7 Skills To Enhance Your Payroll Career

Payroll is a competitive field, and taking steps to progress your career can be highly beneficial.

With a higher level of skill or experience, you can stand out from the crowd and show recruiters that you have that little bit extra to offer. Here are 7 Payroll skills /tips you might want to consider that can help you gain that all-important payroll promotion!

1.     Getting a Recognised Payroll Qualification

Working on getting a qualification in Payroll will show managers and recruiters that you are committed to your field and that you know your stuff. The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) offer diplomas in payroll that may be of interest, and there are also payroll BTEC Diplomas on offer at all levels from other reputable providers such as The Learn Centre.  Another opportunity might be to consider studying for the MSc (Master of Science) in Business & Payroll Management currently offered by the University of Derby (run in conjunction with the CIPP). This qualification is arguably the pinnacle qualification available within the payroll industry and completing it epitomises someone who is committed to achieving excellence within the profession. You can also study for a Foundation Degree in Payroll Management endorsed by Worcester University (also run in conjunction with the CIPP). Undertaking such studies will show you to be serious about your career, and will also provide you with detailed knowledge that other candidates simply may not have. Many companies now insist upon a qualification so achieving one could also be your first step in the door to new, progressive career opportunities.

From October 2017, the CIPP announced that payroll professionals can now achieve individual chartered status within the payroll industry. To become recognised as a Chartered member there are strict criteria, but if successful, you can gain recognition within the industry as a being a payroll professional committed to delivering best practice.

2.     Commit to Payroll Training

If gaining a qualification within the industry is a commitment too far for you at this stage of your career, perhaps due to professional or personal obligations then the next best option is to consider upskilling yourself by undertaking some specialist payroll training courses. There are many out there offered by some exceptional and highly experienced providers. For example, if you want to progress your International payroll skills then there are few better places to start than with one of the many International payroll courses offered by Global Payroll Association (GPA). In addition to the GPA, exceptional training courses covering all aspects of UK payroll and compliance are also provided by The Learn Centre, the CIPP and Pitman Training.

3.     Gain Team Management / Supervisory Experience

Supervisory experience can help you advance your career as it shows you know how to manage and lead a team. The ability to lead, motivate, train and develop a payroll team is a critical skill that will show recruiters or hiring managers that you can deliver a successful payroll operation, prioritise tasks and demonstrate composure and sounds management skills within a busy and stressful working environment. However, gaining this experience can sometimes be a bit of a “chicken and egg” problem. Often, to secure a management or supervisory role previous experience in leading teams will be required so it can be a skill that is hard to gain. One step you could take to surmount this problem might be letting your boss know you would be happy to stand in for him/her as needed, offering your support where possible to train and mentor new members of staff or by volunteering your experience wherever possible to gain supervisory exposure. By finding ways to increase your exposure to supervising others, you can quickly FastTrack your payroll career to an official supervisory or management role in the future. Take responsibility, develop transferable leadership skills and progress your career.

4.     Develop your Payroll Profile & Network

Networking is an excellent skill to have and could lead to you meeting influential professionals that could help progress your career. One way of achieving this is by proactively joining relevant networking or peer groups. Some fantastic events include the GPAUK PAYROLL SUMMIT 2018 provided by the GPA; the Future Focused Payroll Conference 2018 offered by The Learn Centre or the Payroll Annual Conference & Exhibition hosted by the CIPP.

However, you can also enhance your social presence too! Consider developing a professional LinkedIn profile which can showcase your payroll skills. LinkedIn is a professional social platform that allows you to join, partake, debate and share in relevant industry related payroll groups and is a great way to build your network within the payroll industry with relevant payroll industry leaders. Within LinkedIn, you also can increase your knowledge by asking questions regarding systems, legislation or processes and within minutes expect industry experts to help and respond. You may be reading this article on LinkedIn – in which case you are already ahead of the curve! Keep up the good work! Why not increase your own network today by joining mine? I have 9K+ payroll connections worldwide! Send me an invite at [email protected]

5.     Gain Software Implementation Experience

A payroll software implementation is a relatively common activity that occurs within a Payroll environment. Payroll systems are continually evolving to keep up with either the latest payroll legislation or the most recent software advancement.  Showing you have this type of experience could help you stand out from the crowd in an interview situation, particularly if a business is considering a system change or an upgrade project in the near future! In payroll there is a vast variety of systems in use, so as well as gaining implementation experience, it is advisable to try and get experience in as many of these as possible as many positions will require knowledge of a specific system for you to be considered. If you are already highly experienced payroll and you are reading this, then you might say “once you have used a few, they are all pretty much the same, and I could pick up any even if I don’t have experience”. This may be true, and as an experienced recruiter, this is one of the hardest objections to overcome. The reality is, in a candidate-driven market, employers can be specific about what they want, and even if you possess the skills to pick up a new system, many hiring managers will not give you a chance in a new role unless you already have the experience! So, if you get an opportunity to increase your system implementation skills or to learn a new payroll software package – take it!

6.     Gain International Payroll Experience

Getting experience in processing payrolls beyond the shores of the UK will broaden the scope of your experience and open up new and exciting career opportunities for you. Payroll in the UK is not the same as Payroll in other countries. We also work in a global landscape now with many International businesses basing their headquarters here in the UK, it means that more and more roles (particularly senior ones) now require experience of EMEA, APAC, LATAM, NA or other Global territories. EMEA refers to Europe, Middle East and Africa, which is a common grouping of regions for Payroll (and other) business purposes. APAC applies to Asia-pacific areas, NA to North America and Canada and LATAM relates to Latin America. If you can work in a place where you can gain experience of International payrolls, then it will allow you to apply for more jobs that require such specialist expertise. This knowledge could also take your career into a whole new and exciting direction. It might even lead to the opportunity to work abroad

Want to learn more about Global Payroll without training? Check out the free global payroll publication offered by the Global Payroll Association. Download the latest magazine here: http://gpa-global.org/magazine/

7.     Gain Payroll Change Experience

As with any other function in the business, Payroll is frequently exposed to change, brought about by technology advancement or changes in the business environment, among others. For example, having experienced a situation where Payroll moved from weekly to monthly, you may be well placed to help other teams that want to do this take the best approach to it – and this type of experience has the potential to make you a strong candidate for Payroll positions that are up for grabs. Assisting with implementing changes to a payroll operation that are required for compliance requirement (such as RTI or Auto Enrolment) shows that you are capable of handling complex tasks and can deliver against a project timescale. Hiring managers are always looking for candidates that are willing to go the ‘extra mile’ that can demonstrate a willingness to improve processes, deliver cost savings and that will advance customer/employee satisfaction. Payroll plays a fundamental role in all of these areas so if you can demonstrate your commitment to process improvement related tasks; it just might be the difference that secures you your next advancement.

Adding more strings to your bow will be very helpful in moving your Payroll Career forward. Why not look at the options today and sign up for a bit of personal development? You never know where it could take your payroll career.

As always, whether you love payroll or love HR, love what you do, work smart and work hard – just be careful not to overdo it. 😊

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