Payroll Training Programs

Payroll is one of the most important components for business employers and accounting operations of any notable size. It requires regular attention and a low error rate. It also requires a certain efficiency. Operational costs of your payroll team shouldn’t unduly hamper the business’s profit margin or its ability to competitively compensate its employees. This isn’t something you can accomplish in a 15-minute meeting, no matter how much you might like or how much prep and legwork you might be willing to put in beforehand.

Different Paths for Getting to Zero

In the past, we’ve discussed a couple different methods to build an accounting team—one that puts the primary focus on hiring skilled payroll specialists and another one that puts the focus on user-friendly software and training manuals. Certainly, these different accounting philosophies apply to payroll as well.

Payroll training programs are one of the ways to accelerate the results that come from both philosophies. With this in mind, many employers end up investing in payroll training programs, both in terms of interactive tutorials as well as third-party vendors that will complete a wholesale training program for your payroll team.


Why Consider These Programs?

There may be fewer good options available when the business owner or chief financial officer has a skills gap in payroll administration. So, that’s one reason to consider these types of intensive programs. Another reason is the additional upside that comes with new employers or businesses who are otherwise building a payroll department from scratch. In a single week or weekend, the accounting team should be to getting zero and balancing the books with low error rates pretty much immediately.

Conversely, the downside with these external payroll training problems is that the possibility of staff turnover looms large. Unexpected employee loss is going to have a much bigger and negative impact. Some businesses may even go so far as to ask their staff to sign employment contracts that reduce the risk of employee turnover at the most critical times.


Payroll Training Programs

Here is our roundup of popular payroll training programs. In our experience and informal survey of colleagues, there is no program that’s outright better than the others. It’s much more one of those situations in which business leaders should be looking for the best fit for their company:


  • American Payroll Association: This is likely the best place to start both for the institutional reputation that is the American Payroll Association as well as the selection of courses, seminars, and certifications.
  • HR Training Center: This is an online provider for any number of HR resources including a robust catalogue of online payroll training programs that tackle specific topics and issues such as documenting your payroll system, dealing with unclaimed checks, and payroll recordkeeping.
  • HR Certification Program: This is a great resource for companies who are interested in asking an internal HR employee to transfer or cross-train as a payroll manager.
  • Interested in sending an employee to school for payroll administration as you grow and expand your company over a period of a couple years? can help you match the employee with a school and/or training program based on the employee’s current level of educational attainment.

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