You are currently viewing Robert Half International: 7 Things Employers Look For When Hiring Payroll Specialists

Robert Half International: 7 Things Employers Look For When Hiring Payroll Specialists

Businesses need operational support staff to process payroll, distribute paychecks, prepare statements and help ensure compliance with regulatory mandates. And according to Robert Half’s latest salary guide, payroll specialist is one of the most in-demand accounting and finance jobs this year.

What kinds of skills, credentials, expertise, and experience are employers looking for in today’s payroll specialists, in general? If you’re looking for a job as a payroll specialist, the following seven things can help you get the attention of a hiring manager, no matter where you are in your career path:

1. Pay statements

The American Payroll Association (APA) offers two types of certification for payroll professionals: Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) and Certified Payroll Professional (CPP).

FPC is intended for entry-level personnel and the courses in this certification give an in-depth introduction to this field. CPF holders are ideal candidates for payroll clerks or other mid-to-entry level positions. (Read more about FPC here.)

For management positions and more complex payroll roles, a CPP can help you stand out. This advanced certification requires prior experience in the field and an in-depth knowledge of basic concepts such as employment taxes, benefits, and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). CPP holders have also demonstrated knowledge of paycheque calculations, payroll systems and payroll administration. (Get more details on the RPC here.)

2. Experience with payroll software

Most payroll platforms are complex. There can be quite a few variations from system to system, and these skills are not always transferable. For example, a payroll specialist who has extensive experience using ADP Workforce Now for payroll processing may not be able to transition smoothly to Kronos Workforce Ready without training.

The good news for payroll job seekers is that the market for hiring payroll specialists is currently very competitive. Thus, many employers are willing to consider recruiting candidates who have not worked with their company’s particular payroll platform, but who show an aptitude for learning new software quickly.

Search the Robert Half website for jobs now.

3. Other software skills

In addition to knowledge of payroll software, most employers are looking for candidates who are proficient in Microsoft Office software, especially Excel, Word and Outlook. Some payroll expert roles overlap with accounting, especially in small businesses, which makes proficiency with QuickBooks or Quicken a plus.

And, of course, as much of the reporting and payment processing has moved online, you should be comfortable with cloud-based applications. Additionally, the ability to use remote communication and collaboration tools, such as video conferencing, as needed in your day-to-day work is a must. Even if you don’t work offsite, many of your colleagues might.

Check out this article for five strategies that can help make your payroll resume shine.

4. Understanding Compliance

The regulatory landscape surrounding payroll and benefits is complex. Besides the FLSA, there’s the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), the Affordable Care Act (ACA), data protection rules, and a host of state and city ordinances. to consider. Remote and hybrid work arrangements can also present payroll compliance issues in multiple states.

Although modern payroll technology platforms can help you solve compliance problems, they are not foolproof. That’s why many employers want to hire payroll staff who understand the rules and know how to put them into practice. So, during the interview stage for payroll jobs, be prepared to answer questions about compliance and demonstrate your knowledge of key rules and regulations.

5. Attention to detail

Payroll personnel, whether a junior payroll clerk or a payroll administrator, cannot afford to make mistakes. Rest assured that employers will want to value your commitment to delivering accurate, high-quality work, because the company can’t accept anything less.

6. Data analysis skills

Software systems today handle much of the functional and routine work of the finance department. As a result, many accounting and finance professionals – including payroll staff – now have more time to focus on data analysis and business strategy initiatives. That’s why many employers are looking to recruit professionals who have a strong background or aptitude for working with data.

7. Customer Service Capabilities

Payroll customers may be internal, but today’s payroll professionals still need a finely tuned customer service mindset. Payroll Specialists should strive to provide prompt and courteous responses to telephone and email inquiries regarding payroll issues and offer prompt assistance when employees are having difficulty navigating the free portal. service.

To assess a payroll candidate’s customer service orientation, which involves being diplomatic and empathetic, hiring managers will use interview questions such as, “How do you handle a employee who is angry at the garnishments?” and “Would you say you’re more of a numbers person or a people person?”

Check out this article for more common payroll interview questions.

The attributes described should give you a better idea of ​​what many employers are looking for in payroll specialists today. Each role will have specific education and skill requirements outlined in the job description, of course. But if you can bring even more to the table — from in-demand credentials to data analysis skills — you probably won’t have to wait long to get a salaried job with good pay.

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