Most organisations are aware the accurate and efficient payroll is instrumental to the organisation’s success. However, with the intricate and complex regulatory payroll landscape, payroll remains a highly specialised and complicated business function. Payroll staff need to be able to handle the demands of the job or risk errors, hefty penalties and not to mention, unhappy employees.
Hiring a payroll specialist can help you to navigate these payroll challenges and ensure that the organisation’s payroll processes are well taken care of. However, how do organisations identify the right candidates and what skills and traits should they be looking out for?
There are no “industry standard” qualifications for someone who is keen to enter payroll positions. That being said, there are relevant certifications or educational backgrounds that may be helpful for the individual to excel in a payroll role. This includes candidates coming from math-related courses or with credible certifications such as Certified Payroll Professionals (CPP) or Certified Human Resource Specialist (CHRS) – Payroll. Both certifications are accredited by the American Payroll Association and HR Singapore respectively.
Payroll involves dealing with large datasets of numbers and analysis. Hence, it goes without saying that the ideal candidate should have an aptitude for numbers. Concurrently, he or she should possess the analytical skills to be able to resolve any payroll calculation discrepancies quickly and effectively.
Staying compliant with payroll laws and tax regulations are fundamental in driving accurate payroll processing. Individuals need to stay abreast of any ongoing changes in tax legislations and also adhere to internal controls to prevent the risk of payroll fraud or incur hefty fines arising from non-compliance.
Payroll can be a complex affair for employees who are unfamiliar with the process. Payroll professionals may need to explain certain calculations or discrepancies to employees across various career levels, from business support all the way up to senior management or even C-suite executives. Good communication skill is key to interacting effectively with employees and addressing any payroll or HR-related queries that they may have.
Payroll processing work on strict timelines to ensure employees are paid accurately and on time. Given that hundreds or perhaps thousands of employees are depending on payroll staff for their monthly salaries, it is imperative to adhere to the strict schedules while maintaining high process standards.
Payroll involves dealing with a lot of sensitive information such as employees’ personal details and payroll records. Hence, they need to know how to exercise discretion when handling data and exercise efforts to maintain payroll confidentiality. This may also mean taking extra steps to ensure that payroll data and records are securely stored and limiting the number of staff with access to the payroll records.
Processing payroll is a huge responsibility given that the business’ financials and employees’ salaries hinge on timely and accurate payroll. Payroll staff need to be dependable and trustworthy in order to ensure success for the payroll team as well as the overall organisation.
Technology is constantly evolving and improving. Likewise, payroll software may update from time to time to meet changing payroll needs. A modern and advanced payroll system is integral for a successful payroll process. Payroll staff need to be familiar and comfortable using modern payroll software platforms.
Beyond paper qualifications, the candidate should also possess some experience in payroll processing. This is particularly true if the payroll staff has to handle regional payroll processing – they need to have some familiarity in working with varying labour laws and legislations.
Employees who are in payroll functions need to be able to lead efficiently. Particularly for those in more senior positions, they need to be able to lead teams, train and guide junior staff, and maybe even be called upon from time to time to present to the entire organisation or to senior management.
What are some of the top skills and traits that your organisation look at when hiring payroll staff?