Who to recruit for jobs in payroll

The duties involved in payroll

When you begin to hire for a position in payroll, remember that many duties of this role are central to the smooth running of a business. Individuals working in payroll have responsibility for important tasks such as the processing of payments, PAYE, NI, pensions, any benefits schemes or bonuses, and year-end payroll reporting.

What this means is when you set out to recruit from a list of candidates it is important to choose the right person for the job. In this guide, the team at Portfolio Payroll take you through the relevant skills and knowledge an applicant should be able to demonstrate during the payroll recruitment process.

Who is the ideal professional?

Due to the nature of the work in payroll, accuracy and flexibility are key qualities which successful applicants should demonstrate.

Generally, most positions require strong teamwork and leadership skills, as well as the ability to weigh up options when making a commercial or financial decision. While proof of practicality and calmness when under pressure indicate a desirable candidate, anyone who has proven their skill with end of year tasks should also be seriously considered.

What to look for in candidates:

  • Experience with high volume or multi-frequency payrolls, particularly if you are a larger company
  • A broad and up-to-date knowledge of payroll legislation. Candidates should cover items such as real time information and pension auto enrolment while demonstrating how these affect their work
  • The ability to use complex systems such as a flexible benefits scheme or an expat payroll
  • General office experience and clerical skills, or additional evidence of time spent working in a modern office
  • A skilled payroll employee should know the tasks which arise at the end of the tax year inside out

Year end payroll tasks

It is worth covering this aspect of the role in more detail. The payroll year runs from the 5th of April, with the end of each year bringing a number of important tasks which those who work in payroll must complete. These end of year payroll duties may include legal requirements and administrative tasks. An example would be the identification of an employee's entitlement to a tax rebate.

The most effective way to provide evidence of tax to the government or other sources when they request it is with a P60, which is an end of year tax certificate to show how much tax an employee has paid over the past 12 months. A candidate with experience of tax year ends should therefore have experience in completing these forms.

As seen, experience of an end of year situation should be considered an essential skill when searching for a new payroll employee.

Portfolio Payroll's knowledge of the market and what makes an ideal payroll recruit has made us the only agency recommended by the Charted Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP).


Though no industry standard for qualifications exists when recruiting for a job in payroll, a number of qualifications do exist which may indicate a brilliant candidate. Examples to look out for include:

  • IAB Level 1 Certificate in Payroll
  • IAB Level 1 Award in Bookkeeping
  • AAT Certificate in Bookkeeping
  • GSCEs, A levels or BTEC national diplomas in maths and related subjects
  • CIPP qualifications and continuing professional development

When you want to fill a vacancy in payroll, it is worth keeping in mind that many qualified applicants may be available to fill the role. To distinguish the best candidates, give consideration to the courses and qualifications presented, and look into what they mean.

How we help fill jobs in payroll

As payroll is a unique and specialist area many employers are not fully aware of the skills and knowledge their vacancy requires. Contact us on 020 7247 9455 if you have any jobs in payroll to fill, and we will assist you every step of the way – from writing the job advertisement to pre-screening candidates. Our consultants help the UK's top payroll talent find their next dream job. Ideal when you have a role or vacancy where only the best will do.

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