Accountemps Monthly Newsletter – December

6 Ways Payroll Managers Increase Motivation in the Workplace

Payroll doesn’t really have a quiet season. It just has different levels of busy. Some periods are certainly more hectic than others, and year end — with closing running up against holiday scheduling — is certainly one of those times that can have a detrimental effect on motivation in the workplace.

As a payroll manager, you can make your team’s job easier — as well as your own — by checking in regularly to ask about their workload and any problems or frustrations they may be encountering. Stressed workers are more likely to make mistakes — and incur costly penalties — than ones who are happy with their job.

No, you can’t remove every stress factor, but here are six ways you can help increase their motivation in the workplace.

1. Recognize hard work

If your payroll staff has been putting in extra hours to get through a busy period, they deserve some recognition. The gesture can be simple, like calling out a worker’s exemplary behavior in an all-team email, or buying bagels or doughnuts for everyone. For people who have gone above and beyond, such as coming in on a weekend to complete data migration or wrap up financial reporting, thank them with a gift card or an extra vacation day.

Robert Half’s report on workplace happiness shows one of the key drivers of job satisfaction for finance and accounting professionals is feeling appreciated for the work they do. To help workers stay motivated, be sure to make your efforts are specific, timely and sincere.

2. Customize your feedback

Your employees are individuals who want to know how they’re doing and where they can improve. But you need to fine-tune the amount of feedback you give them: Too little, and some might feel neglected. Too much, and others will feel smothered. Many Generation Z employees, for example, expect consistent and frequent comments from their boss. On the other hand, your boomer payroll workers may see regular feedback as meddling micromanaging. Work with each person to find that just-right level of boss-to-employee communication.

3. Engage in training and development

Professional development and training are essential for broadening your workers’ skills base. What’s more, when you invest in them, they return that investment with greater loyalty and engagement. Training often gets pushed to the back burner when things become manic, but don’t let busyness get in the way. Besides, who doesn’t welcome a little break from their daily tasks?

A common form of professional development is the brown bag lunch session, where attendees bring their own food and management supplies the guest speaker. For an extra treat, order pizza or box lunches for the whole gang. When there’s more time, plan for job rotation or job shadowing to promote a transfer of skills between team members. Payroll conferences are a great way for your staff to learn from industry leaders and their peers from around the country.

4. Present staff with interesting projects

Do you know how to motivate people who are frequently engaged in repetitive work? One way is with cool projects that stretch their talents and shake up the routine. For example, ask the group to list some payroll pain points, and then brainstorm solutions together. These could include reducing the error rate, moving toward paperless onboarding and improving payroll-related communication with company employees. By working on creative solutions together, you build a tighter team and empower staff to take ownership of their work.

5. Give the gift of time

During the busy season, you expect a certain amount of flexibility and extra time from your staff. During quieter periods, show that you’re equally flexible by allowing extra perks, such as flexible scheduling and additional work-from-home days. This is especially useful during the holidays, when employees are trying to balance their workload with the need to run errands and visit family. Being treated with fairness is another key driver of workplace happiness, and respecting your team’s work-life balance can really help boost staff engagement.

6. Bring in extra help

Even the best payroll employees can mentally check out when they’re stressed and tired. This is especially true around the holidays, when so many other responsibilities compete for their attention. As you anticipate the department’s long to-do list for year-end closing and tax-related paperwork, make sure you’re adequately staffed. If not, work with a staffing agency that specializes in accounting professionals to access interim payroll specialists. You can boost staff motivation by making sure your full-time employees aren’t overworked and can enjoy the season.

Employee engagement isn’t just some touchy-feely concept that you can leave or take. Helping your team stay motivated has net benefits all around: It’s good for staff, good for management and, ultimately, good for the bottom line.

