Payroll Accountant Job Description
A Payroll Accountant is a mid-level operative in the payroll department and administers the payroll function.
With a strong accounting and payroll background, a Payroll Accountant oversees more junior payroll staff and is responsible for ensuring payroll accuracy and compliance.
A Payroll Accountant checks, manages, and oversees all the payroll tasks in an organization and reports to the Payroll Manager.
The job’s specific tasks include:
- Ensuring work records are captured correctly and completely
- Ensuring wage and salary calculations are correct
- Checking and verifying deductions
- Overseeing the distribution of paychecks and direct deposits
- Managing payroll information updates
- Reporting to management on tax, leave, payroll, and benefits
- Rectifying payroll issues
- Answering employee queries
- Leading and managing the payroll team
In organizations that operate on shift or clocking systems, work records form the basis for weekly or monthly wage calculations.
A Payroll Accountant ensures the payroll team has received and captured all the work records correctly.
Although the system is usually automated through biometric clocking software, the payroll team verifies all the data for accuracy and checks with the relevant manager if discrepancies are spotted. A Payroll Accountant signs off on the work records once they have been validated.
Errors or inconsistencies in payroll calculations occur as a result of either input mistakes or system issues.
The payroll team, under the supervision of a Payroll Accountant, checks all the wage and salary calculations against the payroll budget and previous payroll runs to identify errors and then investigates any discrepancies found.
Input errors are fixed immediately, but any system issues found must be reported to the system administrator for rectification.
Payroll deductions include tax, garnishments, and benefits contributions and must be consistent and accurate. Deductions are usually calculated automatically by the payroll software, but some—particularly garnishments—may have to be inputted manually.
The payroll team makes the required manual deductions and passes the completed deductions worksheet to a Payroll Accountant for verification. They perform a series of random sample tests and check departmental totals before signing off the deductions and finalizing the payroll run.
Having completed the payroll run, a Payroll Accountant makes sure payroll staff has paid employees correctly and on time.
Payments are mostly made by direct deposit, but in some instances, physical paychecks may have to be distributed. The payroll team, supervised by a Payroll Accountant, checks these for correctness, logs their dispatch, and collates the receipt confirmations once they have been delivered.
A Payroll Accountant ensures the payroll team performs any payroll information updates quickly and correctly.
The updates include promotions, retrenchments, annual salary increments, and changes to benefits scheme contributions.
Each change must be verified and entered manually, and a Payroll Accountant may perform a dummy payroll run after any wide-ranging updates to verify that they are reflecting correctly on the payroll system.
Payroll often represents the largest cost element to an organization’s financials. A Payroll Accountant prepares management reports after each payroll run, highlighting:
- Payroll accuracy
- Payroll timing
- Benefits contributions
- Uptake since the last payroll run
- The leave status of the workforce
- Tax paid through employee contributions
A Payroll Accountant reports on any anomalies or issues and trends the data to show payroll development over time.
A payroll team, under the supervision of a Payroll Accountant, ensures that any payroll issues are dealt with quickly and accurately.
Most issues can be corrected by team members, but Payroll Accountants may involve themselves in more complicated problems.
Payroll can be a major contributing factor to the happiness and smooth running of an organization and is often confusing for an employee.
A Payroll Accountant assists the payroll team in answering any payroll-related questions from employees, making sure the team remains friendly, polite, and helpful.
A Payroll Accountant sits between the payroll operatives and payroll management and plays an important role in the leadership of the team.
Experienced Payroll Accountants train, coach, and mentor their team members, assisting them in taking on more responsibility and growing within the organization.
A Payroll Accountant can earn between $59,000 and $73,000 a year in the U.S. Median earnings are $65,142.
A Payroll Accountant’s earnings are affected by the job location as follows:
|New York, NY||$78,366|
|San Francisco, CA||$81,428|
The number of years in the job has the following effect on a Payroll Accountant’s earnings:
|Experience Level||Average Salary|
|< 1 year||$62,713|
[Company] prides itself on maintaining a well-remunerated workforce and is looking for a Payroll Accountant to oversee our payroll function.
We require a diligent and conscientious accounting expert with leadership capabilities and a desire to progress within the payroll function.
The successful candidate will inherit a team of competent payroll operators and will be expected to work independently within a short timeframe.
Your tasks as a Payroll Accountant will include:
- Ensuring that all salaries, deductions, and other payroll elements are correct and complete
- Overseeing each payroll run
- Ensuring our employees are paid correctly
- Reporting regularly to management
- Analyzing the payroll function for possible improvements
- Answering queries and fixing payroll issues
- Overseeing and helping the payroll team
We are looking for the following qualifications, skills, and behaviors:
- Bachelor’s degree in Payroll or Accounting
- At least five years’ experience in a payroll job
- Expert knowledge of payroll systems and HRIS
- Total commitment to detail and quality
- Proven ability to function well under pressure
- Expert time management, problem-solving, and conflict resolution skills
- Excellent leadership potential
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