Business and Accounting

Payroll Technician – The Job That Pays

Every week, two weeks or every month, we unfold a slip that details for us the monetary results of our hard work. But, how many times have you thought of the diligent worker who checks and completes the details on your payslip? Yes, we go to work to get paid, and behind those figures on that piece of paper, is the payroll technician; who makes sure that employees get paid the right amount at the right time.

Payroll administration can be performed in-house, using specialist software or sometimes the work involved is outsourced to a company providing payroll services. Payroll administrators handle large quantities of money on a daily basis and are required to make calculations and process payments within strict deadlines. It can be a challenging and demanding role but delivering accurate and regular pay packets to employees can be fulfilling too.

Role & Responsibilities

  • Check hours on employee timesheets.
  • Calculate accurate wages, including any bonuses, salary increases or overtime.
  • Calculate any PAYE, PRSI deductions and pension contributions – along with new levies.
  • Calculate statutory payments, such as maternity, paternity and sick leave.
  • Calculate and process accurate payments to employees by cash, cheque or electronic
  • Transfer, ensuring strict deadlines are met.
  • Issue relevant tax forms.
  • Process new documentation for starters and leavers.
  • Handle and respond to discrepancies and queries relating to payroll.
  • Provide assistance to Human Resources team if required.
  • Filing, photocopying and updating databases should be expected.

A numerical ability is a pre-requisite for this type of role. Some companies will look for both experience and a payroll qualification. Basic computer skills will also be required and the ability to work with the payroll package in use by the company. A payroll technician must be extremely organised, logical and methodical. Mistakes with wages will never go unnoticed or forgotten. The ability to stay calm is also important when mistakes or miscalculations are made. An in-depth knowledge of tax systems is required. Anyone working in payroll must make themselves knowledgeable to changes in legislation related to taxing. As we all know, various new levies have become synonymous with the recessionary pay world. Payroll Technicians must also adhere to confidentiality and work in a discretionary manner.

Payroll Administrators can work in a large, small, public or private sector organisation. Employment opportunities are also available within specialist companies providing payroll services.

A typical day as a Payroll Technician will involve:

  • Following up and checking timesheets on a weekly basis to ensure that they meet the strict deadlines to process wages.
  • Making themselves aware of any changing rates and fees relating to the different employees.
  • In addition to these payroll duties, there is also responsible for invoicing clients (if relevant to the business) and updating the accounts spreadsheet with weekly and monthly figures.
  • Other than working with numbers, they are constantly dealing with people and their pay-related enquiries, so strong communication skills are essential.
  • Dealing with large quantities of money on a daily basis.
  • Dealing with discrepancies on timesheets and miscalculations.
  • Using problem solving skills.

After gaining experience and qualifications as a Payroll Administrator/Technician, you might have the opportunity to progress into a supervisory or managerial role. Some people also move from Payroll into Human Resources.

If you wish to move into this career area, it is highly recommended to become certified to work as a Payroll Technician. The Irish Payroll Association run such courses in locations throughout the country. The Irish Payroll Association (IPASS) payroll qualifications: the Certified Payroll Technician and the IPASS Diploma in Payroll Management are both HETAC accredited.

Their Certified Payroll Technician (CPT) qualification provides Payroll personnel with a nationally recognised qualification by which they can be evaluated. The syllabus for this IPASS qualification was prepared following consultation with Payroll professionals in industry, commerce, and in the public sector and it reflects the diverse range of skills and knowledge which all payroll professionals require in order to function efficiently.

Working in payroll can be very satisfying, yet up recently, payroll received very little recognition partly because no formal qualifications were available in the subject. However, there is a growing awareness amongst employers of the critical function which an efficient payroll operation pays in the smooth running of any business. Yet amazingly, very few payroll personnel have any specific payroll qualifications.

Working in payroll today means: being proficient in the operation of Employment Law, Taxation and Social Welfare legislation, in addition to being computer literate, and having excellent interpersonal skills. It also means being able to work to strict deadlines (employees like to be paid on pay day) and being able to advise employees and to answer their queries in relation to their earnings, entitlements and deductions. It is not surprising therefore that the leading payroll qualification in Ireland, the Certified Payroll Technician qualification is the first requirement of most employers when recruiting payroll personnel.

If interested in Payroll Training Courses, you can use the following link to view a selection of these on – Payroll Training Courses with IPASS on