A Life in Payroll
How vital is the payroll industry? Levi Meeske, one of our Payroll instructors and past president of the Atlanta Chapter of the American Payroll Association, provides some incredible insight on this career field.
Payroll is a rewarding career that touches the lives of every employee in the company and helps those employees buy food for their families, have funds to pay the mortgage, rent or gas, and possibly even enough to save towards unexpected life emergencies or even retirement. That being said, Payroll is an evolving entity that continues to grow, change and add complexities.
As challenging as Payroll can be, it is one field that continues to reward and offers endless growth potentials. Entry level positions exist as data entry clerks and payroll processors. Payroll offers promotion opportunities to supervise or manage others, and more companies are creating director and vice president levels within Payroll. Additionally with many global companies consolidating their processing in a central location, understanding not only how the United States pay local employees, there are now opportunities to learn and pay employees working in dozens of foreign countries around the world.
Some may not have a passion for processing paychecks, and that is perfectly okay. There are other positions within Payroll that can provide a rewarding career.
Taxes that payroll withholds and deposits from employee paychecks account for over 70% of the Federal budget. The accurate record-keeping and reporting of these taxes is a necessity. Custodial parents rely greatly on the child support payments that Payroll processes and the timely processing of those funds are greatly appreciated. Computer programming is required to keeps these systems in compliance with new tax tables, data retention and self-service options. External auditors are focusing more and more on Payroll because of the vast dollars that get paid out, so internal auditors are needed to help ensure compliance.
As critical and rewarding as Payroll can be, there is no one person who knows everything. Continuing education is a need for anyone regardless of how long one has been in their profession. To help professionals in this profession, the American Payroll Association was established in 1982 and is the nation’s leader in payroll education, publications, and training. Atlanta is fortunate to have local chapters of professionals to gather, share knowledge, and learn from one another.
As companies are looking for qualified individuals to hire, certification levels were created to identify qualified candidates. These certifications include the Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) which is a credential for payroll beginners. As more knowledge is gathered, an advanced credential is the Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) which includes testing in management and even international payroll knowledge.
Finally, colleges and universities are seeing the need to provide payroll education and encourage others into this vast profession. One of these institutions is Kennesaw State University which offers Fundamental and Mastery education level classes known as PayTrain®. These classes are held twice a year with prior introductory opportunities to help answer questions if this may be a career path for you.
All in all, a life in Payroll provides job security, a wide range of career paths and a sense of knowing that what you do directly impacts every single employee of a company.