Payroll Clerk Job Description

Payroll Clerk Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a payroll clerk. Feel free to use our payroll clerk job description template to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a payroll clerk.


Who Is a Payroll Clerk?

Payroll is a necessary component of any structured firm. However, keeping track of earnings — and making sure they’re regular — wasn’t always as simple as it is now. Payroll’s journey continues to take fascinating and inventive turns, from scant, handwritten records to self-service features.


A brief history of payroll

Around the 1750s, the term was coined as a combination of the words Pay (a verb) and Roll (a noun) to describe the list of monthly wage payments made to employees. The term payroll executive or payroll manager refers to a person or team who works in the company’s department that calculates and pays all of the employees. It dates back to the mid-16th century in Europe.

Payroll is just a list of employees who need to be paid, along with the amount owed to each of them. A paymaster, a person whose job was to pay wages or salaries in various organizations, the government, and the military, was in charge of payroll. Wages and remuneration have evolved, from bread, grain, clothing, and even beer in ancient Egypt to salt and land grants in Roman times. According to the BBC, rations were recorded using some of the world’s oldest writing, known as ‘cuneiform,’ which means wedge-shaped. Is it possible that this is the world’s first payroll journal? A cuneiform-inscribed clay tablet from Mesopotamia, dated around 3100 BCE, contains a record of daily beer rations for workers. What rations were exchanged in exchange for individual labor?

The mode of payment changed from food, clothing, and shelter to a monetary-based system allowing people to buy goods and services they desire in place of work or services rendered as the world moved through various economic phases, beginning with the commercial revolution in the 11th century and lasting until it was followed by the Industrial Revolution in the mid-18th century. People were able to manage their salaries easily and salary payments moved from cash in hand to bank transfers or account credits in the 19th and 20th centuries, as commercial banking began and access to banking opened up with the introduction of retail banking services, people were able to save, spend, and manage their money with ease, as commercial banking began and access to banking opened up with the introduction of retail banking services, people were able to manage their salaries easily and salary payments moved from cash in hand to bank transfers or account credits.


The rise of the service economy in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries increased the prevalence of salaried employment in developed countries, as the relative share of industrial production jobs decreased and the percentage of salaried executive, administrative, computer, marketing, and creative occupations grew. Payroll had to evolve and incorporate the complex taxation structures of local governments because the concept of taxing income is a modern innovation that presupposes several things: a money economy, reasonably precise accounts, a common understanding of receipts, expenses, and profits, and a well-ordered society with accurate records. Payroll has progressed from entries on clay tablets and copper plates to paper parchments, paper scrolls, and ledgers to computerized Payroll Software that can update payroll data and payment receipts in real-time! The majority of payroll software providers are digital disruptors in an ancient domain, assisting businesses in accurately calculating payroll, assisting HMRC in ensuring correct tax revenues are generated from businesses, instructing banks to accurately credit salaries into accounts, and ensuring compliance with all taxation legislative requirements.

That was the payroll history in a nutshell; we’re curious about the future. We are confident that it will be anything but boring, thanks to Cryptocurrencies and continual legislative changes.


A Payroll Clerk is someone who works in a company’s payroll or accounting department, gathering payroll information from employees to process and deliver paychecks. After each pay period, they’ll collect employees’ timesheets and double-check that their payroll information and working hours are accurate. Basic data is entered into the payroll system by payroll clerks using a software system. They’ll work closely with employees to acquire any necessary payment information and to respond to any inquiries they may have about their pay. Payroll clerks will calculate payroll information such as taxes, deductions, bonuses, commissions, and other hours that are payable with care.

Payroll clerks are also in charge of computing deductions including withholding taxes, Social Security payments, insurance, and union dues. These clerks may also create and distribute employee pay envelopes, as well as set up automatic electronic transfers between the company and the employee’s bank. Payroll clerks may also keep track of benefit deductions, sick leave and vacation pay, 401(k) contributions, and other nontaxable salaries, in addition to these responsibilities.

Payroll tasks in large corporations may be divided into specialist departments. Bonus and commission systems, for example, may exist in some businesses. Some payroll clerks may be referred to as bonus clerks or commission clerks in these organizations.


Payroll Clerk Job Description

Below are the payroll clerk job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a payroll clerk job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

The duties and responsibilities of a payroll clerk include the following:

  • Creating and administering checks or making direct deposits through a bank payment system to start monthly payments on time.
  • Handling the employee and upper management complaints and inquiries about payroll: Employee grievances, questions, and concerns about payroll services are recorded and communicated to the HR manager.
  • Using manual or digital systems, keep track of employee attendance, leave, and overtime hours to determine compensation and benefits.
  • compiling and verifying employee earnings statements, which include gross and net wages as well as deductions for taxes, union dues, garnishments, and insurance and pension plans.
  • Keeping employees informed about changes to their paychecks, such as additional deductions or pay rate adjustments.
  • Computing payroll liabilities by calculating employee taxes, such as federal and state income and social security taxes, as well as employer payments for social security, unemployment, and workers’ compensation.
  • Detecting and reconciling payroll errors by reviewing timesheets, work charts, wage computations, and other data.
  • Augmenting revisions to pay rates, employee status changes, and other details to paper and computerized payroll records.
  • Keeping track of attendance, hours worked, and compensation changes, as well as entering data into appropriate records.
  • Preparing cheques or electronic transfer payments for employees and benefits.
  • Evaluatingseverance and unemployment benefits.
  • Keeping track of all payroll processes following the company’s policies and procedures.
  • Performing clerical duties for human resources, accounting, or other departments inside a corporation, such as typing, filing, and copying papers.
  • Creating and delivering reports to the supervisor that include payroll data.



