Career Guide – Payroll Administrator

How to Become a Payroll Administrator

The role of the Payroll Administrator is an extremely important position in any business – this is the person that generally works in a team (depending on the size of the company) to ensure that the workforce is paid the right amount at the right time. It is a position that involves dealing with large figures, which you will be responsible for attributing to the right employee, with any deductions correctly removed.

Due to the nature of payroll, you will also be held to strict deadlines – these may be weekly, fortnightly, or monthly depending on the business and how often they pay their staff.

Payroll Administrator Duties

The typical duties of the Payroll Administrator include calculating the number of hours worked by staff members, working out the correct amount of deductions to be taken from each individual’s wages – i.e. national insurance contributions or pension payments, correctly adding in statutory payments such as sick leave, maternity / paternity leave, or paid vacation, including any additional payments such as overtime pay, and processing the paperwork of starters and leavers to the company, such as P45’s and P46’s, as well as any other relevant tax forms.

Payroll Administrator Skills

Key skills required for this position include strong maths skills with an aptitude for numbers – although there is no set standard, some employers will expect you to hold an A* to C grade GCSE (or equivalent) in Mathematics.

You will also be expected to be fully conversant with the internet, and by extension the local office intranet, and be capable of using, editing and creating Excel spreadsheets as well as being proficient with the other areas of the Microsoft Word suite.

As well as computer based skills, you will need to be good with organisation and time management, have a high attention to detail, and your spoken and written skills need to be good. You must be able to maintain confidentiality at all times – being trustworthy and providing discretion is an absolute must when it comes to dealing with personal financial matters as you will in this role, being aware of legislation such as the Data Protection Act will be important in this position.

Payroll Administrator Experience

Previous experience isn’t a must, but a background in bookkeeping and accounts may increase your job prospects. Pay as You Earn (PAYE) experience is advantageous. The International Association of Book-keepers (IAB) and The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) amongst others offer introductory courses in book-keeping and payroll.

A Career as a Payroll Administrator

The starting salary for this position is generally between £15,000 to £18,000, which can increase to between £20,000 and £26,000; with some pay-packets rising as high as £28,000 with experience.

Working hours will generally be office standard – 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday, with part or full-time roles generally available. You will be based in an office and most of your time will be spent at a computer. There is room for progression; roles such as payroll supervisor or manager becoming available with experience, with the possibility of a move into HR Management.


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