Accountemps Monthly Newsletter – December

How to Get the Current Job Skills You Need as a Payroll Professional

Payroll professionals know that if they don’t keep up with changes in the profession, they’ll get left behind. That’s why accounting and finance professionals polled in a recent survey from global staffing firm Robert Half said having current job skills is a top concern. The majority of the respondents also said when weighing job opportunities, the chance to pick up new proficiencies is a major consideration. Not surprisingly, the more junior the respondents, the more eager they were to add to their professional tool kit.

Whether you’re just starting out or are already at the top, don’t be complacent about your payroll knowledge. Throughout your career, prioritize professional development, including certifications. Here are some ways to acquire the job skills you need.

Go back to school

A high school diploma or equivalent is the basic educational requirement for entry-level payroll positions. However, to qualify for administrative roles, employers want candidates with at least an associate degree in business, accounting or human resources. Pursuing a two- or four-year degree will broaden your current job skills in math, finance, project management and more.

Get training

To stay relevant as a payroll professional, you need continuing education in subjects like compliance reporting; federal, state and local requirements; and preparing for year-end. The American Payroll Association (APA) and other groups offer live seminars in major cities, as well as online courses. You’ll also want to acquire advanced skills in Excel and Outlook, plus common payroll platforms like Oracle, Kronos, ADP or PeopleSoft.


Earn certifications

A professional certification can upgrade (and tout) your current job skills, making you a more valued employee and a more competitive job candidate. Depending on your experience and training, a few in-demand payroll certifications to consider are:


Don’t neglect professional development

Training helps you do your present job better, while professional development prepares you for future roles. Think about your current job skills and what could use improvement. If your goal is payroll management, consider APA’s Leadership Certificate Program. Networking is also part of professional development, so make sure to meet and greet during payroll conferences.


By honing your current job skills, you’ll open up more career possibilities. Work toward certifications and keep up with professional development, and you’ll earn the credentials you need to keep advancing in your field.


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