Use Our Payroll Manager Job Description for the Perfect Hire

Lars Lofgren Avatar
Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported, which means we earn commissions from links on HR Advice. Commissions do not affect our editorial evaluations or opinions.

The good news about needing a payroll manager is that your company is probably doing well enough to need a payroll manager in the first place. The bad news about needing a payroll manager is that it’s also a challenging position to hire for—and you might already be struggling to handle its inherent responsibilities. 

That said, if you’re in the market for an organized, data-oriented, and communicative payroll manager and want to get a head start on the recruiting process, go ahead and borrow our job description.

The Perfect Payroll Manager Job Description 

While a good payroll manager does the minimum that’s required of them, a great one plays a more active role on your team, communicates efficiently with management and employees, and strives to improve your payroll processes. 

Role Overview

As payroll manager, you’ll be in charge of each step of the payroll lifecycle. You’ll also handle everything from onboarding and training new employees to keeping track of benefits like PTO and retirement. 

The position comes with a lot of responsibility beyond simply making sure that employees get paid. For example, you’ll also ensure that our company withholds and pays every local, state, and federal payroll tax. Thus, if you don’t already have extensive knowledge of payroll and tax laws, you’ll need to get up to speed quickly. 

As for soft skills, we’re looking for a motivated, energetic manager to lead our team of payroll employees with professionalism and compassion.


As the leader of our payroll department, the ideal candidate will: 

  • Manage payroll workflow, ensuring payments are issued accurately and on time
  • Process and remit employee compensation using direct bank transfers or checks
  • Review and reconcile hours worked, clock punches, and salary/wage adjustments
  • Communicate well with employees from all departments regarding payroll questions and tasks
  • Supervise the payroll team, giving instruction and training when needed
  • Ensure compliance with all local, state, and federal payroll tax laws, including timely remittance of tax payments and reports
  • Work with HR to ensure compliance with overtime, unemployment, hourly wage, and other labor laws
  • Prepare detailed tax liability, benefits, and worker’s compensation reports
  • Regularly audit payroll to identify and fix errors before they become a larger problem
  • Securely store, maintain, and update all payroll-related records

How to Tell If You’d Be a Great Fit 

If you’re numbers-oriented, good at getting to know the ins and outs of payroll software, and unphased by nitty-gritty tax laws, then you’re off to a great start. 

Previous years of experience as a hiring manager under HR or operations is a plus, as is having a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business management, or finance. 

Regardless of your background, we’re interested in hiring a continual learner. Extras like the Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) or Certified Payroll Specialist (CPS) certificate will make you stand out.

Last but not least, please include three professional references who can speak to your skills as a payroll manager and a team player. 

What Makes a Great Payroll Manager Job Description? 

Surprisingly, it pays to be interesting and personable in your payroll manager job description, so pepper in some of your company’s voice wherever appropriate. Otherwise you may end up with a dry, dense, and boring listing that nobody wants to read.

In fact, having a good job description that people will read all the way through can help in more ways than one. For instance, if a candidate stops reading too soon, they may end up applying for something they aren’t even qualified for—meaning a boring job description can lead to a lot of unnecessary applications that you’ll have to sift through. 

Remember to keep things crisp, clear, and lively. Next, avoid enormous lists of responsibilities and requirements. You don’t need to list every single responsibility your ideal candidate will have. Choose the 5-7 most important ones for your job description and discuss the rest during interviews. (We included more above so you could choose ones that fit your company best.)

As for qualifications, you probably noticed that we didn’t include any hard qualifications, like a required degree or a certain number of years in a similar position. When it comes to experience, one person’s two years might pack more of a punch than another person’s eight—you just never know.

Instead, ask for proof of experience in managing other people, particularly in a payroll or HR-related area. Request references and call them up to see if their descriptions match your needs. 

Finally, look for CPP and CPS certificates, which demonstrate expertise in the payroll field but don’t require a college degree to obtain. Think of these as a bonus rather than a requirement.

Moral of the story? Include what’s important and leave out the rest. 

Build and Grow right from your Inbox

Scroll to Top