Skilled payroll professionals are in short supply in the current market, so an efficient hiring process is crucial for companies. You can avoid much of the hassle of having to read through scads of inappropriate candidates' resumes if you take the time up front to write an effective, up-to-date job description. Simply recycling outdated job postings doesn't pay off in the long run.
Today's payroll positions can vary greatly, and a job might retain its title while duties and requirements change. In fact, the Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals reports that evolving technology continues to alter the scope of many roles, leading managers to seek candidates with new skill sets.
Learn how to write stand-out payroll job descriptions that will prompt the right skilled accounting professionals to apply — and give them clear direction after they're hired.
Payroll job description must-haves
- Job title. Resist the urge to get cute. "Billing Guru" might make the position sound fun, but it's not search-engine friendly and may be overlooked by job seekers. Use the exact title and save the creative writing for the next step.
- Enticing opening line. Think from a job seeker's perspective. If you were an in-demand payroll professional interested in a career move, what would capture your attention and make you want to learn more about this opportunity and the company?
- Overview of the position. This is the heart of the payroll job description, as it gives candidates specifics about the work they'll be doing if they accept. Include your expectations, as well as the position's short- and long-term goals, key duties and main responsibilities. Focus only on the most important factors to keep the description as concise as possible.
- Qualifications. Include all must-have experience, degrees or certifications in the payroll job description. Place these required qualifications and those that are just preferred under separate headings.
- Soft skills. Avoid vague demands like "hard worker," and consider the specific nontechnical abilities candidates should possess. If applicants need strong communication skills, demonstrated problem solving capabilities or an aptitude for leadership, say so here.
- Company culture. What makes your company unique and appealing? It's not easy, but try to put your organizational culture into words.
- Compensation and perks. Salary and benefits are, of course, deciding factors for many professionals weighing multiple job offers. Don't ruin your chances by failing to consult resources such as the Robert Half Salary Guide and its online Salary Calculator to help ensure you offer a competitive salary and benefits package — and desirable perks.
What payroll position am I staffing?
The duties of various payroll positions often overlap, making it difficult to pinpoint the accounting professionals you need to hire. Here are some examples of the responsibilities and requirements for some common roles.
- Billing clerk — Candidates must be proficient in Microsoft Office and possess outstanding communication, customer service and organizational skills. A high school diploma or equivalent is required. (Some companies may also call for previous experience.) Duties include processing bills, preparing journal entries of adjustments to billings, and communicating with customers regarding billing adjustments.
- Payroll clerk — Candidates for this entry-level position must be proficient with Microsoft Office. (Firms that prefer previous experience may also require knowledge of automated payroll processing systems.) A high school diploma or equivalent is required, as well as excellent communication, customer service and organizational skills. Duties include performing data entry and reconciling timecards, distributing paychecks and statements to department managers, and answering inquiries from employees and vendors.
- Payroll manager — This position requires five years of payroll experience, as well as a bachelor's degree in accounting or finance. (A certified payroll professional (CPP) designation is sometimes preferred.) Candidates must have outstanding communication, interpersonal and organizational skills. Duties include hiring, training, developing and supervising payroll staff, ensuring compliance with current government regulations, establishing and implementing policies on such matters as garnishments and payroll advancements to employees, preparing government reporting, and preparing accruals and reconciling to the general ledger.
Well-written payroll job descriptions are essential to attracting top accounting talent to your organization. Make sure you're presenting job seekers with detailed and accurate information, and you'll draw in the candidates you really want while streamlining your hiring process.
A specialized staffing firm can help you identify the roles you need most - and can also cast a wider net when searching for talent.
This article was first published on the Robert Half International blog. Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps has 300 locations worldwide. More resources, including job search services can be found on the Accountemps website.