Payroll Specialist Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Payroll Specialist, or Payroll Clerk makes sure a business’ employees receive the correct pay on time. Their duties include checking employee hours, issuing employee payments and distributing tax forms.


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Payroll Specialist duties and responsibilities

Payroll Specialists set up new payrolls and pensions, process leaver forms and check the validity of statutory payments such as sick pay or maternity pay. Their typical responsibilities include:

  • Checking timesheets to see how many hours employees worked
  • Calculating correct employee pay by considering hours worked, overtime rates, taxes, national insurance payments and other factors
  • Processing cash, cheques and electronic employee payments depending on the business
  • Processing holiday, sick, maternity and paternity leave payments
  • Answering employee questions about their timesheets and payslips
  • Distributing forms such as P45, P60 and P11d
  • Processing PAYE deductions and sending payroll information to HM Revenue and Customs
  • Obtaining and verifying direct debit banking information from employees


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Payroll Specialist Job Description Examples:


Example 1

About Beamery At Beamery, we're powering candidate experiences through innovation and technology. With over $40M in funding and key partnerships with organizations like Workday, we are prepared for rapid growth across our teams. From the beginning, we have focused on building a team, not just a product. We are an ambitious, reliable, friendly bunch who leave egos out of the equation. As we work hard to achieve our goals, we all strive individually and as a team, to take responsibility & ownership to deliver solutions. Our Mission [website] is the leading Talent Operating System to attract, engage and retain talent. We help the largest enterprises around the world solve their biggest talent [website] We believe that talent is a company's greatest asset. Finding, engaging and retaining that talent starts with building meaningful relationships. We're innovating every day to help companies build meaningful relationships with talent" We have created a platform that brings predictive marketing and data-science to recruitment, enabling talent acquisition to be a core strategic asset and enable companies to find, connect and engage with talent better. Through one unified system companies can attract, identify and engage candidates, treat candidates like customers, and power better candidate experiences, treating their recruiting process like an optimised sales and marketing process. We're driving Talent Transformation with cutting edge technology, innovation and thought leadership, shaping the future of recruitment for years to come. About the Opportunity The Payroll Specialist is accountable for the processing of all Beamery payrolls covering approximately 200 salaried employees in the UK, US and EU. This role will provide employees with a point of contact and function as a center of excellence for all payroll, compensation and benefits and related people services inquiries. In addition, this role will be accountable for advising the business on all aspects of the payroll cycle as well as establishing and improving processes and procedures internationally. What will you be doing at Beamery? Act as the first line support for Payroll related queries & requests from employees Running the monthly UK and bi-monthly US payrolls, and build up payroll capabilities in additional EU and APAC countries Collation and submission of monthly payroll data to the Outsourced Payroll providers (Pento, Sequoia) in a timely manner for our global payrolls Review of the payroll output reports returned from provider for accuracy using payroll controls Maintaining all employee records on outsourced Payroll platform Prepare payroll documents Assisting with the onboarding & offboarding of all employees Support with ongoing management of data input cleansing with a focus on continuous improvement Liaise with external third parties [website] pension provider) Create regular and ad hoc report requests on different Payroll metrics Work closely with all other teams (including HRBPs, HR, Reward, TA & Talent Management) Participate in various HR projects [website] employee engagement, salary planning, performance management) Who are we looking for? Able to process UK and US payroll with a deep understanding of relevant legislation Experience in a Payroll role in a fast-paced environment Experience using In-house and Outsourced software Solid knowledge of international statutory requirements (particularly UK and US) Outstanding organisation skills with great attention to detail Ability to problem solve, prioritise and handle ambiguity Strong communication skills to ensure Payroll function provides an excellent employee experience You thrive in an ever changing, fast-paced work environment You're comfortable working with a global team and global customers, and you're adept at managing workloads across time zones *Benefits: * Competitive pay Stock options Pension Plan Unlimited Holiday Wellness days Private Healthcare Dog friendly office Regular socials, food & drink Quarterly team-building events Flexible learning & development budget Beamery is at a very exciting point in our growth where we are being positioned as the undisputed leader in our area. We are achieving this by employing people who are not only superb at their job function, but are a completely relatable, friendly bunch who leave their ego out of the equation. Along with that, we are a team who care about the right solution above everything else. You need to be able to identify problems, perform relevant research, prototype solutions and ship features… sometimes all in the same week! Job Type: Full-time

