Payroll Officer Āpiha Utu Kaimahi

Payroll officers arrange payment of staff salaries and wages.

Payroll officers may do some or all of the following:

  • calculate pay, tax, student loan and superannuation deductions for staff
  • manage the payroll system for the organisation
  • check what hours staff have worked, and what leave they've taken
  • arrange for staff to be paid correctly and on time
  • forward information to government agencies
  • keep staff records up to date
  • ensure the organisation complies with the law.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for payroll officers includes:

  • cash-handling
  • accounting work
  • office or administrative work
  • human resources experience.

Personal Qualities

Payroll officers need to be:

  • analytical, organised and accurate, with an eye for detail
  • good at problem solving
  • honest, reliable and able to keep information private
  • good at record-keeping
  • able to work well under pressure and prioritise deadlines
  • good at communicating.


Payroll officers need to have knowledge of:

  • employment law and the tax system
  • accounting, information and payment systems.


Payroll officers:

  • usually work regular business hours, but may work weekends or evenings to meet deadlines
  • work in offices.

Subject Recommendations

No specific secondary education is required for this job, but English, maths, accounting and digital technologies to NCEA Level 2 are useful.

Payroll Officers can earn around $45K-$60K per year.

Pay for payroll officers depends on experience and the size of the company they work for.

  • New payroll officers usually earn between $45,000 and $60,000 a year.
  • Payroll officers with several years' experience usually earn between $48,000 and $70,000.
  • Senior payroll officers usually earn between $55,000 and $85,000.
  • Payroll supervisors and managers usually earn between $65,000 and $130,000.

Sources: Hays, 'FY 18/19 Hays Salary Guide: Salary and Recruitment Trends', 2018; Hudson, 'Accounting and Finance Salary Guide 2018', 2018; Robert Half, '2018 Salary Guide', 2018; and PayScale, 2018.

Payroll officers may progress to other finance roles or into human resources.

Years Of Training

There are no specific requirements to become a payroll officer. However, a business or accounting degree, or Level 5 diploma in business or management is useful.

New payroll officers usually get on-the-job training in how to use in-house systems.

Payroll Officer