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The Advanced Payroll Technician Certificate online qualification allows individuals to develop the knowledge and skills required to broaden their payroll skillset. Whilst studying the course at home, students’ progress through the qualification from applying complex payroll legislation and contractual obligations and mastering the accurate calculation of deductions to understanding the principles of Automatic Enrolment and Salary Sacrifice.

Who is this qualification aimed at and why you should invest?

Who is this qualification aimed at?

Payroll administrators, payroll coordinators and payroll officers who work in a payroll bureau, accountancy firm or in-house payroll team. Those who require a knowledge of pensions from a payroll perspective and have responsibility for year-end processing will also benefit from completing this qualification.

This course is also suitable for individuals entering the payroll software development industry or HR and finance professionals who have assumed responsibility for the payroll department but need a hands-on comprehension of how payroll figures and forms are produced.

Why should I invest in this qualification?

Having fully trained payroll administrators is vital for organisations to ensure they remain compliant with the increasing amount of regulation and legislation which impacts on the day to day running of the payroll department.

Designed for those new to payroll, or those who wish to widen their working knowledge of payroll processes and responsibilities, this qualification covers the core skills required to administer the payroll function. 

From calculating gross pay, National Minimum Wage compliance, and identifying the differences between taxable and NICable pay, the course contains in-depth methodologies for the manual calculation of PAYE income tax, NICs, student loan deductions and statutory payments. The qualification offers detailed instruction of the circumstances that trigger Automatic Enrolment and the processes that follow, it highlights payrolls responsibilities surrounding pension schemes, pensioner payrolls and the potential beneficiaries. The course then examines the subject of salary sacrifice and its complexities.

Each module offers comprehensive learning materials; links to a range of external material; and knowledge tests associated with these topics. The key subject matter is further enriched with digital online learning tutorials as well as interactive scenario-based exercises, which enable students to apply their new-found knowledge and skills through realistic scenarios. This variety of learning mediums provides a complete developmental experience which enhances ready application in the workplace, to the benefit of student and employer alike.

On completion of this course, you will have the knowledge required to enable you to efficiently and accurately handle the variety of issues encountered when processing payroll.


Please note: the first five units of this qualification are exactly the same as the Payroll Technician Certificate. If you have already completed the Payroll Technician Certificate, you can complete the Payroll Technician Certificate top-up instead. This will bring your level of learning up to the same standard as the Payroll Technician Certificate - Advanced.

Unit 1 - Gross pay, minimum wage, and calculating National Insurance contributions 

  • Starters and leavers administration

  • Completion of New Starter Checklist and forms P45

  • Pay apportionment calculations

  • National Minimum Wage considerations

  • Classifying NICable pay elements

  • Names and current amounts of NIC thresholds

  • Current rates of NICs for each category letter

  • NI category letters for employees

  • Calculating NICs using the exact percentage method

  • Calculating NICs using the Table method

Unit 2 - Taxable pay and PAYE Income Tax calculations

  • Classifying taxable pay elements

  • Lawful deductions from pay

  • Tax codes and circumstances which warrant 'emergency tax codes'

  • Navigating pay adjustment table A

  • Calculating income tax using the table method

  • Calculating income tax using the manual method

  • Circumstances where tax refunds may be processed

Unit 3 - Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) calculations and administration

  • Statutory payment compliance

  • Employees eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

  • Interpreting periods of incapacity to work, qualifying days and waiting days

  • Calculating SSP payments

  • Outlining record keeping requirements for SSP

Unit 4 - Child-related statutory payment calculations and administration

  • Identifying contractual considerations for employees on maternity leave

  • Employees eligible for child-related statutory payments

  • Interpreting week baby due, qualifying weeks and employment start dates

  • Calculating child-related statutory payments

  • Outlining record keeping requirements for child-related statutory payments

  • Overview of the principles of Shared Parental Pay

  • Employees eligible for Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay

  • Calculating Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay

Unit 5 - Administering statutory deductions and additional payroll obligations

  • Different student loan repayment plans

  • Calculate Student loan deductions

  • Define attachable earnings

  • Identify different arrays of court orders

  • Administer remittances due to HMRC accurately

  • Summarising the key features of apprentice levy

Unit 6 - Data Protection and Audit Considerations

  • Eight principles of data protection

  • Role of the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and employer's obligations to this regulatory body.

  • Payroll data breach risks and how to mitigate these

  • Practices to minimise financial risks from payroll administration

  • Purpose of auditing payroll records

  • Internal and external organisations that may audit payroll records

  • Controls for minimising errors during payroll processing

Unit 7 - Automatic Enrolment and Pensions Principles

  • Classify types of pension schemes and their features and principles

  • Tax relief mechanisms

  • Role of The Pensions Regulator and employers’ obligations to this body

  • Working knowledge of automatic enrolment processes and the pension schemes suitable

  • Carrying out a worker assessment

  • Employer duties for each category of worker

  • Circumstances that trigger immediate re-enrolment

  • Features of pensioner payrolls and employee payrolls

  • Deductions operated, starters and leavers for pensioner payrolls

  • Potential beneficiaries for pensioner payrolls

Unit 8 - Administering Salary Sacrifice for Payroll

  • Working knowledge of Salary sacrifice principles

  • Contrast between ‘notional pay’ and ‘actual pay’

  • Features of an effective salary sacrifice arrangement

  • Benefits commonly provided in salary sacrifice schemes

  • Calculation of the potential tax and NICs savings

  • Implications of using salary sacrifice for pension contributions

  • Earnings assessment for childcare vouchers

  • How minimum wage rates restrict salary sacrifice arrangements

  • Impact of salary sacrifice schemes on various deductions from pay

  • Issues for payroll records and payslips

Entry requirements

  • Must be over 16 years of age.

  • Proficient in Maths and English to L2 (GCSE).

  • Preferable but not essential, should be working in a payroll environment or have responsibility for a payroll function.

Delivery and price

Online delivery

The online qualification is delivered through our online learning platform permitting students a more flexible study pattern. Students will work through a series of interactive activities and quizzes supported by detailed study material. They may track their understanding through undertaking knowledge-check assessments before progressing to the next section. The qualification concludes with a three-part assessment comprising of two, timed question-based tests. PLEASE NOTE: From April 2024 the third part of this assessment will change from scenario-based exercises to a timetabled online examination invigilated through remote proctoring to demonstrate competence with manual calculations.

Successful completion of this qualification demonstrates a level of competency and a broader understanding of payroll administration responsibilities representative of modern real-life payroll departments.

Member and non-member rate: £2,495 + VAT

Price includes:

  • Online provision through the CIPPs student website
  • Allocation of a tutor to support you through your studies

Prices valid until 30 June and reviewed annually.

Fees & timetables


  • Course Fee: £2,495 + VAT

  • Assessment resit fee: £75 + VAT

  • Course deferral fee: £150 + VAT



Once completed, you may progress to the Level 4 Payroll Specialist Certificate or year one of the Foundation Degree in Payroll Management
  • e-learning