Example 2

GEA is one of the largest suppliers for the food and beverage processing industry and a wide range of other process industries. Approximately 18,000 employees in more than 50 countries contribute significantly to GEA’s success – come and join them! We offer interesting and challenging tasks, a positive working environment in international teams and opportunities for personal development and growth in a global company. Your and tasks: This role requires a hands-on practical approach. You will be familiar with fundamental principles of UK employment law such as those outlined in the ACAS code, also be technically capable on Microsoft Office products including Word, Excel and HR Software Systems, specifically Sage Snowdrop and Workday. Act as first point of contact for HR Operations queries and providing ongoing training and support to team members Manage the monthly payroll process, including processing and checking all relevant information for 6 separate payroll run and liaising with the third-party payroll bureau Administer group pension schemes Deal with first level queries in the absence of HR Business Partners Liaise with employees at all levels and co-ordinate with all business areas Fully develop and maintain an electronic HR administrative system including maintenance of Snowdrop and the HR self-service portal Process, maintain and provide timely and accurate HR data using Sage Snowdrop Support HR projects as required on a local and regional level Coordinate the starter and leaver process, overseeing the HR Operations team Support senior staff with regards maternity and paternity matters, parental leave and flexible working policies and procedures Assist with the renewal of employee skills certificates and health and safety qualifications and conducting a regular training gap analysis. Manage annual mileage options updates & processing of mileage forms Manage annual P11d process Coordinate and administer annual benefit renewals, including private healthcare. Your profile and qualifications: CIPD – Level 3 or 5 (or relevant demonstrable experience) CIPP – Level 3 or 5 (or relevant demonstrable experience) Experience of managing multiple payrolls Experience of managing benefit administration including the processing and submission of P11D data Experience working with Sage software Experience working with a Shared Service and/or Matrix organisation Knowledge of other HRIS including Workday desirable Experience of working in a large, global organisation Ability to work unsupervised and influence change Excellent communication skills Ability to manage time well, prioritize effectively and handle multiple deadlines. Detail orientated Ability to handle confidential and sensitive information with the appropriate discretion. Knowledge of Microsoft application Please note we offer the possibility to work 80% of the time remotely. Reference number JR-0014381 Job function HR Position type Part time Site Sittingbourne, Kent Unit 9, Conqueror Court, Velum Drive, Sittingbourne, Kent, Kent, ME10 5BH

Example 3

Logistics done differently. Here at XPO Logistics, we’re recruiting for a Payroll Specialist to join our team in Bradford on a full-time, 12 month fixed-term contract basis. You’ll be responsible for the administration of the site time and attendance system including the interface into an outsourced payroll system for our monthly payroll. You’ll be the ‘go-to’ at site for all things payroll including dealing with any queries that may arise and ensuring these are resolved within a timely manner. Pay, benefits and more: We’re looking to offer a salary of £21,000 per annum. In addition, we offer 25 days holiday (plus bank holidays), as well as the option to buy additional days. You’ll have access to a variety of high street discounts, as well as a cycle to work scheme, a workplace pension, and many other perks. What you’ll do on a typical day: Be the first point of contact for employees for all time and attendance and payroll queries Resolve pay queries, taking time to understand the issue and liaise with relevant parties in order to rectify the problem Process monthly payroll ensuring adequate checks before submitting for approval Produce payroll reports What you need to succeed at XPO: Previous experience working in a payroll team Meticulous attention to detail Experience using SAP would be beneficial but not essential Exposure to time and attendance systems Be part of something big. XPO is a leading provider of cutting-edge supply chain solutions to the most successful companies in the world. We help our customers manage their goods most efficiently using our technology and services. Our greatest strength is our global team – energetic, innovative people of all experience levels and talents who make XPO a great place to work. The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all , duties, and skills required of personnel so classified. All employees may be required to perform duties outside of their normal from time to time, as needed.

