Making payroll hum when a company changes hands - Barr Burgess & Stewart

When a team of business advisors and accountants took over ownership of this business, payroll needed to be done quickly and properly, here's how Datacom helped.


Christine McNamara and Richard McKnight were partners with the accounting and advisory practice PwC Otago. After a management buyout they created a new entity (BB&S), buying part of the practice from PwC. More than 20 staff transferred to BB&S, along with existing clients. 

The new company took the name Barr Burgess & Stewart Limited (BB&S), echoing the name of a locally-renowned accounting firm from 1931-1982, which had later become part of PwC.

BB&S deliver business advisory and accounting services from fully qualified chartered accountants with a focus on people, not numbers. It specialises in start-ups, financial reporting and compliance, leveraging technology, improving profitability, strategy and growth, capital structure and cashflow management, tax planning, succession planning and business valuations. It prides itself on embracing innovation, technology and different ways of thinking.

The Challenge

Historically all payroll was completed through PwC, so the new business needed its own payroll provider. As payroll had always been done nationally the team didn’t have the local knowledge of the complex payroll rules and legislation. Time and effort needed to be focussed on clients, so payroll needed to be the job of an external specialist.

Being technology focused, the new business also wanted a payroll system all staff could use, and general payroll processing had to be simple. 

The Solution

A lot of information was needed to separate each of the employees from the PwC payroll and transfer them to the new BB&S system.

The sale of the business occurred on October 1 with settlement on November 1. The first pay then needed go through on November 20, so the timeframe was tight. It was initially unclear as to who would be populating the required templates were imported into the “Easipay” system. All the information was in the PwC records and BB&S did not have detailed knowledge to populate it. After reviewing what was required, PwC extracted the data, Datacom manipulated it to fit the templates and BB&S confirmed it was ready for importing. This meant an easy, seamless transition that avoided time spent going back and forth between the parties. 


BB&S described two main key measures of success for this payroll implementation - everyone getting paid and staff satisfaction.

Essentially, there was just over one month to get everything up and running before the first payrun. After that was achieved, payroll has been processed easily each month through Datacom’s outsourced EasiPay solution. 

By connecting the best people with world-leading technology, Datacom can provide a more personalised service, able to answer questions and give guidance at a local level. New technology meant staff were also happy with the visibility of their pay via the MyPay app and employee Direct Access.

“We knew payroll was going to be a challenge when we bought the practice from PwC. We wanted a fully outsourced payroll solution and were operating under time pressure to get everything ready in time. The Datacom team had everything set up and operating so everyone was paid accurately and on time. We were extremely happy with the implementation process and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to any other business.”

Christine McNamara, Managing Director, Barr Burgess & Stewart Limited (BB&S)