Payroll Supervisor Job Duties, Salary and Career Information

Sep 09, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a payroll supervisor. Get a quick view of the requirements, as well as details about degree programs, job duties, and certification, to find out if this is the career for you.

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With an associate's or bachelor's degree in business, accounting, or finance, it is possible to begin a career as a payroll supervisor. Certification is sometimes also required. Payroll supervisors oversee payroll departments to ensure that employees are paid accurately and on time, and they also fill out tax forms and deduct and file taxes.

Essential Information

Payroll supervisors oversee the administration of payroll to ensure that employees receive accurate paychecks in a timely manner. The profession requires computer and mathematical acumen, regulatory compliance, and familiarity with standard tax forms. The level of education necessary to become a payroll supervisor varies, though an associate's or bachelor's degree in a financial field is usually adequate. Some companies require payroll supervisors to hold certification.

Required Education Associate's or bachelor's degree in business, accounting, finance, or a related field
Other Requirements Certification as a Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) through the American Payroll Association is required by some employers
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* -3% for all payroll and timekeeping clerks; 7% for first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers
Median Salary (2018)* $45,050 for all payroll and timekeeping clerks

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Payroll Supervisor Career and Earnings Profile

Job Duties

Payroll supervisors adhere to all rules and procedures involved in the processing and distribution of paychecks. Payroll systems differ, and for larger corporations, a payroll supervisor may play an instrumental role in preparing data for an outside payroll company. Payroll supervisors typically need to know how to prepare certain tax and business documents in order to fulfill regulatory requirements.

Required Skills

  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality
  • Attention to detail
  • Computer proficiency
  • Strong communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Organization
  • Payroll software experience
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Spreadsheet creation and updating
  • Tax form filing


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), payroll and timekeeping clerks in general earned a median of $45,050 annually in 2018.

Career Information

While computer and technology advances will slowly erode growth for payroll and timekeeping clerks, the BLS notes that positions for first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers will grow by about 7% from 2018-2028; payroll and timekeeping clerks should see employment decline by 3% during the same time frame. Payroll supervisors may work for payroll services companies or work directly for specific industries, such as healthcare, manufacturing, retail, government, or education. Many companies provide opportunities for advancement to related managerial positions.

Payroll Supervisor Training

Although the minimum education requirements for payroll supervisors vary by industry, many companies seek payroll supervisors with associate's or bachelor's degrees in related fields, such as accounting, finance, or business.

Some companies require that the payroll supervisor obtain the Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) certification, offered by the American Payroll Association. This organization also offers a variety of educational and training options for those who seek careers in payroll supervision.

The main duty of payroll supervisors is to ensure that employees receive adequate compensation right on schedule. They need to be familiar with tax forms and computers, as well as keep records of all deductions paid and income earned for each employee. An associate's or bachelor's degree is usually required for this position, and some employers also require certification.

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