Hiring a Payroll Auditing Firm, Question 7: What are the Qualifications of Your Payroll Audit Staff?

Posting by Larry Beebe, CPA

When evaluating potential payroll auditors, experience and training is more important than the degree they hold; payroll auditors rarely hold an accounting degree. Plan representatives selecting an auditing firm should ask how the firm obtains new payroll auditors, how it trains them, and the experience of the auditors.

A firm should develop the following qualities in a payroll auditor:

  1. Understands the payroll audit process. The payroll audit is designed to test the employers’ compliance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement; it is not a financial audit. The payroll auditor must understand this.
  2. Efficiency. The payroll auditor cannot waste time if there are no deficiencies.
  3. Organization and Structure. It is quite normal for a payroll auditor to work on many jobs at one time. Staying organized is a must.
  4. Tech Savvy. It is essential to understand how to use technology efficiently.
  5. Decisive. The payroll auditor has to make many decisions and must make them quickly. A payroll auditor who procrastinates will not succeed.
  6. Big Picture Thinking. It is important that the payroll auditor not get bogged down in the details.
  7. Enthusiasm. Payroll auditing can be tedious. An excellent payroll auditor maintains an enthusiastic attitude.

Good payroll audit firms hire employees with impressive backgrounds and qualifications and spend time training them. Ineffective payroll audit firms don’t prioritize these areas and often suffer from excessive turnover, which makes it difficult to perform high quality audits. During the evaluation process, make sure to ask about the payroll auditors that will be working on your engagement to determine if they have the training and skills your Fund needs.

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