How to Run a Payroll Report Like a Pro
If you ever find yourself needing to complete all of your payroll report forms manually, we've got you covered! Here's everything you need to know.
Imagine a world where everything from processing payroll to compiling quarterly wage and tax reports was automated for you. Well, it’s no longer just a dream — that’s exactly what Roll by ADP does!
Creating a payroll summary report is one of the many tasks that has weighed heavy on the minds of small business owners. But now, thanks to Roll, it’s no big deal. Just like we handle all your other payroll woes, Roll takes the complex job of creating a payroll report off your plate.
The not-so-good news is that if you’re not using Roll (yet!), you’ll need to complete all of your payroll report forms manually. We believe that Roll is the #1 solution for all your payroll needs, but if you want to dive deep into the world of payroll reports, we’ve got you covered! Here’s everything you need to know.
What is a Payroll Report?
First, let’s go over the basics. A payroll report is a document that collates all of your payroll data in one place. It contains detailed information about each employee, team, and department, such as:
- Pay rates
- Employee taxes
- Employer taxes
Business owners use employee payroll reports to validate company accounting processes and verify their tax liabilities. It’s mandatory to file a quarterly or annual payroll report in some states and local jurisdictions, so it’s always a good idea to determine precisely what your payroll reporting obligations are ahead of time.
The Importance of Payroll Reporting
Whether it’s a state requirement for your business or not, there are several reasons why keeping track of your payroll data is vital. Even if you don’t have the time to analyze everything each time you complete payroll, quarterly reports can be a helpful tool for helping you manage and grow your small business.
We’ll level with you here. It will take a few extra hours of admin time if you’re not using the right payroll app to help you — and we know you’d rather spend that time doing pretty much anything else. But in the long run, you’ll save more time and money by putting a little effort into compiling a payroll report. Examples of key benefits include efficiencies across the following business areas:
Budgeting and Cashflow
Having a detailed historical overview of payroll over time helps you prepare and plan more accurately for outgoings over the upcoming month, quarter, and year.
With all the data you need conveniently stored in one central payroll report, filing taxes becomes much easier — plus, you lower the chance of accidentally omitting something that proves to be important further down the line.
Monitoring Employee Turnover
Access to actionable data helps you manage your employees better. For example, high turnover in a particular job role might indicate more training is needed to improve employee engagement and performance.
Including paid time off in your payroll summary report template means you can see at-a-glance how much paid time off each individual, team, and department has taken — and has left to take.
Types of Payroll Reports
With the basics covered, let’s take a more detailed look at the various types of payroll reports you may have to work on as an employer. Each of the following payroll report examples is compiled for different reasons. Understanding the differences between them helps you get a handle on which reports you’ll need to prepare and when.
Company Payroll Reports
Company payroll summary reports are for internal use only and ideal for when you’re after a detailed yet easy-to-digest snapshot of company-wide payroll expenses over time. To cover the basics, you’ll need to include amounts paid out in salaries, taxes withheld, and any additional tax liabilities.
Running a company payroll report each cycle after gross pay, taxes, other deductions, and net pay totals have been finalized allows you to:
- Predict your monthly cash flow requirements for the next pay cycle.
- Budget for additional expenses like recruitment and training.
- Calculate your quarterly FICA taxes more efficiently.
Creating regular company payroll reports and keeping them for the minimum amount of time also provides peace of mind that you have everything you need at hand, should your business be audited at any point.
State and Local Payroll Reports
As mentioned earlier, some state and local authorities require you to submit regular payroll report forms. The rules governing your reporting obligations vary depending on where your business is registered and where your employees live and work. But let’s say, for example, you employ staff in locations where you’re responsible for withholding income tax on paychecks. In that case, you’ll need to file quarterly and annual payroll reports as per the relevant state rules.
Federal Payroll Reports
We know the mere mention of federal tax rules can be enough to send many small business owners running for the hills, and we get it. Client feedback tells us that most small business owners find IRS tax reporting can feel complex and difficult to understand.
We know it can be an administrative burden, and keeping track of what forms to submit monthly, quarterly, and annually can be stressful. That’s why investing in a smart payroll app for small business to automate federal payroll reporting is a no-brainer for many employers. To help with your planning, here’s a quick review of the various federal tax forms and reports you’ll need to submit:
- Form 941 for quarterly reporting of FICA taxes and federal income tax withholding.
- Form 940 for annual reporting of Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) tax.
