Certified Payroll Professional

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Certified Payroll Professional

What is CPP - Certified Payroll Professional?

CPP is a Certified or Licensed Payroll Professional. This is an individual who has received specialized training in payroll accounting, applications, and regulations. Employers who want to hold payroll in-house with a high degree of proficiency should allow their employees to take the CPP exam to earn payroll certifications.

What is the CPP examination Test?

As discussed earlier here that CPP is a Certified Payroll Professional. And the CPP test is conducted by the American Payroll Association (APA) to certify the employees who have working experience of at least 5 years, out of that 3 years in a payroll department on a certain position. The payroll department’s position includes payroll producing, payroll reporting, payroll accountancy, payroll admin, payroll education and consulting, payroll taxation, payroll accounting, and payroll systems. The certification levels by APA encompass essential level, intermediate level, advanced level, and strategic level.

What are the requirements of CPP by APA?

For being a certified payroll professional, an employee aspirant should have certain criteria that should be fulfilled as per APA – American Payroll Association. The Certification Board of the APA requires that at least one of the following criteria must be met by the CPP exam attempting employee:

Criteria 1:

The Payroll professional should have at least 3 years of experience, out of a total of 5 years, in the payroll before the examination date. Such payroll practitioner must be in any one of the mentioned departments here: that are payroll production, payroll reporting, payroll accounting, payroll systems, payroll taxes, payroll admin, payroll education, or payroll counseling.

Criteria 2:

For the last 24 months, an employee should be working as a payroll professional preceding the exam and have completed all of the courses out of any one of the mentioned below 3 options courses offered by the APA.

The courses in option 1 are Payroll Practice Essentials, Intermediate Payroll Concepts, Advanced Payroll Concepts, and Strategic Payroll Practices.     

The courses in option 2 are the Foundation of Payroll Certificate Program and The Payroll Administration Certificate Program.

The courses in option 3 are Certified PAYROLL Professional Boot Camp – this is delivered exclusively by the APA. 

Criteria 3:

For the last 18 months, an employee should be working as a payroll professional preceding the exam and has secured the FPC - Fundamental Payroll Certification and have completed all of the courses out of any one of the mentioned below 3 options courses offered by the APA.

The courses in option 1 are Intermediate Payroll Concepts, Advanced Payroll Concepts; and Strategic Payroll Practices

The courses in option 2 are The Payroll Administration Certificate Program

The courses in option 3 are Certified Payroll Professional Boot Camp – this is delivered exclusively by the APA.  

How should an employee get prepared for taking up the CPP Examination being a candidate?

The Employees working in payroll roles are advised by the APA – American Payroll Association – is as appended here below:

Not a single source and the only tool should be considered as a sole preparation program. Although there is material available on the APA website named Additional preparation for the CPP exam. However, the CPP candidate handbook is a necessary tool to download and for careful study before taking such an examination test. The handbook contains certification information, applications, fee structure, about the exam, study material suggestions, sample questions for practice, test guidelines, and guidelines on how to maintain your CPP certification.                   

Not only this, but the APA website ALSO suggests CPP exam candidates, so do we at WebHR too, to go through three months before exams the outlines of the courses the candidates have taken and passed so far, CPP contents’ outlines in certification they have done through, payroll practices’ knowledge skills, and abilities statements to review, online research material, and more.

Although, the payroll field is ever-improving and changing, like other dominion professional fields, and hence the federal, the state, and the local laws also alter, therefore payroll professional need to be updated as far as the law concerning as well as the regulatory requirements pertaining are concerned.

What are the benefits of a CPP to an individual? 

The benefits of being a CPP – Certified Payroll Professional – for individuals are as mentioned below:

  • Improved knowledge of the payroll
  • Better skills in the dominion
  • Improvised abilities to be on a payroll roles
  • Recognition and confidence boost your payroll career
  • Demonstration of commitment toward the payroll excellence
  • Increment in salaries
  • Sets you apart and improved from your colleagues – you help your colleagues

What are the benefits of a CPP to the Organization? 

The benefits of being a CPP – Certified Payroll Professional – for an Organization are as mentioned below:

  • Taxation information management
  • Employee wages administration
  • Monitoring of money transfers
  • Payroll, Accounting, and HR expertise
  • Adherence to organizational policies
  • Compliance with the Government Regulations
  • Training fellow individuals as and when necessary

What is the expected salary of a CPP in the market?

The expected salary of a CCP is different at different levels of professional positions. Below appended is an example of market-driven competitive salary packages for a CPP on average:

  • Payroll Director: $ 109,882
  • Payroll Specialist: $ 59,296
  • Payroll Manager: $ 79,312
  • Payroll Administrator: $ 61,016
  • Payroll Supervisor: $ 68,938
  • Payroll Analyst: $ 64,966
  • Senior Payroll Manager: $ 107,659

What is the importance of a CPP?

