The position of payroll clerk is one of the jobs in the accounting industry that dopes not require a university degree or a diploma from a technical or vocational college. You receive most of the training you need for this position on the job with the company. This entry-level position is perfect for a person considering taking courses leading to a degree or diploma for a higher-level job in accounting because it gives you a glimpse of what types of duties are involved.
The job of payroll clerk is one that is really essential in a company with employees. In this position, you will be responsible for ensuring that the employees are paid on time and that their paychecks have the proper deductions taken out. If an employee reports a discrepancy, then it will be your job to research the employee’s records to ascertain if a mistake was made and take steps to correct that mistake. Depending on the nature of the business, you may have to take information from an automated time keeping system to determine the number of hours each employee worked during the pay period.
A payroll clerk has to be knowledgeable about how to use accounting software to generate the paychecks. This means ensuring that the correct information is entered into the system for the deduction of state and federal taxes and for any deductions for retirement savings plans or health insurance. Since each employee has different amounts of deductions, this job requires being able to pay attention to details. Since most businesses now use computers to generate the calculations, it is highly unlikely that you will have to compute any calculations manually.
You do need a high school diploma to be able to work as a payroll clerk. Many employers do prefer applicants for this position to have some experience working in an office setting and some type of post-secondary education in the field of accounting. There are many training programs available at business and technical colleges as well as through online courses. Computer skills are essential and since you will be working in an office setting, you do need to have good interpersonal skills in dealing with your coworkers.
Once you do get hired as a payroll clerk or to increase your chances of getting this job, you can take certification courses from the American Payroll Association. This organization offers two levels of certification. The first level is the Fundamental Payroll Certification and is for those just getting started in this type of work. The second level, Certified Payroll Professional requires that you have at least three years working on the job. For both certificates, you do need to pass a comprehensive exam.
Every facet of government and industry has people hired in this position. In large companies, there may be more than one person performing this duty, with each one responsible for the payroll of a specific department. It is also a position in which you can work part-time if you have duties that require you to be at home for a portion of the day or the week.