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 accountemps.com.

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 accountemps.com.

Accountemps Monthly Newsletter – November

Taking a New Look at the Lunch Break and Work-Life Balance

 

Are your finance employees who lunch alone doing so because that’s their preference?

Maybe not. A recent survey from Accountemps, a Robert Half company, of finance professionals found that while nearly half (49 percent) of all respondents spend their lunches alone, 46 percent say they would actually like to share a meal with coworkers.

Maybe what they need is a gentle push — from you. Sharing a midday meal with coworkers could be something that improves your team’s work-life balance.

And not only that. Many good things happen when teams, including the boss, take breaks together. Here are some:

  • Deeper work relationships
  • Better collaboration
  • Sharing ideas and best practices
  • Helping each other solve problems
  • Allowing new employees to get up to speed faster
  • Lower stress
  • Greater job satisfaction
  • Improved physical and mental health

As a payroll manager, you set the tone for your team. If you work through your lunch break and rarely leave your desk, your staff will receive the not-so-subtle message to do likewise. Instead, promote working smarter, not harder. Cultivate a work environment that builds in downtime and collegiality throughout the day, including a full lunch break with fellow finance specialists. Here are some ideas:

  • Take a full lunch break away from your desk. It doesn’t have to be daily if you have pressing work and deadlines looming, but make it often enough so employees see that it’s perfectly acceptable to take a full lunch break.
  • Make the break room a welcoming place for eating and chatting.
  • Treat your staff to a group lunch every so often to share ideas and frustrations and to promote bonding.
  • Invite a few colleagues out to lunch once a month or so to get to know them better.

So resist the temptation to eat at your desk while finishing a report or analyzing a spreadsheet. Take a much-needed lunch break with colleagues, and encourage your payroll staff to do the same. The team that eats together works better together.

 

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 accountemps.com.

Accountemps Monthly Newsletter – September

Collaboration Across the Enterprise

Payroll is one of the few departments that works with everyone else in a company. Collaborating with these diverse internal clients can be challenging at times. In a recent Robert Half survey, 39 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled said dealing with a wide range of personalities is the greatest challenge for accounting and finance professionals when working with colleagues in other departments. In fact, the respondents considered this aspect of their job to be more difficult than managing stress, prioritizing conflicting deadlines and explaining financial information to a layperson.

 

With the increased touch-points payroll staff have with others, effective collaboration can be even more of a problem. Here are three tips for productive relationships:

 

  1. Make customer service a priority.

When employees contact payroll, it’s usually because they need to update their financial information or, worse, there’s a problem. Different personalities have different ways of expressing a personal — and potentially emotional — matter like their paycheck. Listen to the issue they present, ask clarifying questions and take responsibility for resolving the matter. Let payroll be known as a department that provides excellent customer service.

 

  1. Communicate clearly.

When you compile reports and require information from other departments, use your best writing skills: Tell colleagues what you need, making sure to include format guidelines and due dates. Clear communication is vital to reducing misunderstandings, preventing crises and, in turn, managing stress.

 

  1. Get to know your non-payroll colleagues.

With your heavy, deadline-driven workload, you may think you don’t have time to get to know employees outside of accounting and finance. However, it can be very helpful to learn the pressures others are under. To improve communication and collaboration, get out of the department and network. Volunteer for enterprise-wide service projects. Attend work-related social events. Make it a point to mingle with non-payroll colleagues when circumstances permit.

 

A payroll department is most successful when staff get along with everyone, of course. Even if your greatest challenge is working with colleagues who have abrasive personalities or trouble prioritizing deadlines, aim for a professional and cordial work relationship. Strive for clear communication, take the high road and build interdepartmental bridges; when you do, the entire enterprise will run more efficiently.

 

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 accountemps.com.

Accountempts Monthly Newsletter – August

Quitting Your Payroll Job Without Harming Your Career

 

Most employees, at one stage or another in their career, have thought of quitting a job. Perhaps it’s to seek career advancement and a better salary, or to get away from a toxic boss. If and when that moment comes for you, it’s the manner in which you resign that matters. According to a Robert Half survey, 86 percent of human resources managers interviewed said the way an employee quits a job affects his or her future career prospects.

 

Word gets around. If you burn bridges at one company, it could sabotage your chances for a solid reference check. Here are examples, from the same OfficeTeam survey, of flamboyant ways some employees have chosen to resign:

 

  • “An employee baked a cake with her resignation letter written on top.”
  • “A marching band accompanied one guy in his announcement.”
  • “The worker threw a brick through the window with the words ‘I quit’ written on it.”
  • “One woman created a music video to explain she was leaving.”

 

Others simply left without a word, while a few had their parents or spouse deliver the news, or announced it on social media.

 

Even if you’re deeply frustrated at work, there’s no need for theatrics or vengeance when handing in your letter of resignation. Here’s how to quit with class:

 

  1. Time your exit

Proper business etiquette is to give your manager at least two weeks’ notice. Ten business days is an appropriate amount of time for your employer to manage the transition and possibly find a replacement.

 

  1. Write a formal resignation

While cakes and videos might make a splash, quitting does not require that much time and creativity. Give your boss and HR department a formal letter thanking them for the career opportunity, and mention your last day on the job. A few lines will do.

 

  1. Maintain productivity

This tip is key to maintaining your reputation. You may be on your way out, but there’s still work to be done. Wrap up the projects you can, and bring your payroll tasks to a point where you can hand them off to colleagues or your replacement. Make the transition as seamless and painless as possible.

 

There are many wrong ways to leave a job, but only one good way: by keeping it classy. Quitting with grace not only helps you preserve important professional relationships, but protects your future 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 more than 340 locations worldwide. More resources, including online job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at accountemps.com.

