Amanda Sinclair Portrait

Tanya Shatford, PCP

Compensation and Benefits Specialist, Halifax Water, Halifax, NS

Approximately 25 minutes from Halifax in Foxpoint, Nova Scotia, with her “grand fur-baby” – a dog named Shadow – and her husband of 30 years by her side, Tanya Shatford has one piece of advice for anyone looking to succeed in payroll: “Embrace change!” 

That’s precisely what Tanya, nearing retirement, has done throughout her career and continues to do today. She started at Halifax water 25 years ago, as a term customer service but when she switched departments and moved into payroll, she plied her trade with hardly a computer in sight. 

“There was one terminal computer for our entire group, but almost everything was done on paper,” she remembers. “Timecards had to be added up one by one. Today, the technology we use automates much of that work, making it possible for us [payroll] to focus more on tasks that drive business decisions and support strategic decision making.” 

For example, with vast stores of payroll data now easily accessible and “at her fingertips,” Tanya, who has advanced from a Payroll Clerk to her current Compensation and Benefits Specialist role, regularly develops customized reports so that managers and supervisors can better understand staffing pressures and identify issues related to absenteeism. Now, as she helps to train the next generation of payroll experts at Halifax Water, Tanya only sees the utilization of technology continuing to advance and payroll continuing to evolve as a function supporting every employer’s long-term health.  

Beyond being task-oriented and highly organized, one key to her success seems to be Tanya’s love of learning. Not only did she achieve her Payroll Compliance Professional designation while already working in role, but with only four years until retirement, she is only one course away from completing the requirements for a PLP designation. 

“Payroll is always changing,” explains Tanya. “There is new legislation, new technology, new responsibilities and possibilities seemingly every day. The only way to keep up and provide the expertise that your employer depends on a payroll professional for is to keep on learning. That’s also a great way to advance in your career.” 

Of course, Tanya isn’t all payroll all the time. When she’s off the clock, Tanya and her husband (who have known each other since they were kids) are avid golfers, and she loves to garden. But most of all, she loves spending as much time as possible with her family. In fact, her son, now 27 years old (and yes, his dog Shadow), regularly stops in for family dinners… which are ALWAYS the highlight of her week. 

National Payroll Institute

(416) 487-3380