Should You Become a Payroll Clerk? 5 Things to Consider First

If you’re looking for a career that lets you work with numbers, interact with people, and play a crucial role in a company, becoming a payroll clerk is an excellent choice.

Payroll clerks are the people who make sure everyone gets paid the appropriate amount at the appropriate time.

Organizations in every industry rely on these skilled pros to calculate and distribute paycheques, catch errors, address staff questions, and more.

Sound like a role you’d like to pursue?

Before you jump in, you need to think about details like what you’d actually do at work, how much you could earn, and what the job market is like for payroll clerks in your area.

Here are 5 questions and answers that can help you decide if this career path is right for you.

 

1. WHAT EXACTLY DOES A PAYROLL CLERK DO?

You need to be clear about what you would actually do each day. If you become a payroll clerk, what will your daily routine consist of?

Typical responsibilities of this role include:

☑️ Keeping accurate records of the hours each employee works

☑️ Calculating employee pay, including commissions, bonuses, expense reimbursements, and vacation pay

☑️ Accounting for deductions like taxes, benefits packages, union dues, Employment Insurance premiums, garnishments, and pension plan contributions

☑️ Distributing statements of earnings

☑️ Getting new hires set up in the payroll system and processing terminations

☑️ Preparing T4 statements and Records of Employment

☑️ Reconciling payroll payments to bank statements

☑️ Finding and correcting any payroll discrepancies

☑️ Answering payroll-related questions from staff

 

2. WHAT SKILLS AND TRAITS DO YOU NEED TO BECOME A PAYROLL CLERK?

Successful payroll clerks tend to share certain abilities and characteristics, such as:

☑️ Software skills—In addition to standard applications like the Microsoft Office suite, you should be familiar with payroll-specific software like QuickBooks or Sage. Quality payroll courses provide hands-on training with these types of packages.

 

☑️ Number skills—Computers handle most of the actual calculations, but you need to be able to spot inaccuracies and do a bit of mental math.

 

☑️ Strong attention to detail—Employees depend on you to get their pay right, and the company depends on you to follow all compliance regulations. So every digit and decimal point matters.

 

☑️ Communication and people skills—Whether you’re explaining the payroll system to a new hire or composing a company-wide email about changes to the benefits package, you need to communicate clearly and professionally.

 

☑️ Organizational and time management skills—There is a long list of activities that have to be completed every pay cycle, and you must be able to prioritize your tasks and meet deadlines.

 

3. ARE PAYROLL CLERKS IN DEMAND IN TORONTO?

This is a key question. Before you decide to become a payroll clerk, you should have a good sense of whether many jobs are available where you live.

According to the Labour Market Information Council, job postings for payroll clerks in Toronto were up more than 160% in the second quarter of 2021 compared to a year earlier.

And the Ontario government estimates that up to 4,000 jobs for payroll clerks will open up province-wide between 2019 and 2025.

Roughly half of all payroll clerks in the province work in Toronto. So it’s likely that a couple thousand of those job openings will be in the city.

The takeaway? Going forward, there should be plenty of opportunities for payroll clerks in the GTA.

 

4. WHAT ARE TYPICAL SALARIES FOR PAYROLL CLERKS IN TORONTO?

When considering any career path, it’s important to know how much you can expect to make.

According to the Government of Canada Job Bank, payroll clerks in Toronto have a median salary of about $52,000.

As you gain experience, your income can rise substantially. The top payroll clerks in the city earn around $74,000.

 

5. WHAT TRAINING IS REQUIRED TO BECOME A PAYROLL CLERK?

No degree needed! A college diploma can get you started.

Payroll training typically takes less than a year to complete.

Programs are designed to teach you how to:

☑️ Understand fundamental accounting principles

☑️ Use standard spreadsheet, database, and payroll software

☑️ Calculate earnings and deductions

☑️ Process leaves and terminations

☑️ Follow payroll compliance legislation

 

A good program also includes an internship so you can get real-world payroll experience before you graduate. Many times, internships even lead to job offers.

 

READY TO BECOME A PAYROLL CLERK?

Think a career as a payroll clerk is right for you? Start by finding some quality training.

Take a look at the Accounting and Payroll Administration program at Herzing College Toronto.

It runs for just 9 months and includes a 5-week internship at a local business.

The diploma also includes one of the required courses for the Payroll Compliance Practitioner designation from the Canadian Payroll Association.

Still have questions? Reach out to Admissions.

An Advisor can provide details about course schedules, application procedures, costs, financial aid, and more.

Click below to explore the program and chat live with an Advisor. We’re here to help!

Learn More about the Accounting & Payroll Program