What is Payroll?
The term 'payroll' encompasses every employee of a company who receives a regular wage or other compensation. Some employees may be paid a steady salary while others are paid for hours worked or the number of items produced. All of these different payment methods are calculated by a payroll specialist and the appropriate paychecks are issued. Companies often use objective measuring tools such as timecards or timesheets completed by supervisors to determine the total amount of payroll due each pay period. After a payroll accountant multiplies an employee's hours by his or her pay rate, the gross income amount is entered into a calculator or computer program. Regular deductions such as tax withholdings, FICA payments (social security), medical insurance, union dues, charitable contributions and so on are then categorized and subtracted. The remaining balance is then converted to a check and becomes the employee's net pay for that time period. Payroll departments also identify the employer and employees by a federal code and keep a running tally on total income and deductions for the fiscal year. For small business owners, keeping enough cash in a payroll account is often one of their highest priorities. Even if the business itself hasn't become profitable, employees must still be compensated for their services. This is why many smaller companies prefer to keep their payroll obligations as low as possible until they've reached a certain level of profitability. It's not unusual for small business owners to forego their own salaries in order to meet their payroll obligations. Setting up an effective payroll system is not especially difficult for trained accountants, but it can be very time consuming. Some smaller businesses rely on user-friendly computer software to set up a simple payroll system complete with check printers and file storage. Larger companies may assign trained accountants to handle payroll issues as part of their overall duties. But...
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