Tags: Accountancy & Finance, accountancy-and-finance, blog

By Andrew Baines

Contrary to popular opinion, payroll isn't just about numbers, but also about how well you can communicate, work within a team and operate through the use of data and accounting software. There are multiple avenues for career progression within the payroll industry, and a successful ascent up the ladder is largely determined by your level of willingness to learn new skills and set yourself apart from the competition. Read on to find out what you need to know to get started, and how you can grow and develop as a payroll professional.

The qualification that will give you the extra edge

In recent years, accreditation from the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) has become a highly sought after characteristic in the payroll employment criteria. The CIPP is the only Chartered Institute for payroll professionals working in the UK and as such is represented within government. The course provision is designed to integrate and enhance your job role and support employability with the knowledge you obtain being applied in the workplace.

Furthermore, many employers recognise the importance of supporting their staff in continuous learning in order to develop professionally. This means that you may likely have the option to have your study funded – either partially or in full – by your employer.

The courses range from Level 2 to Level 7, meaning that you can continue to cultivate and develop new skills as your career progresses.

Let's talk roles, salaries and avenues to progress

There are multiple roles within a payroll department, ranging from entry to management level. Here they are below:

Payroll clerk

Average Salary: £20,000 - £22,000 per annum

It is the payroll clerk's job to collect time sheets, review timekeeping logs for accuracy, and issue pay checks and other disbursements to employees within an organisation. In addition to basic job functions, clerks are accountable for processing various requests and processing various types of verifications.

Essential skills for the role:

  • An aptitude for maths.

  • Strong organisational skills.

  • The ability to work as part of a team.

  • The ability to meet deadlines.

  • Strong communication skills.

  • Sound computer skills.

Payroll administrator

Average Salary: £18,000 - £20,000 per annum

A payroll administrator is an essential part of the team and has many important responsibilities. Distributing tax forms is one of the most important tasks an administrator will perform, from P45s to year-end tax forms. The end of each tax year brings around a number of highly important duties for both tax and legal purposes, which must be fulfilled by the payroll administrator on behalf of the company.

Essential skills for the role:

  • Excellent numeracy and literacy skills.

  • Good timekeeping and an ability to meet strict deadlines.

  • Organised, logical and methodical approach.

  • Ability to remain calm under pressure.

  • Flexibility

  • A keen eye for detail and accuracy.

Payroll Officer

Average Salary: £22,000 - £26,000 per annum

A payroll officer is an integral part of any payroll department, with a number of important duties to ensure the smooth running of the payroll team at your business. While the most important task for a payroll team is ensuring that all employees are paid on time and with the correct amount, there are also other important duties which must be performed. This includes the distribution of many important forms, many of which are absolutely essential for tax purposes.

Essential skills for the role:

  • Keen attention to detail.

  • Comprehensive knowledge of legislative developments.

  • Adaptability

Payroll Manager

Average Salary: £25,000 - £40,000 per annum

A payroll manager has an important role to play. They look after their team and ensure that the payroll department of a business runs smoothly and effectively. With salaries being hugely important to employees and employer alike, this role is utterly essential and ideal for someone who has a great deal of experience within the industry.

  • The ability to lead and motivate a team

  • Good maths and IT skills

  • Logical thinking and problem-solving ability

  • A high level of accuracy and attention to detail

  • The ability to manage your time and meet deadlines

It's important to note that continuous learning will serve as a tremendous advantage in furthering your career. So remember to continue investing in the pursuit of training whilst learning from professionals along the way.

About the Author

Andrew Baines is a data-driven payroll specialist with over fifteen years in the industry, where he has obtained extensive knowledge of UK PAYE payroll specialisms including tax, National Insurance, statutory payments, HMRC guidelines, legislation and returns. He is currently temping as a Payroll Advisor. Andrew believes that his communication and interpersonal skills are essential for building relationships – both within a payroll team and other departments within the organisation, as well as with external parties and clients.

Are you a Payroll Temp looking for your next opportunity?

At Search Accountancy & Finance, we have a wide range of temp payroll jobs that are perfectly suited for individuals who need work flexibility, have recently moved/relocated to the UK or are undergoing a career transition. To find out more about our temp payroll jobs, you can contact Rachael Hodges on [email protected]. Alternatively, you can find our comprehensive list of Accountancy & Finance vacancies by clicking the button below!