A guide to becoming a payroll administrator

Payroll managers, also known as payroll administrators are specialized experts in the field of human resources. The primary duty of a payroll administrator in an organization is to supervise the daily payroll processes of employees. This duty includes a range of subtasks, which include the issuing of paychecks to employees, recording absence and leaves, keeping a record of the numbers of hours worked and keeping track of employment changes, among other related tasks.

Typically, most of the work to be done by a payroll administrator involves making use of a computer and working with specific software, such as spreadsheets, database and accounting software.

In order to become a payroll administrator, one must take up a course in a payroll administration course. There are diploma courses, bachelor’s level degrees, as well as master’s level degrees in payroll administration, with degree fields including human resources, accounting and business administration. Many candidates also move on to receive a certification so as to better employment chances, however, certification is optional.

Some of the key skills that will be learnt during the degree include knowledge of computerized accounting software programs such as automatic data processing and Microsoft Office, database management, communication skills, analytical and organizational skills, accounting fundamentals, word processing, payroll accounting ad taxation and business law.

How to become a payroll administrator?

As mentioned earlier, to become a payroll administrator, one must first select a diploma program, a bachelor’s program or a master’s level program. While a diploma program will be sufficient to land an entry level position in an organization, many positions typically require at least a bachelor’s level degree. As with any other field of study, the higher the level of study, the better the job prospects and compensation in payroll administration.

Candidates who hold a diploma degree in payroll administration often move on to obtain certification or membership to payroll association. Doing so greatly improves career prospects. Those candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree can consider opting for a master’s level program. While the basics of payroll accounting, management principles and computerized software use are well covered in diploma and bachelor’s level degrees, a master’s degree includes specialized and detailed coursework on compensation, staffing, dispute resolution, collective bargaining and various types of employee benefits.

Many individuals also consider taking up internships with the human resources or accounting departments of companies during their study so as to gain hands on experience on the duties of a payroll administrator.

After successful completion of education in a payroll administration program, individuals will find themselves suitable for entry level positions in companies, business associations or institutions. Generally, entry level positions include clerical jobs and payroll specialist jobs. With work experience, the duties and responsibilities of a payroll administrator increase, as so does the compensation.

This is the typical career roadmap of a payroll administrator. There are a large number of employment opportunities for payroll administrators and the outlook is certainly quite positive. It is no wonder that payroll administration courses are offered by top institutions all over the world.

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