How to Become a Payroll Clerk
Job Duties of Payroll Clerks
Skills and Qualities of a Payroll Clerk
Payroll Clerk Salary
Influential Professional Payroll Clerks
Leading Organizations for Payroll Clerks
Top Cities for Payroll Clerk Jobs
Other Careers of Interest
The American Payroll Association has a formal certification program with two levels of certification: Fundamental Payroll Certification and the Certified Payroll Professional. The latter more advanced certificate requires at least three years work in the professional world.
Similar to payroll clerks, timekeeping clerks distribute and review timesheets. For those companies that bill clients by the hour, timekeeping clerks monitor the billable hours to ensure their accuracy. These clerks also have the responsibility to disseminate information about changes in payroll policies. In smaller offices, the same person may perform both payroll and timekeeping clerk roles.
Payroll clerks examine timesheets for errors. They compute deductions for taxes, health insurance, retirement and so forth. In an automated office, either the computer will notify the payroll clerk of the error or the payroll clerk will search through printouts for errors.
Payroll clerks work in every industry but an increasing number work as temporary employees; temporary workers generally lack benefits. However, those who are not temporary workers are usually employed by tax preparation and bookkeeping firms. Some companies have outsourced payroll to companies that specialize in payroll. In 2006, about 16% of all payroll clerks worked less than a 40 hour week.
Generally, payroll clerks work 35-40 hour weeks, and they work from desks. Payroll clerks have to obtain information from other workers, databases, and external sources. Like other office workers, payroll clerks spend a good deal of time interacting with computers, but payroll clerks also have to interact with other workers, and this requires great interpersonal skills. These skills become particularly important when a paycheck has an error. Payroll clerks must evaluate information for compliance to standards.
Payroll clerks use calculators, desktop computers and dumb terminals, a mainframe interface. They use such software as databases, spreadsheets, and word processing programs, as well as special time accounting software.
Payroll clerks utilize the following skills: time management, active listening, active learning, critical thinking, learning strategies, information ordering, problem sensitivity, and mathematical reasoning.
Salary ranges widely by region, by size of company and by specialization of payroll clerk. The median national annual salary for payroll clerks in May 2007 was $33,810 per year. The middle 50% of salaries ranged between $27,570 and $40,730 per year.
Vicki M. Lambert, C.C.P (Certified Payroll Professional) wrote Payroll. A Guide to Running an Efficient Department. Known throughout the United States for her lectures on payroll administration and compliance, she has developed teaching materials for several universities.
Leonard A. Haug, CPP wrote The History of Payroll in the U.S, a Chronicle of the Development of Payroll From Colonial Times to the Present. In 1994, he was awarded the American Payroll Association's Man of the Year award.
The WorldatWork represents human resources and knowledge workers. This organization focuses on the development and retention of a talented workforce. It has 30,000 members in 75 countries. WorldatWork has an emphasis on work-life balance as a business strategy. Its website features certification, career center, and course and seminars.
The growth rate for payroll clerks lags below average. Certification and computer skills may provide a critical advantage. The companies that specialize in payroll will be the site of most future growth. Some payroll clerks may specialize in the 401(k) programs or investment plans.
As of September 2008, the top three cities for payroll clerk jobs are located in New York, Houston, Texas and Charlotte, North Carolina.
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