Payroll professionals on the job hunt have many avenues to consider, as businesses in every type of industry can utilize their valuable skills. But when it comes time to accept a job offer from a potential employer, how can you be sure you‘ll be choosing the best workplace to build your payroll career?

If the employer shows strength in the following six areas, you can feel more confident that you‘ll be joining an organization where you can find job satisfaction and take your payroll career path in a positive direction. Here’s a closer look:

1. Good communication

If you’ve ever worked in an organization where information seldom trickles down to the staff level, and the rumor mill is always working overtime, you understand how frustrating a poor or nonexistent communication style from management can be for employees. It can lead to poor morale and high turnover.

When evaluating potential workplaces for your payroll career, note how responsive the company‘s hiring managers are to your messages. Do you have to wait several days or even weeks to hear back, or do your emails and phone calls get returned promptly? How’s their tone — brusque and hurried, or friendly and respectful? Their behavior can give you a window into what communication may be like within the organization, generally.

2. An emphasis on work-life balance

To attract top talent, leading companies are offering an assortment of compelling perks and benefits that encourage employees to take care of themselves and devote ample time to their interests and commitments outside of work. And that strategy makes perfect sense: The more workers are able to maintain a healthy work-life balance and keep stress at bay, the more productive, creative and loyal they’re likely to be.

As you research potential workplaces, review job postings, websites and social media channels. Does a company your targeting for employment advertise that it offers a generous vacation policy and flexible work arrangements? Do the employees say it’s a great place for them to work? And has the company earned any accolades for fostering a positive work environment?

To gain more direct insight, make a point during the interview process to ask hiring managers how the organization specifically prioritizes and promotes work-life balance for its employees.

3. Training and development opportunities

You want to be part of a company that will invest in your future as a payroll professional and help you to advance in your payroll career. So, when meeting with hiring managers, you should also ask what the organization offers in terms of professional training and development.

Does it help pay for certification exams and payroll association fees, for example? Would you be allowed to take continuing professional education (CPE) courses on company time? Does the employer provide mentoring opportunities for your payroll career? And if you would be working remotely all or part of the time, how would that impact your ability to take advantage of training and development opportunities, if at all?

See this post to learn which accounting certifications today's employers value most.

4. A workplace culture that suits your style

Do you like a fast-paced work environment and challenging assignments, or do you prefer a more low-key setting with predictable and steady work? Do you want to engage in fun activities and hang out with your colleagues, or are you more comfortable with maintaining well-defined professional boundaries?

The best workplace is the one where you can feel comfortable, where you are well-connected with your coworkers, even if you are working remotely, and where you’re a respected part of the team.

5. Shared values and vision

Organizational pride is a powerful driver of job satisfaction. People feel good about their role when they believe in what their employer is doing, such as improving the lives of their customers and making their community a better place.

If this describes you, then it can be well worth your time to learn about a potential employer’s mission and values and how the company works to be a good corporate citizen, including what it’s doing to promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace and operate sustainably.

6. Competitive compensation

Money isn’t everything, of course. But finding the best workplace for your payroll career includes making sure you will have an employer who values your skills and appropriately compensates you for your abilities.

Consult resources like Robert Half’s latest Salary Guide to learn what types of starting salaries you might expect for various payroll positions, nationally and in your local market. This research can help position you for a successful salary negotiation during the hiring process.

No doubt, you will weigh many factors before you decide whether to accept a payroll job offer from an employer. But these six areas can be particularly useful in determining whether you’ll be choosing a path that can help you take your payroll career in the right direction. They are indicative of an organization where management is focused on fostering a positive, supportive workplace where all employees are encouraged to thrive and grow.