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Tips For Hiring The Perfect Payroll Employee

Finding the perfect payroll employee can be a hard task for small businesses, especially if you are looking to bring your payroll in house for the first time. Your new employee will play a vital role in the running of your business. As they will be expected to help to your company remain compliant with Government legislation while ensuring that all your staff members are accurately paid, hiring the perfect candidate is incredibly important.

What should you look for in a candidate?

If you are looking to hire someone as the only member of staff who deals with payroll, it is crucial that they have a significant amount of experience in order to complete the job to a high standard.

The candidate you choose must be able to understand and process large amounts of data quickly. They also need to be an accurate, precise and fast worker, while experience using payroll software is also desirable as this can help to speed up their settling in process. Applicants should be able to demonstrate experience in:

  • Calculating statutory sick, maternity and paternity pay
  • Working out holiday entitlement
  • Ensuring correct tax and National Insurance payments are made
  • Offering guidance and advice to employees on pensions
  • Completing end of year payroll tasks

Knowledge required

Any payroll professional you hire must have a full working knowledge of industry regulations. This is required as the member of staff will be expected to ensure your company always complies with the law. They must also be confident in their experience and their knowledge, as part of their role may include having to discuss any compliance related issues with members of the management team.

Your payroll professional should also have impeccable people skills. Problems that arise regarding money can often be sensitive, so they must be able to confidently solve issues that any members of staff have regarding their pay.


There are several qualifications payroll professionals can gain. Certificates you should be looking for include:

Basic qualifications

  • IAB Level 1 Certificate in Payroll
  • IAB Level 1 Award in Bookkeeping
  • AAT Certificate in Bookkeeping

Managerial qualifications

  • CIPP National Payroll Certificates
  • CIPP Practitioner Certificate in Payroll, Advanced Practitioner Certificate in Payroll and Diploma in Payroll
  • IAB Certificate and Diploma in Payroll or Computerised Payroll

While it is not crucial for payroll professionals to have specific qualifications, any certificates gained can be a good indicator of industry standard training as well as their dedication to a career in payroll.

Payroll specific recruiters

If you are worried about finding the perfect candidate who will fit in with your company values and also complete the job to a high standard, it would be advisable to talk to a recruiter within the payroll sector.

Such specialist recruiters are best placed to source you candidates with the niche skills that you require. They may also be able to advise you on the level of payroll experience your company requires and help you to negotiate a fair compensation package with a talented candidate.

Ashleigh Harman writes for Portfolio Payroll, specialist recruiters with 25 years of experience in matching experienced payroll candidates with companies across a wide range of sectors.

Read Portfolio Payroll’s new guide for small businesses, explaining the skills and experience they should be looking for in the perfect payroll employee.

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