Skills Payroll Administrator near Montréal (QC)

Find out what skills you typically need to work as a payroll administrator in Canada. These skills are applicable to all Payroll administrators (NOC 1432).

Expertise

People working in this occupation usually apply the following skill set.

  • Prepare and verify statements of earnings for employees, indicating gross and net salaries and deductions such as taxes, union dues, garnishments and insurance and pension plans
  • Prepare and balance period-end reports and reconcile issued payrolls to bank statements
  • Prepare monthly statements
  • Complete, verify and process forms and documentation for administration of benefits such as pension plans, leaves, share savings, employment and medical insurance
  • Inform employees about payroll matters and benefit plans
  • Compile statistics and reports
  • Maintain records of employee attendance, leave and overtime to calculate pay and benefit entitlements, using manual or computerized systems
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Prepare T4 statements and other statements
  • Maintain payroll

Skills and knowledge

The following skills and knowledge are usually required in this occupation.

Essential skills

See how the 9 essential skills apply to this occupation.

Reading
  • Read e-mail messages from employees or managers in other departments to process requests for information, such as why an employee's pay cheque is higher or lower than the previous month. (1)
  • May read memos from their company's human resources department about an employee's contract being adjusted or cancelled. (2)
  • May read summary reports sent from head office explaining the types of pay deductions. (2)
  • Read manuals which explain government legislation and how to calculate Employment Insurance (EI) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) deductions and benefits. They must be able to explain regulations to employees. (3)
  • Read computer software manuals to determine how to perform specific functions. (3)
  • May read clauses in collective agreements to apply the terms and conditions of work to different job classifications. They interpret specific contract language using specialized knowledge of Labour-Management relations. (4)
Document use
  • Read tables displaying employee names, hours worked, payroll scales, seniority and leave codes. (2)
  • Read and complete employee time sheets and enter data into a central computer system. (2)
  • Check forms filled in by employees for accuracy to correct errors and complete them in full by entering missing information. (2)
  • Read payroll summaries to verify balances and make journal entries. (2)
  • Enter payroll and benefits data on a computer to record information on employees and generate cheques. (2)
  • Read payroll deduction schedules to determine the amount of pension plan and employment insurance to deduct from an employee's earnings. (3)
  • Complete or help employees complete forms relating to payroll or benefits, such as medical services plan applications and pension forms. (3)
  • Complete group insurance forms. (3)
  • Complete workers' compensation reports. (3)
Writing
  • Write to-do lists. (1)
  • Write entries on payroll forms concerning sick leave or vacation days. (1)
  • Write memos explaining the payroll system and how to complete payroll forms. (1)
  • May take minutes at meetings. (2)
  • Write summaries explaining financial documents such as pay scales. (3)
  • Write letters to employees, government agencies and lawyers outlining problems and requesting or providing information on subjects such as confirmation of employment or the garnishment of wages. (3)
  • May complete year-end reports for payroll and benefits for Revenue Canada and insurance companies. (3)
NumeracyMoney Math
  • Calculate departmental pay totals. (1)
  • May review travel expense claims submitted by employees to verify and authorize payments. (2)
  • Calculate pay, taking into account factors such as hours worked including overtime, hourly rates and various deductions. (3)
  • Process payroll transactions, such as leaves of absence, commissions, pay advances and salary increases according to company policy and current government legislation. (3)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Enter payroll and benefits data in financial records. (2)
  • Balance pay and deduction totals with monthly report summaries. (2)
  • Revise departmental budgets to incorporate new information. (3)
  • Monitor departmental budgets and vacation entitlements to prepare budget and scheduling forecasts. (4)
Data Analysis Math
  • Compare the gross pay calculation to the net pay calculation for each employee to correct errors and omissions. (1)
  • Calculate payroll and benefits costs showing averages and totals broken down by project or department. (2)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate total payroll disbursements and check that actual figures are relatively close to the estimate. This estimation is an important way of spot checking errors such as duplicated amounts or decimals in the wrong place. (2)
Oral communication
  • Provide employees with information on pay, benefits and insurance coverage and answer their questions. (1)
  • Ask co-workers or supervisors for information or assistance in handling particular calculations and exchange information about the payroll with co-workers in accounting. (1)
  • May instruct other pay and benefits clerks on procedures. (2)
  • Receive direction and instructions from supervisors or payroll system representatives and discuss work concerns and problems with them. (2)
  • Consult outside agencies to receive clarification of regulations or procedures, such as contacting Revenue Canada to obtain a tax ruling or to resolve a conflict. (2)
  • May speak with insurance agents to clarify insurance coverage. (2)
  • Participate in group discussions at departmental meetings to solve problems and to discuss changes, new policies and regulations. (2)
  • May make presentations to orient new staff to payroll and benefits policies and procedures. (2)
ThinkingProblem Solving
  • May encounter situations in which employees disagree with the amount on the pay cheque they have received. They review records and consult managers as necessary to identify the reason for the discrepancy so that corrective actions may be taken if necessary. (2)
  • Determine whether the specific circumstance of a benefits request are covered by insurance, dealing with vagueness in descriptions of insurance coverage. They contact insurance carriers to clarify details. (2)
  • Find that the pay verification does not balance. They may have to check all deductions to find the reason. (2)
  • Encounter problems when information is missing from pay files. They contact the employee, the employee's manager or the bank to obtain the data. (2)
  • May resolve minor technical problems in the payroll banking system by talking directly with bank staff. (2)
  • Resolve disputes between employees and insurance companies over coverage and payment to employees. They handle the technical aspect of the problem by obtaining all of the facts and interpreting vague insurance contract language. They apply effective communication strategies to prevent the problem from escalating. (3)
Decision Making
  • Decide when to refer employees to another department or an outside agency, such as an insurance company, in responding to their information requests. (1)
  • Decide on the priority of work tasks to ensure that the payroll is completed on time. (2)
  • Decide what codes to apply to various payroll and benefits transactions. (2)
  • May decide when external requests for information about employees should be referred to the legal department. (2)
  • Decide whether to issue a cheque manually to an employee whose cheque has been delayed in the computerized cheque issuing system. The decision will depend on the employee's circumstances and the time needed to reprocess the transaction. (2)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Own Job Planning and Organizing

