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

A Payroll Manager runs the payroll system in an organization and ensures salaries, benefits, and deductions are calculated correctly and processed on time.

A role is a typical first-line manager, responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the payroll infrastructure. It requires attention to detail, detailed knowledge of relevant legislation, and a thorough grasp of the organization’s compensation policies and procedures.

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

Similar Job Titles:

Compensation and Benefits Manager, Benefits Manager, Payroll Supervisor, Benefits Coordinator, Payroll and Benefits Manager, Human Resources Team Leader, Human Resources Executive

What Does a Payroll Manager Typically Do?

A Payroll Manager oversees and manages payroll procedures in the organization, ensuring that the payroll team completes all payroll tasks correctly and on time. The role primarily involves implementation but may include some system development and maintenance work. 

The Payroll Manager’s responsibilities will typically include:

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

Overseeing Weekly and Monthly Payroll Runs

The Payroll Manager is responsible for the accuracy and completeness of each payroll run and checks the payroll team’s work before it is handed on to finance for processing. Attention to detail is crucial, although most reconciliation will be automated.

Ensuring Compliance With All Relevant Legislation and Organizational Policies

The Payroll Manager ensures 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 role should liaise regularly with Accountants and Tax Advisors to remain in the loop.

Managing Changes to Payroll Data

The Payroll Manager makes sure that all new hires, promotions, and exits in the organization are reflected in the system. This task also involves close collaboration between departmental managers, supervisors, and the payroll team. The Payroll Manager should also be aware of any departmental plans for special bonuses, performance incentives, or overtime and ensure these are logged in the system.

Preparing Weekly and Monthly Payroll Reports for Management

Weekly or monthly payroll reports detail departmental payroll spend, trends, and any anomalies and are crucial to ensuring departments do not overspend. The Payroll Manager must prepare reports and confirm they are understood by providing executive summaries for departmental heads.

Liaising With Auditors

The Payroll Manager will collaborate closely with auditors, providing them with the information they require. The Payroll Manager’s task is often crucial to ensuring that audits run smoothly, so they must be prepared and 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 Manager understands the financial and HR strategy of the organization and ensures that the payroll function is aligned with the organization’s goals. These may include compensation realignments, changes in headcount, shifts to more performance-based remuneration, or even major structural changes such as new acquisitions.

Resolving Payroll Issues and Conflicts

The Payroll Manager strives towards 100% accuracy in all payroll matters. Any errors must be fixed quickly and completely. The Payroll Manager should also run a 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 Manager is responsible for the growth, development, and advancement of the payroll team members. They oversee their work, provide feedback, and give feedback that facilitates professional development. 

Roles a Payroll Manager Typically Collaborates With

A Payroll Manager will work closely with the following posts:

Collaborative Roles
HR DirectorFinance DirectorPayroll Manager
HR ManagerHR CoordinatorPayroll Coordinator
Senior HR SpecialistHuman Resources ExecutiveHuman Resources Project Manager

Payroll Manager Salary

The national average salary for a Payroll Manager will typically be between $89,000 and $116,000 annually in the U.S. The median is around $101,673.  

What Is the Payroll Manager Pay Difference by Location?

Average salaries for a Payroll Manager 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, DC$113,182
Milwaukee, WI$100,624
Boston, MA$114,555
New York, NY$122,312

What Is the Payroll Manager Pay Difference by Experience Level?

Depending on experience, a Payroll Manager’s pay will vary as follows:

Experience LevelAverage Salary
< 1 year$97,060
1–4 years$97,983
5–9 years$99,828
10–19 years$103,185
20+ years$104,914

Payroll Manager Job Description Template

[Company Name] is looking to hire an experienced, diligent, and reliable Payroll Manager 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 to guarantee 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 Manager 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

Required Skill Set

  • Bachelor’s degree in Payroll, HR, Accounting, or Finance
  • At least five years’ experience in a payroll position
  • Expert knowledge of common payroll systems 
  • Expert knowledge of common HRIS
  • Attention to detail
  • Team leadership experience
  • Collaborative mindset

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