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Payroll Specialist

What Is a Payroll Specialist and How to Become One

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How to Become a Payroll Specialist

There are numerous educational programs and certifications available for those seeking employment as payroll specialists. A bachelor’s degree may not be necessary, but some employers prefer their candidates to have one. Many payroll specialists complete a payroll certificate program through a community college. Some chose to get an associate degree with a focus in accounting in addition to their certificate program. Training may be provided on the job, with new hires learning the ropes from experienced specialists. Voluntary certification through the American Payroll Association (APA) is also available.

What Does a Payroll Specialist Do?

A payroll specialist is a member of a company’s accounting team and is the person responsible for ensuring all employees are paid what they are owed. Payroll specialists must be organized and efficient. They keep track of employee wages, work hours, vacation time, and other data using accounting software. Depending on the size of the company, they may also be responsible for preparing tax records and presenting end-of-year financial information.

Payroll Specialist Job Description Sample

With this Payroll Specialist job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember though, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for their Payroll Specialist position.

Job Summary

We are seeking an experienced, reliable payroll specialist to join our growing company. In this role you will oversee payroll operations, ensuring accuracy and timeliness. You will work in a high-volume office, processing and managing changes for over 2000 interstate payroll accounts. You will work collaboratively and with a team of skilled professionals in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment, demonstrating precision and expertise, in order to maximize efficiency and productivity.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Consistently, accurately process payroll for 2000+ employees
  • Manage workflow as prescribed to maximize efficiency
  • Audit timesheets accurately to ensure wages and benefits are properly distributed
  • Accurately record and document all transactions, as directed
  • Research, analyze, and resolve all discrepancies, reporting to management as needed
  • Monitor all accounts continually for accuracy
  • Ensure accurate taxation and garnishment is applied to each account
  • Participate in end-of-month closing and audits
  • Conduct year-end reporting for W-2s etc.
  • Remain in constant communication with teammates and management
  • Communicate with HR teams to make necessary changes/updates to accounts
  • Remain in compliance with all legal and institutional requirements at all times
  • Demonstrate respect for client privacy

Requirements and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent required—Bachelor's’ degree preferred
  • 3 or more years’ experience working in payroll or similar role
  • Significant experience working in multi-state payroll is a plus
  • Excellent computer skills, including ADP payroll software and Microsoft Office
  • Solid working knowledge of tax code
  • Strong bookkeeping skills
  • Exceptional communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Aptitude for numbers and exceptional commitment to accuracy
  • Team-player with excellent interpersonal skills
  • Outstanding problem solving and analytical thinking skills
  • Attention to detail and ability to prioritize tasks

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