Payroll Manager Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Payroll Manager, or Payroll Accounting Manager, is responsible for overseeing payroll staff. Their duties include hiring and training Payroll Specialists, coordinating with the finance and HR departments to process payroll for new employees or monitor payroll schedules and managing employee benefits and insurance plans.

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Payroll Manager duties and responsibilities

Payroll managers help employers achieve standards that are necessary for growth within the financial department. Many payroll management positions require completing the following duties:

  • Maintain insurance plans for employees 
  • Prepare reports for quarterly, yearly and weekly reports 
  • Review and abide by company policies and procedures 
  • Make sure account balances are correct
  • Resolve payroll errors
  • Manage payroll staff
  • Monitor promotions, transfers and terminations
  • Ensure that payroll goes out in timely manner
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What does a Payroll Manager do? 

Payroll Managers typically work for corporations across industries. Depending on the corporation’s size, they may lead a payroll department or work between the finance and HR departments to achieve payroll tasks. They work closely with payroll staff to oversee the processing of payroll for all company employees. Their job is to use payroll software to schedule automatic payments, calculate employee payroll taxes and remove a portion of each payment to go towards insurance and benefits. They may also be responsible for meeting with company Executives to determine changes to payroll schedules or distribution methods.

Payroll Manager skills and qualifications

As a payroll manager, it’s necessary to be competent in mathematics. Taking college refresher courses is a great way to sharpen payroll management skills. Being organized and professional can help a payroll manager achieve work-related goals, which is very helpful for the quality and prosperity of the business. 

Any skills and qualifications you want the candidate to have, make sure they’re listed in the job description. A few more qualifications often listed in a payroll manager job description include:

  • Social skills necessary for teamwork and management 
  • Knowledge of payroll management software 
  • Timely response to payroll audits 
  • Facilitate a respectful work environment 
  • Plan and prioritize assigned tasks
  • Possess strong communication skills
  • Knowledge in compliance

Payroll Manager salary expectations

A Payroll Manager makes an average of $74,554 yearly. Pay rate may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location. 

Payroll Manager education and training requirements

Some employers mandate that hiring managers have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business or human resources. Education and training requirements must be explicitly clear to identify and understand. This helps ensure that only qualified candidates apply. The potential employee needs to express a positive and lively attitude. 

Payroll manager experience requirements

Experience with a former payroll management position is also helpful when working in the field. Since payroll managers usually use the software, many employers prefer candidates who have experience working with computers. Different employers often pay to depend on the job experience that the employee has.

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Frequently asked questions about Payroll Managers


What is the difference between a Payroll Manager and an HR Manager?

The difference between a Payroll Manager and an HR Manager is their areas of job focus. For example, Payroll Managers oversee Payroll Specialists and other Payroll staff to organize employee pay schedules. In contrast, HR Managers have a broader scope of job responsibilities that encompass HR policies, hiring or recruitment and payroll management. Depending on the organizational structure of a company, Payroll Managers may operate on the same level as HR Managers and work closely with them to complete tasks.


What are the daily duties of a Payroll Manager?

On a typical day, a Payroll Manager starts by reviewing their voicemail and email to respond to time-sensitive messages from the HR department, accounting department or company employees. They also review recent payroll schedule data to ensure employees received the correct monetary amount for that pay period. Throughout the day, they participate in meetings with members of the HR and accounting department to discuss potential updates to payroll schedules and new employees to add to the system. 

Payroll Managers also assist employees who have difficulty accessing digital pay stubs. During quiet moments, Payroll Managers research new payroll management systems to determine ways to streamline the payroll process.


What qualities make a good Payroll Manager?

A good Payroll Manager uses their knowledge of finance in combination with human resource procedures to oversee payment schedules for employees. They have a natural ability to lead, enabling them to manage a team of Payroll Specialists and delegate tasks among them. Payroll Managers also knows how to multitask. This is an important quality as it allows them to oversee new employee payroll details while also maintaining existing employee payroll schedules.

 Further, a good Payroll Manager has excellent interpersonal communication, allowing them to work with company employees and different departments to resolve payroll conflicts and initiate new procedures. A good Payroll Manager also stays up-to-date on the latest payroll software programs that could help streamline scheduling and distribution of payroll.


Who does a Payroll Manager report to?

Payroll Managers report to different professionals depending on the organizational structure of their company. For example, some Payroll Managers may report to the Finance Department Manager or Finance Director within an organization. In contrast, other companies might place Payroll Managers under the guidance of an HR Department Manager or Director. Payroll Managers may also report indirectly to the CEO of smaller corporations to determine changes to payroll systems.

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