Happy payroll professional working with laptop and calculator

How to become a Payroll Assistant

What do they do?

A Payroll Assistant, holds the crucial responsibility of ensuring that employees are delivered their wages accurately and on time. This includes overseeing any administrative tasks that are related to processing the payroll.

Payroll Assistants can usually be found either in house or within a payroll bureau working for multiple clients, both situations find themselves dealing with large amounts of money on behalf of the business.

Usual duties of a Payroll Assistant involve:

  • Calculating employee work hours
  • Deducting incorporating tax and national insurance
  • Issuing pay slips to employees / P45s / Other tax forms
  • Incorporating any variables i.e. holiday pay, sick pay, maternity and expenses
  • Handling any payment issues


What basic skills do they have?

Payroll Assistant are real number crunchers, so to be working with payroll you will need to be comfortable working with numbers. With strict deadlines and lots of calculations to be considered, a Payroll Assistant must have it all under control when it comes to payday.

Here are some of the basic skills they have:

  • Ability to remain calm under pressure
  • Impeccable time keeping and ability to meet deadlines
  • Excellent attention to detail, accuracy and organisation
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Programs
  • Ability to keep information confidential, remaining discrete and trustworthy
  • Good communication and confidentiality skills


How can I become a Payroll Assistant?

One way you can begin your journey is by earning some qualifications.

Although not at all mandatory, some payroll assistant positions begin with utilising their bachelor’s degree. A course in topics like human resource management, business, finance or administration can give you an advantage and boost your understanding around the role.

From here you can take your first career step into an entry-level payroll position. Here employers will be eager to develop on your skills and help you grow within the business.

Others begin with gaining some qualifications specific to the industry. Companies like CIPP offer professional certificates to support people at all stages in their career.

Additionally, courses in excel or SAGE can help, software skills will stand out on your CV to employers as these are the key programmes used in the role,  which can help you get through the door with little experience.

If you have no qualifications under your belt, another way to get yourself into payroll is by taking up some relevant work experience.  You could start this by taking some basic office roles in admin or any finance related positions, once you have some general office skills employers will appreciate that you may want to take your knowledge to the next step and may take you on based on this.

You can also build your skills by taking up an apprenticeship or traineeship if you have no previous office background. There are many available in the UK that focus on training inexperienced individuals to be proficient in filling the payroll position within their company.


As you can see there are multiple channels into payroll, whether you have little to no experience or lack in qualifications there are always doors that can be opened into this rewarding career. Here at RK, we have extensive understanding and local knowledge of the payroll profession. Speak to a member of our team today and if you have the relevant experience we may even place you in one of the many payroll job opportunities we have to offer.