Payroll SpecialistJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

Payroll is an essential aspect of any business, and getting it right for both the company and its employees is critical. That’s where the payroll specialist comes in.

A payroll specialist typically manages and oversees all aspects of a company’s payroll. Payroll specialists handle myriad tasks, from collecting bank and direct deposit information to handling paper checks for employees, from maintaining accurate records to keeping up on taxation and much more. Payroll specialists often are called on to do it all, making this position a vital part of a crucial department for all businesses.

If you have the background, plus excellent math and communication skills, an eye for detail, and can balance many different projects and tasks at once, you may have the skills and interests to be a great payroll specialist.

Sample job description #1

We are currently seeking a Payroll Specialist to be responsible for processing payroll information, reviewing and performing payroll audits, and serving as a point of contact for questions about pay policies and procedures.

Essential duties and responsibilities

  • Processes regular payroll information on a weekly basis, as well as bonuses and off-cycle checks when necessary
  • Performs weekly overtime audits
  • Keeps abreast of the payroll processing system and changes in wage/tax laws, and applies changes as appropriate
  • Prepares follow-up for Stop Payment requests, manual check requests, and associated system updates
  • Responds to questions regarding pay policies/procedures
  • Establishes and maintains a positive working relationship with customers, both internal and external

Minimum requirements

  • High School diploma or equivalent required
  • 2-4 years of payroll processing experience, or an equivalent combination of education and/or experience, preferred
  • Should be familiar with payroll software and payroll reports
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office, especially Word and Excel
  • Excellent listening, written, and oral communication, organizational, and time-management skills


  • Competitive pay and weekly paychecks
  • Health, dental, vision, and life insurance
  • 401(k) savings plan
  • Awards and recognition programs
  • Benefit eligibility is dependent on employment status

Sample job description #2

We’re looking for a Payroll Specialist to join our team! Full time position working an 8 hour shift between the hours of 7am – 6pm M-F. Hybrid schedule can be discussed with management. Laptop provided.

Essential responsibilities

  • Preparing and processing multiple payrolls
  • Assist in data entry of new hires
  • Process all terminated employees and calculating manual checks
  • Research employee payroll inquires or answer questions through the ticketing system
  • Assist with annual merits, increases, special, and retroactive calculations
  • Assist with other special projects as required
  • Assist in the review of bi-weekly and special payrolls
  • Processing Wage Garnishments and Child Support request
  • Organizing Payroll Storage and documentations


  • Minimum of 1 to 2 year experience with high volume Payroll
  • Accounting and Human Resource experience a plus
  • Processed payroll for at least 100+ employees
  • Familiar with ADP Workforce Now and Time & Attendance
  • Working knowledge of wage & hours laws
  • Familiar with state & federal taxes
  • Great energy, engaging, and enjoys collaborating with team
  • Experience in administration of any Time & Attendance system
  • Great follow-through skills, and good with math and logic
  • Great customer service mindset
  • Attention to detail and analytical skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Flexibility and ability to multitask
  • Ability to communicate in written form

Knowledge, skills, and abilities

  • Basic office skills and abilities, knowledge of standard office equipment and software including Google Docs, Word, Excel, Adobe Acrobat, PowerPoint, and ability and willingness to learn new and/or proprietary applications as required
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English
  • Ability to multi-task and prioritize assignments under high pressure in a fast-paced environment
  • Willingness to work overtime if needed
  • Understanding details of full payroll processes

Sample job description #3

The Payroll Specialist administers the 403(b) contribution and loan processes, prepares invoices for payment and processes Foundation contributions, garnishments and employee expense reimbursements. This role administers timecards, payroll and payroll reporting, and ensures that payroll reports are: downloaded, secured, and backed up on the company’s network. In addition, the Payroll Specialist creates custom reports as needed from HRIS systems.

Essential functions

  • Compile payroll data, process and transmit payroll for all Wesley companies in an accurate, timely manner in accordance with established payroll processing calendars, state and federal regulations. Assist managers, timekeepers, and schedulers with systems to ensure accurate time accounting for all employees
  • Communicate with Ceridian and other timekeeping and payroll system vendors to enable accurate, timely processing of payroll
  • Administer 403B contribution, loan payment and electronic funds transfer on a weekly basis in compliance with the plan design and federal regulations
  • Administer electronic deposits and cash funding report for payroll. Ensure payroll reports are downloaded and data is securely and confidentially maintained
  • Extract payroll data and import into companies after each payroll is processed
  • Enter and extract data from multiple HR Systems for reporting, compliance and metrics purposes
  • Provide administrative support by processing payroll related expenses and reimbursements, responding to requests for verification of employment
  • Stay abreast of Payroll compliance issues and Payroll system upgrades via continuing professional development
  • Generate, complete and process quarterly Worker’s Comp filings with the state
  • Handle special projects and perform other duties as assigned

Education background

  • Accounting-related associate’s degree or equivalent work experience

Work experience

  • Two years electronic payroll processing experience preferred
  • Superior written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Advanced MS Office skills (Word, Excel, Outlook)
  • Professional, organized, detail-oriented and customer service oriented
  • Ability to appropriately handle confidential information and maintain confidence

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a payroll specialist is $43,500 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$43,250$58,550
Los Angeles, California$48,800$66,050
Denver, Colorado$40,650$55,050
Washington, DC$49,550$67,050
Miami, Florida$40,500$54,800
Orlando, Florida$37,350$50,550
Tampa, Florida$37,700$51,050
Atlanta, Georgia$39,550$53,550
Chicago, Illinois$45,500$61,550
Boston, Massachusetts$49,200$66,550
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$39,200$53,050
New York City, New York$51,750$70,050
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$42,150$57,050
Dallas, Texas$41,050$55,550
Houston, Texas$40,650$55,050
Seattle, Washington$47,350$64,050
National Average$37,000$50,050

Sample interview questions

  • Do you have any previous work experience in the payroll specialist field or any relevant certifications for this position?
  • Which payroll systems have you worked with?
  • If you were hired for this position, how would you go about ensuring that you understood the business payroll?
  • If you made a payroll error and are dealing with a disgruntled employee, what are your next steps?
  • How do you determine what is and isn’t an acceptable business expense?
  • How would you handle a situation or predicament where there is a misunderstanding with an employee?
  • What is FICA, and how is it calculated?
  • What benefits are taxable?
  • How do you follow changes and updates regarding IRS or location-specific regulations?

Payroll Specialist Jobs in Ashburn

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