Looking for More Payroll Work? Here’s what you need to know

Experience outweighs Education in Australia!

Australia business and payrollA recent study of Australian businesses recruiting for payroll specialists has shown the experience in using payroll software is an extremely important criteria for businesses looking for payroll staff.

In fact, in the study 87% of businesses advertising for payroll staff had a criteria of past payroll software experience while only 3% required any form of certification in payroll.

So while we (as bookkeepers and payroll specialists) know that knowledge of payroll legislation and requirements is necessary to perform well in the job, it doesn’t appear to be very important to employers and recruiters when it comes to actually winning the job.

The study shows that it is far more important for the successful candidate to be able to use technology, and in many cases, have knowledge of specific payroll software.

Is it a case that business thinks that payroll software compensates for payroll education?

From a payroll perspective, I consider this to be a dangerous attitude. Unless the payroll staff know how to set up payroll system up correctly, set new employees up correctly and how to identify errors in payroll calculations (knowledge) then the payroll technology cannot correctly process the data.

Technology is only as good as the person setting it up and using it, in my opinion.

Another interesting point for bookkeepers is that only 25% of Australian business outsource their payroll function, with the overwhelming majority preferring to do the payroll inhouse.

Put this together with the statistic above about the dependence on payroll technology, it makes me wonder if the Australian approach is that in-house staff is able to run the payroll because the payroll software will get it right?

Also, the same study (via the Australian Payroll Association) states that although Australian businesses are preferring software that has a full HR suite including payroll, very few use anything more than the basic payroll function – that they are only now starting to use time and attendance and employee self-service portals.

Again, this leads me to wonder if this is because the in-house payroll staff are not experienced in the wider HR functions and therefore not leading the charge to adopt the benefits around the HR functions of software.

So for people looking for payroll work in Australia, the message is to get experience in using payroll software packages and to maybe look at the advantages of using the wider HR functions that such packages encompass. Introduce the benefits of the HR functions into the businesses where they are working, and then use that experience to leverage into new jobs and promotions.


Research performed by payroll technology comparison site Software Advice.