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps has 325 locations worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at

Accountemps Monthly Newsletter – November

5 of the Best Personality Traits to Get That Payroll Job

Applying for a job is a lot like putting yourself out there on dating apps like Tinder. When hiring managers interview applicants, it takes but a few minutes for them to decide whether to swipe right or swipe left. And like dating, prospective employers are looking at everything you’d bring to the payroll position they have open, including your best personality traits.
To land a great job, give interviewers a strong impression of who you are and how your temperament will be an asset to the payroll department. Here are the five types of payroll professionals businesses want to hire:
1. Communicators
These professionals are experts when it comes to the soft skills of tact, diplomacy, empathy and both written and verbal communication. They make friends easily, including with people outside of finance, which helps to improve interdepartmental collaboration. Communicators are especially good candidates for management positions.
Most interviewers will talk about soft skills, asking behavioral questions such as, “Tell me about a time when you’ve had a difficult conversation with a colleague.” When responding, demonstrate your intuitive understanding of people and that you know how to get your message across. Don’t forget to mention the importance of listening to others as one of the best personality traits a person can have.
2. Self-starters
Some people need constant guidance, but not self-starters. They have an innate sense of what needs to be done and how to get the job done right. These personality types enjoy working alone, but in a team environment, their energy motivates others. Payroll managers like self-starters, as these workers don’t require a lot of hand holding.
To emphasize this aspect of your personality, focus on projects you’ve initiated, such as researching payroll systems and choosing the best one for your company. Problem solving is an essential element of being a self-starter, so relate anecdotes that begin with a predicament and end with the successful implementation of your solution.
3. Explorers
Explorers are curious about everything. They are the first to embrace change and new platforms, and quickly find innovative and more efficient ways of completing tasks. As more payroll systems move to the cloud, these are the ones who help guide coworkers and other users.
During interviews for payroll positions, explorers easily demonstrate their comfort level with new technology. But a grasp of IT is only one aspect of this personality. They have an equal level of understanding of the most current legislation regarding tax rates, withholdings and compliance requirements. When talking about yourself, mention all the ways you keep up with industry trends, such as the blogs you read, the newsletters you subscribe to and the training you seek out for yourself.
4. Perfectionists
These payroll employees have an eagle eye. They recognize discrepancies from a mile away and pride themselves on a near-zero error rate. They’re careful and talented, but also efficient with their time. When a perfectionist is on the team, managers don’t have to worry about anything falling through the cracks.
Attention to detail is one of those best personality traits for any payroll professional, but perfectionists go one step further. When meeting with prospective employers, talk about your near obsession with getting things just right. Back up your assertions with real-life examples, such as when you caught an error that saved the department countless hours of grief from underpaid employees. If you don’t have such a story, that’s okay. Talk about the common payroll mistakes you keep an eye out for, or your methodology for double-checking data entries.
5. Moral guides
If you have a strong sense of right and wrong, you might be a moral guide. These employees hate to see people treated unfairly, which makes them good at resolving disputes and customer service complaints. They abide by the rules and watch out for dubious practices. At the same time, they have a good sense of empathy and understand the importance of being flexible. These employees are vital for the smooth running of any payroll department.
Confidentiality is essential in payroll, where employees have access to so much privileged data. A large part of navigating ethics involves understanding the rules, so demonstrate your mastery of issues such as data protection and compliance requirements during interviews.
Whatever attribute you emphasize in the interview, the most important thing is to be honest. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not, and be ready to talk in depth about any aspect of your personality. The most important personality trait at an interview is sincerity, and an experienced interviewer will quickly be able to tell if you’ve got it or not.
Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps has 325 locations worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at

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Accountemps Monthly Newsletter – September

Excel for Finance Professionals? Still King of the Spreadsheets

More than three decades after its debut — and despite the subsequent introduction of innumerable other accounting tools — Microsoft Excel is still the go-to software for most financial professionals across the globe. It was one of the earliest electronic spreadsheets, first developed for the Apple Macintosh in 1985. But it wasn’t until the release of Excel 2.0 for MS-DOS, on Halloween 1987, that the now-ubiquitous program really took off.

The 2017 Benchmarking the Accounting & Finance Function report, a joint effort of Robert Half and the Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF), shows just how widely used this software is today. Of the U.S. executives surveyed, 69 percent said their company continues to use Excel as their primary budgeting and planning tool — up one point from last year’s survey. Among Canadian respondents, Excel enjoys even more popularity (78 percent). Smaller businesses find this software especially valuable: 78 percent of American and Canadian companies with annual revenue under $25 million rely on it, compared with 35 percent of those netting $5 billion or more.

