Payroll Specialist Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Payroll Specialists, or Payroll Administrators, are administrative professionals responsible for maintaining payroll systems and processing paychecks according to schedule and in the correct amount. Their duties include consolidating timesheet information and entering data into payroll databases, calculating paycheck amounts and distributing funds to employee accounts.

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Payroll Specialist duties and responsibilities 

Payroll Specialists use excellent mathematical and data entry skills to process pay. Duties include:

  • Checking timesheets for accuracy
  • Entering data into databases and spreadsheets
  • Handling direct deposit requests and data
  • Processing paper checks for distribution
  • Acquiring all necessary signatures to distribute payroll
  • Processing wage garnishments 
  • Making adjustments in pay for raises, bonuses and commission

Payroll Specialist Job Description Examples:


Payroll Specialist

JOB Statement:

Under supervision of the VP Finance, the payroll specialist will ensure accurate processing and recording of the company's payroll, provide timely and accurate financial information, daily data entry and perform related work as required.

Essential Functions/Objectives:

  • Understand all aspects of payroll in regard to payroll laws and regulations

  • Manage workflow to ensure all payroll transactions are processed timely and accurately

  • Provide excellent customer service to employees: in the areas of compensation, taxes, benefits, how to clock in/out, how to request time off and how to change benefits

  • Perform daily payroll operations

  • Process employee data (new hires, changes)

  • Execute time and attendance processing and interface with payroll

  • Weekly calculation and distribution of commission reports

  • Process 401K, HSA and garnishment payments

  • Complete employment verifications and unemployment insurance information requests

  • Process 940/941 tax payments

  • Process accurate and timely year end reporting (W-2, W-2c, 1095)

  • Develop ad hoc financial and operational reporting as needed

  • Process manual checks

  • Other assigned duties


  • Detail-oriented

  • Able to deal with difficult, sensitive and confidential information

  • Excellent customer service skills

  • Strong interpersonal (verbal and written) communication skills

  • Strong organizational, time management and prioritization abilities.

  • Associates degree in accounting.

  • 3-5 years experience in payroll processing.

  • Working knowledge of payroll best practices

  • Strong knowledge of federal and state regulations

  • Strong PC knowledge including proficiency in Excel

  • Working knowledge of Sage and Sage Time & Attendance desired but not required

  • Must possess a strong work ethic and be a team player

    Job Type: Full-time

    Salary: $19.23 to $21.63 /hour


  • payroll processing: 3 years (Required)

    Work Location:

  • One location


  • Health insurance

  • Dental insurance

  • Retirement plan

  • Paid time off

  • Tuition reimbursement

    This Company Describes Its Culture as:

  • Team-oriented -- cooperative and collaborative


  • Monday to Friday

  • No Day 8 hour shift
  • ×

    Payroll Specialist

    Seeking a high performing HR professional to fill a Payroll & Benefits/HR Generalist role in supporting a thriving software company with a remote workforce. In this dynamic and fast-paced environment, you will partner and collaborate with Managers and team members to reach organizational objectives while applying HR solutions in a proactive manner. The ability to build relationships, exercise good judgment and work across multiple time zones and in a global environment is critical in this role. The successful candidate should demonstrate an understanding of how Payroll, Benefits and HR process improvement work.

    About the Position


  • Managing end to end payroll processing for employees

  • Ability to collaborate with external benefits brokers to administer and support employee inquiries and policy options

  • Supporting managers to increase understanding and application of HR processes

  • Responding to employee inquiries in a timely manner

  • Actively partnering to deliver HR solutions in areas including Management Enablement, Off-boarding, Benefits Inquiries, and other general questions

  • Educate managers and employees on HR policy, process and practice to ensure effective execution


    As a Payroll & Benefits/HR Generalist, you have full use and application of standard principles, theories, concepts, and techniques based on an established body of knowledge. Possesses good working knowledge and demonstrated ability utilizing systems, tools, and procedures to accomplish the job.

  • Coordinates activities and processes.

    Job Type: Full-time

    Salary: $50,000.00 to $60,000.00 /year


  • Benefits Administration: 2 years (Preferred)

  • Payroll processing: 3 years (Preferred)

  • Human Resources: 1 year (Preferred)


  • Bachelor's (Preferred)

    Work authorization:

  • United States (Required)

    Application Question:

  • What are your salary expectations?

    Work Location:

  • Fully Remote


  • Health insurance

  • Dental insurance

  • Vision insurance

  • Retirement plan

  • Paid time off

  • Flexible schedule

  • Parental leave

  • Professional development assistance

    This Company Describes Its Culture as:

  • Innovative -- innovative and risk-taking

  • Outcome-oriented -- results-focused with strong performance culture

  • People-oriented -- supportive and Team-oriented -- cooperative and Monday to Friday
  • ×

    Payroll Specialist

    We are a growing company looking for a knowledgeable Payroll Specialist that will ensure accurate processing and recording of company payrolls, provide timely and accurate financial information, and manage all cycles relating to payroll and benefits. A payroll specialist is able to use payroll software with accuracy and efficiency. They will need to be good with numbers and can be trusted with sensitive information. They have great communication skills to interact with colleagues and executives. The goal is to ensure personnel receives the correct compensation in a timely manner.


  • Manage payroll process that includes importing, proofing, editing, processing and transmitting all payroll wages and tips, deductions, reimbursements, bonuses, commissions, and manual payments consistent with federal and state wage and hour laws

  • Perform specific duties related to insurance plans, 401k, and flexible spending accounts reconciliation of accounts, timely vendor payments

  • Perform updates to payroll-related information and data and manage overall payroll work flow

  • Ensure timely processing of all new hires, promotions and terminations for several units.

  • Analyze and audit payroll data for accuracy of posting, including intercompany transactions.

