Show Me the Money! Tips for Success as a Payroll Administrator

December 3rd, 2014 by CTSCCC


If you can envision yourself in a leadership role, are well-organized, and truly enjoy crunching numbers, payroll administration could be your ideal career path. And with some extra effort on your end, you could reap both personal and financial rewards. Currently the average annual salary for an entry-level payroll administrator is $41,000/year. But that number can jump up to $50,000 with hard work and the determination to be the best at what you do. Whether you’re just beginning your training, or want to improve your chances of promotion – here are some essential skills for success as a payroll administrator.

Know Your Computer Programs

If you’re pursuing payroll training, you may already know that this job is all about ensuring employees get paid properly and on time. It’s hard to imagine a more important responsibility! Once you graduate, you’ll be maintaining records of employee attendance and calculating leave and overtime pay. You will also prepare statements for employee gross and net salaries, taxes, union dues, insurance and pension. Another important aspect of being a payroll administrator is preparing T4 statements, which ensure each employee can properly file their taxes.

In order to keep track of all these records and statements, a payroll administrator must have an excellent grasp of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. These professionals also use payroll software like Intuit, QuickBooks and Kronos on a daily basis. Taking payroll courses to ensure you have the most up to date computer and software skills will ultimately make you more desirable as an employee.

Different Career Paths for the Payroll Administrator:

You should know that although you might attend a payroll college, your career options are not limited strictly to a position as payroll administrator. You could also become a:

  • Bookkeeper
  • Office Supervisor
  • Payroll Manager
  • Human Resources Administrator

You may also find yourself working in a diverse range of environments, including government agencies, private businesses, non-profit organizations and much more. With the proper payroll training, you could work your way up to a manager or supervisor position and increase your salary.

Potential Interview Questions

If you’re looking for a government agency job, or aiming for corporate positions to get higher pay, the first step to success is nailing your job interview. Given the importance of computer knowledge for payroll administrators, you can expect to be asked what programs or software you’re familiar with. Other interview questions may pertain to candidates’ reliability and morality when it comes to handling money. Here are some examples of interview questions you may be asked when applying for a job in payroll:

  • How would you handle an employee whose tax withholdings are inaccurate?
  • Are you familiar with employee pay laws?
  • What are your experiences processing special pay items?

What do you think is the most important characteristic of a successful payroll administrator?

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