Payroll and benefits accountants administer employees' wages, benefit contributions, and disbursements. Some benefits that are usually overseen include 401K, Cobra, maternity leave, dental insurance, short-term disability, medical insurance, and life insurance.
These accountants must process payroll for employees in an accurate and timely manner while taking into account things such as vacation days and overtime. They are often tasked with tracking the hours worked by employees and generating reports regarding activities carried out in the department, and internal and external audits may occasionally be necessary. Payroll and benefits accountants work closely with the human resources (HR) department to administer benefits, though many of their tasks are done on an individual basis, including setting up payroll-deductions as needed.
Strong computer skills are important in this position to navigate a computerized payroll system, and good typing, ten-key skills, and mathematical skills are also necessary. Payroll and benefits accountants must pay close attention to detail to ensure the accuracy of work activities, and the use of Microsoft Excel may also be required. It is essential that data is backed up in case of accidental loss, and knowledge of tax policies, payroll, and benefit processes and regulations is essential. They may also be tasked with preparing payroll taxes and annual W2s. A high school diploma is often a minimum requirement for this position, and some employers require a degree or coursework in accounting or bookkeeping.
Payroll & Benefits Accountant Tasks
Analyze financial data in order to prepare financial reports.
Utilize accounting principles to report employee earnings; such as salaries, wages, bonuses, and overtime and payroll taxes as well as employer paid benefits; such as vacation and holidays, various insurance and retirement plans.
Generate and interpret financial records and statements for management.
Maintain records of assets, liabilities, profit and loss, tax liability, or other financial activities within an organization.