How to become a payroll manager

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
  • specialist training with a professional body


You can start with an advanced apprenticeship as a payroll administrator then move into management as your experience grows.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information


You could start as a payroll administrator and get training and experience on the job. You'll usually need several years' experience in payroll before moving into management.

Direct Application

You may be able to join a payroll department if you've worked as a manager elsewhere, although you will need experience in accounts.

Other Routes

You could take qualifications in payroll like those offered by The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals or the International Association of Bookkeepers.

Courses are available from introductory basics through to foundation degree level and higher. It's recommended that you're working in a payroll department to do the higher level qualifications.

More Information

Career tips

You'll need a good understanding of payroll legislation.

Further information

You'll find more advice about careers in payroll from The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • leadership skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • administration skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • business management skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • supervising and training the payroll team
  • creating payroll policies and procedures
  • advising on tax and pay laws
  • managing computer software and systems
  • analysing and reporting on financial data
  • checking and auditing payroll to make sure regulations are met
  • calculating and issuing pay by cash, cheque or electronic transfer
  • deducting tax and national insurance payments
  • processing holiday, sick and maternity pay and expenses
  • calculating overtime, shift payments and pay increases

Working environment

You could work in an office.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could work in the finance department of larger companies or public sector organisations like local authorities or the NHS. 

You could move into pensions management or do further training to qualify as an accountant. 

You could also work for a payroll bureau that provides payroll services to other companies.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

ATA Apprentice Payroll Administrator J2974

  • Wage: £248.64 Weekly
  • Location: Wotton-under-Edge

Apprentice Payroll Administrator

  • Wage: £10,000.00 - £12,000.00 Annually
  • Location: Derby

Courses In England

Sage Payroll

  • Start date: 22 October 2020
  • Location:

Payroll Skills: Level 1

  • Start date: 02 October 2020
  • Location: Grays

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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