Payroll Administrator

Occupation overview

Individuals in the role of a Payroll Administrator will have responsibility for setting up and operating the payroll within the organisation in which they are employed or on behalf of another organisation. Additionally and depending on their role within a given organisation, a Payroll Administrator may also have responsibility for accurate and the compilation of routine and non-routine payroll related calculations and other information to specific deadlines. This includes technical knowledge of the core elements of payroll, application of professional standards and effective communication with clients and customers of the payroll function. The role will be performed in order to meet relevant ethical, regulatory compliance and legal standards, having due regard for the policies and processes of the organisation, as well as legislative payroll practices. This role may be in a payroll bureau, bookkeeping or accounting practice, a professional services company or a separate function or part of another within a business or other organisation.



  • Able to create and interpret payroll information showing how that information can be used most effectively to inform the decision making process and therefore add value to the organisation. Able to use and manipulate spreadsheets in excel


  • Effectively communicate relevant payroll information across the organisation and to customers and clients of the payroll function, in order that queries can be dealt with in an efficient and professional manner and financial reports on salaries can be communicated effectively to senior colleagues. Able to provide excellent customer service and that this is provided based on effective communication with clients and customers.


  • Whilst leadership is not an individual skill that is required, understanding of the roles and responsibilities within the organisation is paramount. This is an individual who takes control of their own development within the remit of their responsibility. Shows commitment to the role, to the organisation and to the Payroll Profession as a whole.

 Planning and Prioritisation

  • Work to payroll processing deadlines and respond to changing priorities. Effectively plan and be able to co-ordinate the input of others in order to meet required deadlines.

Produces Quality and Accurate Information

  • Effectively apply payroll and relevant compliance and regulatory knowledge to consistently deliver high quality, accurate data and information in a timely fashion.

Team Working and Collaboration

  • Work effectively in a team and/or collaboratively with others, maintaining consistent and professional working relationships both internally and externally across organisations.

Uses Systems and Processes

  • Able to effectively apply IT systems skills applicable to the role, which can often be specialist, maintaining this proficiency through relevant updates relating to payroll software, legislative or internal changes.



  • Knowledge and understanding of the core elements of payroll so that they can set up and operate payrolls in a systematic and compliant manner and create and report payroll related information accurately to users.
  • Understanding the technical aspects of payroll for the accurate calculation of gross and net pay, statutory payments and deductions and ensure that the organisation meets payroll related legal obligations.
  • Knowledge of how to administer auto enrolment for pensions as this has a significant impact on the payroll role.
  • Understand how to handle client queries, payroll errors and payroll updates.
  • The above technical knowledge will be understood and applied according to the relevant statutory and regulatory environment for payroll as designated by government and HMRC.

Business Awareness

  • Understand the industries and environments in which their organisation operates, including customer and supplier needs, in order to create and /or validate and /or report payroll and related information.

Ethical Standards

  • Ethics and integrity are fundamental to the role of all payroll professionals, as what they do directly affects the compliance and integrity of an organisation and requires the correct application of statutory payments and deductions to the appropriate benefit of both individual employees and society as a whole.

Regulation and Compliance

  • Knowledge and understanding of how to apply professional standards and legal regulations in relation to an organisation’s payroll and in particular, client confidentiality and data protection. This will also include the consequences of getting things wrong, particularly around for instance timely returns and schedules, late returns, accuracy.

Systems and Processes

  • Knowledge and understanding of generic Payroll, HR and Finance systems and processes, such as month end and year end procedures, security of data that demonstrate industry best practice in order to allow the Payroll Administrator to evaluate their own organisation’s payroll and HR systems and processes and make recommendations for improvement, as appropriate. Proficient in the use of at least one computerised payroll system.



  • Willing to listen, learn and accept changing priorities and working requirements and has the flexibility to maintain high professional standards in a changing environment.

Adding Value

  • Actively engage in the wider organisation, as appropriate, and look to provide information that positively contributes to influencing management decisions. Actively seek opportunities for continuous professional development.

 Ethics and Integrity

  • Honest and principled in all actions and interactions. Consistently respects others and meets the ethical requirements of the profession Understanding of how to apply relevant ethical standards to their own behaviour and appropriately challenge the actions of others where they do not meet these standards.


  • Takes responsibility. Demonstrates the drive and energy to get things done, even under pressure.

Professional Scepticism

  • Demonstrates an attitude that includes a questioning mind, being alert to conditions which may indicate possible misstatement of payroll or related information due to error or fraud.

Entry Requirements 

Individual employers will identify entry requirements in terms of previous qualifications, training or other criteria. It is expected that most candidates will have Level 2 Maths and English (equivalent to GCSE grade C or above), ideally as part of 5 GCSE A-C grades or other comparable qualifications. Apprentices without English or Maths at Level 2 must achieve this prior to taking the end point assessment.


It is anticipated that candidates will typically complete the apprenticeship within 18-24 months.

Professional Qualifications / Recognition

This standard is set at Level 3.

Successful completion this apprenticeship will provide eligibility to apply for associate membership of the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP). Completion of the Payroll Administrator Apprenticeship may also provide progression opportunities to progress to more senior positions such as Team Leader, Supervisor or Manager within Payroll, or to move to related roles in departments such as HR, Finance or Pensions.


Originally published on, this information has been re-used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.


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