What Are the Different Types of Payroll Qualifications?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 21 February 2020
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Payroll clerks and administrators are responsible for paying company employees, deducting taxes from wages and transferring funds from paychecks to retirement accounts and insurance funds. Many companies do not require clerks to have undergone any kind of formal training. Nevertheless, many colleges offer courses in payroll processing and some firms require clerks to have obtained these payroll qualifications or to have a college degree. Other types of payroll qualifications that employers prefer include accounting licenses and various types human resources credentials.

Generally, employers require payroll department employees to have graduated from high school. Many colleges offer short-term non-degree courses in payroll processing or bookkeeping and these types of payroll qualifications are often sought by employers. In some instances, bookkeeping courses may cover accounting practices in general rather than payroll accounting but the concepts learned during these sessions can be applied to payroll work as well as other types of administrative work.


Major companies employ large numbers of clerks and some firms prefer senior clerks to have a broad knowledge of accounting since payroll processing can be quite complex when larger numbers of workers and significant sums of money are involved. In many nations, regulatory authorities or accounting associations administer accounting exams and successful candidates receive licenses or certificates of completion. These accounting credentials are among the payroll qualifications that are often listed as job prerequisites on employment listings. Aside from formal accounting courses, some colleges offer accounting classes during which basic accounting principles are taught. People who attend these classes are often able to gain employment as payroll clerks.

At some firms, the human resources (HR) personnel are responsible for negotiating staff wages and for processing payroll. Consequently, people seeking to work in the payroll department normally have to have prior HR experience. Some colleges offer vocational classes in HR management and these classes sometimes include a segment on payroll processing. Additionally, some employers prefer to hire clerks who have college degrees in accounting related subjects such as math or finance while other firms seek out candidates with bachelor's degrees in HR management.

Information Technology (IT) firms market certain types of payroll software programs to businesses of all sizes. Some IT firms send corporate trainers to conduct on-the-job training during which clerks are taught how to use this software. Other firms set up online training modules or send out training materials with software programs. Since many software programs are used industry-wide, some employers require job applicants to have undergone some kind of software training and in some instances, the payroll qualifications that these firms seek may include a certificate of completion.


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