Rate of payroll skills development impinges on the bottom line


By Teryl Schroenn, MD at Accsys

It has been a long and time consuming process but the payroll administration profession is now officially recognised in terms of skills development and has formal qualifications in place. The sector is now open to related procedures including assessment and accreditation.

And the timing could not have been better. Job seekers are showing more interest in the payroll administration sector. A competent, qualified payroll administrator is a major asset, with strategic placements often contributing to enhanced operational efficiency and savings for the company. Conversely, underqualified, inexperienced payroll staff pose a serious risk.

It might be simplistic to say that an administrator who is 70% competent, for example, translates into 30% risk to the payroll, but would you want a doctor who is 70% competent operating on you?

Risk can take many forms such as inaccurate and/or incomplete reporting, a tardy approach to meeting strict deadlines, financial loss due to technical or human error, erroneous accounting and payroll checks, and more.

A company cannot afford to have risk blemish its payroll administration track record and daily procedure. Haphazard or unmanaged payroll administration ultimately signals the beginning of the end for any company or business.

This is why stakeholders, from service and solution providers through to regulation bodies, have combined efforts and pooled resources to ensure that formal recognition of experience and qualification is put in place.

The motivation is that those entering the profession not only demonstrate a complete understanding of the task of a payroll administrator, but also the ability to practically implement this knowledge.

However, this reasoning goes beyond those manning the payroll department. It is relevant to line managers as well as senior executives. These people are obliged to familiarise themselves with the role of the payroll administrator within a company and possess knowledge of factors that affect the efficient running of a payroll department.

Put simply, any manager or supervisor must appreciate the fact that payroll administrators deal directly with substantial amounts of money. Their ability to be meticulous, their sense of duty, their working environment and the extent to which management is involved in their work all affects output.

Furthermore, professional accreditation is something that has been lacking in the industry for some time. It is only in the last few years that authorities and industry representative organisations have managed to secure a platform of understanding and mechanisms for results-driven management of this process.

There will, in the future, be a secure, accurate method in place through which payroll administrators with proven industry experience and knowledge can be officially recognised. This, of course, refers to Recognition of Prior Learning against Unit Standards and Qualifications.

It is currently possible for administrators to further their knowledge (or have it recognised) by registering for National Certificate and National Diploma courses in Payroll Administration Services. These are offered at various levels, established through the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and address the need for steady and measurable progression in the form of outcomes.

The payroll administration sector has also showed its mettle amid the scramble for the attention of those involved in skills development legislation. It now leads from the front within an age of digitally-enabled education. It has established itself as a frontrunner in the construction and adoption of initiatives such as e-Learning, the popular boundary-breaking, technology-based distance learning concept.

It is encouraging to witness the growth of this industry, to see new solutions being brought into the workplace and the difference that enhanced technology and further education makes within an industry.

Education at corporate level, which represents the symbiotic connection between tertiary institutions and the market at large, today often resembles a minefield of terminology. However, the basic premise for business is this: an investment in training and the qualifications process for payroll administrators will reinforce the foundation of a business and ultimately improve the bottom line.