A great accountant helps with more than just the numbers. They act as a sounding board when you need advice, find you quick wins and give you more time to spend doing what you love.

Having said that, accountants specialise in what they do best, meaning we can’t help with every query you may have – as much as we’d love to!

One area where confusion often crops up is between payroll and HR. When’s the right time to go to your accountant? When is an HR specialist the best person to advise? 

They’re two sides of the same coin, but the approach to each area requires specialisms from different experts.


Payroll incorporates everything to do with the numbers

In essence, payroll is all about ensuring accurate and timely payments for employees and team members. 

It includes:

  • Calculating and processing salaries and wages
  • Dealing with taxes, National Insurance, student loans, benefits and pension contributions
  • Sending out payslips to employees
  • Working out how much to pay to HMRC


If it involves numbers, it’s probably payroll – and your accountant is the best person to go to with any queries.


HR is everything to do with people and contracts

Human resources, as its name suggests, looks more at the people side of things.

It includes:

  • The recruitment and hiring of employees
  • Onboarding and offboarding
  • Relationships with team members
  • Training of staff
  • Managing processes
  • Grievances and conflicts


Many aspects involved in HR are directly linked to employment contracts. HR specialists are experienced in the compliance and legal side of employment, so a qualified HR expert is the best person to go to here.


Sometimes the line isn’t so clear-cut

You might have queries that straddle both payroll and HR…so who do you go to? In certain situations, you’ll need the expertise of both. Let’s have a look at when to go to one, or when you’ll need to enlist the help of both.

Holiday pay

Your accountant can calculate holiday pay for your employees, but the technical side would need to be handed over to an HR specialist to ensure compliance with employment contracts.


If you have employee issues with expenses, your accountant can help with anything surrounding the treatment of those expenses, i.e. what needs taxing and what needs to go on payslips. 

An HR expert would then advise on the boundaries around expense limits, as this is to do with the employment contract.

Employee issues

Most employee issues would fall under HR, since they are likely to do with the employment contract. HR experts have inside-out knowledge of the legalities of notice periods, guidelines and employment law which are more applicable here.

If in doubt, remember:

  • Payroll is mostly numbers; your accountant will be able to help
  • Human resources is mainly the legal and human side; an HR expert is best placed to advise


We’re here to point you in the right direction

If you’re unsure about anything, we’re just an email away. 

We’ll give you the best help we can and will always point you in the right direction – even if it means putting you in touch with someone who’s better placed to help you than we are. 

To see for yourself how we can be the trusted, friendly support your business deserves, fill in our quick form.