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What Are the Duties of a Payroll Officer?

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Payroll officers have the important duty of handling timekeeping and payment processing within large and small companies. “They ensure that employees are paid on time and that their paychecks are accurate,” adds the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Attention to detail and accuracy is needed throughout the position. Payroll officers deal with company employees and the Internal Revenue Service to make sure that records and tax information are accurate. The officer may work in a team environment or be the sole payroll processor.


Payroll officers are in charge of keeping all time records of employees. They are responsible for collecting time sheets or having them sent to their computer electronically. They then ensure that all employees’ hours are complete and accurate. Officers check records for discrepancies and process vacation requests. If inaccuracies are found the payroll officer contacts the employees so that they can be fixed.

Payment Processing

After time sheets are collected payroll officers process employee paychecks. They calculate all earnings and make sure deductions, sick pay, and direct deposits are accounted for and accurate. Officers handle wage garnishments, worker’s compensation, and raises. They also handle severance packages. On payday, payroll officers pass out checks and pay stubs to employees.

Records and Reports

Payroll officers have to keep excellent records, as the records may be called upon later. Officers store physical or electronic files of all employee timesheets, sick days and vacation times. They file payroll reports and pull files for audits. Payroll officers also perform many reports for their department and company. They pull records for annual, quarterly and monthly reports. Officers also print out reports for supervisors. Additionally, officers track expenditures and check department budgets for accuracies.


Payroll officers process taxes for employee earnings throughout the year. They calculate tax deductions and deposits. If there are any employee contact changes, officers enter the data and check for accuracies before the end of the year. They process withholding like social security, Medicare and 401ks. They keep up with all tax procedures and laws so that the company is sending correct information to the IRS. “Finally, they prepare and mail earnings and tax withholding statements for employees’ use in preparing income tax returns,” says the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


MacKenzie Herald began writing professionally in 1986. With experience in media, health care and customer relations, she has worked with a range of clients from to "American Idol." She has an Associate of Science in filmmaking from Minneapolis College and a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies from the University of Minnesota.