Home » Bookkeeping articles » Does the journal entry to record payment of wages to employees include a debit or a credit to wage expense? a Debit b. Credit c. Cannot be determined

Does the journal entry to record payment of wages to employees include a debit or a credit to wage expense? a Debit b. Credit c. Cannot be determined

August 28, 2023
Bill Kimball

Let’s say Sam is your only employee, and her pay date is coming up. Both debit and credit columns have $1,000, which makes them equal. This helps you check you’ve paid your supplier, which should keep them happy and your relationship strong. Otherwise, the delay in payment could result in reduced employee retention, i.e. a higher employee churn rate. On 4th March, Anna Ltd. makes a payment towards wages amounting to 40,000 in cash.

The accrual entry, as shown next, is simpler than the comprehensive payroll entry already shown, because you typically clump all payroll taxes into a single expense account and offsetting liability account. Payroll journal entries are used to record the compensation paid to employees. These entries are then incorporated into an entity’s financial statements through the general ledger. Salary is an indirect expense incurred by every organization with employees. It is paid as a consideration for the efforts undertaken by the employees for the business.

Keep Track of Your Biggest Expense

Some withholdings and the employer’s portion of FICA were remitted on payday; others are not due until a later date. Some withholdings, such as health insurance, were recorded as reductions of the company’s expenses in Hourly Payroll Entry #1. We will assume the amounts in the following Payroll Entry #4 were remitted on payday.

wages paid journal entry

Salary to partners is an appropriation of profits, therefore Profit & Loss Appropriation A/c is debited. Salary is paid to the partners of the partnership firm only if it is specified in the partnership deed. Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years.

Accounting and Journal Entry for Salary Paid

This check may be paid through the corporate accounts payable bank account, rather than its payroll account, so you may need to make this entry through the accounts payable system. If you are recording it directly into the general ledger or the payroll journal, then use the same line items already noted for the primary payroll journal entry. The primary payroll journal entry is for the initial recordation of a payroll. This entry records the gross wages earned by employees, as well as all withholdings from their pay, and any additional taxes owed to the government by the company. Let’s continue with our example of the payroll for the hourly-paid employees. We’ll assume that the distributor’s accounting month and accounting year both end on Saturday, December 31.

The matching principle requires the company to report all of its December expenses (not simply its cash payments) on its December financial statements. This means the company must report on its income statement the hourly wages and other payroll expenses that the company incurred (and the employees earned) through December 31. Wages Payable, or “accrued wages”, represent the unmet payment obligations owed to employees remaining at the end of a reporting period. Your employees complete time tickets as unfinished goods move through the different manufacturing departments.

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  • Learn financial statement modeling, DCF, M&A, LBO, Comps and Excel shortcuts.
  • Show related journal entries to be posted in the books of AB Ltd.
  • Many times the end of the year doesn’t fall exactly at the end of a payroll period.
  • This helps you check you’ve paid your supplier, which should keep them happy and your relationship strong.
  • Wages payable record the outstanding payment requirements still owed to employees, most often for employees compensated on an hourly basis.

Many times the end of the year doesn’t fall exactly at the end of a payroll period. For example, assume employees are paid every Friday and December 31 lands on a Tuesday. This means that at the beginning of the next year, January 1, the employer owes the employees two days worth of pay for the Monday and Tuesday worked in December. Using debits and credits for payroll accounting can seem confusing at first. However, they are useful tools that help you keep track of one of your biggest expenses.

Manual Payments

Recall that the paychecks issued on December 29 covered the work done by hourly employees only through December 24. On December 31, the company must record the cost of work done during the week of December 25–31. In addition, the employees’ holiday and vacation days must be recorded. We will assume the amounts in the following Hourly Payroll Entry #4 were remitted on payday. For the workweek of December 18–24, the gross wages are $1,000 for hourly employees in the delivery department and $1,300 for employees in the warehouse.

