Alison Sellar is the CEO of activpayroll, a leading global professional service organisation she founded in 2001. Since establishing the business over fourteen years ago, Alison has grown her company from a local firm specialising in payroll for oil and gas companies, to an award winning global company servicing everyone from small non-profit organisation, to some of the world’s leading brands.
Prior to launching activpayroll, Alison worked in her parents’ accountancy firm, Grampian Business Bureau (GBB), as a book-keeper. In 1999, Alison became a partner in the business, expanding the payroll department she was running. Alison recognised a distinct gap in the market for fully integrated payroll services, resulting in Grampian Business Bureau being sold to activpayroll in 2003, with Alison becoming her father’s boss. She became Managing Director and her father was appointed Finance Director.
Today, activpayroll provides global payroll, global mobility, audit and compliance services and online HR people management tools to over 1,000 customers in over 120 countries worldwide. Rapid expansion over the years has resulted in Alison opening activpayroll offices around the world, with offices in Houston, Washington & Ontario, Americas; Perth, Sydney and Singapore, APAC; Edinburgh, Paris & Stavanger, EMEA and the global HQ based in Aberdeen.
In an industry that is predominantly male led, Alison has been greatly recognised for her success and ambition with activpayroll having won six awards alone in 2015, including Female Business Leader of the Year at the Scottish Business Awards. Alison is constantly looking for new ways to provide fully integrated and flexible payroll solutions, as well as offering her team the opportunity to strengthen their careers. In 2015 activpayroll launched the first in-house payroll training academy in Scotland. The academy allows employees from any career or educational background to receive on the job training, giving them the opportunity to further their careers.
In 2011, Alison launched an innovative payroll giving scheme, ‘Pennies for Promise’. The scheme allows employees to make a donation to charity directly from their pay by rounding down the employees pay to the nearest pound, with the remaining pennies going to charity. Unlike other charitable systems, Pennies for Promise ensures that 100% of donated funds go directly to the chosen charities.
Outwith work, Alison is committed to helping others, having participated in a host of challenges including The Monster Ski Challenge to raise funds for MS Trust and also holding fundraisers for Epilepsy Action with the support of her activpayroll team. Alison is currently preparing for two gruelling challenges this year, the Woman V Cancer Cycle which will see her cycle 450 km from Vietnam to Cambodia over ten days and Ride the North, a 281 km cycle that is completed over two days in the Grampian Highlands. These cycles are being completed to help raise funds for four charities, including; Maggie’s, Action for Charity, Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland and Friends of Anchor.
As a well-known Scottish business woman, Alison is always encouraging other aspiring female entrepreneurs to follow their vision and instincts through a number of public speaking events across the UK. In addition, Alison is also a GlobalScot ambassador for Scottish Enterprise, providing her knowledge and experience to advise other Scottish businesses entering into new export markets using her global network and expertise.