Āpiha Utu Kaimahi
This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Payroll officers arrange payment of staff salaries and wages.
Payroll officers usually earn
$45K-$60K per year
Senior payroll officers usually earn
$50-$90K per year
Source: Hays, '2015 Hays Salary Guide', 2015.
Pay rates for payroll officers vary depending on the role.
- Payroll officers earn between $45,000 and $60,000 a year.
- Senior payroll officers earn between $50,000 and $65,000.
- Payroll supervisors and managers earn between $55,000 and $90,000.
Source: Hays, '2015 Hays Salary Guide', 2015.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the figures and diagrams in our job information)
What you will do
Payroll officers may do some or all of the following:
- calculate pay, tax, student loan and superannuation deductions for staff
- check what hours staff have worked, and what leave they've taken
- arrange for staff to be paid
- forward information to government agencies
- keep staff records up to date
- ensure the organisation complies with the law.
Skills and knowledge
Payroll officers need to know:
- basic accounting and payment systems
- the tax system
- employment law.
- usually work regular business hours, but may work weekends or evenings to meet deadlines
- work in offices.
What's the job really like?
Influence of whānau
When Rachel Boys became a payroll officer, she was following in the footsteps of her whānau.
"My dad was an office manager who worked at the bank. My grandad was an accountant and my uncle was the town clerk, so my family has always been involved with numbers. I guess that's why I like numbers too."
Background in customer service helpful
Coming from a customer service background, Rachel found becoming a payroll officer was an easy transition.
"I worked in a shop when I was younger and was used to dealing with customers and money. I was also used to balancing things at the end of the day. Similarly with payroll you have set deadlines, otherwise people don't get paid."
Eye for detail important
"You have to be a good problem solver, with an eye for detail," says Rachel.
"Because we pay people's salaries and wages based on their individual contracts, you can sometimes come across data that doesn't correspond with what you're meant to be paying them – when you're working to a deadline this can be stressful.
"But it's great at the end of the day when you think 'yay, I've got that right finally.' You really feel you've achieved something."
There are no specific requirements to become a payroll officer, as skills are gained on the job.
NCEA Level 2 English, maths, accounting or computer studies is preferred.
Payroll officers need to be:
- accurate, with an eye for detail
- honest, reliable and able to keep information private
- able to work well under pressure
- good at record-keeping
- good at communicating.
Useful experience for payroll officers includes:
- accounting work
- office or administrative work.
Find out more about training
- The New Zealand Payroll Practitioners Association (NZPPA)
- (09) 480 6458 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.nzppa.co.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Payroll officers are in demand as:
- there are not enough new payroll officers
- there are more vacancies than applicants
- payroll officers move on to other roles in accounting or human resources.
Computers take over payroll
While the job outlook is currently good, many payroll functions may be replaced by computer software. In future this means less jobs available for new payroll officers.
Types of employers varied
Payroll officers may work for:
- finance departments in small or large businesses
- specialised payroll companies.
- Corbyn, Z, 'Robots are Leaving the Factory Floor and are Heading for Your Desk - and Your Job', The Guardian, 9 February 2015, (www.theguardian.com).
- Half, R, 'Finance and Accounting Salary Guide' 2015, accessed December 2015, (www.roberthalf.co.nz).
- Hart, S, 'Accounts and Finance Staff in Demand', NZ Herald, 14 January 2015, (www.nzherald.co.nz).
- Hays, '2015 Hays Salary Guide' 2015, accessed December 2015, (www.hays.net.nz).
- Hays, 'Quarterly Report - Accountancy and Finance October - December 2015', accessed December 2015, (www.hays.net.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand ), accessed 2015, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
- Nurse,T and Stylianou et al, 'Will a Robot Take Your Job?', BBC News, 11 September 2015, (www.bbc.com).
Progression and specialisations
Payroll officers may progress to other finance roles or into human resources.
Last updated 18 December 2017