A partner at a leading Cumbrian accountancy firm has received national recognition for her dedication to payroll for the last 30 years.
Karen Thomson, payroll partner at Armstrong Watson, has won the prestigious Luminary Award at the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals’ Annual Excellence Awards 2021.
Karen, who became only the second known payroll partner of an accountancy firm in UK in 2019, has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to support clients and colleagues in understanding the ever-changing guidance from the Government and the complexities of the JRS, often working long days from 4.30am in the initial stages of the crisis.
In August last year, she became head of Armstrong Watson’s HR department, as well as the payroll team, which she has led for the past six years.
Despite shielding for several months, she supported managers and the wider teams, prioritising their wellbeing throughout what had been a challenging period for both departments.
Karen said: “I’m honoured and very humbled to receive this award. I was so shocked on the night I couldn’t even speak to one of my favourite celebrities.
“To be recognised by my peers in this way is such a privilege. I couldn’t have achieved what I have in my career without all those I have had the pleasure of working with, whether in a work place, as a stakeholder with Government departments or as a member of the CIPP.
“I am so proud to call myself a payroll professional and to have led so many fantastic teams in both payroll and HR.
“My people matter to me. My clients matter to me. I love payroll. I love employment law and HR. It’s just what I do. I don’t know how to be any different. I like to work hard and I enjoy what I do.
“Having worked in the industry for more than 30 years, I’m passionate about the work we do and advocate this at any given opportunity, though the pandemic has really raised the profile of our industry.”
The Luminary Award recognises an individual who has demonstrated leadership within their organisation or across the wider industry and has had a positive, inspirational impact on the careers of others. Karen also recently launched a Payroll Apprenticeship Academy which provides six Level 3 apprenticeships to help more young people move into the industry.
Alongside Karen’s win, Armstrong Watson was shortlisted for the Best Coronavirus Crisis Response Award and Amy Johnson, senior payroll manager, was shortlisted in the CIPP Spotlight Award for going above and beyond to keep her team’s morale high during the past 18 months.