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Career and Education Opportunities for Payroll Bookkeepers in Portland, Maine

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for payroll bookkeepers in the Portland, Maine area. There are currently 670 jobs for payroll bookkeepers in Maine and this is projected to shrink 3% to 650 jobs by 2016. This is better than the national trend for payroll bookkeepers, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 5.2% over the next eight years. Payroll bookkeepers generally compile and post employee time and payroll data.

Income for payroll bookkeepers is about $15 hourly or $31,890 per year on average in Maine. Nationally, their income is about $16 per hour or $34,810 annually. Compared with people working in the overall category of Clerical, people working as payroll bookkeepers in Maine earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Clerical nationally.

The Portland area is home to twenty-three schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Portland where you can get a degree as a payroll bookkeeper. The most common level of education for payroll bookkeepers is a high school diploma or GED. It will take only a short time to learn to be a payroll bookkeeper if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Payroll Bookkeeper

Payroll Bookkeeper video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, payroll bookkeepers compile and post employee time and payroll data. They also may compute employees' time worked, production, and commission.

Payroll bookkeepers inspect time sheets and other data to uncover and reconcile payroll discrepancies. They also verify attendance and pay adjustments, and post data onto designated archives. Equally important, payroll bookkeepers have to compile employee time and payroll data from time sheets and other archives. They are often called upon to issue and record adjustments to pay pertaining to previous errors or retroactive increases. They are expected to process and issue employee paychecks and statements of earnings and deductions. Finally, payroll bookkeepers compute wages and deductions, and enter data into computers.

Every day, payroll bookkeepers are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they write clearly and communicate well.

It is important for payroll bookkeepers to keep track of leave time, such as vacation and sick leave, for employees. They are often called upon to conduct verifications of employment. They also keep informed about changes in tax and deduction laws that apply to the payroll process. They are sometimes expected to distribute and collect timecards each pay period. Somewhat less frequently, payroll bookkeepers are also expected to ready and balance period-end reports, and reconcile issued payrolls to bank statements.

Payroll bookkeepers sometimes are asked to post relevant work hours to client files to bill clients properly. and direct special programs. And finally, they sometimes have to complete time sheets showing employees' arrival and departure times.

Like many other jobs, payroll bookkeepers must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Portland include:

  • Broker Assistant. Perform clerical duties involving the purchase or sale of securities. Duties include writing orders for stock purchases and sales, computing transfer taxes, verifying stock transactions, accepting and delivering securities, tracking stock price fluctuations, computing equity, and keeping records of daily transactions and holdings.
  • Library Clerk. Compile records, sort and shelve books, and issue and receive library materials such as pictures, cards, slides and microfilm. Locate library materials for loan and replace material in shelving area, stacks, or files according to identification number and title. Register patrons to permit them to borrow books, periodicals, and other library materials.
  • Loan Inspector. Interview loan applicants to elicit information; investigate applicants' backgrounds and verify references; prepare loan request papers; and forward findings, reports, and documents to appraisal department. Review loan papers to ensure completeness, and complete transactions between loan establishment, borrowers, and sellers upon approval of loan.
  • Payroll Machine Operator. Operate machines that automatically perform mathematical processes, such as addition, subtraction, and division, to calculate and record billing, accounting, and other numerical data. Duties include operating special billing machines to prepare statements, bills, and invoices, and operating bookkeeping machines to copy and post data, make computations, and compile records of transactions.
  • Statistical Clerk. Compile and compute data according to statistical formulas for use in statistical studies. May perform actuarial computations and compile charts and graphs for use by actuaries. Includes actuarial clerks.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Payroll Bookkeeper Training

Central Maine Community College - Auburn, ME

Central Maine Community College, 1250 Turner Street, Auburn, ME 04210-6498. Central Maine Community College is a small college located in Auburn, Maine. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,426 students. Central Maine Community College has an associate's degree program in Accounting Technology/Technician and Bookkeeping which graduated nineteen students in 2008.


Fundamental Payroll Certification: The Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) is open to all those who wish to demonstrate a baseline of payroll competency.

For more information, see the American Payroll Association website.


Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine photo by Pauk

Portland is situated in Cumberland County, Maine. It has a population of over 62,561, which has shrunk by 2.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Portland, 102, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Portland are priced at $164,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, twenty-three new homes were built in Portland, down from thirty-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Portland are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 19 minutes. More than 36.4% of Portland residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Portland is 6.3%, which is less than Maine's average of 7.6%. About 14.1% of Portland's residents are below the poverty line, which is worse than the state average.

The percentage of Portland residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.4%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Mariners Church, Swedenborgian Church and Stroudwater Christian Church are among the churches located in Portland. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

Portland is home to the Cumberland Wharf and the Browns Wharf as well as Longfellow Square and Hadlock Field. Shopping centers in the area include Mill Creek Shopping Center, Monument Square Shopping Center and Portland East Shopping Center. Visitors to Portland can choose from Motel 6, Fairfield Inn Portland Airport and Ramada Limited Portland for temporary stays in the area.