May 28th, 2024 Finance

Manager Payroll

San Diego, California, United States

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Please note that this position is based in San Diego, CA. Acadia's hybrid model requires this role to work in our office three days per week on average.

Responsible for semi-monthly payroll processing for a growing, multi-state, global organization including new hires, terminations, bonuses, leaves of absence (LOA), relocations, direct deposits, wage garnishments, vacation/sick accruals, tax changes, healthcare premium deductions, flexible spending account deductions, ESPP deductions, and 401(k) deductions.  Manages third party payroll related vendors, ensures compliance in all areas of payroll and works directly with employees to resolve outstanding payroll inquires.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Prepares and coordinates all facets of semi-monthly payroll processing in multiple states, Canada and the EU with oversight from the Sr. Manager, Payroll.
  • Interprets company pay policies, e.g., vacation, LOA, disability, workers comp, government regulations, withholding exemptions and ensures appropriate deductions are calculated and applied in a multi-state payroll environment.
  • Acts as first point-of-contact for employees with payroll-related concerns and/or questions.
  • Proactively identifies and resolves payroll discrepancies and determines most appropriate method of communication to employees.
  • Critically reviews and analyzes current payroll policies, including payroll tax implications, to recommend and implement changes leading to best-practice operations.
  • Ensures that payroll operations are conducted in accordance with Sarbanes-Oxley internal controls.
  • Maintains a high level of confidentiality at all times related to compensation information.
  • Manages 3rd party payroll-related vendor relationships, including payroll software, 401k, and relocation firm.
  • Prepares and maintains payroll records and reports, including standard and ad hoc reports to ensure data integrity, accuracy and timeliness as required by Finance, HR, and Equity Stock Administration.
  • Reviews and reconciles quarterly and annual, federal and state, payroll tax returns.
  • Reviews and distributes annual W-2s.
  • Prepares returns for multiple states.
  • Prepares semi-monthly 401(k) transmittals for employee deferrals and company match.
  • Provides documentation for payroll, 401k, and benefit audits; prepares annual 401k 5500 non-discrimination testing.
  • Assists in implementing, writing, and maintaining standard operating procedures for Payroll.
  • Maintains payroll files and records in accordance with company and regulatory requirements.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.


Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Business, Finance, Human Resources or other related field. An equivalent combination of relevant education and applicable job experience may be considered.  Minimum of 5 years of relevant progressive experience in payroll processing with a focus on commercial biotech organizations with multi-state operations.  Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) is preferred.

  • Strong understanding of Federal and multi-state wage and hour regulations and payroll tax filing procedures.
  • Payroll subject matter expertise to advise the company, including knowledge of best practices regarding reimbursement of relocation expenses, taxable fringe benefits and auto allowances.
  • Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) compliance experience.
  • Global payroll experience including Canada and the EU.
  • Experience managing equity from a payroll perspective
  • Proficient computer skills in Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook.
  • Experience working with Workday and ADP.
  • Highly detail oriented, self-disciplined, and ability to work independently with limited direction to resolve discrepancies and issues.
  • Clear written and verbal communication skills to ensure understanding of specific payroll matters.
  • Effective interpersonal skills to resolve confidential and often sensitive issues related to compensation with employees.
  • Strong and positive work ethic for a growing team environment.

Physical Requirements:

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel; reach with hands and arms; climb or balance; stoop, kneel, crouch, see, talk or hear in a standard office environment. Employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 15 pounds.



In addition to a competitive base salary, this position is also eligible for discretionary bonus and equity awards based on factors such as individual and organizational performance. Actual amounts will vary depending on experience, performance, and location. 

Salary Range
$106,000$132,000 USD


What we offer you (US-Based Employees):

  • Competitive base, bonus, new hire and ongoing equity packages
  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance
  • 401(k) Plan with a fully vested company match 1:1 up to 5%
  • Employee Stock Purchase Plan with a 2-year purchase price lock-in
  • 15+ vacation days
  • 14 paid holidays plus one floating holiday of your choice, including office closure between December 24th and January 1st
  • 10 days of paid sick time
  • Paid parental leave
  • Tuition assistance

EEO Statement (US-Based Employees): Studies have shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply for jobs unless they believe they meet every single one of the qualifications in the exact way they are described in job postings. We are committed to building a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and innovative company and we are looking for the BEST candidate for the job. That candidate may be one who comes from a less traditional background or may meet the qualifications in a different way. We would strongly encourage you to apply – especially if the reason you are the best candidate isn’t exactly as we describe it here.

It is the policy of Acadia to provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and employment applicants without regard to considerations of race, including related to hairstyle, color, religion or religious creed, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, gender transition, country of origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, legally-protected medical condition or information, marital status, domestic partner status, family care status, military caregiver status, veteran or military status (including reserve status, National Guard status, and military service or obligation), status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, enrollment in a public assistance program, or any basis protected under federal, state or local law.

As an equal opportunity employer, Acadia is committed to a diverse workforce. If you are a qualified individual with a disability or a disabled veteran, you have the right to request a reasonable accommodation. Furthermore, you may request additional support if you are unable or limited in your ability to use or access Acadia’s career website due to your disability, along with any accommodations throughout the interview process. To request or inquire about your reasonable accommodation, please complete our Reasonable Accommodation Request Form or contact us at or 858-261-2923.

Please note that reasonable accommodations granted throughout the recruiting process are not guaranteed to be the same accommodation given if hired. A new request will need to be submitted for any ADA accommodations after starting employment.

Notice for California Applicants: Please see our California Applicant Privacy Notice within our Privacy Policy.

Notice to Search Firms/Third-Party Recruitment Agencies (Recruiters): The Talent Acquisition team manages the recruitment and employment process for Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (“Acadia”). Acadia does not accept resumes from recruiters or search firms without an executed search agreement in place. Resumes sent to Acadia employees in absence of an executed search agreement will not obligate Acadia in any way with the respect to the future employment of those individuals or potential remuneration to any recruiter or search firm. Candidates should never be submitted directly to our hiring managers or employees.