If you’re an employer, you can’t simply be on your merry method after paying your employees. You also should account for payroll expenses in your books. This is where payroll bookkeeping comes right into play. To ensure your accountancy publications are specific, learn just how to record payroll transactions.

What is payroll accounting?

Payroll accounting is the recording of all payroll transactions in your publications. As a business owner, you usage payroll journal entries to record payroll prices in your publications.

You are watching: The entry to record the payroll tax expense would include a

Payroll journal entries loss under the payroll account and are part of your general ledger. Record the complying with prices in your payroll account:

Employer taxes: Employer enhance of Social Security and also Meditreatment taxes, and also federal and also state unemployment taxesEmployee deductions for benefits: Health insurance, retirement setup, and so on Other deductions: Child support, spousal assistance, impressive taxes liabilities, etc.

Payroll bookkeeping helps you save track of employee compensation and also various other payroll expenses. Accounting for payroll gives you an accurate snapswarm of your expenses.

To obtain a clear photo of your company’s finances and also remain compliant, save your payroll accountancy up-to-day.


When it involves payroll accounting, you frequently use cost, licapacity, and asset accounts. Here are a couple of examples of various kinds of accounts in payroll accounting:

Gross Wages: ExpenseChecking: AssetFICA Tax Payable: Liability

Expenses are costs your organization incurs during procedure. When you pay an employee, you boost the cost account because you are paying them.

Liabilities are amounts you owe. Increase the licapacity account because, as employees earn weras, you owe even more.

Assets are items of worth your business owns. As you pay an employee, decrease your ascollection account to reflect the decrease in cash.

As you do your payroll accountancy, record debits and credits in the ledger. Whether you delittle or crmodify a payroll entry counts on the type of transactivity made. The debits and credits in your books should constantly equal each various other.

Types of payroll bookkeeping entries

When recording payroll in your publications, tright here are 3 types of journal entries for payroll bookkeeping that you should understand about:

Initial recordingAccrued wagesManual payments

You have to take care of each kind of payroll accounting enattempt in a different way. Typically, you work with initial recording entries. Let’s take a look at exactly how each payroll entry compares…

Initial recording

Initial recordings, additionally well-known as the originating entry, are the major entries for payroll accounting. It’s the initially entry you document to show a transactivity.

For these entries, document the gross wages your employees earn and all withholdings. Also, incorporate employment taxes you owe to the government.

Accrued wages

Record accrued wperiods at the end of each accountancy duration. These entries display the amount of wages you owe to employees that have actually not yet been phelp. After you pay the weras, reverse the entries in your ledger to account for the payment.

Manual payments

Manual payments come up occasionally in payroll audit. Use these entries as soon as you have to readjust an employee’s pay or for employee termicountries.

How to execute payroll accounting: 7 steps

At initially glance, payroll bookkeeping have the right to be scary. But if you follow these seven procedures, you can learn exactly how to account for payroll via ease.

1. Set up payroll accounts

If you haven’t currently, erected your payroll accounts in your chart of accounts (COA). Payroll accounts include a mixture of expenses and liabilities. Here are a couple of examples of payroll accounts:

Gross wage expenseEmployee FICA taxation payableFederal revenue tax payableState revenue taxes payableWperiods payable Employee health insurance payableVacation payable

Depending on your company and employees, you might have additional payroll accounts.

2. Calculate taxes and other deductions

Calculate taxes and also deductions to uncover out exactly how a lot you should withhost from employee weras and add as an employer.

Taxes vary depending upon the employee and wright here your company is located. Before you calculate any type of taxes, brush up on state and also regional payroll regulations.

Hold it! Consider using payroll software to simplify the procedure of calculating taxes and deductions. Payroll software application handles the taxation calculations for you, giving you more time to gain back to your service.

