Payroll Assistants work closely with Payroll Managers and other members of the team in order to deliver accurate and timely wages to employees. These professionals are sometimes known as Payroll Clerks or Payroll Administrators.
Payroll Assistants are employed by all types of organisations for their in-house payroll teams and can also be found working for a selection of clients within a payroll bureau, which is a professional services practice much like an accountancy or law firm.
The remit of the role can vary depending on factors such as your experience and the type of employer you work for, however Payroll Assistant duties and responsibilities are likely to include the following:
• Reporting to and assisting the Payroll Manager with any tasks as instructed.
• Entering payroll data into online systems and suggesting ways to improve these processes.
• Gathering and examining time sheets.
• Maintaining and entering working hours data into staffing sheets.
• Preparing and drafting documents such as pay slips and P45s.
• Responding to pay and tax queries from staff, employers or clients.
• Processing payroll updates including new starters, leavers and pay rises.
• Ensuring staff receive the correct pay, bonuses and benefits at the right time.
• Urgently resolving any discrepancies or issues.
One of the questions we are often asked by prospective payroll professionals is “What qualifications do you need to be a Payroll Assistant?”
The good news is that there are no formal qualifications required to become a Payroll Assistant, however employers are free to stipulate their own requirements when hiring, so you will often see Payroll Assistant job descriptions which list a degree as an essential prerequisite.
If you are required to have one, a degree in finance, accountancy, business, mathematics, administration or a related discipline will be looked upon most favourably.
If you want to boost your CV with a payroll-specific qualification, there are several professional certificates and training courses available via the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP).
However, do not panic if you are looking to become a Payroll Assistant with no qualifications, degree or experience. There are employers out there who hire entry level candidates or school leavers and provide them with full payroll training.
Apprenticeship opportunities are also available for those who want to train in payroll while getting paid.
Payroll Assistant Skills
Alongside any required qualifications, education and experience, a Payroll Assistant job description will also list the key skills needed for the role. These are likely to include the following:
• Familiarity with payroll software and processes.
• Good attention to detail.
• Strong mathematical and analysis skills.
• Understanding of payroll laws and regulations.
• Strong communication and relationship building skills.
• Great time management and the ability to work to deadlines.
• Strong Excel skills, plus familiarity with other Microsoft Office programs.
According to our 2021 Audience Insight Report, the average Payroll Assistant salary in the UK is around £25,000 per year. However, this sum can vary depending on factors such as your location, experience and type of employer.
Those working in full-time Payroll Assistant positions are also often offered benefits such as private healthcare, gym contributions and personal training budgets.
Hopefully our Payroll Assistant job description article has helped you to decided whether this career path is right for you. If you are still on the fence and want to know more about the career path of a Payroll Assistant, why not check out our comprehensive Payroll Manager job description?
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