Efforts to plough more skills into the payroll administration sector and reinforce the HR component is paying dividends, claim representatives from industry regulation bodies and service providers.

A position of responsibility over payroll management, including budgets, taxes and remuneration, is now gaining popularity among job seekers.

Teryl Schroenn, MD at Accsys, believes this is due, in part, to the renewed focus on the regulation of the industry, skills development initiatives and formal recognition of experience and knowledge.

“An interesting point about the payroll administration industry is that, until very recently, there has been no official means of recognition for experience and knowledge gained. This contributed to a period of marginalisation within the industry and we are only now beginning to emerge from this phase. The focus is now on addressing skills shortages, effective recruitment and placement, as well as career development,” says Schroenn.

Accsys, like many other service providers and industry bodies, continues to support initiatives aimed at ‘professionalising’ the sector. The objective is to raise the profile of the payroll administrator and the profession as a whole, in order to attract fresh skills.

Organisations like the Services Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA), which governs payroll administration, has been established to address issues like the development of skills and the most effective use of these skills in the marketplace.

The Services SETA works closely with committees like the Sector Industry Chamber Code 88000 Other Business Activities (including Administrative and Secretarial).

Val Forrest, chairperson of this committee, says the industry representative organisation has the overall responsibility of driving qualifications, managing the quality and standard, as well as ensuring the efficiency of the learnership generation and placement process.

“This is a substantial challenge and significant responsibility. On the one hand this committee has to oversee and ensure sufficient skills development takes place and that these much-needed fresh skills are directed into the profession. On the other, it has to supervise Recognition of Prior Learning for individuals with experience – who either embark on or qualify for an approved qualification. These individuals have to meet the unit standards,” says Forrest.

“The committee has made public its intention to recruit more payroll professionals. There must be 24 representatives from industry – two for each of the twelve areas of the country. Nominees must either themselves be a member, or their companies a member of the South African Payroll Association. They may not come from a Service Provider company,” adds Forrest.

The South African Payroll Association (www.sapayroll.co.za) is a Section 21 company and official certification partner, payroll, for the Business Services SETA.

Forrest adds that the committee, along with other representative bodies, need the buy-in of all stakeholders and rely on this input to exist. Without them, there is a very real danger of the sector stagnating.

“These committees are a direct conduit through which stakeholders, namely the industries being represented, can have a say in how monies are spent and also take advantage of the opportunity to quality control the standard of qualifications and allocation of learners,” she says.

As a business that has a vested interest in helping to create a stronger payroll industry, Accsys remains committed to the introduction of education programs and skills development initiatives.

“We are very proud of the success of our ongoing e-learning campaign as well as the fact that we were the first company to introduce an online payroll qualification to the local market. We also offer a number of courses based on our HR and payroll management software and these are proving to be very popular. One of the main reasons is because they add value to people’s positions, no matter what level,” adds Schroenn.

“Although the industry as a whole is making headway in attracting job seekers into the market, there is still much to be done to adequately address skills shortages,” Schroenn concludes.