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Should the controller be able to limit what HR can see and do?

HR is not able to see or do certain things that pertain to HR because the controller has restricted the access to HR information.


Ken Stumder
Title: Finance Director / Controller
Company: Ken Stumder, CPA
(Finance Director / Controller, Ken Stumder, CPA) |

Some specifics would be helpful to see if the restrictions are within or outside of the norm.

(HR Manager) |

making changes to an employee's information. We are a small company so HR also does the payroll and now that is getting difficult to do because every day there is some issue that is preventing HR from doing their job. Our controller is also over our IT which I think is not good practice.

Ken Stumder
Title: Finance Director / Controller
Company: Ken Stumder, CPA
(Finance Director / Controller, Ken Stumder, CPA) |

I've always preferred centralization of any employee record updates with one (or few) individuals. There is no reason why it can't be an HR person, so long as sufficient controls / oversight is in place.

A controller's role with respect to payroll it is to ensure a) people are getting paid as they should while eliminating room for fraud / error b) that the system(s) play well with the accounting system and all the transactions can be recorded faithfully with as little difficulty as possible. IT does come into play as a result.

The question I would ask is whether this is an area that has been subject to error in the past. It would explain why your controller has gotten hands on with it, and I would suggest you work in tandem with him or her to restore / boost confidence in the process. If it was working well my guess is that s/he would be focused elsewhere.

(HR Manager) |

Thanks for your input it is greatly appreciated! There has been no issues in the past with errors. He came from a large company to a small one to have more hands on and now is controlling everything which is making life difficult for other departments (HR being one of them).

Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

It depends on the culture of the company. Access (what you can see and what you can do) can be structured in a multitude of ways AS LONG AS EVERYONE KNOWS who is responsible for it and not having access does NOT affect how the other does its job. One thing I should point out is that having 2 people or 2 divisions/depts responsible for it (or parts of it) is a recipe for conflict. If HR's job is hampered by the NON access, then HR should make a case for it. Divy up the system. Some parts are Finance's responsibility, some parts are HRs.

Nothing is unsurmountable between 2 professional adults. If the Controller is hard to deal with (at least for this issue), go up the organizational structure...CFO or CEO. At the end of the day, it is YOUR performance that is affected.

(Accounting Manager) |

I agree with the previous poster. There are certain controls that must be maintained to ensure payroll transactions are recorded correctly, and that any changes to employees data have proper approvals. Our payroll is processed by the accounting department (Controller), any changes made by HR in our operating system are forwarded to the controller for updates into ADP. Before payroll is submitted, the controller and HR manager will review the payroll data and any changes to ensure the accuracy. Most changes made to employee records, will come from our HR department. The controller/CFO has the greater responsibility to ensure the company's financial transactions are free from error and fraud.

Ross Anderson, CPA, MBA
Title: Controller
Company: TFS Capital
(Controller, TFS Capital) |

As a finance professional, I hate restricted access. It really can slow down someone's job. Yes, HR should have access to everything payroll related, and if there are restrictions in the way the controller needs to make accommodations.

(HR Manager) |

HR does the payroll processing for production employees but not the salary. They don't want HR to know what the salary people are making but they think we should make sure the salary people are informed of any changes to insurance, 401K, etc. If we don't have access to some information it can limit our job and we don't know when a person who is in salary is eligible for insurance, 401K, etc.

I agree with Emerson about a recipe of conflict.

HR in most companies should know all aspects of the company and to also make that no fraud is being committed.

Thanks for all you guys input.


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