What Is a Payroll Register?

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Running payroll can be one of the most stressful and time-consuming elements of any business. The effort to get wages and hours correct and submitted on time alone requires dedicated work. The job does not end there, though. There need to be meticulous records kept to submit taxes, be compliant with state and federal audits, and provide data for several elements of analysis.

This is where a payroll register comes in. With so much riding on the accurate storage of your payroll information, modern payroll registers are a hub for business owners, financial teams, and accounting professionals. Learn more about what a payroll register is and how to utilize it best.

What Does a Payroll Register Do?

Even for the most straightforward companies, payroll has many moving parts that need tracking. A payroll register is a functional solution to that – every time you pay an employee or adjust an employee’s wages, a payroll register aggregates the data and stores it for record-keeping purposes.

From there, the payroll register can break it out into multiple parts. At its simplest, you can think of it as a checkbook; it will balance all the wages drawn from each pay period, federal and state tax liabilities, and any other line items involved in employee checks.

It also stores any pertinent information totaled by your payroll processes. This includes paid time off, sick days, and deductions. Similarly, if you want to look at a singular paycheck for one person, or one pay period for a set of employees, the payroll register allows you to do that as well. It is the first line of defense for accounting errors and questions about pay.

Information on a Payroll Register

Generally speaking, a payroll register will include the following information regarding your employees and their wages:

  • Name
  • Pay Periods + Dates
  • Regular Hours
  • Overtime Hours (if applicable)
  • Specialized Wage Rates
  • Deductions
  • Federal, State, and Local Income Taxes
  • Social Security + Medicare Taxes
  • Employer Contributions to Benefits
  • Net Pay

These are not always the same from company to company, but they are typically quite similar. You can use the payroll register to look up any of this information by itself or break it out using payroll reports.

What is a Payroll Journal?

The payroll journal is a great secondary source of information regarding your payroll transactions. Instead of breaking down each transaction by individual paycheck or employee, the journal lumps together gross wages for all employees, taxes, insurance, and net wages withdrawn.

Your payroll journal is a great way to get a quick idea of payroll’s impact on your overall finances. It is pretty standard for business owners to use a payroll journal to present a broad picture of a financial situation that needs addressing. Accounting professionals then dig in using the payroll register to analyze it in micro-components.

What is a Payroll Report?

There are many different payroll reports, and they all can serve a valuable purpose to business owners, human resource managers, or accounting professionals. Payroll reports are like miniature payroll registers – they can summarize according to a designated timeframe or by details for specific employees. The data you’re sourcing can be anything that your payroll processor tracks.

Reports this versatile are immeasurably valuable if you are getting audited or need to provide information quickly regarding your payroll history. Without specific payroll reports, your accounting team would have to export all the data from your payroll register and sort it manually – something that certainly had to happen in the past but is mitigated by high-powered payroll software today.

Payroll Register Best Practices

To keep your payroll register accurate, dynamic, and helpful for multiple parties, we recommend using the following best practices for small businesses:

  • Classify your employers properly
  • Automate payroll notifications and deadlines
  • Use direct deposit as much as possible
  • Have an HR Handbook
  • Keep organized payroll records
  • Analyze your payroll annually

If you adhere to these principles and have strong accounting professionals to utilize the information you gather, it can do wonders for your bottom line. We recommend working with outsourced payroll professionals if you need help setting up and maintaining these payroll components.

How do I run a payroll report in Quickbooks?

If you still opt to do your accounting in-house with Quickbooks, do not worry. We still love you! In fact, we offer Quickbooks training and have quick tips readily available on our website to empower small business owners ambitious enough to take on bookkeeping in addition to all of their gazillion other responsibilities. To run a payroll report in Quickbooks, you will simply select the “Reports” option, followed by “Employees & Payroll,” followed by “Payroll Summary.” Be sure that the dates you select for the “To” and “From” options are accurate depending on the reason you need that particular report and voilà, you are now an accounting ninja! One quick tip based on feedback from those using Quickbooks: Use the desktop version. While the online version has everything you need, most users find the desktop version be easier to navigate, which allows you more time to get back to running your business!

PayTech can Help Elevate your Payroll Process

At PayTech, we have decades of experience helping small businesses optimize their payroll services. We’d love to show you how to use your payroll register properly – or take care of any other outsourced payroll service that can save you time and money.

Don’t let payroll processes get in the way of your business’s success – reach out to us today for a consultation.

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