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Senior Payroll Specialist (17871)

Date: May 19, 2023

Location: Washington, DC, US, 20016

Company: American University

Get to Know American University

At American University we value open and honest inquiry, servant leadership, and the affirmation of the human dignity of all. We envision a thriving AU community where individuals of all identities and experiences are understood, appreciated, and fully included, and where equitable treatment, opportunities, and outcomes prevail. 


Our diverse community of students, faculty, and staff represent every state and more than 150 countries. Our internationally recognized faculty are today's thought leaders in the areas of public policy, law, the arts, communications, international development, and more. Our staff are innovative, service-oriented, and dedicated to moving the university towards achieving its strategic goals. We are committed to an excellent experience for all of our students, faculty and staff and share a passion for creating change through our knowledge and our work. 


Learn more about American University by clicking here.  


The Sr Payroll Specialist performs the essential processing and auditing steps in the production of assigned Biweekly and Monthly payrolls. Additional processing includes: taxable moving expenses, weight watchers’ deductions and wellness incentives, other taxable gifts, California payroll, wire transfers for international employees, housing allowances, cell phone allowances, and overtime calculations for employees with multiple positions. This position will also act as backup for Payroll Specialists, StaffAccountant (wires for tax payments and retirement contributions), Garnishment processing, and Payroll Manager (as assigned). This position handles wage inquiries related to Workers Compensation, Unemployment claims, and prepares and submit the DC Labor Report. This position will review payroll data to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations and university policies and procedures. This position requires strict adherence to critical deadlines.


Essential Functions

  1. Perform the essential processing and auditing steps in the production of assigned Biweekly and Monthly payrolls. Process and record all special, manual, voids and replacement checks. Verify accuracy of requests. Ensure checks are posted to positive pay system at the bank. Print, prepare and distribute produced checks to requestors. 
  2. Prepare the Transit (Metro check) and list for processing each month and distribute to Specialists. Provide Parking report to Specialists every Monday for processing.
  3. Research, resolve problems concerning faculty, staff, and students' earnings and deductions while maintaining confidentiality required.  Calculate and submit various accounting and payroll adjustments such as separation/termination payouts, retroactive payments, multi-job overtime, short term disability and other miscellaneous type payments. 
  4. Assist in auditing all payroll data entered for each payroll. Includes reviewing of electronic time sheets or leave reports submitted for accuracy and compliance with university policy and procedures, verifying accuracy of tax forms submitted and entered and ensure compliance with legislation, checking for accuracy of direct deposit and other payroll deduction set ups and changes.  
  5. Provide backup for Payroll Operations Manager with running key payroll processes such as payroll CALC, leave audit and special check processing. Update leave accruals for each payroll. Backup the Staff Accountant-Payroll in preparation of tax and retirement payments or creation of journal entries as needed.  
  6. Prepare and file quarterly DC Unemployment reports and payments. Review and analyze benefits being paid for accuracy.
  7. Responsible for unclaimed property and final reporting to Controller’s Office. Requires staying abreast of checks that have been held in Payroll Office. 
  8. Assist with preparation and distribution of year-end W-2 reports. Organize/alphabetize tax forms, direct deposit forms, time sheets and leave reports for filing. 
  9. Perform special projects as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibility

  • This position requires interaction with the HR delivery teams, managers, supervisors and employees within their respective areas of assignment across the university.

Position Type/Expected Hours of Work

  • Full-Time, 35 hours/week
  • Non-Exempt
  • Coordinator/Analyst B
  • May sometimes be required to work overtime to finish payroll processes

Salary Range

  • Commensurate with experience

Required Education and Experience

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalentin business administration, accounting or other relevant field.
  • 2-4 years of relevant experience.
  • At least 3 years of related work experience.

Preferred Education and Experience

  • Bachelor's Degree.
  • Accounting background.
  • Experience leading/coordinating the work of junior payroll specialists.

Additional Eligibility Qualifications

  • Demonstrated experience using an automated payroll system is required.
  • Must be proficient in all facets of payroll processing for Biweekly and Monthly payrolls.
  • Critical and analytical thinking, oral and written communications and customer services kills.
  • Proficient knowledge of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) for payroll, benefit, and audit purposes.  
  • Must strictly observe confidentiality of information.
  • Knowledge of word processing, and spreadsheet software



AU offers a competitive benefits package including a 200% matching retirement plan, tuition benefits for full-time staff and their families, several leadership development certificates, and has been recognized by the American Heart Association as a fit-friendly worksite. Click here to learn about American University's unique benefit options.


Other Details

  • Hiring offers for this position are contingent on successful completion of a background check.
  • Employees in staff positions at American University must deliver their services to the university from either the District of Columbia, Maryland, or Virginia, or perform work on-site at the university.
  • Please note this job announcement is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time with or without notice.


Current American University Employees

If you are a current employee at American University, please log into AsuccessfulU through the myAU portal. Once in AsuccessfulU, please select the Careers tile which will take you to our internal career page. 


Contact Us

For more information or assistance with the American University careers site, email


American University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution that operates in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The university does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, an individual’s genetic information or any other bases under federal or local laws (collectively "Protected Bases") in its programs and activities.

Nearest Major Market: Washington DC