The answer behind Excel’s continued dominance is threefold: affordability, simplicity and flexibility.

  • Low cost. An annual subscription to Office 365, which includes Excel, Word, Outlook, PowerPoint and two other applications, costs just $8.25 per month, and a single license covers five computers. The suite of software is still available for a one-time purchase, as in the good old days. The latest version, Office Home & Business 2016, costs $230 from the Microsoft Store but can be purchased for much less from other retailers.
  • Ease of use. The basic functions of Excel are mostly intuitive and simple to learn, and templates save time and effort. Take, for example, setting up a spreadsheet to track and update payroll. It’s as easy as opening one of Excel’s many native templates for payroll registers, calculators, timesheets and more. Another option is to use one of the dozens of Excel payroll templates offered by firms such as ADP, a major provider of HR services, or Vertex42, a company that specializes in spreadsheet templates. Once the spreadsheet is set up, all you have to do is enter the hours employees worked during the pay period (this process can be automated) and any changes in pay rate or deductions.
  • Effortless integration. As a part of a larger suite of applications, Excel works seamlessly with other Microsoft business tools for word processing, databases, presentations, graphic design and email. This means accounting and finance professionals don’t have to spend time converting or exporting files before using it with other software.

Limitations of Excel

Despite its popularity and numerous upgrades over the years, Excel is still rooted in the last century. It lacks some useful features that ease the load for accountants and payroll specialists. Collaboration is one such area. While the cloud-based Excel web app does allow multiple people to work on one spreadsheet simultaneously, it’s a bit clunky to use. The web version also doesn’t have all the advanced features of the desktop version.

Even though competitor Sheets doesn’t have all those advanced features either, the Google tool does have a nifty chat window and a robust comment feature. For truly seamless real-time collaboration on basic spreadsheets, especially with remote colleagues, Google Sheets is the clear winner.

Scalability is another issue for Excel, which is why the larger a company is, the more likely it is to use a budgeting and planning tool like Oracle Hyperion or SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC). Although Excel’s capacity to handle large data sets has improved notably in the last few years, massive Excel files still severely drag down most computers.

Excel is good for basic graphing, but isn’t quite robust enough to customize and combine diverse data sets and graphs. For payroll professionals and accountants who frequently create complex charts and graphs, using Excel alone could mean wasted time. Better options for such power users are Google Sheets, Zoho Sheet, Numbers (Apple) and Corel Quattro Pro.

Long live the king

Excel has aged fairly well, unlike other similar software that arrived on the scene during the 1970s and ’80s. (Does anyone remember VisiCalc and Lotus 1-2-3?) For about 30 years, the granddaddy of spreadsheet programs has helped countless businesses keep track of payroll, inventory, budgets, expense reports, cash flow and accounts receivable/accounts payable. Excel has its limitations, but the multinational tech giant behind its development has the resources and resolve to keep it relevant and indispensable. That means this application is likely to remain the primary tool for payroll and accounting departments for many years to come.

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps has 325 locations worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at

Accountemps Monthly Newsletter – August

How to Organize Your Desk for Maximum Efficiency

Your desk is often a reflection of your personality and habits. Some workspaces of finance and accounting professionals are sparse and orderly. Others are colorful and personalized. Then there are those cubicles that are so cluttered, you wonder how any work can get done there. Organize your desk? Bring in a forklift!

Regardless of your preferences or inclinations, your workstation should be set up for maximum efficiency, productivity and, yes, comfort. After all, whether you’re a payroll clerk or a finance manager, you may spend more time at your desk than you do in your own bed.

If you’re frequently overwhelmed by disorderly files, stacks of paperwork and general disarray, the slower summer months offer the ideal time to do something about it. Here are eight suggestions for how to organize your desk

  1. Triage your stuff. Your physical desktop is prime real estate, and you probably don’t need half the stuff that’s taking up valuable space. Here’s a method for culling your things: On Monday morning, remove nonessential items from your desktop and put them on the floor. As you get busy working, put back on your desk only what you need for completing each task. At the end of the week, find a new home for anything still on the floor —a drawer, supply closet or even the recycling bin.

