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Guide to payroll officer

What is a payroll officer?

A payroll officer is a professional who’s responsible for handling payroll duties for a business. Some of their responsibilities include processing payroll, preparing monthly, quarterly and annual reports and preparing taxes. 

Employers may hire payroll officers as part-time or contract workers, or as full-time employees. Some companies offer fully remote or hybrid payroll officer positions. 

What is the average salary of a payroll officer?

The average annual payroll officer salary in Australia is about $80,000. Pay may be higher or lower, based on experience and job responsibilities.  

What does a payroll officer do?

Collect and approve timesheets

One of the chief responsibilities of a payroll officer is to collect and approve timesheets. This might involve reviewing timesheets for accuracy, as well as nudging workers to turn in delinquent timesheets.

Calculate superannuation and payroll taxes

Payroll officers are responsible for overseeing superannuation, PAYG and other payroll taxes and reporting these deductions to the appropriate government agencies each period. In the absence of payroll software, this might mean performing manual calculations.

A payroll officer is also the person who provides yearly payment summaries to employees, generally by 14 July each year.

Manage annual leave

Leave approval is typically a task for an employee’s direct supervisor, but payroll officers are the ones that reconcile leave applications with remaining leave to make sure employees have enough leave to cover their time away. 

Help with payroll reporting

Payroll officers are responsible for helping senior payroll staff gather data and compile reports. 

Respond to payroll questions

A payroll officer fields employee questions about compensation, deductions, overtime and leave.

Maintain accurate payroll records

Payroll officers also take care of payroll record keeping. That may include updating employee records, documenting and distributing severance pay and organising payroll files.

Process payroll payments on time

Although all the duties of a payroll officer are important, perhaps the most important one is ensuring timely payroll processing. Paying employees on time is vital to maintaining morale, and thus has a direct impact on productivity and output.

How to become a payroll officer

Education requirements

While there are no strict education requirements for a payroll officer, some companies may prefer (or require) a degree in business, finance or economics. Having such a degree is likely to improve your chances of getting a job in this field.

Vocational qualifications

If you’re looking to break into this field, you might consider pursuing accounting or payroll-specific training, such as the Australian Payroll Association’s Payroll Essentials course. 

Role-specific software experience

Companies may be seeking payroll officers who have experience with specific platforms. Software-specific certifications that might help you get an interview include the Certificate in MYOB Bookkeeping and Certificate in MYOB Payroll.

Real-world experience

Real-world payroll experience is one of the most important qualifications you can put in your CV. If you don’t have experience in an actual payroll officer position yet, include any experience that shows you’ve worked on the type of tasks described above.

Simplify payroll and stay compliant with MYOB

Payroll officers play a critical role in any company. They help maintain employee morale by ensuring that accurate payments are made on time. Additionally, payroll officers help take care of compliance matters and ensure the accuracy of records. 

If you’re a payroll officer looking to simplify your day-to-day work and succeed at your core responsibilities, MYOB can help. Our cloud payroll solution is both powerful and easy to use. Best of all, it automates repetitive tasks like data entry, freeing you up to focus on the more important aspects of the job.

Disclaimer: Information provided in this article is of a general nature and does not consider your personal situation. It does not constitute legal, financial, or other professional advice and should not be relied upon as a statement of law, policy or advice. You should consider whether this information is appropriate to your needs and, if necessary, seek independent advice. This information is only accurate at the time of publication. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information contained on this webpage, MYOB disclaims, to the extent permitted by law, all liability for the information contained on this webpage or any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.

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