“I wanted to take qualifications which were recognised and enabled me to learn key skills and knowledge which I could use effectively in the work place.”
Richard successfully completed the Level 2 Award in Computerised Payroll as a self-study student. He is now a professional member with the IAB and is currently employed as a Financial Controller where he regularly uses SAGE 50 Accounts and Payroll.
Q: What made you choose payroll as a career route, and why did you choose the IAB’s qualifications?
A: Payroll as a career evolved through circumstances in previous employment. The IAB are the industry ‘standard’ when it comes to Bookkeeping & Payroll. I wanted to take qualifications which were recognised and enabled me to learn key skills and knowledge which I could use effectively in the work place.
Q: What made you decide to take the self-study route?
A: I couldn’t find any colleges that supported SAGE Payroll above Level 1, so self-study was my only option.
Q: How have you found teaching yourself the qualification? What are the easiest and hardest aspects of studying?
A: To a degree, teaching myself was straightforward, as I use SAGE 50 Payroll regularly in the office. However, that doesn’t prepare you, nor train you in exam technique, and as the company only has one licence I couldn’t use company software to train during the day. Therefore, everything had to be done exclusively at home which was very draining at times.
Q: How useful have you found the resources such as IAB study text books, and past exam papers?
A: Past exam papers were vital in preparation and practice, however there were times when ideally I needed the support of a tutor.
Q: What three pieces of advice would you give to anyone thinking of studying payroll via the self-study route?
- If you are employed, check if your employer has access to multiple SAGE licences so that you can effectively ‘practice’ at work. However, this isn’t the end of the world if not!
- Become familiar with the rules governing various payroll process e.g. company pension, sick pay, maternity / paternity pay, payroll giving. These all have little tweaks that in an exam situation can really stress you out under pressure.
- If there is someone you can talk to if you are unsure about anything, utilise it, as at times I really wanted just to ask the simplest of questions with regards to exam vs real world scenario, but with no tutor support you are on your own.
- Here’s a fourth one! Become familiar with your exam centre, as they can be ever so helpful and supportive, which may just help take the pressure off on exam day!! After all, they are here to help, and they want us all to pass! The Level 2 Payroll exam is tough.