Payroll Clerks

Introduction
Related Job Titles
Major Duties
Qualifications and Requirements
Compensation
Who are the Employers?
Job Postings
Job Posting Example
Professional Associations
Other Links 

Introduction

Payroll clerks collect and process the information needed to issue payroll cheques to employees. Although payroll clerks perform an accounting-related function, in large companies, they work in the Human Resources Department. In smaller companies, the payroll function may be a responsibility of the Bookkeeper.

Related Job Titles

  • Benefits officer
  • Pay advisor
  • Pay and benefits clerk
  • Payroll officer

Major Duties

Payroll clerks collect, verify and process payroll information and determine pay and benefit entitlement for employees. In small companies, the bookkeeper or office manager may perform this function but in larger companies the payroll clerk performs these duties.

  • Maintains records of employee attendance to calculate pay and benefit entitlement
  • Prepares and verifies statements of earnings for employees, indicating gross and net salaries and deductions such as taxes, union dues, garnishees and insurance and pension plans
  • Prepares T4 statements
  • Provides information to employees regarding payroll
  • Prepares statistical reports

Qualifications and Requirements

Most companies:

  • Require a high school diploma which is equivalent to 12 years of formal education preferably with courses in Accounting, Mathematics and Computer Applications
  • May prefer a college diploma or other courses in accounting, bookkeeping or payroll administration
  • May require Payroll association certification. They offer three levels of certification: payroll administrator, payroll supervisor, and payroll manager.

Also necessary are:

  • Computer skills including word processing, spreadsheets, database, and the internet
  • Familiarity with office equipment such as fax machines, photocopiers and scanners
  • Good keyboarding and data entry speed
  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability to pay close attention to detail

Some large companies may require knowledge of an integrated computer system such as SAP or J.D. Edwards.
Some buzz words and catch phrases to describe qualifications are:

  • Taxable benefits
  • TD1
  • Record of Employment (R.O.E.)
  • Standard deductions such as Employment Insurance (E.I.) and Canada Pension Plan (C.P.P.)
  • Calculating and sending remittances to the government
  • Automatic bank transfer
  • Personal history information
  • Informing employees of new benefits or tax regulations
  • Respectful of private and confidential information

Compensation

Payroll clerks are usually paid a salary and typically work 9 to 5. These positions are generally not unionized in the private sector but are always unionized in government environments. The average salary is about $30,000/yr., with a low of $20,000 and a high of $42,000.

Who are the Employers?

  • Private payroll companies
  • All levels of government – federal, provincial and municipal
  • Professional and business services such as law firms, advertising firms
  • Retail and wholesale trade
  • Many other industries

Job Postings

Most companies require a payroll person or department to handle their payroll. The following are places you might look for job opportunities.

Agencies
Many of the positions advertised are posted by personnel agencies and thus it is recommended to register with two or three agencies that specialize in accounting positions. Agencies place both permanent and temporary workers (see the Do’s and Don’ts of Temporary Work). This service is always free for job seekers as these agencies are paid by the company that is seeking to fill a vacancy. Agencies may test your knowledge and your keyboarding speed.

Companies

Large companies advertise positions on their own website. Look on the website for human resources, careers, employment, positions available, or similar words to find the job postings. Also colleges, universities and school boards actively seek suitable candidates on their websites. If you respond to a posting on a company’s website, then the company knows that you are really interested in them.

You can find companies by industry or location by referring to directories found in public libraries and employment resource centres. Some examples are: Scott’s Directory, Dun and Bradstreet, The Blue Book of Canadian Businesses, The Career Directory, The Mississauga Business Directory, and Toronto Business Directory.

Job Banks

There are many websites which post positions for a variety of occupations, including payroll clerks, in many different industries.

  • HRDC – government site that posts company advertisements for free.
  • Workopolis – a large Canadian job posting website.
  • Monster – another large Canadian job posting website.
  • Charity Village – This is the site for non-profit organizations to advertise vacancies. There are not many payroll positions.
  • Public Service Commission – This is a website for federal government jobs. Preference is usually given to Canadian citizens but there may be some entry level opportunities.
  • The Canadian Payroll Association They provide job postings on their website.

Job Posting Example

Payroll Clerk

Description:
Our company requires a Payroll and Benefits Administrator to join their dynamic and growing operation. This position reports to a Payroll and Benefits Supervisor. Responsible for full cycle processing of a large CDN payroll and providing superior customer service internally on payroll and benefits matters. The environment is fast paced, dynamic and deadline driven.

Requirements: 
The successful candidate is deadline driven, service oriented, flexible and adaptable. 4+ years’ payroll experience and enrolment in or completion of the CPA certificate program is required. Experience with benefits administration, reconciliations and journal entries is also essential.

Professional Associations
The Canadian Payroll Association
Although this is not a regulated profession, more employers are requiring the payroll certificate. In addition to certification this association offers job postings, a magazine and conferences.
Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario
This organization offers membership, certification as a Human Resources Specialist for those who want to move up within the H.R. profession.

Other Links
Professional Assessment and Resources Centre – for those who are interested in getting a Human Resources Designation. This designation might be the next step for someone who is a payroll clerk.
Workplace Today – information regarding trends in the workplace.
Canadian Benefits Institute – this association offers educational programming for those working in pay and benefits.
The HR Reporter – a publication for those in HR.