A payroll assistant position may not be glamorous, but other employees tend to be grateful for the work you do since it results in paychecks being issued. Your duties will vary depending on the size of your company. In a small business you might do everything except analyze payroll reports and sign the checks, while in a larger company your work may be focused on data entry and clerical tasks. A payroll assistant can report to a payroll supervisor, department head or controller depending on the size and structure of the company.
The payroll assistant often ensures that employee payroll files are up-to-date and accurate, entering any changes into the system. When an employee has a change in status, such as adding or subtracting dependents, or submits a new W-4 withholding form, you'll record that information and verify that the payroll system is updated. Filing is a large part of the job. Check copies, financial reports and other records need to be accurately and securely filed away on a regular basis. You may answer simple questions from employees and prepare notices about payroll department issues.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the job growth rate for payroll and time-keeping clerks will be 15 percent through 2020, and that payroll software programs that employees can use to record their time will keep the demand for this job from growing much. Ask your employer to take on new responsibilities and take some accounting courses or earn a degree to make yourself more competitive when it comes to job advancement to positions such as payroll lead, department head or payroll accountant.
Since 1997, Maria Christensen has written about business, history, food, culture and travel for diverse publications. She ran her own business writing employee handbooks and business process manuals for small businesses, authored a guidebook to Seattle, and works as an accountant for a software company. Christensen studied communications at the University of Washington and history at Armstrong Atlantic State University.