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Our apprentice passes payroll diploma

Richard tutorCongratulations to Richard Costello who has completed a Level 2 Diploma in Payroll, following a year of study and on-the-job training as an apprentice at Biznus Payroll.

We catch up with Richard to find out about his year working here and find out what his future holds.

What attracted you to apply for the apprenticeship?

I liked the idea of working in a profession that has a direct impact on people; we pay salaries, so what we do really matters. Also, as more and more people set up small businesses they’re going to need people to run payroll, so it’s a growing profession.”

How was your training delivered?

The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) runs the training programme. My training was partly delivered via email from CIPP and the rest was carried out on the job. As well as having the Biznus Payroll staff on hand to answer my questions I had bi-monthly reviews with a CIPP assessor who looked at what I’d been learning and offered support where I needed it.”

What has your training covered?

I’ve been taken through the payroll process from start to finish, from how to use the software through to running payrolls, setting up and administering workplace pensions and statutory reporting of data.”

How were you assessed?

The exams I took could be completed remotely so I didn’t need to go anywhere. I had to complete 31 assessments. Some of these could be done online such as the 20-minute knowledge quizzes. I also had to complete written exams as well as two to three-hour written assessments. These were scanned in and sent to my assessor.”

Did training take up any of your personal time?

Not much. I was allowed time at work to complete my studies and take exams so the study didn’t impact on my own time too much.”

What did you particularly enjoy about the last year?

I liked the sense of satisfaction you get when a job has been completed accurately and people have been paid on time. We have lots of grateful clients and it’s nice to get a ‘thank you’ when you’ve done a good job. I’ve also enjoyed being part of the team at Biznus Payroll.

What would you say to somebody who is thinking of applying for an apprenticeship in payroll?

Payroll isn’t boring! And it’s not a job where you repeat the same task over and over again. And it’s not about pressing buttons either, as some people believe. It’s a profession that offers lots of variety and the opportunity to do something meaningful.

What skills do you think it’s necessary to have to work in payroll?

First, you need to be able to solve problems and learn to respond calmly and quickly to the many challenges you might face, such as having to turn around a late payroll or make last-minute changes to a payroll.

You need to be patient because you deal with clients who don’t always understand pension or payroll legislation.

You also need to pay great attention to detail because if you make a mistake someone is at risk of not getting paid on time or of not being paid the right amount.

Finally, it helps to have some technical ability as we use several different payroll and pension software packages and all of them throw up unique problems.

What now?

I’m happy to be staying with Biznus Payroll and looking forward to managing my own clients.