How to become a Payroll Administrator

What is a payroll administrator?

Payroll administrators are responsible for gathering time records from employees and calculating hours worked and pay received for each employee accurately and making sure employees get paid the right amount on the right date including calculating, deducting and processing taxes and social security withholdings, as well as other company-offered benefits.

How to become a payroll administrator?

You can do an introductory course in bookkeeping and payroll, which can be studied at a college or by distance learning. Courses include:

  • Foundation Certificate in Bookkeeping
  • Level 1 Certificate in Payroll
  • Level 1 or 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping

You could apply directly for job vacancies. Some employers will expect you to have GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including maths.

While experience in payroll isn’t always essential, a background in bookkeeping and accounts could help improve your job prospects.

Payroll administrator duties

Payroll administrator duties are diverse and depend on the employer and specialty, but some responsibilities are common to most:

  • Provide information and answer employee questions about payroll related matters
  • Manage electronic timekeeping systems or manually collecting and reviewing timesheets
  • Update salary sheets and schedules
  • Answer and clarify employees on payroll related inquiries
  • Submit payroll reports and sheets on time to the finance or other related department

Payroll administrator skills

To be an effective payroll administrator, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office and payroll software programs
  • Strong numerical aptitude and attention to detail
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Good time management and organizational skills
  • Working knowledge of relevant legal regulations
  • Able to prioritize and multitask effectively

How to find a payroll administrator job

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the payroll administrator jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for payroll administrator jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

What does a payroll administrator do?

The job of a payroll administrator varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of payroll administrator job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a payroll administrator include;

  • check how many hours employees have worked
  • calculate and issue pay by cash, cheque or electronic transfer
  • deduct tax and national insurance payments
  • process holiday, sick and maternity pay, and expenses
  • calculate overtime, shift payments and pay increases
  • answer staff queries about timesheets or pay slips
  • issue P45s and other tax forms

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