How to Document Payroll Processing Procedures


Payroll processing is a detailed task that requires solid mathematical and problem solving skills. The employer or the payroll staff must ensure that all employees’ paychecks are accurate and timely. In many cases they have to interact with managers and supervisors to ensure that everyone within the company understands the payroll processing procedures. To efficiently perform their tasks, the payroll staff should devise a streamlined payroll system, which includes the documentation of critical payroll information.

Documenting Payroll Procedures

  • Document time clock and time card procedures. Many companies with hourly employees require them to punch a time clock; others require them to complete a time card. The pay hourly employees receive is based on their hours depicted on their time cards; therefore, any time clock or time card changes that are being implemented, must be reported to the all employees in writing. You may either send a memo to the managers/supervisors, or you may hand them a printed version of the changes. The managers/supervisors are responsible for relaying any necessary changes to their employees.

  • Print a yearly payroll calendar. Before the end of every year, carefully check the dates of the upcoming year to determine which dates payroll processing will occur. Take note of bank holidays, public holidays and any other company holidays. Use different colors to highlight submission dates for time card and payroll changes, and the actual pay dates. A professional printing company can assist you with printing these calendars. Distribute the payroll calendar to all the managers/supervisors.

  • Keep a standard payroll processing booklet for the payroll department. The booklet should include all the payroll processing steps. For example, if your company has a biweekly pay schedule, formulate the booklet so it states exactly how the processing of the biweekly payroll occurs from the start of the pay period to the end. This step is particularly effective when training new payroll staff.

  • Include the reporting and check handling process in the payroll processing booklet. After the paychecks are printed or the transmission of the direct deposit file to the bank has occurred, the payroll process is still not complete. Document these steps, such as printing and filing payroll registers and tax reports, and the names of the individuals who you will be handing the paychecks/stubs to. As the information changes with time, update the booklet and ensure everyone in the payroll department has a copy.

  • Ensure that each member of the payroll staff understands their role. Document and give them a copy of their specific job duties to ensure that during payroll processing they are aware of their responsibilities.

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