June 30, 2021
Bill Kimball

what is payroll

Note that the process differs slightly for hourly and salaried employees. Hourly employees clock in and out, and their pay stubs may vary a bit from pay period to pay period. Salaried employees earn a set wage that doesn’t change from week to week. Payroll is the reason each new hire needs to fill out and submit a W-4 tax form (or Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate). The employee details their exemptions, filing status, number of dependents, and withholding information so you, the employer, withhold the right amount of money from their paycheck in trust for the government.

This is because workers who need a job are not as responsive to changes in wages, but businesses are able to “shop around” for the best workers or shift production to different locations. The graph below roughly illustrates how the labor market distributes the payroll tax burden. The fact that the labor supply line is steeper than the labor demand line is a way of showing that workers are less sensitive to changes in wages than employers. The largest of these social insurance taxes are the two federal payroll taxes, which show up as FICA and MEDFICA on your pay stub. The first is a 12.4 percent tax to fund Social Security, and the second is a 2.9 percent tax to fund Medicare, for a combined rate of 15.3 percent. Half of payroll taxes (7.65 percent) are remitted directly by employers, while the other half (7.65 percent) are taken out of workers’ paychecks.

what is payroll

During payroll processing, a payroll administrator determines how much each employee has earned and how much to pay them after taxes and withholdings. At its most basic, payroll processing involves calculating earnings, calculating taxes and withholdings, and disbursing money from a main account to various places, including the employees’ paychecks. The bigger your business, the more logical it is to either outsource payroll to an external company or develop an internal accounting or HR department. Some accounting software accommodates more than 100 employees, though the more employees you add, the slower the software runs. Small business owners are responsible for pulling all of the above deductions from their employees’ gross pay and forwarding the payments to the right group.

Time tracking software uses biometric identification to prevent fraud and automatically calculates the hours worked. Whichever wage payment methods you choose to offer to your employees, be sure to review all state-specific requirements. Most allow electronic payment, but it generally cannot be the only option. Printed paychecks were the tried and true method of compensation for many years, but thanks to technology, there are more efficient and less expensive ways to pay your employees. Two such methods in use today are direct deposit and pay cards.

What Does A Payroll Timekeeper Do?

The amount you withhold is determined by the Forms W-4 submitted by your employees and current tax rates. In addition, the United States government requires that you pay federal unemployment tax and match what your employees pay in Social Security and Medicare taxes. Those who excel as a payroll manager have a specific skill set. They tend to be detail-oriented, organized, analytical and technically inclined. Their success, however, requires the collective teamwork of employees, managers and the human resources department.

Once you subtract taxes and other deductions, the employee receives their net pay, usually through a direct deposit into their bank account. Payroll is almost certainly your business’s biggest expense and one of the most complicated parts of running a business. We break down what payroll means, how payroll deductions work, and what options you have for processing payroll. It automates and streamlines payroll with its powerful inbuilt features like core HR, attendance and leave management, reporting and employee self-service portal module. It is also configurable with accounting software like Tally ERP and Quickbooks and attendance access control systems like matrix. If you use a cloud software, you do not need to be present in your office to be able to access your payroll data and employee data. In the absence of such integration, the payroll officer needs to provide all transaction details to accounts department.

If you offer your employees health insurance or retirement plans, explain the costs and how they can participate. Also provide information on paying for benefits on a pre or post-tax basis.

  • Federal, state, and any local income tax withholdings, which depends on how many allowances they elected on their W-4.
  • Employers must pay a match that is an additional 6.2% of each employee’s wages that caps at $132,900 worth of earned wages for each employee.
  • The payroll process would also track any overtime, paid time off, tips, and any other miscellaneous quirks to an employee’s pay.
  • These could include insurances, such as health, dental, or life insurance, deductions for certain retirement accounts, or deductions for FSA or HSA accounts.
  • Half of payroll taxes (7.65 percent) are remitted directly by employers, while the other half (7.65 percent) are taken out of workers’ paychecks.
  • Employees must report all tips to you, and there are payroll taxes on tips.

See how we help organizations like yours with a wider range of payroll and HR options than any other provider. Focus on what matters most by outsourcing payroll and HR tasks, or join our PEO. Managing people within the organization, the human resources department aims to bring out the best in employees, thus contributing to the success of the organization. The primary responsibility of the human resources department is to hire new employees, and this involves attracting the right candidates for available positions. After they bring on new employees, HR professionals must make sure the employees deliver according to expectations.

Additionally, CA has a requirement for the payment of double time, which is not required by the FLSA. Your employees should know how to log their hours – time clock, paper timesheets, etc. – the approval process, and disciplinary action for submitting false records. Payroll schedules are a matter of preference, but minimum standards may apply. Some states require at least semimonthly payments for all employees, while others have specific frequencies for different types of workers. If you are not bound by state payday requirements, you can choose whichever pay period works best for you and your workers. Employees, especially those in low-wage jobs, usually prefer to be paid more often, but as your pay frequency goes up, so does your payroll processing costs.

