CCC payroll class cashes in on success


Pictured from left to right: Elizabeth Zanzucchi, Matthew Garcia, Cheryl Brothers, Shannon Lozano, MacKenzi Lozano, Ben Underhill, Jacob Gonzales and Uriah McCassalin celebrate passing a national payroll certification exam after taking ACC 298 at Coconino Community College.


Flagstaff, Ariz. -- Jacob Gonzales smiled broadly as he made his way to the front of the banquet room to be recognized for his achievement.

He, along with eight other people, completed the certification requirements to be payroll professionals after completing a semester-long class at Coconino Community College. All nine people were honored during a banquet on Oct. 20 at the DoubleTree Inn in Flagstaff.

“This is the most we’ve had take the exam at one time and pass at one sitting,” said Michael Casey, an accountant and instructor at CCC. “So we want to recognize the achievements of the students.”

Eight students took the exam for Fundamental Payroll Certification, which does not require professional experience in the field, Casey said. One student took the exam to be a Certified Payroll Professional, which does require professional experience in the field.

Casey added that by the students taking the exams, they earned the designations of FPC or CPP after their names. The designations help the students be more marketable for getting jobs, and the certification is worth college credits – eight credits for the FPC certification, and 10 credits for the CPP certification.

Gonzales is set to graduate from Coconino Community College in May with an associate’s degree in Business. As a CCC2NAU student, he plans to transition to Northern Arizona University in the fall to work toward a bachelor’s degree in Accountancy.

“I’m going to be an accountant,” Gonzales said, “and payroll’s a big part of it.”

All nine of the students were enrolled at CCC in ACC 298, the National Payroll Certification class during the summer semester, Casey said. The students learned about benefits, human resources systems, management, accounting and more. After the semester, the students continued to meet in a study group to continue practicing questions for the exam, which is a nationally recognized certification through the American Payroll Association.

Former CCC student Ben Underhill helped coordinate the study group with Casey. Underhill graduated from CCC last May with an associate’s degree in Business, and he currently takes classes at NAU to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Finance. He passed the FPC exam.

“I thought the certification could help me land a job, and it looks really good on a resume,” Underhill said, adding that he’s hopeful to land a job in the payroll department at NAU while he works on his studies.

NAU student MacKenzi Lozano, who is studying business economics, took the class at CCC for professional development.

“I work in an accounting office, and it pushes me farther into that line of work,” she said. “The class well prepared me for the exam. Mike made sure every single person understood the content.”

She took the class at CCC with her mother Shannon, who first took the test in 2008.

“I take the class for recertification hours,” Shannon said. “I take it whenever it’s offered.”

Shannon and MacKenzi said they enjoyed taking the class and studying with each other.

“It was nice to be able to ask her questions,” MacKenzi said.

Shannon said, “And it was fun remembering how to do everything by hand.”

Cheryl Brothers is the Payroll Manager at NAU, and she was the student who took the CPP exam. The certification is typically required for payroll management positions, and she eyed it to help enhance her professional career.

“I had been looking at it for some time,” Brothers said, adding that she has been working in the payroll field for 20 years. “Normally, it is very expensive, but I got it for the cost of a three-credit class that NAU will reimburse me for … It didn’t make sense not to take it.”

The class was critically helpful, Brothers added.

“I went through the class,” she said to Casey during the banquet, “and you really eliminated most of my fears.”

Gonzales echoed Brothers’ sentiment.

“Mike was always available and made sure everybody was ready and able to execute on exam day,” Gonzales said.

The other students who passed the exam were: Elizabeth Zancucchi, Uriah McCassalin, Andrea Barrantes and Matthew Garcia.

Dr. Dudley Gardner, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Ed Knecht, Economics Instructor, handed out the certificates. During the proceedings, Casey choked up a bit and told the nine new certificate holders: “I congratulate all of you for being payroll professionals.”

For more information about CCC and the degrees and certificates offered, visit


Wednesday, 9th November 2016

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  • Wednesday, 9th November 2016