Payroll Officer Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Payroll Officer, or Payroll Administrator, ensures employees of a company are paid the right amount on time. Their duties include auditing and verifying timekeeping records, managing deductions and overtime and ensuring salary payments comply with local laws.


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What does a Payroll Officer do?

Payroll Officers help a company run smoothly by managing all the salaries of the employees. Keeping an accurate record of employee hours and salaries can help the company make decisions about growth and future plans. A Payroll Officer works with multiple departments to ensure that salaries are transparent, employees receive their pay on time and that they all have a thorough understanding of their salaries. 


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Payroll Officer duties and responsibilities

Basic maths skills and utilising time-keeping software play a large role in a Payroll Officer’s daily tasks. Other duties and responsibilities include:

  • Verifying how many hours employees have worked
  • Recording payroll data in the company’s software system
  • Calculating overtime, salary increases and shift payments
  • Processing holiday, sick and maternity pay
  • Issuing P45s and other necessary tax forms
  • Answering employee questions and complaints about payroll
  • Maintaining compliant policies and procedures
  • Deducting tax and national insurance payments


Payroll Officer skills and qualifications

Payroll Officers need a range of skills and qualifications to perform their duties effectively. These skills and qualifications include:

  • Thorough attention to detail
  • Familiarity with common payroll software
  • Math skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Sensitivity and understanding
  • Ability to remain calm in stressful situations


Payroll Officer experience requirements

All applicants must have a strong foundation in maths and general organisation skills. Experience with Excel or other spreadsheet software is extremely helpful for this position. Some experience with bookkeeping and accounts, perhaps from volunteering in an organisation, is also beneficial. An applicant must be familiar with the industry and how it may impact the payment process.

An applicant needs to have proficiency in a variety of payroll software used by different industries. This includes standard software such as Microsoft Office and Excel, and more specific payroll software such as Xero, KashFlow, Sage, Captium, BrightPay and Iris. Candidates must also understand the basics of how to use this software and preferably have hands-on experience utilising them.


Payroll Officer education and training requirements

Employers usually hire candidates who have completed courses in bookkeeping and payroll including a Level 1 Certificate in Payroll or Level 1 or 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping. Some companies prefer candidates who have completed an advanced apprenticeship as a Payroll Administrator, while others will allow candidates to apply directly with no apprenticeship or college courses as long as the candidate has 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4, including maths and English. 

Many companies require applicants to have qualifications from The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals. Qualifications from this institute range from introductory to postgraduate and the qualifications needed for this position must be specified in the job description. 


Payroll Officer salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Payroll Officer is £24,386 per year in the United Kingdom. Salary is dependent on the experience level of the applicant, the exact location of the job and the company itself.


Job description samples for similar positions

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Payroll Officer job description FAQs


How can you make your Payroll Officer job description stand out?

If you’re looking for an applicant to work for the company for a long time, focus on training and development within the company. Highlight growth within the company and what makes the working environment exceptional. Also, focus on competitive elements such as flexible working practices, pension scheme, salary, holidays and childcare vouchers.


Who does a Payroll Officer report to?

This will depend on the size of the company. A small company may only have one Payroll Officer who deals with all payment and salary problems. A larger company will have an entire finance or payroll department with multiple Payroll Officers. In this case, a Payroll Officer will have a Payroll Manager or Payroll Coordinator who they report to and work with on a daily basis. 


What is the difference between a Payroll Officer and a Payroll Coordinator?

First, a Payroll Coordinator is a necessary position for a large company. The Payroll Coordinator liaises between different departments within a company, collecting holiday requests, time cards and absence paperwork and then taking it back to the payroll department for analysis and documentation. A Payroll Officer performs all activities required to process payroll like entering timesheets and filing tax reports. A Payroll Coordinator is a managerial position and many companies have a path for Payroll Officers to become Payroll Coordinators after a few years with the company. 

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