The CPP is as important nowadays as the business itself. The Certified Payroll Professionals, nowadays, are helping the organizations and their people in the systems development as well as improvements regarding the payroll practices globally. The technology inclusion in payroll processes has made working accuracy better and resulted in ease of use. But those systems to operate efficiently and effectively need essential skills, hence CPP has the provision for the requisite necessary skills.

Nevertheless, the payroll industry is a wide-range domain, hence the certified payroll professional CPP employees help you in payroll administration, finance, taxation, accounting, auditing, and management roles.  

The higher knowledge, skills, and abilities of the employees who are Certified Payroll Professionals, are better able to add value to your business experience, better cum faster service provision, and the process betterment. That betterment may be in terms of accuracy as well as timeliness of data-driven analytics having business process solutions amid turbulent times facing the business world.       

Moreover, a CPP employee would be of immense help for your business concern in terms of the following mentioned knowledge and working areas:

  • The Principles and practices concerning security
  • The Principles of the business
  • Investigations
  • Information, personal and physical security
  • Crisis Management

When and how CPP exam is administered?

When the APP candidates apply with APA for the examination test, the APA issues them an identification number. Before the test timings and dates are finally issued, the candidates are required to pay the relevant requisite fees for appearing in the CPP examination test.

CPP exams are scheduled at Pearson VUE testing Centers. The candidates are advised to report half an hour before the scheduled time of the CPP examination test along with their ID issued by the APA in hand.

Test takers in North America may select from within the spring or the fall exam dates, however for the military personnel a separate testing schedule is issued. As far as the identity is concerned, the military persons have to show their military ID. If candidates take with them a silent calculator - without any voice, any sort of music, or the noise in that tool – to the test center is okay or may ask the VUE test center people to provide one at the location of the CPP examination test.      

What is the fee structure for appearing in the CPP examination test?

The fee structure varies from case to case so far as the CPP examination test is concerned. It is for the APA members around $ 380 for the North Americans or the people on military installations, whereas the non-members are to pay $ 550.  And the fee for the international candidates taking the CPP examination test is a bit higher. For the year and month of the CPP examination test, we advise you to reconfirm the recurrent and changed fee calculation digits from the concerned link on the relevant website.

What is the CPP examination test schedule?

The CPP exam test schedules are:      


Open registration date: July 10

Registration Closes: October 12


Open registration date: January 15

Registration Closes: April 19

What are the possible accommodations for non-native English speakers and disabled candidates?  

The possible accommodations for non-native English language speakers and the disabled there are a few relaxations. These relaxations are: for non-native English language speakers the dictionaries which are the Direct Translation Only Dictionaries are allowed, while for visually impaired candidates a reader-recorder is allowed, and for disabled are the separate e, and provision of additional test time. This all is followed by Pearson VUE in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act – ADA.

How long is the CPP examination test?

The CPP examination test has 4 hours for completing 190 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and out of those 190 MCQs, the 25 are for statistical purposes.

How the CPP exam is organized?

The CPP exam is organized in a way that it measures the candidate’s payroll practices knowledge of relevant regulations as well as experience in payroll practices.

How many parts are there in the CPP examination test?  

There are seven parts to the CPP examination test and have their different weightage. They are as mentioned below:

  • Core Payroll Concepts: 24% of the Questions
  • Research and Resources of Compliance: 16% of the Questions
  • Paycheck Calculations: 20% of the Questions
  • Payroll Process and Support System Admin: 12% of the Questions
  • Payroll Admin and Management: 10% of the Questions
  • Audit related: 9% of the Questions
  • Accounting: 9% of the Questions

However, the studies, for the candidate aspirants to take the CPP examination test, are advised to go through the relevant materials in detail as there may be any changes in the percentage of the Questions from time to time. Mometrix.com provides a practice test for the candidates. 

Before the CPP examination test begins, the software explains the tutorial for answering the tables to how to use the software. Moreover, the alterations made in payroll practices or the tax policy in the United States are the pivotal part of the CPP exam test.

How a candidate would know whether they have passed the CPP test examination or not?

A candidate taking the CPP examination test would know by the results announcements made by the test-taking authorities on the exam day. If a candidate has secured the passing score, which is 300, she or he is passed. Those who fail would know by the result which of the test parts were most challenging and need improvements.

Pearson VUE Centers do not disclose exact scores of the test or the concerning exact questions therein. Unsuccessful candidates have to retake the CPP examination test with the next session testing cycle revising and paying afresh with the American Payroll Association (APA). The APA offers help to its CPP candidates, hence it is advised that for more updated information the candidates must visit the official website of the APA.

Related: Payroll, Payroll Software, Payroll Activities, Payroll Service, Payroll Tax Rates, Employer Payroll Taxes