  2. Go with your workflow. Many people have a left-to-right tendency. This means incoming items — telephone, inbox, computer, other devices — on the left, a clear workspace in the middle, and outgoing items such as staplers and completed paperwork on the right. The best way to organize your desk depends on how you operate. Experiment with various arrangements until you find one that feels natural and streamlined for you.

  3. Save the space. When you need to sign or spread out paperwork but don’t have empty space, your stress level can increase. Designate a section of your desk as a no-parking zone, and get into the habit of not letting things sit there while you aren’t working on them. This clean-up tip may require you to think vertically, such as getting a wall shelf and using it to house non-essential files and other items.

  1. Reduce visual clutter. Even if the desktop itself is orderly, you may not be as efficient as you want to be if there are too many things competing for your attention. For example, some payroll professionals love sticky notes, putting them on their desks and around their computer monitors. One or two are fine. But when you have too many, they become a distraction and make it hard to concentrate on what’s truly important.

  1. Add a personal touch. Though clean, your workspace need not be sterile. Marie Kondo, author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” is a fan of items that give people joy. Put a few meaningful objects — photos, cartoons, inspirational quotes or a favorite action figurine — on your wall, bulletin board or desktop. But keep them to a minimum, or else your desk will look too messy and possibly unprofessional.

  2. Go digital. Paper is still the biggest culprit of cluttered workspaces. If you haven’t done so already, migrate your calendar, to-do list and memo pad to your computer — and sync them with your smartphone for greater accessibility and utility. The beauty of digital productivity tools is that they come with notification options, so you can set up alerts for meetings, appointments and tasks.

  3. Check under your desk. Don’t underestimate the importance of leg room. All those cords and cables under your desk don’t just contribute to the mayhem — they’re also a safety hazard. Use Velcro wraps and cord tamers to prevent tangles and give your feet more wiggle room. And if you’re using the floor to store boxes of timecards or W-4 forms, move them to a filing cabinet or, better yet, digitize them and shred the papers.

  1. Wipe it down. Keep a few supplies handy and get into the habit of giving your desk, keyboard, monitor and phone regular cleanings. Sitting down to a fresh-smelling, dust-free work area improves your mood and boosts your productivity.

An organized workspace is not a magical time saver, but it helps you get more done because you know where everything is, aren’t overwhelmed by visual distraction and can focus on the task at hand. Plus, an organized desk helps create positive mental energy that can spread to your enthusiasm for your daily duties.

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps has 325 locations worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at

Accountemps Monthly Newsletter – July

The 7 Things You Should Do After Accepting a Job Offer

Congratulations on landing that payroll job or accounting role you’ve been after. First, pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and uncork the champagne. But after that, it’s not just a matter of waiting for your start date. Here are seven steps you should take after accepting a job offer and before your first day at your new job.

1. Get written confirmation

After you accept the offer by phone, it’s standard practice for employers to follow up with a formal written agreement. It should include your job description, starting salary, list of benefits, terms of employment and official start date. Wait until you have this letter or email in hand before taking any next steps. Until you receive that document, you don’t have a concrete job offer.

2. Notify your boss

If you’re employed, you’ll need to formally quit your current job. It’s good form to tell your manager in person and agree on a termination date — usually two weeks from the day you announce your resignation. Then submit a formal resignation letter, making sure to give one copy to your boss and another to the appropriate person in the human resources department.

Note: Management dislikes disruptions in workflow and having to restart the hiring process, so you may get you a counteroffer of a higher salary or sweeter perks. Resist the temptation to accept. Remember all the reasons you looked for a new job in the first place. Besides, it’s highly unprofessional to accept a job offer and then back out later.

3. Cultivate your network

You’re headed for new pastures, but keep nurturing the relationships you’ve built over the years. Your soon-to-be former boss and coworkers are an important part of your professional network. Even if you’ve had conflicts with them in the past, your last two weeks on the job are the time to put all that aside. Add them as LinkedIn connections. Get their personal email addresses. Go out to lunch one last time. Who knows? You may one day find yourself becoming a boomerang employee, going back to your old employer.

