Beyond Numbers – Essential Skills For A Successful Payroll Career

One of the most important aspects of running a successful business no matter how large or small, is to ensure employees are paid correctly and on time.

A good payroll administrator who can efficiently manage the company’s accounts on a day-to-day basis, constantly working to strict deadlines, is the difference between the failure or long term sustainability of a business. It’s a challenging and demanding role and the skills and training today’s employers are looking for go far beyond being good with numbers.

If you’re planning a career in payroll then you’ve most likely got essential maths and accountancy skills already. So what other skills are employers looking for?

Compliance Knowledge

The ability to understand and abide by different compliance regulations is vital. If you want to work for a company that has a global reach, you’ll need to demonstrate compliance knowledge of other countries in the network, not just UK tax and legal regulations.

Attention to Detail

As a payroll administrator you’ll be expected to get things right first time. Accuracy is imperative so you need to ensure the smallest details are covered. When it comes to working with numbers, even the tiniest error could have serious consequences. There’s no margin for mistakes in payroll.

Cool and Calm Under Pressure

A great deal of responsibility comes with the job. Not only do you need to demonstrate you can keep a calm and cool head under pressure, but you can also work quickly and efficiently to tight deadlines on a regular basis.

Communication Skills

As the payroll administrator you’re essentially holding the purse strings, and other staff members will look to you to be paid correctly and on time. But the payroll process is a complex one, so you need to be able to communicate clearly and confidently with staff of all levels to ensure they understand any changes related to their pay.

Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work in a team are also essential traits for today’s business environment, and that includes payroll.

Decision Making Skills

As a payroll administrator you’ll need to make decisions which will affect other staff members and the business as a whole. Critical thinking is essential to identify and analyse challenges and make a confident decision based on your findings.


As a payroll administrator you’ll be constantly handling sensitive personal data. Not only must you ensure data is protected, but you must also understand the protocol if a security breach occurs.

Industry Specific Expertise

As well as Microsoft Office and Excel proficiency and an in-depth knowledge of PAYE, business-savvy employers are also looking for payroll candidates with SAGE training and expertise. SAGE50 in particular is a popular software platform which makes life easier for both payroll administrators and the business as a whole. Proficiency with SAGE50 and other digital tools will make you a far more attractive prospect for future employers.

With the right skills you could be looking at a very challenging and rewarding payroll career. For more information and advice on payroll careers and SAGE training, get in touch and talk to one of our global recruitment specialists today.

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Twenty 4 Seven Solutions
One Croydon
12-16 Addiscombe road

Tel: +44 (0)203 0510 247

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