A Closer Look at a Career as a Payroll...

A Closer Look at a Career as a Payroll Clerk

by Rochelle C. Pangilinan
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

A payroll clerk may not be a job that affords the highest salary in any company or organization, whether private or government, but it is one of the most important roles. Without payroll clerks, the time and effort employees put in to accomplish their daily duties would not be accounted for and they would not be able to receive their due financial compensation.

If you are looking into building a career as a payroll clerk, the following information can provide you with the insight you need:

Payroll Clerks – What You Need to Know

Payroll clerks, or timekeeping clerks as they are sometimes referred to, usually work within accounting or HR departments and they are mainly responsible for keeping accurate records of employee work hours, making sure that each employee are paid accurately AND timely for each pay day. In cases where there are no automated systems for noting employees’ time-in and time-out, payroll clerks bear the responsibility of ensuring time cards are filled out with 100% accuracy and duly signed off by their supervisors or managers appropriately. Later on, they are responsible for data entry — making sure all data are recorded digitally.

Along with employees’ work hours, payroll clerks also have to consider tax exemptions, overtime, vacation days, sick days, and any bonuses when computing for employees’ salaries.


According to PayScale.com, a payroll clerk can earn as much as $31,028 – $53,641 a year. In some cases, they are also entitled to profit sharing.


If you are looking at a career as a payroll clerk, you would need to complete at least high school diploma and equivalent. As the job requires having to deal with a lot of data involving figures and numbers, payroll clerks are expected to have a keen sense of accounting and bookkeeping principles, as well as proficiency in using accounting software such as Excel, Quickbooks, Simply Accounting, and others. Payroll clerks are also required to be knowledgeable in labour practices such as appropriate overtime compensation and must be updated with tax regulations.

Just because they work with numbers most of the time, however, does not mean payroll clerks are isolated. In fact, they or the payroll supervisors might be communicating more with employees than the human resources people themselves. This is because everyone wants to be paid right, and if something is amiss, they will no doubt address it. Because of this, payroll clerks need to have outstanding communication skills and they should be able to convey information correctly and clearly.

Pros and Cons

The advantage of being a payroll clerk is that it is an indispensable role in any company, no matter how large or small. Unlike other roles that can easily be deemed redundant, a payroll clerk is a must for any organization that intends to keep their employees and keep their business running. Once you are able to get your foot in the door as a payroll clerk and you do your job as accurately and timely as possible, your job is secure and that translates to job stability.

While there is a trend of automating some employees’ tasks, that is unlikely to take place with payroll clerks. Even though you work with automated systems all the time, payroll is such an important component in an organization that they always need a payroll clerk to verify all information and ensure everything is done accurately and timely.

A disadvantage is that payroll clerks also have the main responsibility of addressing any issues that employees has about their paychecks. This means they have to be readily available to an employee to answer inquiries such as missing overtime pay, lack of holiday pay, and the like. For others, this can be tedious especially those who work in large-scale companies where there are hundreds of employees.




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