4. Facilitate handovers

It’s basic professional courtesy to help out during the transition period, either by training your replacement or writing detailed instructions for a future new hire. Leave your electronic and paper files in good order. Now is also a good time to give your desk a thorough decluttering and cleaning.

5. Stay in touch with your new manager

Your formal acceptance letter should not be the last time your soon-to-be boss hears from you before your first day on the job. They should be reaching out to you about paperwork or other details. If there’s silence, don’t be shy about making the first step.

6. Read up on your new employer

You most likely researched the company before applying and interviewing. This two-week period is not the time to stop. If you haven’t done so already, create a Google News Alert for the employer, and follow the company on social media. Subscribe to its blog to keep up with news and press releases. If the company website has staff photos and biographies, start memorizing faces and names.

7. Get a head start on the job

Even if you’re just making a lateral move, no two positions are the same. You may have to supervise staff, learn new business software or become familiar with another state’s tax codes. Your first few weeks will be easier if you take the time now to watch a webinar or work through an online tutorial or read a book on effective leadership.

There’s much to do after you accept a job offer, so don’t rest on your laurels and coast during your final two weeks at your old workplace. Make the most of this time to create a smooth transition and prepare for the next exciting chapter of your payroll career.

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps has 325 locations worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at

Accountemps Monthly Newsletter – June

How to Find the Best Workplace for Your Payroll Career

Happy worker at his desk

Finding a new payroll job is not unlike dating. To make the relationship work, you and your new company should be well matched in areas such as style and personality. Whether you’re an active or passive job candidate, here are seven factors to look for when assessing potential employers and planning your next steps in your payroll career:

1. An engaged communication style

If you’ve ever worked for a company where information seldom trickles down to the staff level, you understand how frustrating a poor or nonexistent communication style can be. When evaluating potential workplaces, note how responsive they are to your messages. Do you have to wait days or weeks to hear back, or do your emails and phone calls get returned within a few hours? How’s their tone — curt and hurried, or friendly and respectful? An organization’s poor communication style can lead to low morale among staff and a high turnover rate.

2. A good work-life balance

To attract top talent, companies are offering an assortment of perks that encourage employees to take care of themselves and spend more time with their families. And that makes perfect sense: The happier workers are, the more productive, creative and loyal they’re likely to be. As you research potential workplaces, take a good look at their job postings and website. Are they proud of their generous vacation policy and flexible scheduling? During the interview, ask hiring managers how the company helps employees balance work and personal life with policies such as telecommuting and flextime.

3. The right opportunities

You want to be part of an organization that will invest in your future as a payroll professional. When speaking with hiring managers, ask what they offer in terms of professional training. Do they help pay for certification exams and payroll association fees? Will they allow you to take continuing professional education (CPE) courses on company time? Do they provide mentoring opportunities? Employers that value their workers typically put strong emphasis on professional development.

4. A suitable city

Sometimes landing a top payroll job requires moving to another area. Finding the right city depends on your priorities. To help you weigh your options, Robert Half has put together a comprehensive list of all U.S. major cities — ranked by factors such as career prospects, quality of life, cost of living and cultural diversity. If you’re in a position to relocate, doing so could give your professional and personal life a boost.

5. A compatible culture

Do you like fast-paced and challenging assignments, or do you prefer predictable and steady work? Is your preference to hang out after hours with colleagues, or are you more comfortable with well-defined professional boundaries? The best workplace is the one where you can feel at home each day, and where you’re a respected part of the team.

6. Similar values

Robert Half’s recent study on working happy finds that organizational pride is one of the most powerful drivers of job satisfaction. People feel good about their role when they believe in what their employer is doing, such as improving the lives of their customers and making their community a better place. If you don’t believe in the mission of your company, you will have a hard time supporting it with your best efforts.

7. Above-average wages

Of course, money can’t buy happiness, but not having enough leads to stress, disgruntlement and eventually your departure for greener pastures. The best workplace for your payroll career is one that recognizes your payroll skills and compensates you fairly for it. Check out our Salary Guide and Salary Calculator for starting salaries in various payroll positions. Then don’t be afraid to negotiate your starting salary.

The job market is healthy for payroll professionals, so you can afford to be selective about your next employer. Don’t settle for so-so when you can land the job — and workplace — of your choice.