  • A high school diploma is required.
  • A bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a similar discipline would be advantageous.
  • Working knowledge of payroll software is advantageous.
  • Earn a professional certification, such as the Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) or the Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) (CPC).
  • Some years of experience will be an added advantage


Essential Skills

To be successful in their jobs, payroll clerks must possess a mix of hard and soft skills. The following are some of the most important skills for a payroll clerk:

1) A Good Communication Skill: Active listening, observing, speaking, and empathizing are all skills that can be used to communicate both verbally and non-verbally. Payroll clerks must be able to interact effectively both verbally and in writing with employees to discuss and resolve payroll issues and complaints.

2) Competencies in data entry: Data input requires a mix of technical computer abilities as well as a high level of accuracy and attention to detail. To guarantee that employees receive the correct amount of money at the right time, a payroll clerk must be accurate in the data they enter regarding employee hours worked and compensation owed.

3) Time Management Skills: Time management skills are the capacity to balance and prioritize duties in such a way that you can finish your work on time while also preserving a work-life balance. To ensure that payroll is processed on time and employees are paid on time, payroll clerks must have strong time management abilities.

4) Computer Skills: Typing, system and program expertise are all part of computer abilities. Because their employment includes typing and utilizing programs like Microsoft Office and QuickBooks to perform their task, payroll clerks require solid computer abilities.

5) Keen Attention to Details: Payroll clerks must have excellent attention to detail to ensure they enter the correct information into the company’s payroll system. They should also be able to double-check the accuracy of the data they input. This ensures employees receive the correct amount of pay and that the company doesn’t over-or underpay employees.

6) Mathematical Skills: Payroll clerks use arithmetic skills to calculate and record employee data such as hourly earnings, overtime, taxes, and other financial data. They also use arithmetic abilities to compute and track employee benefits and other financial data.

7) Organizational Skills: Payroll clerks are in charge of a variety of responsibilities at the same time. To guarantee that they execute all of their responsibilities on time, they must have great organizational abilities. You could be in charge of handling employee files, calculating employee pay, filing paperwork, and inputting data into a computer system as a payroll clerk. Organizational abilities can assist you in efficiently completing all of your tasks.

8) Customer Service Ability: They may be asked questions by coworkers, such as why specific taxes were deducted from their paychecks.

9) Confidentiality: Payroll clerks must take data protection and cybersecurity seriously because employee and company information is private and confidential.

10) Being able to work well in a group setting.


How to Become a Payroll Clerk

1) Obtain a diploma from a high school: A high school diploma or the GED equivalent is required for payroll clerks. Payroll clerks in the United States have a high school diploma in about 47% of cases. With a diploma, you’ll be able to process and record employees’ timesheets so that compensation may be calculated. Math, computer science, and business should be emphasized significantly in the high school curriculum for aspiring payroll clerks. Applicants with only a diploma must receive on-the-job training under the supervision of a more experienced payroll clerk.

2) Gain Work Experience: Many payroll clerk occupations are entry-level positions that do not require previous industry experience. While completing your school, you can complete an internship or volunteer in a payroll department to obtain relevant experience before entering the industry. Prior part-time work might also be used to demonstrate that you have expertise with abilities that apply to the function of a payroll clerk.

3) Obtain a Certificate: Although most clerks learn on the job, community colleges and vocational training schools offer payroll accounting clerk certificate programs that can teach you how to process payrolls and keep a payroll system running. The use of common business productivity software like spreadsheets, word processors, and databases is also covered. Consider earning credentials in areas related to your profession and industry once you’ve obtained some experience as a payroll clerk. The Fundamental Payroll Certification, Certified Payroll Professional, and Certified Bookkeeper credentials are all popular. Certifications allow you to demonstrate your abilities and qualifications to hiring managers and recruiters, allowing you to stand out as the best candidate. These credentials could also help you improve your career to a greater level.

4) Advance Your Career: You can advance your education as a payroll clerk by enrolling in college-level courses that are related to your job. Accounting, finance, economics, and business are all relevant courses. An Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Finance, or a related discipline can help you expand your career to higher-level roles like payroll expert.


Where to Work As a Payroll Clerk

  • Manufacturing Companies
  • General Merchandise and Superstores.
  • Health care services and Hospitals
  • Federal Agencies
  • Industrial companies
  • Commercial institutes
  • Private business and Firms


Payroll Clerk Salary Scale

Payroll clerks are most often full-time jobs, however, they can also be part-time or seasonal. Payroll clerks’ salaries vary depending on their degree of education, relevant work experience, employment location, firm size, and industry.

In the United States, the average hourly wage for a payroll clerk is $18.61, and the average wage for a payroll clerk per year is $43,615.

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