NZPPA Certification - Become a NZPPA certified payroll professional!

New: Become a Certified Payroll Practitioner

Since 2007 NZPPA has been building payroll as a profession in New Zealand.

Payroll manages one of the largest costs a business has (being labour cost), it is also a business critical activity (paying employees on time and correctly) along with substantial risk to the business if payroll is processed incorrectly. Payroll involves a range of disciplines including employment law, accounting, information technology, along with interacting with all levels present in the business and with a range of external government agencies.

The work of payroll practitioners in general have not been recognised by employers (including how they are remunerated) until recently and now employers, external agencies and the payroll industry want more accountability placed on payroll and the employees running the payroll function to ensure compliance with law, uses payroll best practice and ensures payroll is cost effective for the business.

An employer must know and feel confident in their payroll practitioner!

To ensure employers know and feel confident that their payroll professional has the skills, knowledge and understanding of payroll for their type of business environment at the level required NZPPA in conjunction with a range of payroll industry leaders have established NZPPA certification.

NZPPA Certification is based on the NZPPA Payroll Skills Matrix that provides a comprehensive set of payroll skills that are required for the different payroll positions to meet the outcomes required for that payroll environment.

Certification will give confidence to employers in their certified payroll staff and to any payroll practitioner that undertakes the process they will have evidence of their current professional skill assessed by the payroll industry. In the future we see employers seeking certified payroll practitioners as their employee of choice over non certified applicants for payroll positions.

Build your payroll career with certification!

Another benefit of certification levels will be in aiding in the career development and professional development of payroll practitioners as NZPPA sees payroll as a full, rewarding and challenging career in its own right not a subset of HR or Finance. By having a range of progressive certification levels this fits with the career movement that many payroll practitioners would have in their professional payroll career.

NZPPA’s Certification Framework

NZPPA certification levels can only be awarded if the payroll practitioner can show through the assessment process that they have fully completed the requirements of any previous certification level before they can progress to a higher level of certification.

NZPPA Certification levels:

  • Certified Payroll Technician (Entry Level) - CPT

  • Certified Payroll Practitioner (Intermediate Level) - CPP

  • Certified Payroll Consultant (Advance Level) - CPC

  • Certified Payroll Manager (Leadership of Payroll) – CPM

Please Note: NZPPA Certification is not based on position title as title cannot determine payroll skills, knowledge and experience.

Certification caters for different payroll environments

Certification levels are not based on a payroll position title it is based on payroll skills, knowledge and experience. Payroll practitioners depending on the type of payroll environment may do some if not all payroll tasks but at different levels of complexity and NZPPA certification takes this into account.

For instance: a sole charge Payroll Officer may manage a complex payroll and cover all the requirements that a Payroll Manager may have responsibility for in a payroll team (minus the leadership of team members).

NZPPA Certification Levels

Certification Type


Certification Level

Certification description

Certified Payroll Technician



Can run basic payroll processing steps, under supervision or within their prescribed authority.

Certified Payroll Practitioner



Can run a payroll end to end to an intermediate level under supervision or within their prescribed authority*.

Certified Payroll Consultant



Can implement, configure, payroll processes and payroll system criteria and resolve complex payroll issues*.

Certified Payroll Manager



Meets all the requirements set the previous certification levels (CPT, CPP and CPC) and leads and manages staff in a payroll environment.

*Covers all certification requirements from the previous

How to gain NZPPA Certification

Certification is only available to NZPPA members (under any membership type).

Standard certification process (what the applicant has to do):

  • Certification application form completed.

  • Online assessment based on certification level sought (provided through the NZPPA eLearning environment).

  • Verification form/s completed by applicants Manager (past and present).

  • Interviewed by certification panel member (directly or via phone).

NZPPA Certification steps (What NZPPA will do):

  • Help with any initial questions or enquires on the NZPPA Certification process.

  • Receive the completed application and do an initial assessment and come back to the applicant and any additional information required.

  • Assess the completed online assessment, application form, verification form, and arrange an interview time.

  • Conduct interview (one panel member) via phone or in person.

  • NZPPA Certification panel (made up of three members) will assess all the above information.

  • Applicant will be informed of assessment outcome.

Please note: The NZPPA CEO cannot be part of the NZPPA Certification panel or make decisions on the certification of applicants as this position manages the certification process and resources.

Certification Complaint Process

In general all NZPPA Certification Panel decisions are final but a complaint can be made directly to the NZPPA CEO and they will assess if the complaint is valid. The NZPPA CEO will ask the panel to provide evidence on why certification was not achieved and this will be reviewed and if needed the applicant contacted directly for additional information. The NZPPA CEO can request that the applicant’s assessment be reviewed by the NZPPA Certification Panel for reassessment. The applicant will receive written confirmation of the results of this and that outcome will be final.

What does a certified payroll professional get once certified:

Once the applicant has been successful on all of the required assessment steps involved in becoming certified they will receive the following:

  • An official letter from NZPPA that they have been assessed and awarded the certification level and date it was obtained.

  • Framed certificate with the name included and what certification level they have obtained.

  • Certification card with their name, certification level and date of certification

  • Their name stated on the NZPPA website as a certified

  • The ability to use the certification level after their name (CPT, CPP, CPC and CPM)

  • NZPPA Gift – Certified Payroll Professional Pen

Is there a fee for certification?

Yes there is. As this process is only available to NZPPA members there is a one off fee of $175 + GST (to cover the administration and time to setup the assessment process and follow up). The applicant can resit the online component 3 times without any additional charges (within 2 months of the 1st attempt). If the applicant has not been successful there will be a stand down period of 2 months before they can resit. A resit fee will apply being $75 + GST.

NZPPA Continuing Professional Development - CPD

As part of certification each certified member will need to show that on an annual basis they have kept up to date with current developments in relation to their certification level.

CPD will be a form sent out by NZPPA to certified members. There is a table of CPD activities listed on the form that the certified member will be able to use as a guide to show what internal and external activity they have undertaken to keep their knowledge skill and experience up to the required level in relation to their certification level.

There will be an annual fee of $25 + GST for the CPD activities conducted each year.

Apply for Certification

If you have any initial questions or are wanting to apply to undertake the NZPPA certification process please email NZPPA on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line: NZPPA Certification.

Certification Initial Certification Form

If you are a NZPPA member and wish to apply for one of the four certification levels please download the application form here.