Salary expense is recorded in the books of accounts with a journal entry for salary paid. There may be an accrued wages entry that is recorded at the end of each accounting period, and which is intended to record the amount of wages owed to employees but not yet paid. This entry is then reversed in the following accounting period, so that the initial recordation entry can take its place. The wages payable account is usually used at the end of a period like a year-end.

April 1 & May 1 – Journal entry for salary obligation charged against the salary paid in advance. Step 2 – Transferring salary expense into income statement (profit and loss account). In the first entry, you will record your upcoming expenses and how much you owe (since you haven’t run your payroll yet).

wages paid journal entry

The journal entry to record payment of wages to employees includes a debit to wage expense. Since the employer pays the employees on Friday, these employees will have to wait until January 3 to get their full December wages. At the end of December, the employer owes the employees two days worth of pay, so it has to record that liability in its accounting system and present it on its financial statements.

Entry #1: Recording the Expense

The time tickets are a log of the hours each direct labor employee worked on the production line. These wages are earned, but remain unpaid until the pay period ends. To calculate your direct labor payroll, you gather the time tickets from the manufacturing departments. You make a journal entry to record the gross pay amount and the withholdings for each employee.

Salary is among the most recurring transactions and paid on a periodical basis. The amount of salary payable by the employer to the employee is specified in the employment contract. In this growing competitive world, every organization needs to retain its loyal and trustworthy staff members and make a timely payment towards wages and salaries to its workers and employees. Timely payment not only motivates and built the confidence of the workers and employees but also encourages them to achieve the organization’s short-term and long-term goals. You can use accounting software like QuickBooks to automate some of the steps. When you’re managing a business ledger, paying attention to detail and double-checking your work is important.

Manual payment entries are simpler than initial recordings since there’s no liability stage. To do so, you’ll need to calculate your accrued wages (or wage accruals), which are the total wages you owe but haven’t paid yet. You will record this calculation using an accrued wages entry, which increases the liability account. And since you paid her, you no longer owe her net wages, so you also decrease your payroll payable liability account by $1,545.13. You decrease your cash account by $1,000 since you spent that money. You also decrease your liability account (also known as a payable account) by $1,000 since you don’t owe that money anymore.

If you want to streamline your payroll processing, Hourly payroll software makes your life easier by automatically calculating and withholding taxes from your paychecks. They even send them to the government for you, so that’s one less thing you have to worry about. When you total up the debits and credits, you’ll see that each column has a total of $1,923. First, you record Sam’s gross pay by adding it to the expense account with a debit of $1,923. The volume of manual paycheck entries can be reduced by continual attention to the underlying causes of transaction errors, so there are fewer payroll errors to be rectified with a manual paycheck.

If you handle your own bookkeeping, it’s important to understand how to record a payroll entry to track this major expense. There may be a number of additional employee deductions to include in this journal entry. For example, there may be deductions for 401(k) pension plans, health insurance, life insurance, vision insurance, and for the repayment of advances. On payday, January 5, the checks will be distributed to the hourly-paid employees. The following entry will record the issuance of those payroll checks. On payday, December 29, the checks will be distributed to the hourly-paid employees.

For accounting purposes, a debit is usually used when you want to record a payment you made or are going to make very soon, and it’s on the left side of the ledger. A company may occasionally print manual paychecks to employees, either because of pay adjustments or employment terminations. For instance, you will use manual payment if you terminate an employee in the middle of a pay cycle and use a check to pay what they’ve earned so far. At the end of an accounting period, you (or your accountant) will prepare a summary of your general ledger.

Tax withholdings are hypothetical amounts from federal and state tax withholding tables. Other withholdings are based on agreements with employees and court orders. Initial recordings are the most common types of entries you or your accountant will create when doing your payroll accounting. These are the entries you saw in the examples that create the expense and then track each payment.

A payroll journal entry is a record of how much you pay your employees and your overall payroll expenses. That way, you can look back and see details about employee compensation, such as when you paid it, how much it was, and where the money went. It is quite common to have some amount of unpaid wages at the end of an accounting period, so you should accrue this expense (if it is material).