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Associate Director, Payroll

Job ID: 5407

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

Location: Chicago, IL, United States

Category: Finance/Accounting


About Kirkland & Ellis

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a preeminent, full-service law firm with offices around the world and a staff as diverse as the practice areas we support. Our clients range from Fortune 100 companies to medium and small corporations, financial institutions, and private equity firms.  Known for our commitment to excellence, Kirkland strives to provide superior service to our clients as well as our fellow employees. From Information Technology to Human Resources, Paralegal Services to Business Development, Kirkland offers non-attorney professionals challenging careers in a variety of functional areas. Whether starting or growing your career, Kirkland can offer a performance-driven culture filled with bright and innovative teams of co-workers.

Essential Job Functions

The Associate Director, Payroll is responsible for all aspects of the partner and staff payroll functions including the efficient and effective use of Firm resources to ensure timely and accurate processing of semi-monthly payroll, related payroll tax payments and filings (quarterly and annual), wage garnishments, issuance of W-2’s and general ledger postings to the Firm’s financial system. This role will lead in the identification of opportunities to enhance the current payroll processes.


  • Manage the Firm’s semi-monthly partner and staff payroll processes, including review of for accuracy, authorization compliance, and supporting documentation
  • Review and approval of partner compensation activity to ensure the accuracy of earnings and deductions
  • Understand and manage the flow of information between the various functions involved with payroll processes and the payroll system to ensure that payroll is processed correctly
  • Keep abreast of Firm payroll and distribution policies, as well as current legislation that could potentially impact the payroll function; ensure the Firm is in compliance and liaise with the Firm’s Human Resource department, as needed
  • Critically review the Firm’s payroll processes and work with the Finance management team to implement changes that strengthen controls and create efficient processes
  • Collaborate with various members of the Firm’s administrative management team (Treasury, Partner Services, Tax, Human Resources, Benefits, etc.) to provide excellent customer services to individuals regarding payroll inquiries and enhance the efficiency, quality, and costs associated with payroll preparation
  • Approve payroll related journal entries; work with other members of the Finance department in resolving reconciling items on cash/balance sheet reconciliations in a timely manner
  • Manage, develop, and coach the Payroll team members to ensure effectiveness and growth of the team; maintain awareness of employee morale by creating an environment of open communication
  • Manage the review of all electronic and hard copy payroll records to ensure compliance with the Firm’s record retention policy
  • Respond to internal and external requests for payroll data
  • Main point of contact for all external and internal audits
  • Willingness and ability to work extended hours to ensure successful execution of the Firm’s payroll processes
  • Special projects as requested by the Finance leadership team

Qualifications & Requirements

  • A minimum of 10 years of payroll experience in an international, multi-state professional services organization; preferably a law firm
  • A Bachelor’s degree in a Business or related field as well as payroll professional certification (e.g. CPP with APA) is required
  • At least 5 years of management responsibilities of a payroll team with a demonstrated track record of successfully leading, and mentoring a team; able to engage staff while driving innovation and productivity
  • Extensive experience and knowledge of PeopleSoft payroll software
  • Knowledge and awareness of expatriate payroll, including knowledge of related international payroll laws and regulations are necessary
  • Demonstrated high level of diplomacy, confidentiality, and excellent judgement in navigating sensitive issues; influential with the ability to lead and engage teams with the objective of distinctive client services
  • Able to facilitate discussions to enable people to collaborate with each other independently as well as promote collaboration across multiple parties.
  • Proactive with excellent critical thinking and decision-making skills; able to identify unique solutions to complex issues
  • Ideal candidates will be able to to multi-task and effectively prioritize and operate in a fast paced and dynamic environment


  • PeopleSoft Payroll
  • Proficient in Microsoft Outlook, Word and Excel


  • This job operates in a professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, and filing cabinets.

How to Apply

Thank you for your interest in Kirkland & Ellis LLP.  To complete an application and submit your resume, please click "Apply Now."

Equal Employment Opportunity

All employment decisions, including the recruiting, hiring, placement, training availability, promotion, compensation, evaluation, disciplinary actions, and termination of employment (if necessary) are made without regard to the employee’s race, color, creed, religion, sex, pregnancy or childbirth, personal appearance, family responsibilities, sexual orientation or preference, gender identity, political affiliation, source of income, place of residence, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, age, marital status, military veteran status, unfavorable discharge from military service, physical or mental disability, or on any other basis prohibited by applicable law.

Closing Statement

The job postings and recruiting mailbox are for candidates only. If you are a recruiter, search firm or employment agency, and do not have a signed contract with Kirkland & Ellis LLP ("K&E") and have not been asked specifically to submit candidates, you will not be compensated in any way for your referral of a candidate even if K&E hires the candidate. Direct contact with K&E employees in an attempt to present candidates is inappropriate and will be a factor in determining any future professional relationship with the Firm.