Accountemps Monthly Newsletter – July

Job-hopping: Good or Bad for Your Career?

It was once common for employees to stay with a single company from the outset of their careers until retirement. Today, that’s a rare event. Younger generations are viewing job-hopping as the new normal. According to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, Americans stay with an employer a median of 4.6 years, and that number drops to three years for workers age 25-34 — suggesting millennials are more likely to change jobs than the general population. A survey from temporary staffing agency Accountemps survey found a similar result: 57 percent of respondents age 18-34 believe changing jobs frequently benefits their career, whereas the majority of those ages 35 and older disagree.

While job-hopping could put you on a fast track to promotions and higher salaries, it’s not without drawbacks. Before launching your next job search, keep these risks in mind:

1. Red flag on resume
Some hiring managers are wary of applicants with a series of short stints. To them, changing jobs too often — more than five jobs in 10 years, according to a Robert Half survey — could be an indication of flightiness and irresponsibility. Employers don’t want to invest in the career development of workers who have a history of coming and going.

2. Lack of seniority
Starting a new job involves an element of risk: Being the newest hire could mean you’re the first one out in the event of an economic downturn or reorganization. On the other hand, when you stay with one company for several years, you have the opportunity to demonstrate your indispensability and loyalty.

3. Shallower relationships
Job hopping may net you a larger network, but those relationships tend to be more superficial. And if your boss, mentor or coworkers don’t have the time to really get to know you before you head to the next new job, they won’t be able to serve as good professional references.

Changing employers isn’t a bad idea. In fact, it’s a good way to acquire new skills, make valuable contacts and move up the ladder. But frequent job-hopping can also have negative repercussions on your career. If you’re getting restless before you’ve put in at least two years with a company, consider ways to challenge yourself professionally without resorting to yet another job search.

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The staffing firm has more than 345 locations worldwide. More resources, including online job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at accountemps.com.

Accountemps Monthly Newsletter – June

Crisis Management: 5 Ways to Come Out on Top

How well payroll specialists handle crises says much about their leadership skills and management potential. Perhaps you entered the wrong data, which resulted in improper withholdings — and angry employees. Or maybe your department didn’t file quarterly returns on time.

Next time there’s an emergency work situation, turn it into an opportunity to demonstrate leadership by following these crisis management tips:

  1. Keep your cool. It’s easy to panic when something bad happens. Be the person who stays calm and approaches the situation with a level head. Take some deep breaths before going into action. You don’t want to make the problem worse by overreacting and making poor decisions.
  2. Don’t assign blame. It’s natural to make excuses and point fingers. But doing so is unproductive, slows down crisis management and creates a poisonous workplace environment. If you made the mistake, take responsibility, apologize and help fix the problem. Even when someone else is at fault, the wise next step is to work toward a solution as a team, not to play the blame game.
  3. Gather data. To solve the problem, you need to know exactly what went wrong. Retrace your steps or, if other people were responsible for the crisis, help them discover the source of the mistake. The sooner you find the source of the mistake, the sooner you can suggest ways to fix it (see the next step).
  4. Offer solutions. During a crisis, management does not need hand-wringers. If you were the one who discovered the mess, approach your boss with not just the problem, but also possible next steps. Being a problem solver will show leadership potential.
  5. Do a postmortem. After the emergency has passed, speak to your manager about gathering the payroll team to discuss ways to prevent it from happening again. To cut down on human error, for example, suggest a checklist for commonly performed payroll tasks.

Emergencies at work can happen at any time. By drawing on your crisis management skills, your department can get back to business with minimal disruption, and you can impress your supervisor with your leadership potential.

 

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 accountemps.com.

 

Accountemps Monthly Newsletter – May

The Daily Telecommute:

How Payroll Professionals Can Excel at Remote Work
 
A recent Accountemps survey showed 36 percent of CFOs polled reported an increase in remote work opportunities over the past three years at their firms. This is good news for payroll professionals who desire more flexibility. However, this perk comes with the responsibility of showing employers you’re just as productive and efficient from home as you are in-office. These five tips can help you make the most of remote work.

  1. Set a schedule

The increased flexibility of remote work makes it easy to procrastinate. Set a solid routine for each day to stay on top of tasks. By being disciplined, not only will you get all your work done on time, you’ll also show your boss that you’re trustworthy and self-motivated. Keeping a regular schedule provides career benefits whether you’re working from home or in the office. ou

  1. Keep regular office hours

Just because you can telecommute doesn’t mean you can set your own hours. You need to be available for questions and collaboration, so start and stop each day around the same time as your boss and colleagues. If you need to be away for a large chunk of time, inform your team so they won’t wonder why you’re not responding to messages.

  1. Be visible

Because your manager and coworkers can’t see you, you have to be proactive about letting them know you’re active and engaged. In practical terms, speak up during staff meetings and conference calls and ask questions when appropriate. If you don’t have one-on-ones scheduled with your boss, suggest regular check-in meetings.

  1. Take advantage of technology

The trend that has made telecommuting possible is technology. If you’re not already, make the most of remote work by using appropriate technology. In addition to email and phone, there are many apps and services — HipChat, Basecamp, Google Hangouts and Teambox, for example — that connect remote workforces. Tech tools allow you to be more productive and collaborative. You’ll also feel less like a loner when you’re connected virtually.

  1. Get in some face time

Though you telecommute, you should still go into the office regularly. Be there in person for major meetings, company-wide events and performance reviews. Don’t forget social outings. A little face time is essential for making sure you’re not “out of sight, out of mind.”

The ability to telecommute can offer payroll professionals better work-life balance and greater career satisfaction. Do it right, and your career will stay on the fast track.

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 accountemps.com.