What does a Payroll Specialist do?

Payroll Specialists work within the payroll department under a Payroll Manager. They make sure that the employees throughout an organisation receive accurate wages on time. They perform administrative payroll duties to keep the payroll department operating smoothly. Payroll Specialists are the critical point of contact for employees with any questions about their payments and timesheets. They complete clerical tasks so that Payroll Managers can focus on more complex duties, such as auditing the payroll and developing new payroll policies.


Payroll Specialist skills and qualifications

Experienced Payroll Specialists possess acute financial acumen. They use a combination of administrative skills and a keen eye for detail to keep salary calculations and database entries error-free. A successful Payroll Specialist candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications that typically include:

  • A clear understanding of payroll laws, taxes and PAYE procedures
  • Strong verbal communication, including active listening, for accurately answering employee questions
  • Mathematical skills for calculating taxes and employee wages
  • Knowledge of economics, accounting and other financial concepts
  • Computer literacy, especially confidence using office and payroll software such as Excel with VLOOKUP and Oracle Payroll
  • Self-motivation and organisational skills to meet deadlines
  • Initiative and ambition to develop professionally 


Payroll Specialist experience requirements

Experience working in payroll is not essential for a Payroll Specialist. Many Payroll Specialists secure their roles straight after graduating from secondary school, university or  an apprenticeship. However, experienced Payroll Specialists usually need less training than less experienced hires. Experience working in end-to-end payroll is preferred, but experience working in a related area such as human resources, accounts or bookkeeping is also valuable.


Payroll Specialist education and training requirements

There are no educational requirements for Payroll Specialists. Some businesses employ recent secondary school graduates, while others prefer graduates with GSCEs at grades 9 to 4 or equivalent. A GSCE in mathematics is a standard prerequisite, as working in payroll requires maths skills. Employers usually prefer applicants with foundation, Level 1 or Level 2 certificates in bookkeeping or payroll or advanced apprenticeships as a Payroll Specialist. In some cases, candidates working in the UK need a Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) qualification to apply.


Payroll Specialist salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Payroll Specialist in the UK is £33,269 per year. Salaries vary according to experience, education, location and industry.


Job description samples for similar positions

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Payroll Specialist job description FAQs


What should you look for in a Payroll Specialist CV?

Look for CVs that show candidates have an aptitude for working with payroll. Previous experience working in payroll or a related area is a good start, but you can check for more indicators. A recent secondary school graduate with excellent GSCEs in mathematics is likely to succeed as a Payroll Specialist. Many employers look for qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals. You can feel confident that the applicants with certificates from this organisation have a good knowledge of payroll principles, even if they lack practical experience.


What qualities do successful Payroll Specialists have?

Successful Payroll Specialists are meticulous people who work efficiently, yet accurately. This quality ensures they process employee payments correctly. They also enjoy working as part of the payroll team. However, they can also focus on their individual tasks and stay motivated. They are friendly and approachable to handle employees who come to them with their salary-related concerns. They display a high level of trustworthiness and discretion because they deal with sensitive employee salary information.


Who does a Payroll Specialist report to?

Payroll Specialists usually report to a Payroll Manager or a Senior Payroll Specialist. They may also report to other seniors, such as Payroll Strategy and Transformation Manager, Payroll Coordinator or a Team Leader. In some international organisations, Payroll Specialists may also directly answer to the Financial Controller, Regional Manager, Department Head or Head of Global Operations. In cases where businesses outsource payroll services to third-party agencies, they work alone or in teams of two and liaise with those external payroll vendors.


What is the difference between a Payroll Specialist and a Payroll Administrator?

A Payroll Administrator is another name for a Payroll Manager. They supervise the payroll department that Payroll Specialists work within. While both professionals process employee payments, Payroll Administrators have additional responsibilities, including writing payroll reports and recommending changes to payroll procedures.

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