Payroll fraud case $737,000 – is your payroll manager skimming?


In August 2017, Sally Woodall, previously the payroll manager at Hassell, a large multi-national architectural company, was jailed for three-years for having methodically defrauded her trusting employer of $737,000 over the period of a decade. Hassell had thoughtfully taken out insurance against fraudulent business practices, however that limited cover still left them $687,433.77 out of pocket.

Ms Woodall managed to stay under the radar until she resigned from her position and the discrepancies were found.

How does this happen? At a company with over 500 employees, how can one person perform this critical business function completely unchecked for ten-years?

Company directors need assurance that their payroll processes are not only compliant and secure but protected against fraudulent behaviour. The best way to ensure this is with robust management policies and procedures and a best-of-breed payroll system with a sophisticated auditing capability.

  • Are you using a best of breed payroll, human resource or workplace health and safety software?
  • Does your current system have sophisticated security and auditing tools that tracks changes made?
  • Or are you using traditional paper accounting and bookkeeping practises?

First and foremost, to give your company the best chance at legal compliance in payroll practices, stay away from Excel spreadsheets; they are way too easy to manipulate. Responsive, integrated, best-of-breed payroll, human resource and workplace health and safety software such as HR3 is a must. High-performing software will give you peace of mind that your company’s worth is secure, well managed and compliant with Australian payroll legislation.

By focussing on improving their processes and management, and by utilising automated systems, the threat of fraud can be significantly reduced if not eliminated. In addition, you can mitigate your risk of payroll fraud even further by having competent finance staff, sign off on each payroll.

Many small-medium businesses tend to look at the initial software investment as a barrier to change, however with HR3’s flexible pricing and its software as a service (SaaS) model, it is more affordable than ever.

Sadly, it is too late for Hassell and other companies who have been hit by payroll fraudsters, however if you take the steps outlined above, you can practically eliminate the chance of this occurring within your organisation.


  • CONNECT with me to see if HR3 is the right payroll, hr and whs solution for you
  • ASK me how you can streamline your current processes to work smarter
  • TALK to our customers to see why they choose HR3
  • SCHEDULE a presentation — see HR3 in action



Mohamed DerieBusiness Development Manager