  • Prepare journal entries related to payroll and benefits and record timely and accurately

  • Prepare and execute pay orders through an electronic system or distribute paychecks

  • Administer statements of payment to personnel either electronically or on paper

  • Process taxes and payment of employee benefits

  • Keep track of hour rates, wages, compensation benefit rates, new hire information etc.

  • Address issues and questions regarding payroll from employees and superiors

  • Prepare reports for upper management, finance department etc.


  • Proven experience as payroll specialist or payroll manager

  • Solid understanding of accounting fundamentals and payroll best practices

  • Very good knowledge of legislation and regulations of the payroll field

  • Experience with benefit administration a big plus but not mandatory

  • Strong knowledge of payroll software [website] Kronos, Payforce) and ATS and Onboarding applications

  • Proficient in MS Office

  • Trustworthy with attention to confidentiality.

  • Outstanding organizational ability with great attention to detail

  • Excellent communication skills

  • BA/S in business, accounting or relevant field is mandatory (or equivalent years of experience)

    Job Type: Full-time

    Salary: $55,000.00 to $59,000.00 /year


  • accounting: 1 year (Preferred)

  • payroll processing: 2 years (Required)

  • human resources: 1 year (Preferred)

    Additional Compensation:

  • Other forms

    Work Location:

  • One location


  • Dental insurance

  • Vision insurance

  • Retirement plan

  • Paid time off


  • Monday to Temporarily due to Covid-19
  • What does a Payroll Specialist do? 

    Payroll Specialists work as part of a company’s accounting and human resources departments to ensure that employees get paid and employers make the appropriate deductions when processing payroll. They serve in an administrative role to calculate and send out paychecks for employees with different employment classifications. They are responsible for balancing the payroll budget and documenting all transactions related to an employee’s wages, including any payments or credits for commission, bonuses, tips and hourly pay. They also record how much each employee earns and make updates when they receive raises.

    Payroll Specialists produce payroll reports for management and confirm approval for overtime or paid time off. They also communicate with other employees about any discrepancies in their pay. They may use multiple systems and payroll software features to pay full-time employees, contractors and other workers.

    Payroll Specialist skills and qualifications 

    Below is a list of several skills and qualifications that almost any Payroll Specialist needs in order to succeed:

    • Excellent attention to detail
    • Exceptional mathematical and calculation skills
    • Verbal and written communication
    • Ability to work with a team 
    • Knowledge of different types of payroll software
    • Knowledge of payroll, garnishments and benefits distribution
    • Multitasking abilities
    • Good research and analysis skills

    Payroll Specialist salary expectations 

    A Payroll Specialist makes an average of $32,723 per year. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location. 

    Payroll Specialist education and training requirements 

    Payroll Specialists don’t necessarily need a degree. At a minimum, they should have a high school diploma or GED. A certification or associate or bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting is required by most employers. Advanced Payroll Specialists, who process complicated tax regulations, may need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Most Payroll Specialists go through on-the-job training, allowing them to learn about the company and its unique processes. On-the-job training usually lasts at least three months. 

    Payroll Specialist experience requirements

    Payroll Specialists usually need at least five years of experience in a payroll or accounting role. Experience as a Payroll Coordinator, Accounts Receivable/Accounts Payable Representative or Payroll Clerk. This experience prepares them for the intricate details involved with being a Payroll Specialist. Senior roles usually require at least seven or eight years of experience. Payroll Specialists overseeing a team may also need at least seven or eight years of experience. 

    Job description samples for similar positions 

    If this Payroll Specialist job description template isn’t what you’re looking for, see our job descriptions for related positions:

    Frequently asked questions about Payroll Specialists


    What is the difference between a Payroll Specialist and an Accountant?

    Payroll Specialists and Accountants both work with a company’s finances. However, Payroll Specialists focus on managing employee pay, while Accountants maintain records on all kinds of company accounts, expenses and sources of income.

    Accountants spend time examining financial records for compliance, creating reports and making suggestions about their employer’s overall financial health. In comparison, Payroll Specialists can make suggestions about payroll administration techniques, but they don’t provide input on how much money their employer spends on wages. Payroll Specialists might communicate with Accountants if they have issues processing payments or notice discrepancies in wage information and department budgets.


    What are the daily duties of a Payroll Specialist?

    Payroll Specialists keep track of each employee’s daily timesheet data throughout the duration of each pay period. They make adjustments to databases and use the employee’s tax forms and deduction preferences to determine the amount of money they accrue.

    Payroll Specialists either prepare direct deposit details or create paper paychecks, ensuring that funds are available for employees on payday. If someone has an issue with their paycheck, the Payroll Specialist discovers the source of the problem and takes steps to correct it, carefully documenting any refunds, advances or lost checks. Payroll Specialists also close accounts for terminated employees.


    What are the characteristics of a good Payroll Specialist?

    Good Payroll Specialists must pay meticulous attention to detail and constantly stay organized when entering financial information into company databases. Noticing specific information is essential when onboarding new employees and collecting their wage data in order to prevent any overpayments or short checks.

    Successful Payroll Specialists have a strong grasp of mathematics that they use to calculate check amounts and manage payment accounts for their employer. They also have a logical mindset that allows them to trace the source of problems with a paycheck, troubleshoot payroll software tools and determine fair solutions to paycheck discrepancies.


    What should you look for on a Payroll Specialist's resume?

    When hiring a Payroll Specialist, look for candidates who feature administrative and clerical experience on their resume. Applications that list familiarity with employee management software can indicate candidates who could easily learn and master the payroll processing applications your company uses. Accounting, business and human resources courses in the education section of their resume can also indicate that a candidate has the skills and knowledge to successfully manage payroll at your business.

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