Payroll Specialist

Vanguard University
Costa Mesa, California, United States

Date Posted: 06/27/2018
Categories: Human Resources
Job Type: Full-Time

Job Description:

The Payroll Specialist is responsible for the processing, recording and administration of the University payroll using a software suite that is proprietary to Paychex, Inc., the service provider contracted by the University. The primary function of this position includes timely and accurate processing of faculty, staff and student payroll. The position is also the primary liaison with Paychex and is responsible to maintain and enhance that relationship. The Payroll Specialist reports to the Sr. Director of Human Resources, and works collaboratively with the HR Supervisor and the rest of the HR team.


  • Perform daily payroll operations to accurately process and maintain semimonthly University payroll for over 600 employees via Paychex.
  • Manage the payroll related office workflow to ensure all payroll transactions for faculty, staff, and students are processed accurately and timely.
  • Reconcile payroll prior to final transmission and validate confirmed reports.
  • Process garnishment orders to include accurate calculation, notification, system input and compliance.
  • Input payroll payments for changes and additions, i.e. stipends, existing/renewal contracts, overtime, additional regular hours, benefits, retirement, tuition remission, W4, direct deposit, bonus, etc.
  • Respond to information requests from the Employment Development Department (EDD) regarding disability and family leave benefits.
  • Complete annual calculation of ministerial Housing Allowance in relation to annual wages for qualified faculty/staff.
  • Audit payroll reports at the end of every pay cycle and make corrections as necessary.
  • Close payroll in a timely manner; prepare and distribute all required reporting and data upload files.
  • Process out-of-cycle manual checks.
  • Process all employee Leave of Absence audits.
  • Create, maintain and update the 9, 10 and 11-month employee time off payment process.
  • Accurately and timely terminate employees in both the Paychex and Colleague (ERP) system and process their final payment.
  • Initiate contact with and finalize paperwork for States where Vanguard is hiring employees for the first time.
  • Reconcile the student labor transactions reimbursed by the food services provider.
  • Continuously perform internal payroll audits and make corrections as needed.
  • Create and distribute ad-hoc payroll system reports and queries as needed.
  • Diligently and continuously maintain and update payroll processes as guided by Federal and/or State laws and as required by the University, to maintain compliance.
  • In conjunction with HR staff, provide assistance to University employees including student workers regarding all payroll related matters.
  • Verify the data presented in the annual employee W-2 forms and Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting.
  • Reconcile and problem-solve all payroll issues and accompanying records, communicate solutions directly to HR and/or directly to the employee as needed.
  • Identify processing trends/issues and recommend solutions to the Sr. Director of Human Resources regarding all matters related to payroll.
  • Respond to employment verification requests with appropriate salary data.
  • Collaborate with co-workers regarding process improvements for personnel transactions, office processes, procedures and Paychex system via regular meetings.
  • Create and maintain up-to-date Payroll Policy and Procedure documents and the related desk procedures.
  • Perform additional related duties as assigned.


  • BA in Business Administration with emphasis in accounting preferred; equivalent experience acceptable in lieu of degree.
  • Acquired Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) certification is a plus.
  • Five or more years of payroll experience preferably in a college or university setting.
  • Ability to analyze data to suggest process improvements.
  • Strong PC skills including intermediate proficiency in Excel.
  • Clear understanding of proper taxation of employer paid benefits.
  • Knowledge of federal, multistate and local payroll regulations.
  • Knowledge of payroll best practices and relevant HR office procedures and terminology.
  • Ability to make decisions, problem-solve, convert, organize and analyze data into meaningful information.
  • Excellent organizational, multi-tasking and prioritizing skills.
  • Ability to meet deadlines and work with minimal supervision; self-motivator.
  • Maintain confidentiality of payroll and personnel data.
  • Ability to communicate clearly, both orally and in writing; ability to compose formal business/routine letters.
  • Strong work ethic and team player attitude; ability to relate well with staff, faculty and students. Applicants with Paychex and/or other payroll software reporting experience will be given priority.



Full-time position. Salary is commensurate with education and experience and includes a generous benefits package.


Applicant should submit a completed VUSC Application for Staff Employment and current resume. All applications/resumes/materials must be submitted electronically via e-mail to: . We are located at: Vanguard University of Southern California, 55 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Applications will be received until position is filled or until a sufficient number of applications are received.


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