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    Last updated date: 17 August 2023 By : BLC

    The Ultimate Guide to Becoming A Payroll Officer


    Payday is an important day in the lives of all employees. It is important to make sure that employees are paid accurately and on time. To ensure that employees are paid correctly, it is very important to make the right deductions, add the right allowances, include the correct withheld tax amount, and make the correct superannuation payments. Correct payroll is not only important to the employees, but it is equally important for tax compliance and overall financial condition. Without the proper knowledge of payroll, this payroll process can be difficult and complicated. As an accounting graduate, you have several options as to what type of accounting career you would like to specialize in and payroll accounting is definitely one to consider. But whichever career you choose, you should make sure that it is one that you are interested in and that you have the proper knowledge and training in the area you choose.

    What is payroll?

    The payroll of a business is a record of all amounts earned by its employees. Details included in the payroll records relate to employee gross wages and salaries, deductions, bonuses or commissions, tax withheld, superannuation, pay for time not worked, and other items that would appear on an employee’s pay slip. The primary function of the payroll department is to ensure that all the employees are paid correctly and that the deductions are remitted to the respective authorities in a timely manner.

    Roles and Responsibilities of Payroll Officer

    Payroll officers are those employees who monitor payroll-related information and data. Payroll officers have numerous roles and responsibilities. Their roles and responsibilities include: –

    • Collection of timesheets
    • Calculate the payroll amount to disburse
    • Calculate PAYG withheld amount and pay the tax to ATO
    • Send pay amount to respective employees’ account
    • Liaise with employees and management
    • Be aware of changes in compliance related to payroll like working hours, superannuation, minimum pay, overtime entitlements, tax withholdings, and many more

    Benefits of a Payroll Accounting Career

    As an accounting graduate, before you decide to choose any career, you should analyze the benefits you will get from the career. Payroll as a career has several compelling benefits. Let’s discuss some of them:


    One of the motivating factors for anyone is obviously the Salary. When it comes to deciding on a career many students choose the option which has a rewarding salary offer. The average salary earned by a payroll officer annually is $60K. This salary increases as one gains more experience in the field.


    Another important factor to consider while choosing a career is flexibility. Payroll officers have the option to work as part-time, casual, or full-time staff as the payroll function does not require the staff to be present all day in order to complete the task. If you are a student who has a work restriction of 20 hours per week or if you must look after your parents or children, then definitely payroll accounting is a good option for you.

    Similarly, payroll is required in all kinds of industries. Whether in a multinational, banks, corporate houses, public practice, retail, hospitals, etc. wherever there are people employed there is a requirement for payroll accounting. In other words, payroll exists in every kind of industry. It provides flexibility also in the sense that one can choose what type of industry they would like to work for.

    Prospective career path

    There are always career progression and growth opportunities in payroll accounting. One can start the payroll job from the entry-level, but it is not mandatory. The minimum qualification required is a Diploma degree, preferably from a certificate iv in bookkeeping, human resources, or administration background. In the entry-level position, one will work under the supervisor and assist with data entry, filing, answering payroll queries, and maintaining accurate records. As a payroll clerk, one might deal with employment verification, processing new hires’ paperwork, and helping with ‘newbie’ orientation.

    After gaining a few years of experience, one can always go into a higher-level job as a payroll coordinator and manager. At this stage, one would be able to independently process payroll, and employment verification forms and handle various other payroll-related jobs.

    Skills required for payroll officer

    Besides a high school education and a degree from a university, you should possess various technical and soft skills to become a payroll officer.

    Technical skills

    • Knowledge of compliance

    Payroll is related to legal and compliance requirements. It is directly connected to legal and tax regulations.

    • Strong math and numeracy skills

    A complex calculation is required to do the payroll. You need to have strong mathematical skills to become a payroll officer.

    • Proficiency with industry accounting software

    Having knowledge of recent accounting software like MYOB, Xero, and Ms- Excel is always an added benefit to enhance your payroll career.

    Soft skills

    • Problem-solving skills

    In a payroll job, several problems can arise like miscalculation, tax irregularities, and dealing with difficult staff. As a payroll officer, you should be prompt to handle the situation efficiently.

    • Good communication skills both verbal and written

    As a payroll officer, you need to communicate with employees from every level. You need to have both verbal and written communication skills.

    • Attention to detail

    Payroll is one of the very crucial functions in any organization. Record keeping, maintaining time sheets, and handling data correctly are essential steps in the payroll process.


    Payroll is definitely one of the most prospective career options for accounting graduates. As a payroll officer, you are always in demand as every industry and business requires a payroll function. It is a challenging and at the same time demanding career opportunity for accounting graduates.

    If you are a recent accounting graduate looking for some practical accounting training in payroll function, we at BLC Training and Internship offer practical payroll training. Proficiency with business accounting software like Xero and MYOB is critical to the modern skill set for accounting professionals in Australia. That’s where BLC Training and Internship can help.

    At BLC, we have helped many accounting graduates just like you to kick-start their dream careers here in Australia!

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