Taking on a temporary payroll job in accounting and finance can yield many benefits, especially if you are in a time of transition in your career. Perhaps you recently left a job and need to hold off on searching for a new, full-time position until the time is right. Maybe you’re in college, looking for part-time work. Or perhaps you’ve retired but are thinking about re-entering the workforce, just for a short while.

Temporary payroll jobs offer valuable flexibility, allowing you to maintain employment during a career or lifestyle shift. They can empower you to network and explore new roles, technologies and practices, which can benefit your resume and professional trajectory.

Payroll professionals are good communicators and perfectionists. They’re willing to embrace new technologies and platforms. They’re also self-motivated, keeping up with industry trends and always-changing legislation related to compliance, withholdings and taxes.

If these traits describe you, and you’re eager to move forward in the world of accounting and finance but are in a period of transition, it may be worthwhile taking a temporary payroll job.

Benefits of temporary payroll jobs

For some people, the word "temporary" is met with a sense of uneasiness. But in reality, a temporary position provides surprising benefits for those who wish to learn and move forward while also getting paid.

Taking a temporary position can offer many advantages, both short- and long-term. There are free training opportunities and career advice, for example. You can gain new skills, learn new-to-you technology, and work on different kinds of projects, all of which will be key when seeking full-time work in the future.

Also, "temporary" does not equal less pay. Most employers offer competitive pay that is on par with full-time employment. You may also have access to employee benefits, especially if you’ve signed with a staffing firm.

How to prepare for a temporary payroll job search

Here are five tips to help you search for a temporary payroll job, including how a staffing agency can help ensure an ideal fit.

1. Know the lingo. What are the different positions in the payroll departments of companies?

  • Payroll clerks, assistants or specialists are often entry-level positions with a focus on distributing paychecks, data entry and reconciling timecards.
  • Payroll administrators and coordinators, having a bit more experience and technical skills, process and reconcile payroll, remit taxes, and prepare statements.
  • Payroll managers and supervisors typically have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance, and are responsible for payroll staff.

2. Map out your future. What new skills would you like to learn while working in a temporary payroll job? Is there an employer you’d like to eventually work for on a full-time basis? What kind of connections at a particular company do you think would help you achieve your long-term career goals?

3. Get organized. Research companies that you think would be a good fit for you. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile. Read articles and blogs, and get in touch with former colleagues or friends in the field to ask for their insights on where you might find a lead on a temporary payroll job.

4. Network. If you have any contacts who are hiring decision makers, talk with them. They may know of a temporary payroll job at their firm that hasn’t been posted yet. Perhaps a former colleague may reveal a project that could use some extra help for a few months. Let people know — even those not in finance or accounting — that you’re looking for temporary work. You may learn of many opportunities you didn’t know existed.

5. Connect with a recruiter. After you reach out to a staffing professional for help with your job search, that person will take the time to learn not only about you but also, your situation. People sometimes seek temporary jobs for very specific reasons. A staffing agency can take those reasons into consideration, resulting in better possibilities than those found scrolling through job boards. Recruiters also can take your future goals into account and help you land a temporary payroll job that not only benefits you now but also strengthens your resume for the future.

Temporary jobs often indicate a time of transition — for both employers and job seekers. A staffing firm that specializes in placing temporary accounting and finance professionals is able to look at the needs of both sides of the equation and come up with a list of jobs that not only match your current skill set but also provide you with learning opportunities — all while getting paid.