Great Sample Resume

Detail-oriented Payroll Specialist Job Description

A payroll specialist works in the finance or accounting department of a mid to large sized business, and assists in processing the employee payroll. The job description of a payroll specialist involves a background in accounting, the ability to use financial software and spreadsheets, and a familiarity with tax preparation and auditing.

Position Description

A payroll specialist prepares and distributes a company’s payroll, prepares any necessary tax documents, and makes sure that all hours, benefits, and deductions are logged appropriately and that all payroll accounts remain balanced.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a Payroll Specialist

  • Reviews timecards for hourly employees to make sure there are no errors.
  • Ensures that all benefits and insurance premiums are deducted from paychecks.
  • Tracks vacation and sick hours to ensure that they are accurately listed on paystubs.
  • Makes sure all payroll accounts are balanced.
  • Enters employee’s personal information into payroll database.
  • Prepares and submits payroll documents.
  • Adheres to all state and federal regulations for payroll processing.
  • Explains benefits and payroll process to new employees.
  • Responds to inquiries from employees about salaries and wages.
  • Processes overtime payments.
  • Resolves any discrepancies surrounding payroll issues.
  • Processes W-4s for tax purposes.
  • Distributes W-2s for tax purposes.
  • Prepares year-end payroll reports.
  • Keeps up to date on changes in company tax status.
  • Reports to finance manager or payroll supervisor with updates and problems.
  • Sets up direct deposits.
  • Prepares and distributes paper checks when necessary.
  • Contacts banks and IRS in the event of any deposit, withdrawal, or tax questions and discrepancies.
  • Assists finance department in preparing for an audit.
  • Keeps detailed and organized payroll records.
  • Communicates regularly with benefits experts and finance managers to ensure that all employee records and accounts are in line.

Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Demonstrates familiarity with basic word processing programs and spreadsheets.
  • Exhibits understanding of company benefits such as 401(k)s, insurance, paid leave, and other voluntary deductions.
  • Demonstrates strong organizational skills.
  • Possesses knowledge of basic principles of accounting.
  • Pays close attention to detail.
  • Possesses basic math skills.
  • Communicates information clearly and effectively.
  • Possesses knowledge of financial software programs like Quicken.
  • Demonstrates understanding of tax documents and preparation processes.
  • Works well with a team to expedite audits and tax preparation.
  • Is able to multitask efficiently.

Education and Experience

  • High school diploma or GED required.
  • Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting preferred.
  • 2-3 years of work experience in the accounting field preferred.
  • CPP (Certified Payroll Professional) or FPC (Fundamental Payroll Certification) recommended.

Work Environment

  • The majority of working hours will be spent in a temperature controlled office setting.
  • Standard 40-hour workweek applies.
  • Light physical activity such as walking and standing required.


  • The average salaries for a payroll specialist range from $37,000-$45,000.
  • The highest paid specialists with full certification and advanced degrees make between $45,000 and $56,000.

Create your own professional looking resume for free using our resume builder!