What Is a Certified Payroll Professional?

Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) is a voluntary designation for men and women involved in payroll processing. Keep reading to learn how to become a Certified Payroll Professional. Schools offering Accounting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Certified Payroll Professional Description

The Certified Payroll Professional designation is offered through the American Payroll Association (APA), an organization dedicated to helping payroll professionals advance their careers. The CPP designation is designed for those who handle payroll functions or payroll management. To earn the CPP designation, you must pass an exam that covers seven main areas of knowledge. You'll answer questions about core concepts like taxes and benefits. You'll also be quizzed on compliance issues and calculation methods. Payroll systems and accounting are also addressed in the exam. Additionally, questions cover management and administration issues, such as policies, procedures, and auditing.

Important Facts About Financial Clerks

Median Pay (2018) $45,050 (for payroll and timekeeping clerks)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) -1% decline (for payroll and timekeeping clerks)
Entry-level Education High school diploma or equivalent; some post-secondary training
Similar Occupations Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks; bill and account collectors

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certification Requirements

The APA notes three paths that can make you eligible to sit for the CPP exam. One option is having three years of experience as a payroll professional within the past five years. Experience is defined as being involved in payroll production, reporting, accounting, systems, administration, taxation or education. Alternatively, you could have been employed as a payroll professional and completed approved courses in payroll subjects during the past 24 months. Your last option for qualification is to have been employed as a payroll professional, obtained the Fundamental Payroll Certification from the APA and completed approved courses within the past 18 months. Once you have obtained the CPP designation, you are subject to re-certification requirements. To recertify, you need to complete at least 120 credit hours of continuing education.

Exam Preparation

To help you prepare for the examination, the APA offers study aids and other reference materials. You also might complete a college program that uses the APA's PayTrain Fundamentals and Mastery courses to provide you with the necessary training.

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