What does a Payroll Specialist do?

Learn all about Payroll Specialist duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Payroll Specialist.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A payroll specialist is responsible for processing and managing an organization's payroll. This may include preparing paychecks, calculating and withholdings taxes, and managing employee benefits.

Payroll Specialist job duties include:

  • Maintaining payroll information by collecting, calculating, and entering data
  • Updating payroll records by entering changes in exemptions, insurance coverage, savings deductions, and job title and department/division transfers
  • Computing employees' net pay based on time worked, deductions, and bonuses
  • Issuing paychecks or direct deposit payments on a bi-weekly or monthly basis
  • Printing and distributing checks
  • Calculating and withholding taxes and other deductions from employees' paychecks
  • Answering employees' questions about their pay, benefits, taxes, etc.
  • Maintaining payroll operations by following policies and procedures; reporting needed changes
  • Maintaining employee confidence and protecting payroll operations by keeping information confidential

Payroll Specialist Job Requirements

Most payroll specialists have an associate's degree in accounting, bookkeeping, or a related field. Some employers may require certification, such as the Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) designation offered by the American Payroll Association. Payroll specialists typically need one to three years of experience in payroll or a related field before being promoted to a specialist role.

Payroll Specialist Skills

  • Maintaining employee records
  • Processing payroll
  • Managing payroll taxes
  • Reconciling accounts
  • Handling employee benefits
  • Generating reports
  • Analysing data
  • Identifying trends
  • Troubleshooting issues
  • Providing customer service
  • Updating software
  • Training employees

Related: Top Payroll Specialist Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Payroll Specialist

A payroll specialist is responsible for ensuring that employees are paid accurately and on time. They may also be responsible for preparing and filing payroll taxes. To become a payroll specialist, you will need to have strong math skills and knowledge of accounting principles. You will also need to be detail-oriented and able to work with deadlines. Payroll specialists typically have an associate’s degree in accounting or a related field.

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