Student’s Guide to Career in Payroll Administration

A career in Payroll services, bookkeeping or accounting is one having a great deal of scope, as well as uncertainty in the current marketplace. Naturally, choosing a career in this field is not easy but you can choose the right career roadmap to succeed in it. Once you are equipped with the right qualifications and skills, literally the world would be begging for your services.  Naturally, to become the savvy professional you are required to be in this field starts with choosing the right training institute or college.

career in payroll

Here are some important steps to accomplish prior to starting a career in payroll or accounting:

What would your role be as a payroll technician or administrator?

First of all, you must ask yourself why you wish to become a payroll technician, manager or admin. You must understand the role you would have to play should you choose to become one of personnel. Payroll personnel roles include one or all of the following:

  1. Issuing payroll checks
  2. Keeping detailed records of absences or leaves
  3. Keeping a track of number of hours the employees have logged in
  4. Managing, maintaining and compiling records of employee payroll data

Naturally, all these tasks require you to have a basic knowledge of the use of computers, software tools for maintaining the payroll records as well as excel spreadsheet etc.  Some payroll administrative personnel also have to do human resource jobs like employing other people, travelling to meet new recruits, attending HR events etc. The job will require you to be at work for at least 8 hours a day for all 5 days a week with overtime in tax season. Nowadays, many companies and MNCs like to opt for payroll outsourcing as a result of which many employees in the country re having the option to work from the comforts of one’s home.


Most employees would need you to have a Bachelor’s degree while there are some who would prefer candidates for bookkeepers having a Master’s degree. These could be in the following fields: HR, Accounting, Business administration. You will have to work as an intern and gain a minimum work experience of 5 years. Added certifications are not necessary but are good to have.  You would need the knowhow of computer tools, MS Office, Data Processing systems, as well as simple data entry skills, current and up-to-date knowledge of wage laws and taxes as well as those of terms and policies regarding employment and payroll.

Steps to becoming payroll administrative personnel

Start by getting a degree in the fields mentioned above. Many colleges offer these degree courses. You might want to consider an internship while you are still learning. This can give you an entry level work experience.  You might next want to consider certification in Payroll related fields. Try and become a registered member of the APA or American Payroll Association. This is a pre-requisite for many employers.

Once you do get certified, you can even opt for going in for your Master’s degree in Business Administration.


Choosing a good training institute

A good institute or college in this field will help you gain the foundation and the skills pertaining to business demands including strong practical knowledge and theoretical know how. These days, you can even opt for classroom training, distance learning or total home study.

In either case, a career in payroll is a very lucrative and satisfying one with great scope for improvement and promotions.

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