Although it’s more practical to partner with a payroll provider, it is still possible to manage your payroll yourself.
Payroll management is key to making sure your employees get paid on time and that you meet your legal obligations.
To properly track and issue payroll, there are many steps.
A payroll service or software that is right for you can ensure that your payroll is done correctly and in a timely fashion.
This article is intended for small business owners as well as human resource professionals who are looking to improve their payroll processing.
What is payroll processing?
Payroll processing refers to the process of paying employees after a payroll period has ended. Payroll processing involves several steps to ensure that employees are paid correctly. Although payroll is usually managed by a payroll professional, it may also fall within the scope of human resources.
How do you process payroll?
Step 1: Establish your employer identification number.
Establishing your EIN, state and local tax IDs is the first step to processing payroll. These identifications are used by the government to track payroll taxes for your business and ensure that you meet all requirements.
You can go to the IRS website to get an EIN if you don’t have one or don’t know how to create one. You will need to contact your state or municipality for your local tax IDs. Are you looking for the best reviews on payroll systems for small businesses? We can help!]
Step 2: Collect tax information from employees.
To account for tax allowances, you will need to have your employees fill out tax forms before you can start processing payroll. If it is a new hire, these forms will include the W-4 (if applicable) and I-9 (if applicable). You will need to fill out various forms in different states and cities, depending on the location of your business.
These documents should be available before you process an employee’s first paycheck.
Step 3: Select a payroll schedule.
Once you have all the necessary tax and legal information, you can select the schedule that best suits your business. There are four major schedules to choose from: semimonthly (monthly), biweekly (biweekly), and weekly. Before you decide which plan is right for your company, it’s important that you fully understand each plan. After you have chosen a schedule, create a calendar that includes paydays. Make note of the days you will need to process payroll so your employees can get their money on those designated days.
You should include important tax dates for quarterly, holidays, and annual filings. This must be done at the beginning of each year. It is also important to determine the preferred delivery method for each employee. Many businesses offer employees the option of choosing between direct deposit or paper check.
Step 4: Calculate gross pay.
Once you have created a payroll schedule, it is time to start processing your first paycheck. You will need to calculate the gross pay for each employee. This is the employee’s total work hours multiplied with their hourly rate.
Begin by counting the hours worked by an employee in a given period. Take note of overtime hours. Extra time must be paid at a higher rate in accordance with federal law. You will have to pay time and half if an hourly worker works more than 40 hours per workweek.
Step 5: Determine the deductions for each employee.
To determine the deductions for each employee, gather information from W-4s of workers, state and federal requirements, insurance requirements, benefits requirements, and other relevant documents. This step can be complicated because each state collects different taxes for small businesses. You’ll need to investigate the policies of your state before you do this. These are some common requirements:
- Federal taxes
- Social Security
- State taxes
- Local taxes
- Contributions to 401(k).
- Contributions to workers’ compensation
- Other benefits
Step 6: Calculate the net pay and pay your employees.
Add the employee’s deductions to their gross pay. The net pay or take-home pay of an employee is the amount that remains. This is the amount that you will pay each employee. Depending on your schedule, you will need to keep the deductions in order to pay the payroll taxes each quarter or month.
Once you have established the net pay for each employee, you can then pay them on their payday. These are just a few examples of how to pay your employees.
- You can mail paper checks to the recipient or distribute them at work.
- Direct deposit to their bank account
- Prepaid cards loaded with take-home pay
- Mobile wallet that allows you to deposit the pay of your employees
- Cash (although this option requires more detail recordkeeping and may pose a safety risk)
Step 7: Make any corrections and keep payroll records.
Keep records of all transactions as you process payroll for tax and compliance purposes. You need records in case an employee disputes payment. It is important to keep records, especially if an employee disputes a paycheck. This will allow you to sort out any issues that may arise.
Step 8: Keep an eye out for ongoing considerations.
Remember that your business must file its taxes quarterly or annually. To ensure that you fully understand the implications of payroll taxes on your business, it is a good idea to speak with an accountant. Any new hires will also need to be reported to the IRS. This is usually not your responsibility if you are working with an accountant or payroll software.