A payroll administrator is responsible for processing the wages of employees in a company or organization. Aside from issuing payments, it is also the payroll administrator's task to audit, process taxes and other deductions, keep and maintain an organized record of data, respond to inquiries and resolve issues, and tally employee work hours. Furthermore, a payroll administrator needs to have efficient attention to detail as most of the tasks require accuracy and speed. It is also essential to communicate and coordinate with team members at all times.

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Payroll Administrator Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real payroll administrator resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Manage year-end W2 audit/corrections and distribution.
  • Manage employee direct deposit accounts and initiate ACH reversals when necessary.
  • Manage all requisitions using PeopleSoft for the administrator and all assign departments.
  • Maintain KRONOS timekeeping system, review, sort and distribute employee upload file and multiple misc.
  • Maintain and monitor PTO balances and provide executive reports relate to vacation accruals.
  • Assist in implementing and training of MyTime and Lawson systems.
  • Enroll new hires, process payroll (ADP) and benefits for 300 plus employees.
  • Upload parking deductions, bonuses, and record hours in the KRONOS time and attendance system.
  • Enter new hire personal information as well as updated employee information into the Lawson data base system.
  • Play a key role in the conversion of the current UltiPro payroll system to ADP beginning in 2015.
  • Process payment of all payroll deposits, state tax deposits, quarterly taxes, year-end reconciliation and w-2's.
  • Collaborate with HRIS to make changes in exemptions, benefits deductions, paid-time off and LOA status, and pay.
  • Provide assistance with ADP registrations and navigation.
  • Perform all eligibility/tracking for benefits/paid-time off (PTO) utilizing case management tools.
  • Prepare payroll-related journal entries and perform account reconciliations while complying with SOX requirements.

Payroll Administrator Job Description

Between the years 2018 and 2028, payroll administrator jobs are expected to undergo a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So if the thought "should I become a payroll administrator?" Has crossed your mind, maybe you should take the growth rate into account. In addition, the number of payroll administrator opportunities that are projected to become available by 2028 is 72,100.

A payroll administrator annual salary averages $46,596, which breaks down to $22.4 an hour. However, payroll administrators can earn anywhere from upwards of $33,000 to $64,000 a year. This means that the top-earning payroll administrators make $27,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

It's hard work to become a payroll administrator, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a benefits clerk, timekeeper, payroll/human resource manager, and payroll bookkeeper.

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Payroll Administrator Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 9% of Payroll Administrators are proficient in Customer Service, Data Entry, and Payroll System. They’re also known for soft skills such as Communication skills, Math skills, and Organizational skills.

We break down the percentage of Payroll Administrators that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Customer Service, 9%

    Provided immediate and attentive customer service regarding all aspects of payroll administration to all associates throughout the company.

  • Data Entry, 7%

    Implemented several automated processes, eliminating need for extra personnel, reducing data entry errors and expedited payroll cycle turnaround time.

  • Payroll System, 6%

    Prepared quarterly tax reports, managed/updated benefits reports, and updated new hires/ terminations in payroll systems.

  • Human Resources, 5%

    Performed administrative functions for human resources, including unemployment form processing, benefits coordination, and weekly payroll.

  • Payroll Data, 4%

    Provide monthly budget variance analysis as well as provide assistance with annual budget preparation and budget software system payroll database maintenance.

  • Process Payroll, 4%

    Process payroll relocation payments, tuition reimbursements payments and travel reimbursements.

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"customer service," "data entry," and "payroll system" aren't the only skills we found payroll administrators list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of payroll administrator responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for a payroll administrator to have happens to be communication skills. An example from a resume said this about the skill, "financial clerks should be able to explain policies and procedures to colleagues and customers." Additionally, other resumes have pointed out that payroll administrators can use communication skills to "coordinate webinars for manual checks discussing miscommunication and misunderstanding evolving procedures and necessities between the corporate office and the branches. "
  • Another commonly found skill for being able to perform payroll administrator duties is the following: math skills. According to a payroll administrator resume, "the job duties of financial clerks includes calculating charges and updating financial records." Check out this example of how payroll administrators use math skills: "filed data for the department of labor and statistics.year end w-2 processing. "
  • Payroll administrators are also known for organizational skills, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a payroll administrator resume: "financial clerks must be able to arrange files so they can find them quickly and efficiently." We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "managed monthly journal entries, organizational charts, corporate and payroll bank reconciliations. "
  • See the full list of payroll administrator skills.

    We've found that 51.4% of payroll administrators have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 6.1% earned their master's degrees before becoming a payroll administrator. While it's true that most payroll administrators have a college degree, it's generally possible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every six payroll administrators did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    Those payroll administrators who do attend college, typically earn either business degrees or accounting degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for payroll administrators include human resources management degrees or finance degrees.

    When you're ready to become a payroll administrator, you might wonder which companies hire payroll administrators. According to our research through payroll administrator resumes, payroll administrators are mostly hired by Robert Half, Paychex, and Accenture. Now is a good time to apply as Robert Half has 129 payroll administrators job openings, and there are 19 at Paychex and 16 at Accenture.

