A Day in the Life of a Payroll Administrator

Are you considering payroll as a career option? While to some it may not be the most exciting career choice, it actually involves much more problem solving and teamwork than many would imagine. A payroll administrator typically does much more than just run a computerized payroll program; they typically work with other department heads and owners and managers on ways to cut costs for a company and needs to stay current on government regulations and requirements.

A payroll administrator often needs to compile reports for taxation purposes and also works with accounting and human resources in order to maintain a healthy ledger balance for a company.

The payroll department may handle these checks themselves or may send these requests to the accounting department.

Let's take a quick look at how a payroll administrator might spend their days in any given company.

Processing Payroll

The job of processing payroll will be different for every company. Some employees may be salaried, meaning they make the same amount every week, where as others are hourly. Those employees that are paid by the hour may turn in a timesheet and typically these need to be checked for proper signatures and other information. This data is then entered into a computer so they are paid properly.

Payroll checks are produced and along with these are the proper deduction checks sent to the government for taxation purposes. The payroll department may handle these checks themselves or may send these requests to the accounting department.

Reports and Journals

Business taxes require constant reporting and often need to be paid quarterly rather than at year end. This means that a payroll administrator must keep up-to-date and accurate information in reports and journals so that those are turned into the proper agencies on time, and so that those payments are made as well. There are often steep penalties to be paid for late reporting, so the payroll administrator's day may include updating these journals and auditing them for accuracy as well.

Learning New Regulations

Laws regarding taxation and wages are almost always changing. Very often a payroll administrator is notified of these laws through mailings or notifications, but these will do no good if they're ignored!

A good payroll administrator will know to set aside time every week or month or whenever necessary to review new regulations and laws and to make sure that the company is compliant. This may mean communicating these to a staff or other departments as well, and making sure that everyone is working together to fulfill these requirements.

Team Projects

A payroll administrator may be called upon to work with team members from other departments for various projects. A business owner or manager may be looking for ways to cut costs or to improve profit margins. They may be looking to cut personnel in various departments. Or an IT manager may have a suggestion for a new program for the payroll department that interfaces with accounting, human resources, and so on.

These team projects are going to be different for every company, but they may take up quite a bit of time in any given day. A payroll administrator may be called upon to come up with ideas on how to trim payroll costs or may be asked to take the new software for a "test run."

Typically no two days are alike for a payroll administrator. However, you can see that their day is often filled with much more than shuffling paperwork and cutting payroll checks. Keeping up with regulations and with new software programs may need to be worked into one's schedule, as well as different meetings and report generation as needed.