- Forms W-2 and W-3 for annual reporting of employee compensation and tax withholding.
Payroll Tax Reports
Payroll tax reports combine some of the information you’ll find on state, local, federal, and employee payroll reports. They are designed to provide the specific information you need to fulfill your local and national filing obligations based on the relevant forms for your business type and location.
Employee Payroll Reports
Also known as a pay stub, wage statement, or employee earnings report, employee payroll reports are specific to individual team members. Typically generated and distributed along with every corresponding paycheck, employee earnings reports should contain clear information detailing all wages, taxes, and deductions, including:
- Hours worked
- PTO taken
- Gross pay
- Taxes paid
- Deductions made
- Reimbursements awarded
- Garnishments taken
- Net pay
Most states require employers to provide a printed or electronic wage statement to every employee. It’s a good idea to create employee payroll records that show cumulative amounts as you progress through the financial year. That way, your staff can track their earnings and plan their expenditure and time off more efficiently.
Other Monthly, Quarterly, and Annual Payroll Reports
Of course, when you use a dedicated platform for payroll processing and reporting, the sky’s the limit for the number of custom reports you can create. So, the buck doesn’t have to stop at the five most common payroll processor reports listed above. You may also want to pull in data to analyze specific factors in more depth. A few examples include:
- Time tracking
- Retirement contributions
- Workers’ compensation premiums
- Independent contractor and per diem payments
- Gross pay vs. net pay trends
- Pay compression patterns
How to Run a Payroll Report
Creating a payroll summary report template might not appear too tricky at first glance. After all, you have all the data you need somewhere — even if it’s spread across multiple Google Docs or Excel sheets. But if you’re like a lot of small business owners, numbers may not be your thing. The majority of employers invest most of their time into developing and perfecting their products and services, and many small businesses aren’t large enough to justify hiring an accountant. That’s where investing in a small business payroll app like Roll can pay dividends.
Automating the process of generating payroll reports makes light work of calculating salaries, taxes, and payments. And the best part? You’ll never miss a deadline or miss out on the latest updates because our platforms are regularly reviewed and updated with the latest information.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating a payroll processor report with Roll:
- Step 1: Log in to your employer payroll portal on the app.
- Step 2: Go to the “Reports” menu, or simply type the words “payroll report,” and the Roll chatbot will take you through the rest.
- Step 3: Select the payroll or tax report you want to run.
- Step 4: Filter by year, pay period, range of pay periods, or employee/employees.
- Step 5: Print or export the report.
And, voila, you have your report! Yep, it really is that easy. No clunky forms, no meltdowns over math, and no stressing over deadlines. Job done!
Payroll Report FAQs
Still have questions? Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about payroll reports.
- Do I need to submit payroll reports even if I’m a sole proprietor?
Yes. Just because you are the only employee, it doesn’t mean you don’t have reporting responsibilities. Plus, keeping track of your income and expenditure via regular reporting is one of the best ways to manage your cash flow. Not sure which reports are relevant to you? Use the information on this IRS chart to identify the payroll report forms you’ll need to submit.
- Do I need to submit federal payroll reports for independent contractors?
You’re not responsible for withholding taxes from independent contractors, so you don’t need to submit 1099 payee details to the IRS. However, you must provide each 1099 employee with a Form 1099-NEC (Nonemployee Compensation) at the end of every tax year. Roll makes contractor payroll easy by sending contractors their year-end tax documents (1099s) automatically, and their payroll information is always accessible in the app when you need it.
- How do I get a Form 941 exemption?
- Has annual liability for Medicare and Social Security (i.e., you employ W-2 staff).
- Has withheld federal income taxes of $1,000 or less.
- Has not filed a return for the prior year (even if you have nothing to report).
Payroll Reporting is No Big Deal with Roll
Are you ready to say goodbye to your payroll woes and embrace stress-free reporting anytime, anywhere, on any device? Then don’t just settle. Roll!
Backed by our team of ADP experts, we have you covered with inbuilt tax filing, industry-leading data safeguards, and access to all the help you need, when you need it, with live in-app chat support.
As for how difficult Roll is to use? It's child’s play! We’ve ensured that our technology is as user-friendly as possible. The dashboard is so intuitive that no training is needed. Put simply: if you know how to text, you know how to generate payroll reports with Roll.
Sign up for one of the best payroll apps for small businesses today! Getting started is easy and takes less than 15 minutes. Check out the complete list of features and pricing plans today, and sign up for your free trial.