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps has more than 325 locations worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at

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Accountemps Monthly Newsletter – May

5 Ways to Beat Stress in the Payroll Department

Man feeling stress at workIf the pressure of your payroll job is weighing you down, and you’re not sure how to deal with stress at work, you’re in good company. In a recent Accountemps study, 52 percent of workers polled said they are somewhat or very stressed at work. Additionally, 60 percent feel employee stress has increased over the past five years.

Workplace stress is bad for your productivity, personal happiness, and physical and mental health. But payroll never ends, and it seems that every payday results in at least a few people upset about their withholdings. The good news is you can better manage your anxiety level. If you want to know how to deal with stress at work, here are five ways to reclaim your inner peace.

1. Amp up your physical activity

Exercise can feel like torture when you’re in it, but its stress-relieving effects stay with you long after your workout. For one, it increases blood flow to your brain, improving memory and helping you process information better. According to the Mayo Clinic, working out also combats depression by increasing the amount of endorphins (aka “feel-good” neurotransmitters) you produce. Happiness and health go hand in hand.

So make exercise a regular part of your life. Opt for public transportation rather than driving. Jog up the stairs in your workplace instead of waiting for the elevator. Take a lunch-time yoga or tai chi class to reduce stress and learn to let go. And rather than surfing the web during breaks, head outside for a brisk walk. Before you know it, your workplace anxiety — and maybe even your weight — will drop.

2. Learn to unplug

Because people need to get paid every two weeks or every month, it’s understandable why payroll specialists are reluctant to get away for an extended period. In another Accountemps survey, 41 percent of workers polled said they didn’t take any or all of their vacation days because they’re concerned about coming back to a pile of work. Another 35 percent said they didn’t want others to have to manage their workloads.

It’s one thing to be a dedicated employee, but quite another to jeopardize your mental health. Vacation time exists because you need and deserve that time away to relax and recharge. So go ahead and schedule that week-long break — no guilt or work emails allowed. Ask colleagues to cover for you, and return the favor when it’s their turn to get away. Be sure to create an out-of-office message so you aren’t overwhelmed by an overflowing inbox when you return to work.

3. Practice single-tasking

Recent research suggests multitasking is out because it hurts your health and productivity. But mindfulness, the act of focusing on the present, is in. Embrace being in the moment by not getting distracted by another task or problem. When analyzing data or compiling a report, concentrate on the content and not what else you have to do. During meetings, pay attention to the speaker rather than checking your messages. Control your environment so as to reduce distractions. Do you really need to be notified of every email that hits your inbox? The better you are at monotasking — a basic time management technique — the more efficiently you can finish your work.

4. Indulge in outside interests

Here’s a question to ask yourself: Are you letting work creep into your personal life? If you’re still toiling away during evenings and weekends, it’s time to draw some boundaries and work on a pet project. Some excellent choices include those that require you to focus, such as baking, gardening, woodworking or playing an instrument. Or give back to the community by volunteering your skills for a worthy cause. Having non-work interests gives you something to look forward to and provides another means of relaxation.

5. Make some changes

Naturally, peak periods like year-end processing and reporting deadlines are stressful. But if your anxiety level is high all year long, take a good look at your work environment and consider whether it’s time to start a job search. There’s no easy way of coping with bad management, a toxic workplace or an office bully. In these situations, you could relieve the stress by finding another employer. While it’s true that a job change is stressful as well, the peace of mind might be well worth the effort.

While no payroll job is 100 percent stress-free, there’s no need for work-related worries to take over your life and harm your health. Workplace happiness is within your reach and control.

More tips for how to deal with stress at work

Tags: Stress

Accountemps Monthly Newsletter – March

6 Steps to a Happier Payroll Job

Few organizations can function without payroll professionals. And with businesses adding new jobs and hiring, payroll managers and clerks are in high demand. That’s the good news. On the flip side, job satisfaction may be elusive. People in finance and accounting experience the least happiness, according to a recent Robert Half study of 12,000 workers in the U.S. and Canada.

