25th February 2021

A Career in Payroll by Sam Jones.

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What career did you want to work in when you left school?

I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do when I left school. I knew I enjoyed working with numbers, but not much further than that!

What was your first experience of payroll?

My first experience was at my first full time job. I had joined a recruitment agency and was given the opportunity to apply for Pension Payroll Administrator position in 2006

What made you realise payroll was the career for you?

As my confidence grew in my first role, I realised that the requirements of a payroll position closely align with my style of working. 

Name 3 great things about working in payroll

  • If you enjoy structure, payroll allows you to build a suite of checks to ensure you are compliant.
  • There are very few ‘grey areas’, which will allow you to feel confident in your processes
  • It is an evolving industry! In the time that I have worked in payroll, there have been many changes, such as:
  • Auto Enrolment
  • RTI
  • Payrolling Benefits

Reality check

Due to the amount of stakeholders, you work with across the company, there will be times that you may need to challenge decisions in the business, based on your knowledge of the requirements surrounding payroll. 

Being able to eloquently describe a subject to someone with little knowledge of the requirements can present challenges. 

What 3 top tips would you give to someone who wanted a career in payroll

1 – A LEARNING MINDSET – If you stay still in payroll, you are going backwards. Our thresholds change regularly, as does legislation that drives process.

2 – Ask for exposure – Try to understand different areas that you may not know about. There is so much to know that you may find your specialist niche!

3 – Proactivity – If you are able to demonstrate an eagerness to gather knowledge in payroll, you will expand your horizons in the industry. This could be through qualification, experience, or simple self-research. 

How can someone get into payroll?

Payroll is an industry that has multiple routes to entry. These include apprenticeships, entry level positions, or even entry at a senior level from a similar discipline (such as finance or reward).

If you are not in payroll and work in another area, your company will have a payroll department! If my experience serves me correctly, the payroll professional would be excited to help someone learn more about the industry!

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