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Handling the payroll is crucial for the growth of your business. Perhaps, you can’t risk it by allocating this work to your accounting or HR departments.

Although there is performance payroll software available in the market, you require a professional to operate it.

For this reason, you require an expert like a payroll specialist. However, most of the time, these professionals develop unique skills, different working backgrounds, and expertise.

Also, they must have positioned various roles from payroll clerk to payroll supervisor. Then, How to hire the perfect fit for your company?

Well, in this article, we explain the traits you should look for in your payroll specialist.

  • Certifications on Payroll

Obviously, certifications are the first one you should look for in the job candidates. Fundamental Payroll Certifications (FPC) and Certified Payroll Professionals (CPP) are the two types of payroll certifications provided by the American Payroll Association (APA).

If you are looking for a payroll clerk, you can check their FPC to provide a thorough payroll introduction.

If you are even more complex roles like payroll supervisor, payroll administrator, then it is ideal you can look for CPP in the job seekers.

As CPP concentrates on in-depth knowledge of payrolls like taxes, employee benefits, and compliance laws, a payroll specialist must know these concepts very well.

  • Payroll software management

Performance payroll software management is complicated. The mechanism varies from one software to another.

For instance, payroll personnel might be well expertized with Paychor may not be good with EPAY HCM.

Practically, it is smart to go with the payroll professional who has experience with the software used in your office rather than going for one who requires rigorous training.

However, owing to the competitiveness in this field, you can also welcome the job seekers who resonate with learning new software.

  • Knowledge of compliance

As mentioned earlier, compliance laws, regulatory details regarding benefits, and payroll are complicated.

From the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) to data protection rules, you might have no idea about these laws, yet they are essential for your business functioning.

To some extent, performance payroll software might help you, but the rest is in the hands of your payroll specialist.

During the interview, ask the candidates their level of familiarity with compliance to choose the right ones.

  • Awareness of little details

Not once a payroll specialist can afford to commit a mistake. One error will cost you a massive fine.

For crucial job responsibilities like payroll professionals, check for their attention to detail.

And make this aspect a non-negotiable attribute.

  • Customer service skills

A payroll specialist must not only have an eye for detail but also lend an ear to the customer queries.

For instance, your payroll clients are internal, and they might have numerous queries to which your payroll hire must reply via email and call.

Dealing with customers requires critical thinking, confidence, and patience. So, enquire your candidates regarding their customer service implementations.

  • Analysis and adaptability

Like every other job, payroll also demands research and analysis. The technological advancements are so fast that what was trendy five years back is now outdated and doomed.

Your payroll specialist must continuously update their knowledge on trends in the payroll industry so that you can instantly look for better solutions in the long run.

Besides, adaptability is yet another attribute your payroll candidate must possess. Apart from basic knowledge of computer skills, the payroll position overlaps with accounting too.

As a result, they must adapt to cloud computing solutions for accounting and payment processing.


These are significant traits that we consider important ones. Beyond that, if your company has other requirements, then use this list to refine your payroll specialist job description.