Human Resources Payroll Specialist: Key Roles & Responsibilities
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Human Resources Payroll Specialist: Key Roles & Responsibilities

The HR payroll specialist is one of several vital functions of Human Resources. The main role of an HR payroll specialist, is to accurately process the payroll and other relevant data for an organization in a timely manner.

Job overview

The HR payroll specialist is one of several vital functions of Human Resources. The main role of an HR payroll specialist, also called HR coordinator, is to accurately compute, print and distribute an organization’s wages, benefits, taxes, vacation, PTO, etc. for it’s employees within a specific timeframe. If you are considering a job as a payroll specialist, you must have excellent interpersonal skills and be able to work well with individuals at all levels in the company.  You will need to be accessible and prepared to answer questions and concerns from employees regarding their pay, OT, vacation hours, 401k, PTO, etc. and provide satisfying solutions and correct any errors in a timely manner. Besides processing payroll, other duties might include but not limited to; update and maintain employees’ records, reconcile and print payroll reports, file the organization’s quarterly and year-end taxes, administer new hires, terminations, wage garnishments, and child support deductions. Also, depending upon the size of the company, the payroll specialist will work with payroll clerks who assist them with the payroll duties.  The payroll specialist usually reports to an immediate supervisor in this field or the department manager.

Job requirements

This individual must be able to work independently as well as in a team environment.  He/she must have strong math skills and know how to effectively use a 10 key calculator along with other basic office equipment. Must have experience in working with MS word and excel including spreadsheets and should be familiar with basic payroll software as well. Must be able to work well under pressure and work overtime as needed. Must be detailed oriented and focused. Must be able to lift 10 lbs and sit and stand for long periods of time.  In addition, the ideal person must maintain a calm and pleasant demeanor even during the most stressful situations. He/she should also possess excellent analytical skills, organizational skills, time management skills, communication skills, and problem-solving skills.  He/she must also be able to retain highly sensitive and confidential information.

Educational requirements

The minimal education required by most companies for this job is a bachelor’s degree in business administration, accounting, human resources, finance or related discipline along with 3-5 years of experience. However, some companies will accept an associate’s degree in business administration along with the required years of experience. 


Whereas some companies require that you have a minimum years of hands-on experience in this field beforehand, training can also be obtain by working onsite at an organization as a payroll clerk.   In fact, many payroll clerks are promoted to specialist after they have worked in this capacity for a while and demonstrate the ability to take on greater responsibility.  Sequentially, within time, the Payroll Specialist may be qualified to seek advancement as supervisor and then upper-management.


The salary depends upon the size of the company, location, the education and years of experience the individual has.  According to Payscale national data, the hourly pay for this position is 12.69 to 22.68 and overtime is 18.55 to 25.30.  According to Simply Hired, the average salary in USD as of January 19, 2012 for a payroll specialist is  $37,000. Indeed list the annual salary for this job at $42,000.

Job outlook

Although some companies have outsourced some of its payroll functions, the job prospects for the payroll specialist are still in great demand. The payroll department is an absolutely necessary function in every organization and companies are seeking to hire reliable individuals who possess expertise in this field.

Reference: Payscale, Simply Hired,

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Comments (10)

Very impressive and informative write-up. Thanks

You laid this out professionally and accurately.

Great article!

Your research and wisdom shine in this well written article for education and information.Thank you. voted

Excellent description of their roles and responsibilities...

Thanks for sharing this info, voted. : )

Very nice presentation.

You have given a detailed description about a payroll specialist which is very useful for the job hunters too.Thanks.

they are among the most important persons in the company..nice presented

A significant position to be missed, very well defined, Donata.