If you an employer, friend can’t just be on your merry means after paying your employees. You likewise need to account for payroll prices in your books. This is where payroll accountancy comes into play. Come ensure your accounting books are accurate, learn just how to record payroll transactions.

What is payroll accounting?

Payroll accounting is the recording of every payroll transactions in her books. As a company owner, you use payroll newspaper entries to document payroll costs in your books.

You are watching: Proper payroll accounting methods are important for a business for all the reasons below except

Payroll newspaper entries loss under the payroll account and are component of your basic ledger. Document the following expenses in her payroll account:

Employer taxes: Employer enhance of society Security and Medicare taxes, and federal and also state joblessness taxesEmployee deductions for benefits: health insurance, retirement plan, etc. Other deductions: kid support, spousal support, impressive tax liabilities, etc.

Payroll accountancy helps you keep track the employee compensation and other payroll costs. Bookkeeping for payroll offers you an exact snapshot of your expenses.

To acquire a clear photo of her company’s finances and also stay compliant, store your payroll accounting up-to-date.


When it pertains to payroll accounting, you generally use expense, liability, and asset accounts. Here are a few examples the different varieties of account in payroll accounting:

Gross Wages: ExpenseChecking: AssetFICA taxation Payable: Liability

Expenses are expenses your organization incurs during operation. When you pay an employee, you rise the cost account since you space paying them.

Liabilities are quantities you owe. Boost the legal responsibility account because, as employees earn wages, you owe more.

Assets space items of value your business owns. As you salary an employee, decrease her asset account to reflect the to decrease in cash.

As you execute your payroll accounting, record debits and credits in the ledger. Even if it is you debit or credit transaction a payroll entry counts on the form of transaction made. The debits and credits in your books should constantly equal each other.

Types that payroll audit entries

When recording payroll in her books, there room three types of journal entries for payroll audit that girlfriend should know about:

Initial recordingAccrued wagesManual payments

You must take care of each kind of payroll accounting entry differently. Typically, you job-related with initial record entries. Let’s take it a look at at exactly how each payroll entry compares…

Initial recording

Initial recordings, additionally known as the originating entry, room the main entries for payroll accounting. It’s the first entry you document to display a transaction.

For these entries, document the gross salaries your employee earn and also all withholdings. Also, encompass employment taxes you owe to the government.

Accrued wages

Record accrued incomes at the finish of each bookkeeping period. These entries show the quantity of salaries you owe to employees that have not yet been paid. After you pay the wages, reverse the entries in your ledger to account because that the payment.

Manual payments

Manual payment come up sometimes in payroll accounting. Use these entries when you have actually to adjust an employee’s pay or for employee terminations.

How to perform payroll accounting: 7 steps

At an initial glance, payroll audit can it is in scary. However if you monitor these 7 steps, you have the right to learn exactly how to account because that payroll through ease.

1. Set up payroll account

If friend haven’t already, collection up your payroll accounts in her chart of account (COA). Payroll accounts encompass a mixture that expenses and liabilities. Right here are a few examples the payroll accounts:

Gross fairy expenseEmployee FICA taxation payableFederal income tax payableState revenue tax payableWages payable Employee health insurance payableVacation payable

Depending on her business and employees, you may have added payroll accounts.

2. Calculation taxes and also other deductions

Calculate taxes and also deductions to uncover out how much you need to withhold indigenous employee wages and also contribute together an employer.

Taxes vary depending on the employee and also where your organization is located. Prior to you calculate any type of taxes, brush up on state and also local payroll laws.

Hold it! consider using payroll software program to simplify the process of calculating taxes and deductions. Payroll software program handles the taxation calculations for you, offering you more time to get back to your business.

3. Gather payroll reports

If you decision to use software application to operation payroll, conference reports to gain breakdowns of payroll transactions. You have the right to gather the following reports and also documents to make recording entries because that payroll and also payroll counting easier:

Payroll register: contains all payroll transactions during a certain duration of time, employee names, pay dates, payment amounts, etc.Payroll taxation report: reflects a breakdown of the taxes friend withheld indigenous employee wages, plus taxes you owe as an employer.