Drivers of workplace happiness

What makes one person ecstatic may be sheer drudgery to another. But in general, the research finds that these three factors determine whether accounting professionals experience on-the-job happiness:

  1. Feeling appreciated for the work they do
  2. Being treated with fairness and respect
  3. A sense of accomplishment from their work

Payroll specialists likely spend a lot of time entering data and other tasks that seem mundane. And when employees get upset about mistakes or withholdings that reduce the size of their paychecks, those specialists can be at the receiving end of their wrath — furthering their unhappiness.

If you’re no longer excited about your payroll position, it’s time to take steps toward greater job satisfaction. Here are some happiness tips for improving your workplace experience:

If you’re a job seeker

Make sure the role is a good fit. While no job is sunshine and roses all day long, you will experience greater job satisfaction if your responsibilities align with your skills, interests and personality. For greater workplace happiness, apply for jobs that excite you.

Scrutinize potential employers. Each organization has a unique workplace culture. Shrewd job seekers research companies before applying to see if they’d enjoy working there. During on-site interviews, gauge whether workers look content or harried. At the end of the meeting, ask questions about the corporate culture and why people enjoy working there.

If you’re already employed

Focus on career growth. Have you been in the same payroll position for a while? Lack of career mobility contributes to a sense of unhappiness. Talk to your manager about your career path and continuing education options, such as payroll certification, a college degree or professional training courses. And if you feel you aren’t being sufficiently challenged, ask for bigger projects.

Request more money. Being underpaid is unfair and makes you feel unappreciated. Check the 2017 Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance to ensure you’re receiving competitive compensation for your job title, experience level and geographic location. If not, it’s time to ask for a raise.

Develop positive workplace relationships. The Robert Half study finds employees who get along with their coworkers are 2.5 times more likely to be happy at work. Even making small talk can help create a stronger rapport with your fellow payroll employees, which can boost your mood and increase your happiness.

Get back in balance. If you frequently work late, your work-life balance is off-kilter. Taking better care of yourself leads to greater workplace happiness. So don’t feel guilty about getting away for a long vacation. Ask your boss about flextime and telecommuting options. And if the workload becomes overwhelming, see if a temporary payroll professional can be hired to assist.

Even though many finance and accounting professionals rank themselves relatively low on the happiness scale, you don’t have to be among them. Take action now toward greater job satisfaction.

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps has more than 325 locations worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at

Accountemps Monthly Newsletter – February

What the Arrival of Generation Z Means for
Your Payroll Department

Get ready, hiring managers. Generation Z, those born between 1990 and 1999, has already begun entering the job market. This cohort of recent graduates is brimming with talent and eager to put it to use in your payroll department. But to make the most out of working with Gen Z, you need to understand what makes them tick and how they’ll relate to their baby boomer, Generation X and millennial colleagues.

Not every member of Gen Z can be neatly categorized, of course, but their own comments about their work preferences provide useful insights about the group as a whole. Here are some key highlights from Robert Half’s and Enactus’ Get Ready for Generation Z study, and what they mean for payroll managers:

Stability matters

Generation Z isn’t very interested in risky ventures. Because they grew up during the Great Recession, they value workplace security. About eight in 10 (79 percent) Gen Zers polled said their ideal work environment is a midsize or large organization, while only 19 percent wanted to work for startups or as independent consultants. When recruiting this age group, sell them on the solidity of your company’s current and future financial state.

Overachieving is the new norm

These young professionals don’t shy away from responsibility. In fact, 77 percent of respondents expect to work harder than employees from millennial, Generation X and baby boomer groups. Additionally, Generation Z is ambitious. When asked where they see themselves in five years, the top response was “managing or supervising employees.” To keep Generation Z satisfied at your company, provide them with professional development opportunities and a clear career path.

Collaboration is key

The vast majority (79 percent) of Generation Z respondents feel comfortable working with and learning from millennial colleagues, but 45 percent feel it would not be as easy to work with baby boomers. As a manager, you’ll need to bridge the gap between baby boomers and Gen Zers by highlighting their similarities and teaching them to appreciate the differences each group brings to the table.

Generation Z is ready to make their impact in the workforce. Make certain your payroll department is prepared to recruit and maximize the potential of this skilled and eager cohort.

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps has more than 340 locations worldwide. More resources, including online job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at