Payroll Assistant Job Description: Duties, Skills and Requirements
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Payroll Assistant Job Description
A payroll and benefits assistant is responsible for administering and processing the salaries and benefits of the employees of an organization in compliance with all relevant social security, insurance, administrative and tax regulations and requirements. Payroll and benefits processing is an aspect of personnel administration.
The job of a payroll and benefits assistant is to ensure that all payment and other contractual obligations arising from an organization’s employment contracts with its workers are correctly managed and processed, from the moment a person is hired to the moment they leave the company.
Payroll and benefits assistants are thus responsible for processing employee payslips, but also for dealing with a wide range of other employee-related processes, entitlements, allowances and benefits, including holiday entitlement, overtime, maternity leave, sabbaticals, pensions, severance pay, expenses claims, compulsory and supplementary pensions and hiring and termination procedures.
Other duties of a payroll assistant include processing employee attendance records, monitoring and analysing payroll costs, and drafting and issuing contractual notifications and correspondence and organizational change announcements, in accordance with company procedures. Payroll and benefits assistants also help resolve HR-related administrative problems and issues, and contribute to the planning and development of reporting and management tools designed to increase the efficiency of HR administration.
Payroll assistants are typically hired on an employed basis, with either a full-time or part-time contract, and work normal office hours. Medium and large companies tend to have a dedicated payroll department staffed by a number of assistants and clerks, working under the supervision of a payroll manager. In smaller companies without a separate payroll office, the function may be performed by a single individual within the administration department. Finally, in businesses with just a handful of workers, legal, tax and social security issues connected with employee remuneration are often outsourced to an external accountant, bookkeeper, employment consultant, financial advisor or other financial or tax professional.
Payroll Assistant Responsibilities and Tasks
A payroll and benefits assistant is responsible for:
- Processing payslips (e.g. calculating salaries, tax and social security withholdings and other allowances, benefits and entitlements)
- Administrative processing of new hires and terminations
- Calculating monthly attendance records for employees
- Drafting and issuing contractual notifications and correspondence
- Providing employment law support and consultancy
- Maintaining and updating all personnel records
How to Become a Payroll Assistant - Training and Requirements
There are no set requirements for becoming a payroll and benefits assistant and in many cases school-leaving qualifications in relevant disciplines (e.g. maths, economics, information technology etc.) may be enough. However, in a crowded job market and with payroll and benefits processes growing increasingly complex, employers will often prefer candidates with university-level qualifications in subjects such as business management or law. To acquire the basic theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to work in personnel administration - including dealing with issues related to labour law, tax, social security and insurance - aspiring payroll assistants may wish to consider attending a professional training course.
Employers will on the whole tend to prefer candidates who can demonstrate familiarity with resource management and payroll applications, such as SAP and who can offer prior experience in payroll processing within companies, accountancy practices or consulting firms.
Finally, an essential requirement for anybody looking to forge a successful career in payroll and benefits is up-to-date knowledge of the sector, including an understanding of the relevant contractual and employment laws and regulations and an awareness of the (increasingly sophisticated) tools and applications used to manage human resource processes.
Payroll Assistant Skills and Qualifications
Payroll assistants require the following skills and personal qualities:
- Ability to process payslips with minimum supervision
- Knowledge of common payroll software applications
- Knowledge of relevant contractual and employment laws and regulations
- Knowledge of relevant regulations applying to HR administration
- Strong IT skills
- Attention to detail and precision
Payroll Assistant Career Path
The HR administration sector in general - and large companies and major employment consulting firms in particular - offers excellent career development opportunities.
Payroll assistants with a number of years of experience in the role may eventually progress to become a payroll specialist. This role requires extensive knowledge of a wide range of aspects connected with employee payroll and administration, including legal, tax, social security and trade union-related issues. From here, the next step is to advance to the position of payroll administrator or manager, which involves coordinating a team or department of payroll workers.
Self-employed payroll professionals also have a range of career options to choose from. These include moving into employment consultancy, either as an independent advisor or as part of a practice or firm and offering companies and businesses a range of administrative, accounting, tax and legal services related to HR and payroll.
Top Reasons to Work as a Payroll Assistant
Why should you consider working as a payroll assistant?
A position as a payroll and benefits assistant involves working with a wide range of aspects related to employee payroll and administration. Due to the inherent variety of the role - especially in companies with a large workforce and a high personnel turnover - payroll staff face fresh challenges every day and require a highly professional attitude and strong organizational skills in order to succeed.
Finally, with the HR sector in constant evolution, a further attraction of the profession is the need for continuous learning and training.