Payroll professionals have a critical role within organizations as they are responsible for ensuring that employees are paid accurately and on time. This is not an easy job and requires a combination of technical skills, attention to detail, and strong organizational abilities. Here are the six main skills every payroll professional should have for a neat performance: 

1. Knowledge of Payroll Laws and Regulations

Payroll professionals have to be familiar with provincial and federal laws and regulations related to payrolls, such as minimum wage, overtime, PTO, sick leaves, taxes and other intricacies. It is also essential to stay updated on any changes to these laws and regulations in the province where they work or have employees working at.

2. Strong Math Skills

Payroll professionals must be able to calculate employee pay, deductions, and taxes accurately. They must also be able to reconcile payroll accounts and produce financial reports. While nowadays most professionals use several payroll software to carry out these daily tasks, a keen eye and strong maths knowledge can catch errors and discrepancies. In fact, 1 in 5 payrolls contain errors making this skill a must for payroll workers.

3. Attention to Detail

They also need to be able to review and verify the accuracy of employee time and attendance records, as well as ensure that payroll data is entered correctly into the system. According to a report by Ernst & Young, in the last fiscal year American companies spent $ 291 USD every time they had to fix a single error. Learn how to reduce payroll errors and save your company money here.

In the last fiscal year American companies spent $ 291 USD every time they had to fix a single error.

4. Excellent Communication Skills

Another must-have skill for these professionals is the ability to communicate effectively with employees, managers, and other stakeholders. They must also be able to explain payroll policies and procedures to employees and answer their questions. MaxPeople in cooperation with the National Payroll Institute developed a seminar called Communication for the Payroll Professional that provides you with tools to improve your communications skills.

5. Strong Organizational Skills

Payroll workers must be able to organize and manage large amounts of data and paperwork, including employee records and payroll reports. They must also be able to meet deadlines and prioritize tasks. If this is not your strong suit, you can check BOA member Bianca Mueller's 4-step workflow guide for the Canadian year-end and tax season and learn how to prioritize work and enhance your organizational skills.

6. Technical Skills

Payroll managers must be proficient in the use of payroll software and other technologies. They must also be able to troubleshoot and resolve technical issues related to payroll. The use of technology is certainly not new in the payroll industry, but learning how to use payroll automation software and share data in the cloud can be overwhelming for those unfamiliar with these tools. Making sure you receive specialized training (or offering it if you are a payroll manager) will cover this shortfall.

In addition to these skills, it is paramount that payroll professionals are able to maintain confidentiality and handle sensitive information with discretion. They should also know how to work independently and as part of a team to achieve common goals. With these skills, anyone working in payroll will be able to ensure that employees are paid accurately and on time and can help to minimize the risk of errors and compliance issues.

The Declaration for Payroll

The National Payroll Institute deployed the Declaration of Payroll, a public testament to the commitment to treating payroll professionally. This declaration is intended to be signed by business leaders of organizations. Read and sign the Declaration for Payroll here.

What is the most important skill a payroll professional should have? Share your opinion in the comments section below. 

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