Be Payroll - Mark Atkinson

Assistant Accountant at Arlington Fleet Services Ltd

Why did you choose to study the Payroll Technician Certificate?
I chose to study the Payroll Technician Certificate as I had been in the role of accounts (with a little bit of payroll) for six months and was starting to concentrate a lot more on the payroll. My knowledge was quite minimal so I wanted to expand my knowledge. I thought CIPP was the best route to do this.

How have you benefitted from studying the Payroll Technician Certificate?
I feel more confident doing payroll and can answer questions from employees more clearly. I have had a pay rise as I am now undertaking the whole payroll process. It also makes me look at things in a whole new light.

How has the knowledge you gained from studying the Payroll Technician Certificate helped you in your day to day work?
The knowledge I have gained has helped immensely when it comes to running payroll, from setting people up, to running the monthly payroll, to processing leavers.

How did you manage your time efficiently whilst studying the qualification to make sure you hit your deadlines?
Managing time was a real juggling act as I work a 40 hour week, from 8-5, I have twins to look after along with my wife, and I also volunteer for the ambulance service five nights a week. I found myself studying a lot at lunchtimes and setting aside a couple of nights a week to focus fully. I also managed to find a few moments where I could pick things up when I had the chance.

What would your advice be to those thinking of studying the Payroll Technician Certificate?
My advice to anybody thinking about studying for the PTC is to do it. It is a lot of hard work, but the rewards vastly outweigh this. I had a tremendous sense of achievement once I had passed and just started looking forwards rather than backwards looking at the benefits at what I had achieved rather than dwelling on the time spent studying. With the help of work and family, we made it work, and that is the biggest thing, get as much support as you can, give it as much as you can and tackle it with positivity and the results will make it all worth it.

What are your hopes for your future career?
I am still doing payroll, and this is my immediate focus. However, I would like to diversify, and instead of going down the traditional route of finance, I aim to branch into the HR function with the added benefits of managing payroll as well.

Do you have any plans to study any further qualifications?
I have started studying again but this time for my CIPD, however, once I have achieved this, I may well look at studying further for my CIPP and use both of the qualifications to progress in the direction I want to go.