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A payroll register includes employee pay and deductions.

What Is a Payroll Register?

When you run payroll, there’s a lot of information to keep track of: gross pay, net pay, taxes, deductions, and so on. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an easy way to see all this information at once for all your employees? You can with a payroll register.

What is a payroll register?

A payroll register is a record of all pay details for employees during a specific pay period. The payroll register lists information about each employee for things such as gross pay, net pay, and deductions. The register also lists the totals for all employees combined during the period.

The difference between payroll register and paycheck history reports

A paycheck history report gives the totals for an individual employee for a pay period. A paycheck history report doesn’t list other employees. A paycheck history can be given to an employee as a pay stub.

A payroll register report shows the totals from all employee earnings during a specific time period. Specific employee totals are shown, along with the total for all employees combined. The payroll register report combines information from individual paycheck history reports.

Information on a payroll register

The rows of a payroll register have information about individual employees. They might look similar to employee pay stubs. For each employee, the payroll register includes:

  • Name
  • Pay period
  • Pay date
  • Regular hours
  • Overtime hours
  • Pay rate
  • Gross pay
  • Federal, state, and local income taxes
    Employee withholding for Social Security and Medicare taxes
  • Other deductions
  • Net pay

A payroll register does not include information about employer taxes. However, some payroll registers might include this information anyway:

  • Employer contributions for Social Security and Medicare taxes
  • Federal unemployment tax
  • State unemployment tax

At the end of the payroll register, after all employee information is listed, there is a totals section. This is where all the employee information is combined. For example, you can see the total overtime hours worked by employees during the selected period. Or, you can see the total net pay for all employees.

You can adjust the time period for the payroll register. You might only want to look at the last run payroll. Or, you might want to pull up data for the last quarter. When you use payroll software instead of learning how to prepare a payroll register by hand, you can easily change the time period, and the software will pull up the information you want.

How to use a payroll register

You can use a payroll register for several tasks.

The payroll register can show you how much money you need to set aside for certain payments, such as employer contributions to Social Security and Medicare taxes. Seeing how much you need to set aside helps prevent you from spending that money on other things.

Along the same lines, you can use your payroll register to deposit and file your payroll taxes. You simply need to pull up the time period you are handling taxes for, and use the totals to determine the amount you need to deposit or file.

You can also use the totals on the payroll register to reconcile your payroll accounting. If a number doesn’t match up, you can look back in your payroll records to find the problem.

Payroll register example

Here is a payroll register sample. You can see the how there is an entry for each employee. Then, at the bottom, the totals are calculated for the time period.

Payroll Register Report Example

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This article is updated from its original publication date of 4/27/2012.

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