What is a Payroll Clerk?

payroll clerk

If you are studying to work in accounting and you are interested in working in payroll, it is time to learn just what a payroll clerk does. It is the payroll clerk’s job to collect time sheets, review timekeeping logs for accuracy, and issue paychecks and other disbursements to employees within an organization. In addition to basic job functions, clerks are accountable for processing various requests and processing various types of verifications. If you are looking for an entry-level role in accounting and this title interests you, read this job profile.

What Are the Job Duties of Payroll Clerks?

You need several different competencies to work in payroll as a clerk. Not only do you need a Human Resources capacity to succeed in this field, you also need to be a skilled financial manager and time manager. According to Accounting Tools, if you possess these competencies and you have the required level of education, you will be ready to perform the following essential job functions:

  • Collect time sheets and summarize timekeeping information
  • Process W-2 forms and mail them to employees
  • Reviewing time cards for discrepancies and then obtaining approval from a supervisor
  • Getting approvals for overtime through managers
  • Processing garnishment requests and compiling data on deductions
  • Calculating commissions and vacation time accrued
  • Updating electronic time clocks
  • Processing the weekly payouts for employees
  • Communicating with management in each department for absences
  • Running reports for management through the payroll software
  • Processing direct deposit

What is the Job Outlook in Payroll?

One of the great things about working as a financial clerk is that you know that you are needed in every industry. While you can work in many types of organizations and industries, job outlook says that the field is only projected to grow by 6% by 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since dramatic growth is not projected, it is important that you become a valuable asset in the field by earning a degree.

What Level of Education is Required for Financial Clerks?

While many smaller employers will hire clerks with a high school diploma, larger organizations and accounting firms prefer applicants who possess a college degree. If you would like to garner attention, you should aim for an associate’s degree majoring in accounting or finance curriculum. Going a step further and earning a bachelor’s degree will make it possible to climb the ladder much more quickly.

Without a degree you will need at least two to three years of experience in accounting and business before you will be considered by most recruiters. Some employers will accept a combination of college experience and work experience.


According to the BLS, the average salary for a payroll clerk is $49,560. Clerks working for brokerage firms, insurance carriers and procurement companies tend to earn a larger salary. If you are looking for a stable career where you can gain accounting experience and make a name for yourself fresh out of school, you should consider becoming a clerk who handles all payroll activities. Start to compare some of the accounting programs that you can enroll in and get an education now. With your degree you will make a great candidate to work as an educated payroll clerk.

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