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Working as a Payroll Clerk

A payroll clerk is a member of the HR team and is primarily responsible for keeping track of the employees' working hours and accurately calculating their salaries based on this information. They perform data entry, update, and maintain payroll records. They create timesheets, prepare payment statements, and issue paychecks.

They calculate bonuses, extra hours, benefits, taxes, and all that jazz. They clear away the doubts employees might have and investigate any inconsistency in calculations.

Now, in most job descriptions, you will find keen attention to detail as one of the important skills to have in order to be successful. As far as payroll clerks are concerned, though, this requirement weighs in extra. You do not want to be the reason why people fail to get the wages they are entitled to; this much is easy to see.

What Does a Payroll Clerk Do

Financial clerks do administrative work for many types of organizations. They keep records, help customers, and carry out financial transactions.

Duties

Financial clerks typically do the following:

  • Keep and update financial records
  • Compute bills and charges
  • Offer customer assistance
  • Carry out financial transactions

Financial clerks give administrative and clerical support in financial settings. Their specific job duties vary by specialty and by setting.

Billing and posting clerks calculate charges, develop bills, and prepare them to be mailed to customers. They review documents such as purchase orders, sales tickets, charge slips, and hospital records to compute fees or charges due. They also contact customers to get or give account information.

Gaming cage workers work in casinos and other gaming establishments. The “cage” in which they work is the central depository for money and gaming chips. Gaming cage workers sell gambling chips, tokens, or tickets to patrons. They count funds and reconcile daily summaries of transactions in order to balance books.

Payroll and timekeeping clerks compile and post employee time and payroll data. They verify and record attendance, hours worked, and pay adjustments. They ensure that employees are paid on time and that their paychecks are accurate.

Procurement clerks compile requests for materials, prepare purchase orders, keep track of purchases and supplies, and handle questions about orders. They respond to questions from customers and suppliers about the status of orders. They handle requests to change or cancel orders. They make sure that purchases arrive on schedule and that the items meet the purchaser’s specifications.

Brokerage clerks help with tasks associated with securities such as stocks, bonds, commodities, and other kinds of investments. Their duties include writing orders for stock purchases and sales, computing transfer taxes, verifying stock transactions, accepting and delivering securities, distributing dividends, and keeping records of daily transactions and holdings.

Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks review the credit history, and get the information needed to determine the creditworthiness, of individuals or businesses applying for credit. Credit authorizers evaluate customers’ computerized credit records and payment histories to decide, based on predetermined standards, whether to approve new credit. Credit checkers call or write credit departments of business and service establishments to get information about applicants’ credit standing.

Loan interviewers, also called loan processors or loan clerks, interview applicants and others to get and verify personal and financial information needed to complete loan applications. They also prepare the documents that go to the appraiser and are issued at the closing of a loan.

New accounts clerks interview people who want to open accounts in financial institutions. They explain the account services available to prospective customers and help them fill out applications. They also investigate and correct errors in accounts.

Insurance claims and policy processing clerks process applications for insurance policies. They also handle customers’ requests to change or cancel their existing policies. Their duties include interviewing clients and reviewing insurance applications to ensure that all questions have been answered. They also notify insurance agents and accounting departments of policy cancellations or changes.

How To Become a Payroll Clerk

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most financial clerk jobs. These workers usually learn their duties through on-the-job training.

Education

Financial clerks typically need a high school diploma or equivalent to enter the occupation. Employers of brokerage clerks may prefer candidates who have taken some college courses in business or economics and, in some cases, require a 2- or 4-year college degree.

Training

Most financial clerks learn how to do their job duties through on-the-job training. Some formal technical training also may be necessary; for example, gaming cage workers may need training in specific gaming regulations and procedures.

Advancement

Financial clerks can advance to related occupations in finance. For example, a loan interviewer or clerk can become a loan officer, and a brokerage clerk can become a securities, commodities, or financial services sales agent, after obtaining the required education and license.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Financial clerks should have good communication skills so that they can explain policies and procedures to colleagues and customers.

Math skills. The job duties of financial clerks, including calculating charges and checking credit scores, require basic math skills.

