7 Different Types of Payroll Reports Every Business Needs

“Payroll problems affect approximately 82 million U.S. employees, with around 25% experiencing paycheck errors. The IRS estimates that about one-third of employers make payroll mistakes annually, leading to nearly $7 billion in penalties collected in 2021. On average, these errors cost employers almost $850 per year.”

Payroll processing is a crucial function for any business, but it’s not just about cutting checks. Keeping track of employee hours, taxes, and deductions requires meticulous record-keeping. This is where types of payroll reports come in. These reports not only ensure accuracy and compliance but also offer valuable insights into your workforce.

Did you know that according to a report, payroll processing errors cost businesses an average of 1% of their gross payroll expenses annually? That’s a significant amount! Utilizing the right reports can significantly reduce this risk.

Let’s understand this in detail.

What is a Payroll Report?

A payroll report is a financial record that tracks employee wages, taxes withheld from their paychecks, and employer contributions. It is like a detailed receipt for your company’s payroll activity.
These reports are used for two main purposes:

  • Compliance: They are submitted to government agencies like the IRS to show you’re paying the correct amount of employment taxes (like Social Security and Medicare) on your employees’ wages.
  • Record-keeping: They help you track your payroll expenses, ensuring accuracy and allowing you to analyze trends like labor costs over time.

The report typically includes information such as:

  • Employee wages
  • Hours worked
  • Federal and state income taxes withheld
  • Social Security and Medicare taxes
  • Reported tips (if applicable)
  • Unemployment taxes
  • Any other deductions (like health insurance premiums)

For companies with international operations, global payroll services can ensure these reports are compliant with regulations in each country where your employees are located.

7 Types of Payroll Reports

Payroll reports are the workhorses of any business, keeping track of employee compensation and ensuring compliance with regulations. But with different types serving various purposes, it can get confusing. Let’s break down the key categories:

1) Employee Payroll Reports (Pay Stubs)

These individualized reports are like receipts for each employee. They detail their gross wages (total pre-tax earnings), deductions (including federal, state, and local taxes, as well as health insurance premiums or retirement contributions), and net pay (the amount deposited into their account).
These reports are crucial for:

  • Transparency: Employees can verify their earnings and deductions, fostering trust and open communication.
  • Accuracy: Pay stubs help identify any errors in pay calculations or deductions.
  • Legal Compliance: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) often mandates providing employees with a record of their earnings and deductions.

2) Company Payroll Reports

These reports offer a company-wide view of payroll expenses for a particular period (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly). They typically include total wages paid, taxes withheld, and deductions made. This information helps with budgeting and cash flow management.

They typically include:

  • Total wages paid to all employees during the period.
  • Total taxes withheld, categorized by federal, state, and local.
  • Total deductions made, including benefits contributions.

These reports are essential for:

  • Budgeting: By analyzing past payroll data, businesses can create realistic budget forecasts for future expenses.
  • Cash Flow Management: Knowing upcoming payroll expenses helps ensure sufficient funds are available to meet those obligations.
  • Identifying Payroll Trends: Tracking changes in total payroll costs over time can help businesses identify areas for cost-saving or budget adjustments.

3) Time Tracking Reports

If your business uses hourly employees, time tracking reports are essential. They detail individual employee hours worked, overtime, and any paid time off taken (sick leave, vacation days, etc.). This data ensures accurate pay calculations and helps identify potential time management issues. Benefits include:

  • Accurate Pay Calculations: Time tracking data ensures employees are paid correctly for their hours worked and avoids over or underpayment.
  • Identifying Time Management Issues: Reports can reveal inefficiencies, such as excessive overtime, unauthorized breaks, or late arrivals.
  • Project Management: Accurate time tracking data can help businesses analyze project costs and identify areas for improvement.

4) Federal Payroll Reports

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires businesses to submit specific reports quarterly and annually. These reports detail employee income and withholding taxes, allowing the IRS to calculate payroll tax liabilities. Common examples include:

  • Form 941: This report summarizes federal income tax, Social Security, and Medicare taxes withheld from employee paychecks for a quarter. It’s due by the last day of the month following the quarter’s end (April 30th, July 31st, October 31st, and January 31st).
  • Form W-2: This report summarizes an employee’s annual earnings and withheld taxes for federal, state, and local jurisdictions. By January 31st of the following year, businesses must distribute W-2s to employees and submit copies to the Social Security Administration (Form W-3).

Failure to submit these reports on time can result in penalties and interest charges from the government.

5) State and Local Payroll Reports

Many states and localities have their own payroll tax reporting requirements, similar to federal reports but focusing on state and local income taxes and unemployment insurance contributions. Businesses need to stay updated on their specific state and local requirements to ensure compliance.

6) Benefits Reports

These reports track employee participation in benefits programs like health insurance and retirement plans. They help with:

  • Accurate Deductions and Contributions: Reports ensure the correct amount is deducted from employee paychecks and contributed to the respective benefit plans.
  • Benefits Administration: Tracking participation allows for better management of benefit programs.

7) Garnishment Reports

If a court orders wage garnishment for an employee’s debt repayment, these reports track the amount withheld from their paycheck and sent to the creditor.

Besides the reports, you should also have an understanding of “What Is SOC Compliance” to effectively manage your global payroll operations.

Beyond Compliance: Using Reports for Better Business Decisions

While compliance is essential, payroll reports offer more than just meeting legal requirements. By analyzing these reports, businesses can:

  • Identify payroll trends: Track labor costs over time to make informed budgeting decisions.
  • Monitor overtime: Excessive overtime can indicate staffing shortages or inefficiency.
  • Analyze employee benefits: Reports can help assess the cost-effectiveness of benefits programs.

Investing in the Right Tools

Managing these various types of payroll reports can be time-consuming and complex, especially for larger businesses. Fortunately, payroll software and the right employer of record services can automate many of these tasks, ensuring accuracy and streamlining the entire process.

By understanding the different types of payroll reports and utilizing them effectively, businesses can ensure accurate payroll processing, maintain compliance, and gain valuable insights to make better decisions.