Skip to main content

Processing payroll is a crucial business function and payroll reporting is a vital part of the process.

Here I’ll take you through what a payroll report is as well as benefits, types, examples, and how to create one.

What Is A Payroll Report?

A payroll report is a document generated every pay period that records employee payments, including gross and net pay, deductions like taxes and insurance, and hours worked.

It details each employee's pay for a specified period (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly), and includes year-to-date totals for earnings and deductions.

Information is then shared with the appropriate government agencies who will match these reports against tax filings to check for consistency.

As such, a good reporting system is crucial for staying compliant with federal, state, and local regulations. The organization will also keep a copy on file for auditing purposes.

Download our 2024 Workplace Trends Report to stay ahead in a transforming HR landscape. Get insights from leaders on trends that will define your strategies in AI, talent dynamics, and DEI.

Download our 2024 Workplace Trends Report to stay ahead in a transforming HR landscape. Get insights from leaders on trends that will define your strategies in AI, talent dynamics, and DEI.

  • By submitting this form, you agree to receive the requested content, our newsletter, and occasional emails related to People Managing People. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more details, please review our privacy policy. We're protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Benefits Of A Payroll Report

Careful record-keeping is necessary for a successful payroll process. The benefits of generating accurate payroll reports are:

  • Accuracy in payments: They ensure accurate calculation and distribution of employee salaries and wages.
  • Compliance with legal requirements: Reports are necessary to remain compliant with tax laws and employment regulations, avoiding legal issues and penalties.
  • Record keeping and audit trails: They serve as a comprehensive record for internal audits and can be crucial during external audits or inspections.
  • Easier financial management: Accurate reports aid in budgeting and financial planning by providing detailed records of labor costs.

Types Of Payroll Report

It’s not one report to rule them all and organizations will likely produce a variety of pay reports including:

  • Pay register report: Summarizes each employee's pay for a particular period, detailing gross pay, deductions, and net pay.
  • Deductions report: Lists all deductions from employees' pay, such as taxes, benefits, and garnishments, providing a detailed breakdown for each category.
  • Tax reports: Includes various forms and documents necessary for tax filing purposes, detailing the amount of taxes withheld and paid on behalf of employees. These include Form 941, Form 940, Form 1096, Form 944, Form W-2, Form W-3, Form WH-347, and state and local tax forms
  • Wage and hour reports: Show hours worked by employees, including regular, overtime, and other types of compensable time, helping ensure compliance with labor laws.
  • Benefits report: Provides details on the cost and distribution of employee benefits, including health insurance, retirement contributions, and other perks.
  • Cost allocation report: Breaks down labor costs by department, project, or other categories, aiding in budgeting and financial analysis.
  • Workers' compensation report: Details the wages paid to employees to calculate workers' compensation insurance premiums.
  • Leave and absence report: Tracks employee leave, such as sick days and vacation time, monitoring availability and compliance with leave policies.
  • Year-to-date payroll report: Summarizes all payroll activity for each employee over the year, including total earnings, deductions, and taxes.
  • Payroll summary report: Provides a high-level overview of payroll expenses for a specific period, summarizing total wages, taxes, and deductions company-wide.

Payroll Reporting Best Practices

If you're doing payroll yourself, reporting is made much easier when certain aspects of payroll are automated using payroll software.

Some best practices to help ensure accurate and compliant reporting:

  • Maintaining accurate employee records: Keep employee information up-to-date, including tax information, hours worked, leave balances, and any changes in salary or job status.
  • Keep updated regarding policy changes. Put in place methods to stay informed about any changes to federal, state, or local regulations regarding payroll reporting.
  • Timely reporting: Ensure that payroll reports are generated and reviewed in a timely manner, allowing for any necessary adjustments before processing payments.
  • Documenting and standardizing processes: Document payroll processes, even if you're the only employee, and maintain standard operating procedures to ensure consistency and efficiency.
  • Maintain an integrated payroll system: This will help make it easier to remain compliant with payroll reporting standards and ensure all the areas that need to be covered in your reporting are addressed.

Get Your Payroll Right Down To A Tee

Payroll is a delicate process and payroll reports will help you make this process more accurate and compliant.

For further guidance on how to help you run a hassle-free payroll process, check out our payroll checklist and article on managing payroll for small businesses.

You can also subscribe to our newsletter to receive all our latest articles, podcasts, resources, and inspiration.

By Finn Bartram

Finn is an editor at People Managing People. He's passionate about growing organizations where people are empowered to continuously improve and genuinely enjoy coming to work. If not at his desk, you can find him playing sports or enjoying the great outdoors.