News & Resources


Tackle the Joys of Payroll With Guidance From PayTrain

BY: Liz Schoenecker | 12/09/20


Kate Zurschmeide, FPC, admits that January is a busy time of year full of wonderous joy with year-end for payroll professionals.

This is especially true in her role as Payroll Administrative Assistant at Tabor Accounting Group where she helps two specialists manage nearly 250 small-business clients. We all know those Forms W-2 don’t generate themselves, right?

Zurschmeide joined Tabor’s Payroll Services department three years ago without any payroll experience. With the support of colleagues, she moved from a part-time position into her current full-time position. With increased responsibility comes higher expectations, but Zurschmeide was up for the challenge.

A Wise Mentor Once Said …

To help Zurschmeide gain the confidence she needed to tackle her growing payroll responsibilities, she decided to heed her mentor’s advice: Join the APA and pursue the Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC).

Once again, Zurschmeide turned to colleagues for advice on how to prepare for the FPC exam. This led her to PayTrain® Fundamentals, a payroll training and FPC exam preparation program the APA offers. An added bonus? Zurschmeide’s employer offered to cover the cost of both the exam and PayTrain Fundamentals. Her journey toward the FPC was ready to begin.

Finding a Work/Study Balance

Zurschmeide considered the various PayTrain Fundamentals course alternatives and ultimately decided on the self-study option.

“Self-study allowed me to learn on my schedule,” she said. “Payroll departments can get very hectic before major deadlines. Having that flexibility allowed me to satisfy immediate work responsibilities without being tied to a scheduled class. It was like being in the classroom, with the benefit of learning at my own pace.”

After several months of training and studying with the PayTrain Fundamentals program, Zurschmeide was ready to take the FPC exam.

“I loved the hands-on practice problems,” she said. “They allowed me to work through harder concepts that I don’t encounter in my typical workday. It also helped that if I had a wrong answer, I could try the activity again without the consequences of an upset client.”

Increased Confidence, Skills

In October 2019, Zurschmeide passed the FPC exam on her first try. Since attaining her FPC designation, she’s been able to take on more clients throughout Oregon and the West Coast.

“I now have FPC after my name,” she said. “This shows my clients—small businesses, restaurants, and mom and pop stores—that I know what I am doing and I know what I am talking about. Those letters after my name make a big difference!”

Unexpected Perks

In addition to increased confidence and knowledge, earning her FPC resulted in a pay raise, increased responsibility, and even an upgraded office space.

To make the most of her employer’s investment, she keeps her notes from PayTrain Fundamentals on hand as a day-to-day reference and to help make decisions on the job. This is especially useful during hectic times like handling payroll activities in January.

For almost 30 years, PayTrain Fundamentals has helped thousands of exceptional payroll professionals prepare to pass the FPC exam, stay up to date on the most recent developments in payroll legislation, elevate their job performance, boost their earning potential, and advance their careers. For more information about the PayTrain Fundamentals program, visit


Liz Schoenecker is a Marketing Manager at Holmes Corporation.