Organizational skills. Strong organizational skills are important for financial clerks because they must be able to find files quickly and efficiently.

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Average Salary$36,786
Job Growth Rate5%

Payroll Clerk Career Paths

Top Careers Before Payroll Clerk

Top Careers After Payroll Clerk

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Average Salary for a Payroll Clerk

Payroll Clerks in America make an average salary of $36,786 per year or $18 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $44,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $30,000 per year.
Average Salary
$36,786

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Tacoma, WA
Salary Range36k - 48k$42k$41,901
San Jose, CA
Salary Range36k - 47k$42k$41,590
Portland, OR
Salary Range35k - 46k$40k$40,232
Minneapolis, MN
Salary Range34k - 46k$40k$40,216
Boston, MA
Salary Range33k - 46k$40k$39,520
Denver, CO
Salary Range34k - 45k$39k$39,205
$28k
$48k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Payroll Clerk
Payroll Clerk
Robert Half
Robert Half
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$41,74001/29/2021
$41,740
Payroll Clerk
Payroll Clerk
Robert Half
Robert Half
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$37,56601/29/2021
$37,566
Payroll Clerk
Payroll Clerk
Mesilla Valley Transportation
Mesilla Valley Transportation
01/28/2021
01/28/2021
$25,04401/28/2021
$25,044
Payroll Clerk
Payroll Clerk
Robert Half
Robert Half
01/28/2021
01/28/2021
$31,30501/28/2021
$31,305
1St. Shift Payroll Clerk
1St. Shift Payroll Clerk
Manpowergroup
Manpowergroup
01/27/2021
01/27/2021
$58,01901/27/2021
$58,019
See More Recent Salaries

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Payroll Clerk Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Payroll Clerk. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Payroll Clerk Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Payroll Clerk resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Payroll Clerk Demographics

Gender

female

82.3 %

male

14.0 %

unknown

3.6 %

Ethnicity

White

63.9 %

Hispanic or Latino

17.6 %

Black or African American

10.5 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

76.0 %

Mandarin

3.7 %

Chinese

3.2 %
See More Demographics

Payroll Clerk Education

Majors

Business
30.7 %

Degrees

Bachelors

29.6 %

Associate

25.8 %

High School Diploma

24.8 %

Top Colleges for Payroll Clerks

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

4. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

5. Villanova University

Villanova, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,308
Enrollment
6,819

6. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

7. Bentley University

Waltham, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,880
Enrollment
4,177

8. SUNY Farmingdale

Farmingdale, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$8,306
Enrollment
9,394

9. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

10. SUNY Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,625
Enrollment
17,407
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Payroll Clerk

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 36.0% of payroll clerks listed payroll on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and math skills are important as well.

Best States For a Payroll Clerk

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a payroll clerk. The best states for people in this position are New Jersey, Wyoming, Kansas, and Washington. Payroll clerks make the most in New Jersey with an average salary of $43,699. Whereas in Wyoming and Kansas, they would average $42,770 and $41,910, respectively. While payroll clerks would only make an average of $41,683 in Washington, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New Jersey

Total Payroll Clerk Jobs:
375
Highest 10% Earn:
$61,000
Location Quotient:
1.99
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Washington

Total Payroll Clerk Jobs:
188
Highest 10% Earn:
$53,000
Location Quotient:
1.05
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Oregon

Total Payroll Clerk Jobs:
98
Highest 10% Earn:
$52,000
Location Quotient:
1.25
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Payroll Clerk Employers

1. Robert Half International
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$35,771
Payroll Clerks Hired: 
600+
2. United States Census Bureau
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$36,280
Payroll Clerks Hired: 
152+
3. Randstad USA
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$36,872
Payroll Clerks Hired: 
93+
4. ManpowerGroup
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$35,962
Payroll Clerks Hired: 
53+
5. Automatic Data Processing
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$36,053
Payroll Clerks Hired: 
46+
6. Kroger
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$46,960
Payroll Clerks Hired: 
36+

Payroll Clerk Videos

Updated October 2, 2020