    If you're interested in companies where payroll administrators make the most money, you'll want to apply for positions at Northern Trust, Databricks, and FT Partners. We found that at Northern Trust, the average payroll administrator salary is $72,345. Whereas at Databricks, payroll administrators earn roughly $70,720. And at FT Partners, they make an average salary of $68,141.

    View more details on payroll administrator salaries across the United States.

    We also looked into companies who hire payroll administrators from the top 100 educational institutions in the U.S. The top three companies that hire the most from these institutions include Paychex, ADP, and Robert Half.

    In general, payroll administrators fulfill roles in the non profits and professional industries. While employment numbers are high in those industries, the payroll administrator annual salary is the highest in the construction industry with $53,461 as the average salary. Meanwhile, the technology and manufacturing industries pay $52,116 and $49,845 respectively. This means that payroll administrators who are employed in the construction industry make 6.3% more than payroll administrators who work in the retail Industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious payroll administrators are:

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    What Benefits Clerks Do

    A Timekeeper works in various industries and organizations and is typically hired as the acting liaison between payroll coordinators and employees. This is to make sure the pay distribution process runs smoothly. As a timekeeper, you will be required to maintain an accurate track of the total number of hours worked for payroll purposes. This involves compiling payroll data from timesheets, computing wages, including the removal of taxes and social security withholding, and putting it into the computer system.

    In this section, we compare the average payroll administrator annual salary with that of a benefits clerk. Typically, benefits clerks earn a $11,755 lower salary than payroll administrators earn annually.

    While their salaries may differ, one common ground between payroll administrators and benefits clerks are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like data entry, payroll system, and human resources.

    There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a payroll administrator responsibilities require skills like "customer service," "payroll data," "kronos," and "reconciliations." Meanwhile a typical benefits clerk has skills in areas such as "open enrollment," "life insurance," "health insurance," and "disability claims." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

    Benefits clerks tend to make the most money in the government industry by averaging a salary of $40,253. In contrast, payroll administrators make the biggest average salary of $53,461 in the construction industry.

    On average, benefits clerks reach similar levels of education than payroll administrators. Benefits clerks are 0.1% less likely to earn a Master's Degree and 0.6% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Timekeeper?

    The next role we're going to look at is the timekeeper profession. Typically, this position earns a lower pay. In fact, they earn a $306 lower salary than payroll administrators per year.

    Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Payroll administrators and timekeepers both include similar skills like "data entry," "payroll system," and "human resources" on their resumes.

    But both careers also use different skills, according to real payroll administrator resumes. While payroll administrator responsibilities can utilize skills like "customer service," "process payroll," "reconciliations," and "hris," some timekeepers use skills like "per diem," "turnaround," "purchase orders," and "office equipment."

    On the topic of education, timekeepers earn similar levels of education than payroll administrators. In general, they're 3.3% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.6% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Payroll/Human Resource Manager Compares

    The third profession we take a look at is payroll/human resource manager. On an average scale, these workers bring in higher salaries than payroll administrators. In fact, they make a $37,559 higher salary per year.

    While looking through the resumes of several payroll administrators and payroll/human resource managers we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "payroll system," "human resources," and "payroll data," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

    Some important key differences between the two careers are a few of the skills necessary to fulfill responsibilities. Some examples from payroll administrator resumes include skills like "customer service," "data entry," "reconciliations," and "multi-state payroll," whereas a payroll/human resource manager might be skilled in "open enrollment," "federal laws," "benefits administration," and "health insurance. "

    When it comes to education, payroll/human resource managers tend to earn similar education levels than payroll administrators. In fact, they're 0.3% more likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 0.3% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Payroll Bookkeeper

    Payroll bookkeepers tend to earn a lower pay than payroll administrators by about $509 per year.

    According to resumes from both payroll administrators and payroll bookkeepers, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "payroll system," "human resources," and "payroll data. "

    While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "customer service," "data entry," "process payroll," and "hris" are skills that have shown up on payroll administrators resumes. Additionally, payroll bookkeeper uses skills like journal entries, payroll processing, adp, and accounts payables on their resumes.

    In general, payroll bookkeepers reach similar levels of education when compared to payroll administrators resumes. Payroll bookkeepers are 1.5% less likely to earn their Master's Degree and 0.2% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    What a Payroll Administrator Does FAQs

    How Much Do Payroll Administrators Make?

    Payroll administrators make, on average, $21.22 an hour ($46,863 a year). The range in how much a payroll administrator makes is between $18 and $34 an hour. Factors such as location and company type impact how much a payroll administrator can make.

    What Is The Difference Between A Payroll Specialist And A Payroll Administrator?

    The difference between a payroll specialist and a payroll administrator has to do with the scope of their role. A payroll administrator, for instance, is responsible for overseeing the entire payroll of a company, while a payroll specialist is only responsible for the department in which she works.

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