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American Equity Payroll & Benefits Specialist in West Des Moines, Iowa



The Payroll and Benefits Specialist is responsible for all payroll-related processing activities, including but not limited to, payroll system administration in the company’s HR System, UKG Pro, ensuring mandatory and voluntary withholdings and deductions are accurately calculated and reported, timely payroll file processing and transmission, entering accurate new hire setup, and file and record keeping. The incumbent assists employees or managers with questions about payroll policies and pay discrepancies; and assists with benefit administration.


  • Processes company payroll cycles per deadline, including various bonus runs/imports, stock and stock option withholding, and all related processes; reviews checks and direct deposits for accuracy per processed payroll; ensures distribution of paychecks.

  • Ensures that mandatory and voluntary withholdings and deductions are accurately calculated and reported.

  • Reviews and enters new hire setup in HRIS; validates accuracy of organizational, job and employee information, including but not limited to, job, salary, title level, department, bonus plan, manager, etc.

  • Approves work hours and authorizes employee changes in the payroll system. Validates all supporting documentation of payroll changes within HRIS system.

  • Analyzes overtime (OT) report on a monthly basis for negative balances.

  • Prepares journal entries, requests for money transfers and payment of benefits.

  • Administers benefits and annual enrollment for all company health & welfare and retirement benefits. Processes 401(k) deferral changes received from Principal Financial Group; enters information in system.

  • Balances employee deferrals records to Recordkeepers information received for 401K plans.

  • Balances payroll information to accounting department records every payroll period.

  • Assists in the preparation of year end W-2s or other related tax filings, EEO pay or other reports.

  • Communicates benefits and payroll information to new employees; performs E-Verify on new hires within regulation requirements.

  • Provides documentation to support annual benefit, workers compensation & payroll audits; researches and assists with payroll internal controls and compliance issues.

  • Collaborates with Payroll Accountant on resolving issues relating to the general ledger account transactions; provides guidance to the Accounting Department for concerns or questions with the company credit card statement.

  • Enters job, salary and reporting relationship changes into HRIS.

  • Provides information to employees on 401k loans.

  • Manages Human Resource Administration Inbox within response time requirement; responds to employee inquiries and requests (payroll, benefits or employee relations).

  • Coordinates and executes the Employee Service Award Program.

  • Administers the company’s time management system, including timesheet setup and manager access; oversees administration of paid time off program.

  • Assists with human resources special projects.

  • Completes and responds to employment verification requests timely.

  • Assists with HRIS system setup, changes and future functionality as it relates to payroll and benefit tables.

  • Assists with new state tax system setup; conducts research regarding same and interacts with state taxing entities necessary to setup.

  • Authorized to work with employees regarding HIPAA issues including coordinating and maintaining the private room schedule.

  • Coordinates department functions, meetings, requests as needed.

  • Serves as backup for specific Human Resource Department functions.

  • Performs other related work as assigned.


Direct Reports: None

General Description of Indirect Reports (2 and 3-downs): None


  • High School or GED; plus a minimum 4 years of related experience; or equivalent combination of education and/or experience.

  • Experience working with payroll and benefits regulations.

  • Experience with international payroll setup and administration preferred.


  • FPC (Fundamental Payroll Certification) preferred.

  • Certified Payroll Professional designation a plus.

  • UKG (UltiPro) experience a plus.


  • Possess substantial knowledge of payroll and employee benefits.

  • Strong initiative with ability to perform work under minimal supervision.

  • Ability to work cooperatively and successfully with co-employees, customers, and other outside third parties.

  • Ability to successfully handle pressure and meet deadlines in a fast-paced work environment.

  • Effective verbal and written communication skills.

  • Strong customer service orientation.

  • Mathematical skills and strong attention to detail.

  • Strong organizational and planning skills.

  • Ability to solve complex problems in a timely manner.

  • Must be adaptable to change, delays and unexpected events.

Minimal to no travel is required in this job.