Payroll clerks plan their own day and schedule work within established time frames. Many tasks, such as completing the payroll and filing government reports, must be completed by certain times each month. Besides this regular short term planning, payroll clerks also do longer range planning to complete year-end reports. (2)

Payroll clerks prioritize requests for information from employees, department managers and outside agencies. Emergencies and interruptions cause schedules to be readjusted frequently. (2)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember the many detailed insurance and pension plan provisions and options to explain to employees.
  • Memorize technical information such as abbreviations, department codes and formulae for calculating bonus distributions.
Finding Information
  • Contact managers of other departments and individual employees to obtain information missing from pay files. (1)
  • Consult payroll registers and personnel files to locate payroll and benefits data. (1)
  • Contact outside agencies, such as Revenue Canada, insurance carriers or lawyers to request information, such as documentation to add to an employee's file or updates on legislation affecting the payroll. (1)
  • Refer to manuals to locate specific tax information, such as the Employer Health Tax, and company policies in responding to employees' information requests. (2)
  • Refer to collective agreements to interpret and explain the application of various clauses to specific situations raised by employees, drawing on a knowledge of contract language and past practice. (3)
Digital technology
  • They write letters. (2)
  • They update employee benefits and payroll information on databases. (2)
  • They use e-mail to exchange information with co-workers. (2)
  • They produce reports using spreadsheet software. (3)
  • They use accounting software when preparing pay cheques and tracking pay expenditures. (3)
Additional informationOther Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Payroll clerks mainly work independently. They may work jointly with a partner or helper or as a member of a team, assisting others to complete office work and exchanging ideas.

Continuous Learning

Payroll clerks have an ongoing need to learn. They keep up-to-date on changes in work processes and government regulations and learn new computer programs as they are introduced.

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