Tips for successfully recruiting a Payroll Officer

  • 30-05-21
  • Geoff Balmer

What is payroll? For most businesses, staff are their largest expense. Although the sales and marketing teams bring in the revenue, it’s the payroll team that makes sure its employees are paid correctly. People are a company’s greatest asset, and ensuring they get paid accurately and on time is a top priority.

So, what do you do when the pool of available payrollers begins to shrink?

That’s a question companies all over the world are beginning to ponder. Here in Sydney, the supply of payrollers continues to shrink, which is leading companies to get creative. Here’s how you can follow suit and find your next payroller:

The market conditions

Before we dive into the details, you may want a better understanding of the problem at hand.

So, why is the pool of payrollers shrinking?

Traditionally, companies sourced payroll employees from their clerical/administration team or had to recruit externally. Often, employees would start in entry-level positions and work their way up through the ranks to move into a payroll position. In Australia, companies now have fewer of these roles, which makes sourcing internally and externally an increasing challenge.

Another factor at play is the ageing workforce in the payroll industry. With more and more people retiring, there’s a gap in the workforce that isn’t replenished at the same rate since fewer juniors are pursuing payroll or similar roles as a vocation.

Tips for recruiting Payrollers

Now that we’ve defined the problem, it’s time to go about solving it. While we can’t provide a unique guide for your specific business in this article, we can give you some general tips that’ll get you started:

Forget the system

Adopting this change in mindset is going to be challenging. When it comes to recruiting, don’t focus on the system as the be-all and end-all as there are many systems and too few resources, therefore making your search as difficult as trying to find a needle in a haystack.

System skills are generally easy to learn if you employ someone who is quick to pick things up and has the willingness to learn. While this may ruffle some feathers, it’s important to make your hiring managers understand why the focus needs to shift away from this must-have experience.

Focus on willingness to learn

Motivation is one of the most important qualities in a new hire. It’s not about finding the candidate with the most experience and paying a premium. It’s about finding someone full of ambition and enthusiasm. Someone who’s willing to work hard and prove themselves. Look at their resume and see what skills they have had to learn when taking on new positions previously.

Build up the internal path

If you can recruit from within your organisation, all the better. Perhaps someone in another team may have the interest to move roles and it would just be a case of retraining in the job versus inducting a brand-new employee. If you do have options, provide as much detail to the interested party as possible answering some common questions like “What is a payroll manager?” and “What does their role entail?”. Map out what the career path in payroll looks like in your business and why it’s a great opportunity.

Provide the tools to succeed

On the subject of technology and software, it’s vital that you provide your payroll staff with all the support, tools, and knowledge they need to be successful. Anything less than modern software and detailed training on the system and payroll legislation will result in a mediocre performance, mistakes, and the possibility of increased attrition, taking you back to square one.


The shrinking payroller problem isn’t one that’s going away anytime soon, so it’s imperative that you start building a solid team. Focus on the skills required to do the job and less on the system skills. Identify those that have good soft skills and who are willing to learn and will work hard to get up to speed. There are benefits to on-the-job dedicated training if you have that luxury!

We’ve been in the accounting recruiting business a long time and know exactly what your team needs to be successful. If you need assistance hiring your next payroller, get in contact