Payroll clerks typically work within the accounting or human resources (HR) departments of organizations to ensure that employees are paid accurately and on-time. Small companies may require payroll clerks to collect and organize time cards, and they must then enter information related to employees' hours worked and pay periods into their company's computer.
Payroll clerks must check payroll data related to hourly wages, salaries, overtime, PTO hours (vacation days), and sick days for accuracy, as well as authorized signatures from managers or supervisors. Because most big employers use web-based payroll systems, computer skills are necessary for this position. For these systems, employees enter their own hours, vacation hours, etc. into a computer, and the payroll clerk then checks the accuracy of employees' computer inputs and ensures that electronic signatures from employees' supervisors have been entered to approve their hours. Payroll clerks also respond to employees' payroll-related inquiries via telephone or email, while in smaller companies they may do so in-person and make necessary adjustments to fix any errors or discrepancies.
Candidates for this position should be proficient in Microsoft Office programs and payroll software and be able to prepare Excel spreadsheets. A high school diploma or equivalent is often a minimum requirement for this position, and an associate's degree can be beneficial. Aspiring payroll clerks must have a good understanding of payroll processes and strong knowledge of payroll-related requirements, such as federal and state tax withholding and 401k, and close attention to detail and organizational skills are also helpful.
Payroll Clerk Tasks
Enter changes to employee payroll records.
Communicate with employees regarding changes in salary, benefits, etc.
Handle voluntary and involuntary deductions.
Calculate, key, total, and balance substitute payrolls.
Create reports for information pertaining to payroll.