How to Get Payroll Certification in Canada

If you’re an accounting professional, you have two options when it comes to payroll: you can either choose a payroll provider or you can get certified yourself. While getting certified isn’t mandatory, if you become a payroll compliance practitioner, it will give you a competitive edge over other accounting firms that offer payroll services.

Who Needs to Take Payroll Courses

Anyone who wishes to pay and administer benefits to their employees or manage the payroll for clients should take a payroll management course or specific certifications. Common responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Issuing and verifying scheduled pays
  • Ensuring the proper deductions are made
  • Updating payroll records/data
  • Manage errors
  • Balance yearly reports and resolve bank statements every month
  • Create supporting documentation such as payslips and tax forms

Overall, earning payroll certifications in Canada will not only improve your hireability for your accounting practice as a payroll processor, but will also help you develop your project management and accounting skills at the same time.

You’ll learn valuable payroll related legislation and payroll compliance responsibilities that will help your accounting practice as a whole.

What is The Canadian Payroll Association CPA?

The Canadian Payroll Association, CPA for short, is the authoritative source of payroll compliance knowledge. They influence over 500,000 organization payrolls annually and are a one-stop-shop for payroll professional development, networking, and valuable resources and services such as a product directory, breaking news, guidelines, courses and more.

In addition, they work with employers and governments to make payroll legislation and administration more efficient and effective. The Canadian Payroll Association also provides further development for payroll practitioners, as they offer a number of payroll certifications for professionals. Earning these certifications will show your clients you can provide reliable payroll information and can comprehend payroll legislation to help them succeed.

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Becoming a Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP)

Although individuals do not need the Payroll Compliance Practitioner PCP certification to manage client payroll, the PCP certification illustrates to your customers that you are proficient in this service you offer. It can help you command higher billable hours, as you have a greater understanding of payroll and the legislative requirements to keep businesses compliant with all laws and regulations.

After you have earned your Payroll Compliance Practitioner’s experience, you can join other payroll professionals in a growing community offering support, networking, and other resources needed to stay up to date on the latest news.

Before you can apply to this certification program, you must first have a year’s worth of relevant work experience. You will also need to become a member of the Canadian Payroll Association as a prerequisite for the program.

To obtain Payroll Compliance Practitioner certification, you will need to take three core payroll courses and one transfer credit.

  • Payroll Compliance Legislation will introduce you to the legislation that influences payroll compliance requirements.
  • Payroll Fundamentals 1 teaches you how to apply legislation to calculate and document different types of payments.
  • Payroll Fundamentals 2 covers Learn third-party payments such as accounting, technical, and year-end requirements.
  • Introduction to Accounting will teach you about the principles and practices of accounting. For this course, you will be able to use transfer credits from an accredited university. Click here to check for a list of accepted transfer credits.

Becoming a Certified Payroll Manager (CPM)

Obtaining this second certification and becoming a Certified Payroll Manager goes further in displaying your knowledge and understanding to your client base. Clients that see you have taken the time and effort to earn the CPM certification will feel more secure in your professional services. This extra qualification will also hold you in good stead for even greater billable hours.

To enrol in the CPM program, you must be PCP certified and have two years of related work experience. In addition, the Payroll Experience Prerequisite Application needs to be submitted before you enroll. Once it’s been submitted, there will be a waiting period for approval from the Canadian Payroll Association.

After you have completed the form and have been approved, you will need to take two payroll courses and three transfer credits.

  • Introduction to Payroll Management teaches you the requirements of managing a payroll department.
  • Applied Payroll Management allows you to perfect your payroll management skills by learning about benchmarking, best practices development, human resources skills and more.
  • Managerial Accounting incorporates your post-secondary course covering financial statements, budget preparation, cost accounting methodologies, variance reporting and more. Here is a list of accepted courses.
  • Organizational Behaviour Management incorporates your post-secondary course covering individual and group behaviour, personality, motivation and leadership theory, communication and conflict resolution. Search through this list of accepted courses.
  • Compensation & Benefits Management incorporates your post-secondary course covering monetary and non-monetary reward and compensation programs, including incentive plans, profit sharing and employee assistance. Search through this list of accepted courses.

Overall, you will learn how to incorporate the relevant management processes into your business and apply payroll legislation to your client accounts.

Furthermore, to receive and maintain your certification, you must be a member of the Canadian Payroll Association through a Professional membership or the Organization membership of your employer.

Other Canadian Universities and Online Courses

The CPA does not offer the only payroll certifications for individuals. Professionals and aspiring payroll practitioners can also opt to learn payroll at a university versus a third-party certification institution. You also have the option of enrolling in a Canadian payroll course online or in-person at the following post-secondary institutes:

These programs prepare payroll practitioners for real world application of an organization’s payroll function and the generally accepted accounting principles that govern payroll. Apply relevant management processes to your client accounts and contribute a payroll perspective to organizational structures.

Once you have your chosen payroll courses under your belt, you can start managing payroll and effectively communicate payroll information to your clients. With QuickBooks, you can manage payroll from the same place you manage the books.

By doing more in QuickBooks, your client’s data lives under one roof and stays synced in real-time. Plus, automation and centralized data mean less time spent getting things done and fewer errors in the numbers.

QuickBooks ProAdvisors can access free QuickBooks Online Payroll training in the product. Sign in to QuickBooks Online Accountant to get started.

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