What Does a Payroll Analyst Get Paid?

by Grace Ferguson

A payroll analyst, or payroll accountant, maintains her employer’s payroll-related accounts. A bachelor’s degree in accounting plus two to four years of related experience is generally required for this position. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not break down salary data for accountants by specialty. The American Payroll Association, however, provides salary information for payroll analysts.

National Average

As of May 2012, according to the BLS, half of all accountants earned up to $63,550 per year. This is less than the mean annual average of $71,040. This figure, however, would likely change according to your specialty. For example, tax accountants, payroll accountants, forensic accountants and financial advisers tend to earn different amounts.

Current and Starting Salaries

A 2011 survey by the APA says that based on 40 salaries reported, payroll analysts earned an average salary of $50,776. In 2009, however, the average salary was $56,087. In 2011, payroll analysts earned $44,405, but in 2009, the average starting salary was $41,798. These figures are based on 11 salaries reported. These salaries represent base amounts that do not include benefits, such as bonuses or any other potential income that an employee might receive from her employer.

Certified Payroll Professional

The APA’s Fundamental Payroll Certification exam is for payroll beginners and support and service professionals. The Certified Payroll Certification exam is for payroll professionals with experience. Therefore, CPP designation is of a higher level than FPC designation. According to the APA, the annual starting salary for payroll analysts with CPP designation in 2011 was $52,261. In 2009, annual starting salary was $50,979. This data is based on five reporting salaries.

By Region

The 2011 APA survey breaks down salaries by northeast, south, midwest, west and pacific regions; it also includes the states that fall under each region. For example, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont are in the northeast. The average salary for payroll analysts in the northeast is $52,652. The south offers an average salary of $49,451 with the midwest at $48,157. The west and the pacific collectively offer average salaries of of $55,635.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment of accountants to increase 16 percent through 2020, approximately as fast as the average for all jobs. Obtaining certification from the American Payroll Association can improve your job prospects.

About the Author

Grace Ferguson has been writing professionally since 2009. With 10 years of experience in employee benefits and payroll administration, Ferguson has written extensively on topics relating to employment and finance. A research writer as well, she has been published in The Sage Encyclopedia and Mission Bell Media.

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