Solution To Control Activities In Payroll Processing

While the spikes in overtime may be a small piece of payroll data that indicates an issue, payroll data can also be used to solve the mystery of why there are staffing shortages. By bringing up historical data, it may be possible to determine whether the staffing shortages are seasonal, a result of call-outs, or a result of a larger issue.

While payroll deals with compensating employees, human resources takes care of employee relations. Although the two departments have distinct roles in an organization, they also share functions that are crucial for the organization’s success. Integrating human resources and payroll can reduce paperwork, allows automatic updating and reduce difficulty in providing consolidated reports. Sage HRMS Payroll is available as a standalone solution that helps you manage payroll, your way. Keeping an accurate record and ensuring payroll is operating smoothly is of utmost importance for most companies. For this reason, companies often outsource payroll, meaning they utilize a third-party payroll service to handle payroll matters.

what is payroll

A broader payroll definition includes the actual department in charge of employee remuneration and may refer simply to a company’s list of paid employees or the records of such compensation. Similar to other types of instant financing, payroll funding can cost you over time, but not paying your employees is a mistake most businesses can’t afford to make.

Defining Payroll Policy

When you consider these ramifications, it’s often best to dedicate the necessary resources, whether it’s time or money, to make sure you get payroll right. It also means calculating the right amount of taxes to withhold, garnishing wages, figuring out what counts as taxable income, and determining who qualifies as a taxable employee. Your business dedicates a huge chunk of time and money to payroll, and payroll also has a huge impact on how happy your employees are with you as their employer. Put simply, payroll taxes are taxes paid on the wages and salaries of employees.

As a payroll officer, it becomes your responsibility to dig into the data and extract required information and share the reports. In the next blog post on this topic, we will cover how effective these taxes are, as well as other potential issues they may have. Encourage them to check that pay, benefits, and taxes are being made correctly. Before starting work, your employees need to fill out a W-4 form. The information they give on this form helps you figure out how much tax to withhold from their pay. They’re required to tell you if there’s a change in their circumstances from what they reported.

In this section, I’ll break down employee information, hours worked, salaries and wages, deductions, and net and gross pay. The record of all the calculations for all employees is called a payroll register. This record shows all amounts of salary and wages for each pay period and totals for the year. If you have a payroll program as part of your business accounting system, the payroll register is part of that system. The totals are fed into the overall financial statements for your business. Most states require you to provide a pay statement in either print or electronic format at the time wages are paid.

If you’re a large business that operates across state lines, processing payroll this way is usually unfeasible. A more efficient approach is to use payroll software, which can run payroll in minutes thanks to automation. Often, the surest way to improve your payroll process is to work with a provider who can handle all aspects of payroll on your behalf. You may have peace of mind knowing that your employees are paid on time and your taxes are prepared correctly. Even if you’re not paying someone else to do payroll for you, it’s still considered a business expense.

They are deductions that are taken out after taxes have been taken out of an employee’s payroll. Unlike pre-taxed deductions, after-tax deductions do not reduce the amount of taxable income for an employee. Like pretax deductions, there are numerous forms of after-tax deductions that can be taken out of an employee’s check each payroll. The term “payroll” actually refers to the list of employees that receive compensation from a company. However, most companies generally use the term to refer to the money that is paid to the employees or the records that detail how much each employee has made. Payroll may also refer to the company, department, or software that is used to process paychecks and taxes or to the process of calculating and distributing employee paychecks. After the employee’s gross pay for a pay period is calculated, the employer must withhold FICA taxes , as well as federal and state income taxes from each paycheck.

If the employee has overtime hours, these are multiplied by the overtime rate of pay, and the two amounts are added together. Also included in gross pay is any other type of earnings that an employee may have. These may include holiday pay, vacation or sick pay, bonuses, and any miscellaneous pay that the employee may receive. If you’re a small business with only a few employees and choose to process payroll manually, you will need to keep precise records of hours worked, wages paid and worker classifications, among other details. You must also ensure your calculations are correct and remember to file all the necessary taxes and paperwork with government authorities on time. As you add more employees, the more challenging payroll becomes and any mistakes you make can result in costly tax penalties. In treasury management, a payroll is the list of employees of some company that is entitled to receive payments as well as other work benefits and the amounts that each should receive.

Each pay period, you must deduct 6.2% for Social Security tax and 1.45% for Medicare tax. You’re also required to match these deductions, which brings the total FICA tax per employee to 15.3%. This means that you need an accurate means of tracking time and attendanceso you can apply overtime wages in accordance with the law. The payroll and HR departments are also privy to confidential employee data, including financial information, social security numbers and home addresses. The two departments must work together to ensure that this information doesn’t fall prey to unauthorized individuals or companies.

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Payroll And Hr

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The automated features available in payroll software eliminate repetitive tasks, like manual data entry. The hourly rate, total hours worked, gross pay, net pay and deductions are usually required details. Avoid violations by contacting state labor departments for specific pay statement guidelines. The federal government does not require lunch or meal breaks, but most states do. When offering rest periods, clearly define their length and let employees know if the break is paid or unpaid and if they need to clock their time. FICA requires that a portion of every employee’s gross earnings help pay for Medicare and Social Security benefits.