The role of the payroll administrator is one of the most popular office support jobs in London and is frequently advertised on the boards of recruitment agencies.
Jessica is a payroll administrator for a London-based payroll service. Responsible for paying hundreds of salaries, she has to perform exceptionally every day. Here, we talk to her about what her working life is like.
I started here just over 18 months ago, so fortunately, I had some time to get used to the role before the pandemic hit. It’s a fast-paced environment, which I love. I’m in a team of eight, and we’re all currently working from home. We’ve somehow managed to keep the vibrant feel of the workplace going.
Alongside my role, I’m working towards my CIPP qualification, which the business is supporting me with. My supervisor is great at giving me personal help.
Each day, I usually have three payrolls to process for different clients. I take responsibility for running them from start to finish, so the buck really does stop with me! It’s quite challenging because there are always differences between different payrolls, and it takes real focus to ensure accuracy at every step.
I deal with each payroll individually. At the start of the day, I decide the order. I always do the one I think will be trickiest first! This gives me time to fire questions over to the team if problems arise, without a delay to the payroll itself. I have to communicate clearly with the clients and manage my time really well. It’s challenging, but I like that.
I can very much see myself developing and succeeding at this company. There are clear training and progression goals for each of us. I can see how I’ll develop and why I need to learn different skills. This is important to me as I’ve realised that this is the career I want.
That said, I love my team and where I am now. With lots of my friends struggling during the pandemic, I’m glad I can do my job from home and feel secure. We still have lots of team get-togethers — last week, we did a cruise-ship-themed Murder Mystery, which was very enjoyable.
One thing is for sure: I’m never bored in this job, and I get huge satisfaction with each and every payroll I deliver.
What would you say are good skills to develop if you want to work in payroll?
You’ve got to be discreet, and you’ve got to have a thick skin because there are times you’ll make a mistake — and people can get very stressed about that! But most importantly, I think you’ve got to have really good attention to detail. Obviously, it’s important that you’re good at handling numbers, but you also need to be able to communicate really well, be thorough, and be accurate.
I’d say you need both excellent Maths and English qualifications at school or college level, but then you’ll want to gain professional qualifications on top of that too.
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