What does a Director of Payroll do?

Payroll managers ensure employees get paid and keep track of relevant information to manage payroll preparation, complete reports, and for record maintenance. They maintain payroll information by designing systems and directing the collection, calculation, and data entry. They update payroll records by reviewing and approving changes in exemptions, insurance coverage, savings deductions, job titles, and department or division transfers. They pay employees by directing the production and issuance of paychecks or electronic transfers to an employee's bank account.

Payroll managers compile summaries of earnings, taxes, deductions, leave, disability, and non-taxable wages into reports. They determine the company’s payroll liabilities by calculating an employee's federal and state income and Social Security taxes alongside the employer's Social Security, unemployment, and worker’s compensation payments. They balance payroll accounts and provide information and answer questions and requests to resolve discrepancies. They study existing and new legislation to ensure the company complies with federal, state, and local legal requirements by studying existing and new legislation and advising the necessary action to management. Payroll managers need a bachelor's degree in finance or accounting.

What responsibilities are common for Director of Payroll jobs?
  • Establish and maintain payroll controls and payroll related procedures for SOX compliance.
  • Review and approval of final payroll processes each pay period.
  • Manage payroll tax liabilities. Ensure accurate and timely filing of all payroll related taxes.
  • Recommend goals for payroll team and responsible for tactical implementation of team and individual goals.
  • Lead the development, implementation, maintenance, and coordination of US payroll operations.
  • Maintain payroll information by collecting, calculating, and entering data.
  • Manage issues related to employee deductions and other liabilities, including reconciling.
  • Work with clients on a retained project basis, to maximize the recruiting process.
  • Ensure Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for payroll are clearly defined, achieved, and measured regularly.
  • Ensure accurate compliance with FLSA and state wage requirements
  • Responsible for process improvements, operational streamlining and exceptional client service.
  • Assist with the preparation and filing of payroll tax forms as required.
  • Prepare miscellaneous reports for various departments and upper management.
  • Identify key issues and patterns from partial and conflicting data.
  • Assist with supervision of the day-to-day activities of assigned staff.
  • Remain current on new legislation and regulatory ruling impact payroll and provide guidance on various federal, state, and local legislation.
  • Collaborate with leadership on payroll strategy to deliver a best-in-class payroll solutions.
  • Responsible for the documentation of standard processes within the team.
  • Ensure service delivery quality for all processes and procedures, keeping third parties accountable if necessary.
  • Respond appropriately to inquiries from all levels on a timely basis.
  • Manage the annual year-end W-2 reconciliation process, ensuring complete accuracy and timeliness.
  • Ensure payroll accuracy by completing thorough reviews of payroll audit reports and making corrections as needed.
  • Responsible for file transmissions and reconciliations with 3rd party payroll related vendors.
  • Preparing relevant weekly, monthly, quarterly and year-end reports for circulation to department heads
What are the typical qualifications for Director of Payroll jobs?
  • Bachelor's or Graduate's Degree in accounting, business, computer science or business administration or equivalent experience.
  • Advanced general ledger skills and in-depth experience with all aspects of payroll management.
  • Strong command of English language and good communication skills.
  • Strong leadership and problem solving abilities.
  • Experienced with onboarding and termination procedures.
  • Comfortable with Enterprise Resource Planning programs and tools.
EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.6 ★
Total Pay--
Career Opportunity
3.7 ★
Avg. Experience5-7 years

How much does a Director of Payroll make?

$111,321 /yr
Total Pay

Base Pay


Additional Pay


 / yr
Most Likely Range
Possible Range
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Director of Payroll Career Path

Learn how to become a Director of Payroll, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Associate Director of Payroll
Director of Payroll
Director of Payroll

Years of Experience Distribution

0 - 1
2 - 4
5 - 7
Not including years spent in education and/or training

Director of Payroll Insights

Read what Director of Payroll professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Gerald Auto GroupGerald Auto Group
Payroll Manager
Oct 21, 2021

“I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to work for such a great organization.”

Payroll Consultant
Nov 6, 2021

“You are asked to just wing it but will not receive pay increase if client does not give you an excellent score.”

Payroll HRIS Administrator
Apr 20, 2022

“Plus you get to work with an amazing and diverse workforce.”

US Department of Homeland SecurityUS Department of Homeland Security
Payroll Coordinator
Feb 23, 2022

“Good paying Job and great benefits.”

Prompt Personnel Private LimitedPrompt Personnel Private Limited
Payroll Manager
May 31, 2021

“Nice place to work and learn.”

Payroll Manager
Oct 6, 2021

“Good place to learn and develop your career.”

Myriad GeneticsMyriad Genetics
Salary Manager
May 18, 2022

“Good perks and pay.”

Assistant Manager Payroll
Jun 16, 2022

“Opportunities to progress and get promoted.”

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Director of Payroll Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the roles and responsibilities of a Director of Payroll

When working as a Director of Payroll, the most common skills you will need to perform your job and for career success are Microsoft Office Suite, Excellent Customer Service, Leadership, Sensitive, and Outlook.

The most similar professions to Director of Payroll are:
  • Payroll Specialist
  • HR Manager
  • Payroll Analyst
  • HRis Analyst

The most common qualifications to become a Director of Payroll include a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree and an average of 0 - 1 years of experience not including years spent in education and/or training.

Related Careers

Payroll Specialist
50% skills overlap
HR Manager
13% skills overlap
Payroll Analyst
13% skills overlap
HRis Analyst
13% skills overlap

Director of Payroll Jobs