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Payroll Director Job Description
  • Publish: April 2, 2021
  • Author: StrongerTeams Editorial
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Payroll Director Job Description

A Payroll Director runs the payroll function in an organization and ensures salaries, benefits, and deductions are calculated correctly and paid on time.

A Payroll Director is responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the entire payroll infrastructure. The role requires attention to detail, detailed knowledge of relevant legislation, and a thorough grasp of the organization’s compensation policies and procedures.

A Payroll Director must also lead the payroll team, ensuring team members can improve, grow, and progress continuously.

Similar Job Titles:

Benefits Specialist, Payroll Supervisor, Benefits Coordinator, Payroll and Benefits Manager, Benefits Enroller, Benefits Administrator

What Does a Payroll Director Typically Do?

A Payroll Director delegates payroll tasks and oversees the performance of other payroll-related roles in the company, ensuring that each payroll run is 100% accurate and completed on time. The role is primarily focused on implementation but may include some system development and maintenance work. The Payroll Director’s responsibilities will typically include:

  1. Overseeing weekly and monthly payroll runs
  2. Ensuring compliance with all relevant legislation and organizational policies
  3. Managing payroll data changes
  4. Liaising with auditors
  5. Working with the HR and finance teams to ensure payroll is aligned with organizational strategy
  6. Resolving payroll issues and fixing errors
  7. Leading the payroll team

Overseeing Weekly and Monthly Payroll Runs

The Payroll Director is responsible for the correctness and completeness of each payroll run, so they must check the payroll team’s work before it is handed on to finance for processing. Attention to detail is crucial, although most reconciliation is automated.

Ensuring Compliance With All Relevant Legislation and Organizational Policies

The Payroll Director must ensure that the payroll system reflects all applicable tax regulations, labor laws, and company-specific policies. Any changes must be understood and implemented quickly to maintain compliance, and the Payroll Director should liaise regularly with accountants and tax advisors to remain in the loop.

Managing Payroll Data Changes

The Payroll Director should make sure that all new hires, promotions, and exits in the organization are reflected in the system. This will also involve close collaboration between departmental managers, supervisors, and the payroll team. 

The Payroll Director should also be aware of any departmental plans for special bonuses, performance incentives, or overtime, and ensure these are logged in the system.

Liaising With Auditors

The Payroll Director will collaborate closely with auditors, providing them with the information they require. The Payroll Director’s task is often crucial to ensuring that audits run smoothly, so the Payroll Director must be prepared and must approach the audit with the right attitude. Teamwork and collaboration can often make the difference between successful and troublesome audits.

Working With The HR and Finance Teams to Ensure Payroll is Aligned to Organizational Strategy

The Payroll Director must fully understand the financial and HR strategies of the organization and must ensure that the payroll function is aligned with company goals. These may include compensation re-alignments, changes in headcount, shifts to more performance-based remuneration, or even major structural changes such as new acquisitions.

Resolving Payroll Issues and Fixing Errors

The Payroll Director must constantly strive towards 100% accuracy in all payroll matters. Any errors must be fixed quickly and completely. The Payroll Director should also run root-cause analysis to understand and rectify any recurring issues, liaising with finance, HR, and departmental heads to follow up and ensure success going forward.

Leading the Payroll Team

The Payroll Director is responsible for the growth, development, and advancement of the payroll team members. They provide regular feedback on performance and, if necessary, organize workshops and gather and distribute material—such as online courses—that help the payroll team hone their skills. 

Roles a Payroll Director Typically Collaborates With

 A Payroll Director will work closely with the following positions:

Collaborative Roles
HR DirectorDevelopment DirectorPayroll Manager
HR ManagerPayroll Tax SpecialistPayroll Coordinator
Payroll SupervisorPayroll AnalystHuman Resources Project Manager

Payroll Director Salary

The national average salary for a Payroll Director will typically be between $65,000 and $138,000 annually in the U.S. The median is around $98,000.  

What Is the Payroll Director Pay Difference by Location?

Average salaries for a Payroll Director differ by location as follows:

CityAverage Salary
San Francisco, CA$127,091
Seattle, WA$111,169
Denver, CO$102,822
Austin, TX$99,995
Washington, D.C.$113,182
Milwaukee, WI$100,624
Boston, MA$114,555
New York, NY$122,312

What Is the Payroll Director Pay Difference by Experience Level?

Depending on the level of experience and skill set, a Payroll Director’s annual pay will vary as follows:

Experience LevelAverage Salary
1–4 years$76,000
5–9 years$83,000
10–19 years$101,000
20+ years$105,000

Payroll Director Job Description Template

[Company Name] is looking to hire an experienced, diligent, and reliable Payroll Director to oversee our payroll function.

You will run the weekly and monthly payroll function and will be responsible for ensuring our staff is paid on time and correctly. You will also work closely with HR and finance departments to ensure compliance with legislation and will have input into our strategic planning processes.

You will lead a team of payroll specialists and will help them grow and develop.

Payroll Director Responsibilities

  • Overseeing all payroll runs
  • Preparing reports for management
  • Ensuring compliance with legislation and company policy
  • Liaising with external auditors
  • Ensuring all payroll data is kept current
  • Leading the payroll team

Payroll Director Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in HR, Accounting, or Finance
  • At least five years’ experience in a payroll position
  • Expert knowledge of common payroll systems (SAP, Oracle, etc.)
  • Expert knowledge of common HRIS
  • Total attention to detail
  • Team leadership experience
  • Collaborative mindset

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