The path to payroll isn’t the same for everyone, which means there are many ways for aspiring payroll professionals to get into the field. We recently sat down with Abby Rubio, a Senior Payroll Specialist who joined Xenium in 2013, to learn from her experience as a payroll professional. We talked to her about what led her to payroll, what she enjoys about it, and what keeps it exciting day to day.
How did your career begin? How did you find your way to payroll?
I’ve always been in the numbers game. I like order and when things match and are exact. I started in banking at a young age, and eventually I went to school to study accounting while working my banking job. Once I was done with college, I worked with a CPA doing accounting work.
Soon after I started, they began doing payroll themselves. I was interested in learning more about it, so occasionally I helped with it. I quickly found that I really liked it, and soon I was doing more and more payroll and less accounting. (Payroll is, of course, a form of accounting, but I wasn’t doing bookkeeping—over time, I was exclusively doing payroll.)
Then I decided I liked it enough to take it to the next level. I started researching and found Xenium. In that first experience doing payroll at the CPA office, I was processing payrolls for different clients, so a consulting firm like Xenium appealed to me. I liked that aspect. I didn’t want one consistent client—I liked the variety.
What did you like about payroll over accounting?
It was less of the same over and over again. In accounting, it’s all ins and outs, credits and debits. Payroll is always changing. It’s full of different people and new requests.
What’s the largest number of payrolls you’ve processed in a single day?
Oh gosh. It was Snowmageddon 2016, in December. There was a day when I processed 10 payrolls in one day. That’s a lot!! It was hundreds of paychecks.
What’s the most unique deduction or benefit you’ve seen run through payroll?
Gym membership reimbursements, those are pretty neat. Also babysitting! I’ve had people have a coworker babysit for them and request for the payment to happen via a payroll adjustment.
What’s more challenging about managing payroll yourself versus using a company like Xenium?
When you’re doing payroll on your own, you can think everything’s going well and smoothly, but then you get to the end of the year and are preparing to file taxes and you realize, “Oh my gosh! I was doing this wrong the whole time.” And then before you know it, you’re penalized for something you didn’t even realize you were doing wrong.
Payroll is never the same. There’s always something new that comes up, some kind of different situation, and tons of laws to keep track of. If you’re doing it by yourself, who do you turn to to figure out what to do? Having experts in each section of the payroll process sitting right next to you in the office is so helpful. It’s huge to have a team beside you who you know has all the right answers.
What’s most rewarding about payroll processing?
Payroll makes people the happiest! Everyone works, and everyone wants to get paid and make money. I help make that happen. I love making people happy by giving them their paychecks every Friday.