What does a Lead Payroll Specialist do?

A payroll specialist is primarily responsible for processing payroll and maintaining the employee database regarding salary and pay. Other duties include managing the company budget and expense as well as cooperating with different departments to increase payroll service performance and improve upon the payroll system. Typical career advancements for payroll specialist include a managerial or supervisory role in the company.

Although a high school diploma or equivalent is the minimal requirement for a payroll specialist, an associate's or bachelor's degree in business or accounting is preferred. Due to the nature of the position, a strong knowledge of tax and wage laws and common fiscal procedures is necessary along with excellent communication skills and computer literacy, especially with Microsoft Office applications. Ideal candidates are physically able to sit in front of a computer every work day for long hours at a time.

What responsibilities are common for Lead Payroll Specialist jobs?
  • Process payroll for employees in the organization
  • Maintain personnel database regarding salaries
  • Manage organization budget and expenses
  • Report to department supervisor regarding daily activities and issues
  • Work directly with clients to achieve organization goals as required
  • Address and resolve employee complaints relating to the payroll system
  • Work with company database programs to process payroll
  • Prepare reports to relevant departments about payroll, company budget and expense
What are the typical qualifications for Lead Payroll Specialist jobs?
  • Associate's or bachelor's degree in business or accounting preferred
  • Proven experience in a payroll position in a fast-paced environment required
  • Strong knowledge of tax and wage laws
  • Good understanding of the common fiscal procedures
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong computer literacy including Microsoft Office applications
  • Exceptional multitasking and organizational skills
  • Able to work effectively with minimal supervision
  • Physically able to work seated in front of a computer for long hours at a time
EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.5 ★
Total Pay--
Career Opportunity
3.4 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

How much does a Lead Payroll Specialist make near United States?

$58,257 /yr
Total Pay

Base Pay


Additional Pay


 / yr
Most Likely Range
Possible Range
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Lead Payroll Specialist Career Path

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

Payroll Manager
No Salary Reports
Lead Payroll Specialist
Lead Payroll Specialist

Years of Experience Distribution

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

Lead Payroll Specialist Insights

Read what Lead Payroll Specialist professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Payroll Specialist
Sep 12, 2021

“I enjoyed my time with this company the people I worked with were great and the clients were great.”

Emerald TransformerEmerald Transformer
HR & Payroll Specialist
Sep 15, 2023

“Management really cares about helping you get better and better in a very encouraging way.”

Intel CorporationIntel Corporation
Payroll Specialist
Jun 26, 2022

“Not impossible to maneuver but can be difficult depending on your personality or if you're new to work life.”

Move CentralMove Central
Senior Payrol Specialist
Jul 17, 2022

“knit group of people who encourage each other to bring the best out of them.”

Cross Country HealthcareCross Country Healthcare
Jan 30, 2023

“There is not the best communication from one department to another which can often cause unnecessary problems.”

Payroll Amendments
Oct 29, 2023

“Training and development is a joke they won't teach you anything and they expect specialist to train the new hires.”

Hudson AutomotiveHudson Automotive
Payroll Administrator
Mar 7, 2023

“Good and great team to work with”

Payroll Advocate
May 1, 2023

“The pay was really good and consistent”

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Lead Payroll Specialist Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of payroll specialists

A payroll specialist uses accounting software to track employee salaries, work hours, time off, and other information. Their most common daily tasks include entering data for payroll transactions, processing employee information for new hires and changes, and managing the overall payroll workflow.

Working in payroll is an excellent career choice. The work is interesting and the hours are usually consistent except for occasional overtime if problems arise. Employees in payroll positions may connect with many people throughout the organization, which is ideal for those who enjoy a large network of associates.

Yes, payroll specialists get paid well. The average base pay for a payroll specialist in the U.S. is $58,257 per year. With experience, they can advance into a role such as a senior or lead payroll specialist and earn significantly higher salaries, $49,274 or $69,163 per year, respectively.

As with any job, there are some difficult aspects to being a payroll specialist. If a problem occurs with payroll, it can be challenging to find it, and it may require working overtime and staying until the payroll issue is resolved. For that reason, individuals who are thinking about becoming a payroll specialist must be focused and efficient to ensure all payroll deadlines are met.

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