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.

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