these imports then need to be verified. After all the payroll amendments are processed at the end of each month I have the responsibility of transferring payments for employee’s salaries, along with processing external payments on behalf of employees for Westfield Cover, Pension Payments, Revenue payments etc. Journals and statements are created with figures checked to insure accuracy.

What was it that made you choose Almac over the other companies that interested you or with which you interviewed?

Sixteen years ago I was being made redundant from my position of payroll officer at a local weaving factory which was being closed. Almac or Galen as it was known to many back then has always had a good reputation of being an excellent company to work for, who looked after their staff. However, when I applied for a job in Almac it wasn’t the Payroll office I had initially started in, even though I had come from a payroll background. I was recruited into the HRM team in April 2003 as a HRM admin assistant with the intention of doing some maternity cover in the payroll office given my payroll experience. Suffice to say my career in HRM was short lived and I have been part of the Payroll team ever since.

What projects have you worked on that have been particularly interesting?

I have been involved in quite a few projects in payroll, a lot of which has seen many manual payroll processes becoming more automated. The introduction of the TMS system I feel has benefited payroll the most. When I first started in Almac, although we only had a third of the workforce that we have now, all our payroll processes were manual. We depended on line managers completing and submitting times sheets for overtime, shift, callout, absences etc., all of which needed to be recorded and then started the manual task of inputting and deducting from our payroll software. I like the visibility of TMS and real time information at the touch of a button.

This past year has also seen the opening of our Dundalk site and the necessity for a Southern Payroll. Although I had a little experience of doing southern payroll before my knowledge was somewhat out of date and I have enjoyed the challenge of learning that along with involving myself in the training and mentoring of other members of my team.

How do you balance your career with your personal life?

My parents have brought me up with a very strong work ethic and the importance of ‘keeping your work right’. So with this attitude I appreciate that at certain times in a month it is just not practical to have time off, particularly around period lockdown and key payroll processing dates. I always book my holidays or any time off to accommodate these. December through to April being my busiest periods with Tax Year-End to manage and salary review I consider blackout time for me and it is just not practical to have little, if any, time off. Having worked in payroll for so long I am confident in saying I know what I am doing and I like the fact that I know what I am coming in to do every day. I am very proud to say I work for Almac and have seen my moderate payroll of 600 employees grow to now over 3,000.

Career Path

1996 – 2003

Baird McNutt - Payroll Officer

2003 – 2004

Almac – HR Admin

2004 – 2011

Almac - Payroll Co-Ordinator

2011 - Present

Almac – Payroll Supervisor