Every business, whether large or small, that has employees needs the services of trained personnel to handle the payroll for the company. The job titles of the position may vary from payroll clerk, payroll administrator, payroll technician, timekeeper and others. There are many different tasks that you would perform in such a job for which you would need specialized training. Many colleges now offer associate degrees of a two-year duration that will give you the skills and knowledge you need to perform well in this type of job.
The various tasks associated with working the payroll aspect of the accounting industry include:
- Compiling the data needed to process employees earnings and provide statements to explain the various deductions from each check
- Computation of the hours worked and the deductions from the wages
- Making pay adjustments for promotions and transfers
- Preparing earnings statements for income tax purposes
- Providing information to employees regarding changes in tax laws that will affect their net pay
- Assist employees in their benefit plans
- Enter new employees into the system
- Maintain employee records
Jobs in payroll utilize many types of technology in performing the daily tasks. This requires a high degree of efficiency in using office equipment. Computer skills are essential because you will be entering the data into the computer database and using accounting software in the computation and preparation of the wages. Some of the various types of computer applications with which you should be familiar include Microsoft Access for data entry, various human resource software, Excel for spreadsheet use, time accounting software and word processing.
The Fundamental Payroll Certification is perfect for those just getting started working in payroll. It is voluntary and is not a requirement of the job but with it you can demonstrate to employers that you are serious about the position and that you have the skills needed to perform well in the job. The topics covered in the courses that you need to take for the exam include the core concepts of payroll, compliance with tax and business regulations, the principles of computing paychecks, the process of payroll systems and accounting in general. Many systems analysts who design payroll systems also take this certification exam.
If you have been working in payroll for several years and want to enhance your skills, you can take the courses and exams leading to the Certified Payroll Professional certification. There are eligibility requirements for this certification, which include at least three years of work experience in payroll and obtain a passing score in specific courses outlined by the American Payroll Association. The exam for this certificate is a comprehensive one that includes topics on core concepts of payroll, dealing with customers, complying with business and tax regulations, and management practices and skills. With this certification you can advance in your career by becoming a payroll administrator or supervisor.