HR Glossary for HR Professionals

Glossary of the most common HR terms and acronyms to assist professionals navigating the ever-growing and ever-changing world of HR terminology.

Payroll Certification

What Is Payroll Certification?

First, payroll certification should not be confused with “certified payroll,” which refers to a federal contractor compliance documentation. Instead, payroll certification refers to the process by which human resources professionals demonstrate their mastery of the knowledge and skills needed to successfully carry out payroll responsibilities.

So, it may help to begin by reviewing what payroll responsibilities can include. Payroll professionals are usually responsible for:

  • distributing, collecting, and managing employee payroll documents, such as Form W-4 and direct deposit information.
  • collecting and calculating timesheet information for determining hourly and overtime pay.
  • calculating and managing tax withholdings and benefit deductions.
  • issuing paychecks to employees.
  • addressing payroll questions from employees and resolving payroll issues.
  • complying with federal and state payroll regulations.

What Are the Types of Certification?

The American Payroll Association (APA) offers two levels of certification:

  1. Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) for entry-level career-seekers
  2. Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) for more experienced practitioners

The distinction between FPC and CPP is similar to HRCI’s aPHR and PHR certifications as well as SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP: anyone is eligible to take the former exam, but only experienced practitioners are eligible to take the latter.

For 2022, the FPC exam costs $320 for APA members and $395 for non-members while the CPP exam costs $380 for members and $550 for non-members. Both exams are offered by appointment within certain windows of time in the spring and fall of each year. The exam must be updated regularly to reflect changing regulations.

It costs $275 per year to be an APA member with an additional $35 enrollment fee for new or lapsed members. On the APA website, you can find discount codes to waive the enrollment fee.

We’ll cover how you can study for both the FPC and CPP exams, but first, let’s consider how you can become eligible to take the CPP exam.

Related Terms: Pay Equity

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