You may also need to pull reports because that deductions, contributions, and other benefits.

4. Document payroll expenses

After you get the info to document payroll entries in accounting, head on end to your books to obtain cracking.

First points first, record payroll expenses in her books. This consists of anything that you paid during the accounting period (e.g., wages, salaries, etc.).

Because they space paid amounts, rise the price account. Together a reminder, expenses increase v debits. Debit the wages, salaries, and company payroll taxes you paid. This will boost your costs for the period.

When you record payroll, you usually debit Gross wage Expense and also credit all of the legal responsibility accounts.

5. Document payables

Next, record entries for quantities you owe yet have no yet paid. These quantities are liabilities, or payables.

Because you owe payroll amounts, you gain liabilities. Liabilities increase with credits. Credit transaction the FICA taxation payable, federal revenue withholding payable, state income withholding payable, and any other withholdings on employee paychecks. Law so boosts your payroll liabilities.

6. Double-check her records

After you finish entering her expenses and also payables, double-check your records for accuracy.

Compare the amounts you gone into to the info you have actually in her payroll reports. And, make sure that her debits equal her credits. If your publications don’t balance, retrace your procedures to uncover your bookkeeping mistake and fix it.

7. Change accounting periods

You at some point pay quantities you fan to employees and also government agencies. Payment liabilities room no longer payables.

When you switch accountancy periods, make additional journal entries to mitigate the cash account and also eliminate the legal responsibility account balance. Diminish the legal responsibility account through debiting the payable entries in her books.

As you pay off quantities you owe, your assets (e.g., cash) decrease. To show the diminish in assets, credit transaction the appropriate asset account, such as your Cash account.

Payroll audit example

Understanding payroll accounting can take time. However with a little bit the practice, you’ll become an allstar at recording payroll bookkeeping journal entries. To gain started, let’s take a look in ~ a payroll newspaper entry example, chandelier we?

Journal entrance #1

Say you have one employee ~ above payroll. Your an initial entry reflects your employee’s pistol wages, payroll counting withheld, deductions, and also net pay. It consists of the following:

Gross incomes Employee FICA tax payableFederal income tax payableState revenue tax payableEmployee wellness insurance payablePayroll payable (aka the employee’s net wages)

Gross wages are an expense, which boosts with a debit. The rest of the accounts space liabilities. Credit your liabilities. Here’s just how your an initial journal entry would certainly look:

XX/XX/XXXXGross Wages1,000
Employee FICA taxation Payable76.50
Federal income Tax Payable70
State revenue Tax Payable30
Employee health Insurance Payable25
Payroll Payable798.50

Keep in mind the your debits (left side) should equal your credits (right side). If they don’t balance, double-check her totals and look for audit mistakes.

Journal entry #2

Make a second journal entry as soon as you provide your employee your paycheck. When you pay the employee, girlfriend no longer owe wages, so your liabilities decrease. And, your cash decreases due to the fact that you payment the employee.

Because that a liability, decrease her Payroll Payable account through a debit. And, decrease your Cash account (an asset) with a credit.

XX/XX/XXXXPayroll Payable798.50

Journal entry #3

Eventually, you need to pay employer taxes and also remit withheld taxes. This is whereby a 3rd accounting entry for payroll come in.

Reverse the payable entries v a debit and decrease your Cash account with a credit.

See more: " 8 Simple Rules Goodbye (Tv Episode 2003), 8 Simple Rules S2 Ep 4 Goodbye 1

The quantity you credit transaction your cash account is the complete amount you need to remit because that federal and also state taxes.

XX/XX/XXXXEmployee FICA tax Payable76.50
Employer FICA taxation Payable76.50
Federal earnings Tax Payable70
State earnings Tax Payable30
Federal unemployment Payable25
State joblessness Payable20

Payroll accounting doesn’t have to be complicated. Leveling the way you record payroll transactions, income, and expenses by streamlining your publications with Patriot’s easy-to-use and also affordable online accountancy software. What are you wait for? shot it for totally free today!

This post has to be updated from its initial publication date of June 1, 2017.