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Career in Payroll Management

Payroll management requires specially trained people to handle the work. If currently available data can be relied upon, it is a field that is expected to grow by almost thirty percent in the next five years. Such growth gives rise to a number of career opportunities. There is a constant requirement of qualified personnel in companies that cater to the back office needs of various small and midsize enterprises by offering payroll management services.
They require competitive individuals who are able to maintain professional business relationships. Customer service and problem resolution are part of the job. Other desirable attributes are excellent soft skills in phone etiquette, presentation and networking skills together with qualifications in accounting, payroll fundamentals, management and support systems.

Employment Levels

There are managers, supervisors and clerks working at their respective levels in payroll management. They work as a team and execute payroll management functions to ensure that employees receive their paycheck at the right time. They ensure compliance under the various provisions of the law in force, relating to taxes, insurance, sick pay and maternity pay.

The duties and responsibilities involved in payroll management are to key in and process a company's payrolls and employee changes. Preparation of weekly reports for production stats, and change of status forms are made on a regular basis. It is not an easy task, taking into account the different levels of employees having different pay.

Required Qualifications

Payroll administration skills for lower level employment can be acquired through a combination of on-the-job-experience and informal training. Most employers prefer a high school diploma. Computer skills are highly desirable. People with a professional certification have a much greater chance of employment and a higher salary.

Training Courses

The American Payroll Association provides comprehensive training through a three-course instructor led learning series. This training program is offered at colleges and universities all over USA with a certificate awarded on completion.
The first course, called Primary Payroll Skills, covers those needing detailed basic knowledge of preparing payrolls and related calculating and applications. The second course titled Essential Payroll Skills provides advanced training on federal payroll law and regulatory compliance. The course on Advanced Payroll Skills is for those who wish to gain advanced knowledge and application skills on payrolls, essential for functioning at supervisory or managerial positions. Completion of these courses provides a proper foundation for successfully clearing the FPC or CPP, which are certification examinations in payroll management.


The American Payroll Association provides professional certification credentials in payroll management. The certification is valuable because it helps the individual demonstrate their payroll expertise and get promotions in order to advance in their careers.

For payroll beginners, the certification credential is the Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC). For FPC, you are required to have thorough knowledge of terminology and concepts related to payrolls. The other related knowledge areas would relate to accounting principles, classification of pay and customer service.

For those who have managed to gain some experience in payroll administration, there is the advanced certification credential called Certified Payroll Professional (CPP). The examination for this covers different employee categories, statutory benefits and implications related to taxation. The examinee would also require an in depth understanding of penal provisions for non-compliance of statutory obligations and errors related thereto. Questions about management and support systems for payrolls are also given.


At lower levels, the average annual earnings of payroll clerks per 2004 statistics were between $28,000-$32,000. For professionals engaged in supervisory/managerial positions, the salaries are much higher.

About the Author:
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.

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