How to Know if Payroll is the Right Career for You

How to Know if Payroll is the Right Career for You

Are you considering a career in payroll processing or accounting? If you are, there’s a lot you need to know. To help you make the right choice, we spoke with a Xenium payroll specialist and she talked about some of the challenges that come with the role and shared the top skills and traits you’ll need to succeed in the field.

What’s challenging about payroll when you’re new to the field?

Learning a new payroll system is always huge as a newcomer. Getting comfortable with a new kind of technology takes training, practice, and time.

Also, it’s important to understand that every client is different. At Xenium, we individualize our client interactions based on each client’s needs, so you have to learn each client and find out how they would like to communicate and interact with you. It’s not difficult, but it takes time to understand and remember when you’re new.

Knowing all the laws and regulations is also important, particularly when running multistate payrolls. If we have a question about a law, we go directly to that state’s labor and industry page. For Oregon, that’s BOLI. For example, each state has different requirements for submitting final paychecks, so you have to be careful to make sure you comply with that state’s timing specifications.

What are the top skills and traits you need to shine in a payroll position?

First, attention to detail. You can’t be the type of person who goes, “Eh, close enough.” Payroll always has to be 100% accurate, every single time. If you’re already that type of detail-oriented, precise person, you’ll be set. Otherwise, you may want to find ways to increase that skill.

You also need to be able to handle time scrutiny and working under deadlines. People have to get paid on time, so you need to have good time management skills. Along with that, you should have some people and relationship-building skills. People can be very sensitive and emotional about their paychecks, which is understandable. Inevitably, something will go wrong every so often, and you can’t take negative reactions too personally. Just focus on getting the problem corrected as quickly as possible. It’s helpful in general to be able to maintain good relationships with your clients, as the foundation of a good working relationship can help if things ever go south.

That goes for your coworkers, too. Here at Xenium, we work as a team, so you have to be able to work with people internally and be willing to help those around you when they have questions.

Brandon Laws

As Director of Marketing, Brandon Laws leads all marketing efforts for Xenium, providing oversight on all marketing campaigns, digital marketing strategy, events, sponsorships and public relations. Brandon brings a positive energy to every aspect of his role at Xenium—from internal initiatives around culture and wellness to industry thought leadership through the Xenium podcast and other social efforts. Active within the HR community, he currently volunteers on the board of the Portland Human Resource Management Association as the Director of Marketing & PR.

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