3. Gather payroll reports

If you decide to use software program to run payroll, gather reports to gain breakdowns of payroll transactions. You have the right to gather the complying with reports and files to make recording entries for payroll and also payroll taxes easier:

Payroll register: Includes all payroll transactions throughout a certain duration of time, employee names, pay days, payment quantities, etc.Payroll tax report: Shows a malfunction of the taxes you withheld from employee weras, plus taxes you owe as an employer.

You may also need to pull reports for deductions, contributions, and various other benefits.

4. Record payroll expenses

After you acquire the information to record payroll entries in audit, head on over to your books to gain cracking.

First things first, record payroll prices in your books. This consists of anypoint that you paid during the accounting duration (e.g., weras, salaries, and so on.).

Since they are paid quantities, increase the expense account. As a reminder, expenses rise through debits. Delittle bit the weras, salaries, and agency payroll taxes you passist. This will increase your costs for the duration.

When you document payroll, you mainly debit Gross Wage Expense and also crmodify all of the licapability accounts.

5. Record payables

Next off, document entries for amounts you owe however have not yet paid. These quantities are liabilities, or payables.

Due to the fact that you owe payroll quantities, you gain liabilities. Liabilities increase through credits. Crmodify the FICA taxation payable, federal earnings withholding payable, state revenue withholding payable, and any various other withholdings on employee paychecks. Doing so rises your payroll liabilities.

6. Double-inspect your records

After you finish entering your expenses and also payables, double-inspect your documents for accuracy.

Compare the quantities you gotten in to the information you have in your payroll reports. And, make sure that your debits equal your credits. If your publications don’t balance, remap your actions to discover your accounting mistake and also deal with it.

7. Transition audit periods

You inevitably pay amounts you owe to employees and federal government agencies. Phelp liabilities are no longer payables.

When you switch accounting durations, make additional journal entries to reduce the cash account and remove the licapability account balance. Decrease the licapability account by debiting the payable entries in your publications.

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

Payroll bookkeeping example

Understanding payroll accounting deserve to take time. But via a tiny little bit of practice, you’ll become an allstar at recording payroll bookkeeping journal entries. To obtain began, let’s take a look at a payroll journal entry example, shall we?

Journal entry #1

Say you have actually one employee on payroll. Your initially enattempt mirrors your employee’s gross weras, payroll taxes withorganized, deductions, and also net pay. It consists of the following:

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

Gross wages are an expense, which increases with a delittle. The rest of the accounts are liabilities. Crmodify your liabilities. Here’s how your first journal enattempt would look:

XX/XX/XXXXGross Wages1,000
Employee FICA Tax Payable76.50
Federal Income Tax Payable70
State Income Tax Payable30
Employee Health Insurance Payable25
Payroll Payable798.50

Keep in mind that your debits (left side) must equal your credits (right side). If they don’t balance, double-examine your totals and also look for bookkeeping mistakes.

Journal entry #2

Make a 2nd journal enattempt once you offer your employee their payinspect. When you pay the employee, you no much longer owe weras, so your liabilities decrease. And, your cash decreases because you phelp the employee.

Since it’s a liability, decrease your Payroll Payable account with a delittle bit. And, decrease your Cash account (an asset) via a credit.

XX/XX/XXXXPayroll Payable798.50

Journal entry #3

Eventually, you need to pay employer taxes and also remit withhosted taxes. This is where a 3rd accounting enattempt for payroll comes in.

Reverse the payable entries with a delittle bit and decrease your Cash account through a credit.

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The amount you crmodify your cash account is the total amount you should remit for federal and also state taxes.

XX/XX/XXXXEmployee FICA Tax Payable76.50
Employer FICA Tax Payable76.50
Federal Income Tax Payable70
State Income Tax Payable30
Federal Unemployment Payable25
State Unemployment Payable20

Payroll audit doesn’t have to be complicated. Simplify the method you record payroll transactions, revenue, and also costs by streamlining your publications via Patriot’s easy-to-use and also affordable online audit software application. What are you waiting for? Try it for totally free today!

This write-up has been updated from its original publication day of June 1, 2017.