Payroll Accountant

Career Area: Finance

Occupation Group: Accounting Professionals


Percentile wages tell how much a certain percentage of an overall population in a geographic area or within a given industry or field makes. The percentile wage estimate is the value of a wage below which a certain percent of workers fall.

An example would be the 25th percentile, 25 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 75 percent earn more than the estimated wage value. At the 75th percentile, 75 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 25 percent earn more than the estimated wage value.

A typical Payroll Accountant earns the following wages (national and state):


The average salary in North Carolina for those pursuing this career is $53,380

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.


The average salary in the United States for those pursuing this career is $56,868

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.

What Does a Professional in this Career Do?

Organizes and maintains payroll records and makes employment-related tax payments for a company and its employees. Calculates employee paychecks and tax and benefit withholding amounts. Completes reports on employee compensation. Reviews payroll and tax documents as needed for audits.

Employment Trends

The job demand and job growth statistics shown here were derived from job posts over the past year. Expected job growth projections are extrapolated from year-over-year job post listing history.

Job demand and job growth is expected at the following rates:

North Carolina391+13.8%


A professional in this position typically utilizes the following skills in the course of everyday work in this exciting and challenging field:

Baseline Skills

The following are baseline skills every Payroll Accountant is expected to have in order to experience success in this field:

  • Microsoft Excel: Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet developed by Microsoft for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. It features calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications.
  • Communication Skills: The ability to convey information to another effectively and efficiently.
  • Detail-Oriented: A detail oriented person is someone who pays attention to the details and can make a conscious effort to understand causes instead of just the effects, and that does this in a second nature type of way.
  • Organizational Skills: Experience with a systematic process of structuring, integrating, co-ordinating task goals, and activities to resources in order to attain objectives.
  • Microsoft Office: Microsoft Office is an office suite of applications, servers, and services developed by Microsoft.

Specialized Skills

These skills are specific to working in this career:

  • Accounting: Experience maintaining and verifying the business records of a person or business and preparing forms and reports for financial purposes.
  • Payroll Processing: Payroll involves performing many tasks to ensure accurate and timely paychecks and payroll tax and record-keeping compliance.
  • Account Reconciliation: In accounting, working experience using two sets of records to ensure figures are correct and in agreement. This involves whether the money leaving an account matches the amount that's being spent, and making sure the two are balanced at the end of the recording period.
  • General Ledger: A general ledger contains all the accounts for recording transactions relating to a company's assets, liabilities, owners' equity, revenue, and expenses.
  • Financial Statements: Financial statements (or financial report) is a formal record of the financial activities and position of a business, person, or other entity.

Distinguishing Skills

Any Payroll Accountant that possesses the following skills will stand out against the competition:

  • Payroll Reconciliation: Reconciliation in accounting involves verifying transactions are in balance and apply to the correct account.
  • Accounting Management: Accounting Management (Business) is the practical application of management techniques to control and report on the financial health of the organization.
  • Invoicing: An invoice, bill or tab is a commercial document issued by a seller to a buyer, relating to a sale transaction and indicating the products, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services the seller had provided the buyer.
  • Invoice Preparation: Experience documenting work done in a standard commercial format for requesting payment.
  • General Ledger Reconciliation: General Ledger Reconciliation is the process performed by accountants to verify the integrity of account balances on the companys general ledger of accounts.

Salary Boosting Skills

A professional who wishes to excel in this career path may consider developing the following highly valued skills:

  • Financial Analysis: Financial statement analysis (or financial analysis) is the process of reviewing and analyzing a company's financial statements to make better economic decisions.
  • Public Accounting: Working experience of Public Accounting, which can be viewed as firms of accountants that serve clients such as businesses (retailers, manufacturers, service companies, etc.), individuals, nonprofits and governments. Services include: preparation, review, and auditing of the clients' financial statements; tax work including the preparation of income tax returns, and estate and tax planning; consulting and advice involving accounting systems, mergers and acquisitions, and much more.
  • Financial Operation: The execution of the joint finance mission to provide financial advice and guidance, support of the procurement process, providing pay support, and providing disbursing support.See also financial management.


This position typically requires the following level of experience. The numbers presented in the pie charts below were derived from actual job posts over the past year. Not all job postings list experience requirements.

Experience Required%
0 to 2 years37%
3 to 5 years58%
6 to 8 years4%

Many of the programs offered through NC State are designed for working professionals who need additional credentials to enhance existing work experience.

Students who do not have the expected level of experience may wish to look into internship and employment opportunities.

Common Job Titles

It is possible to find work in this field in positions commonly listed as the following job titles:

  • Accountant
  • Staff Accountant
  • Senior Accountant
  • Payroll Accountant
  • Payroll Tax Specialist

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