Payroll: All The Pieces

Missing piece!

Perils of Payroll

“I need help with a payroll issue on QuickBooks Desktop. Can you help me?” Whoa, that’s two strikes against this person inquiring. Payroll and Desktop. Ahhh, those were the days, about two companies ago, when our bookkeeping services included payroll. That was right before we were slammed with a 4,000.00+ penalty for not knowing the time frame of a bonus run that would be 24 hours late. Long story made short, the next day, Paychex was a happy camper getting all of my W-2 business. In those days, we would spend every waking moment in January making sure we dotted our “I”s and crossed our “T”s. Paychex saved the day and I got my Saturdays back the year after.


Payroll Puzzle

But, this young cry for help could not be ignored since I’ve known this woman since she was a toddler. The story reads like this: “I don’t know why, but my 940 wage base in my Payroll Summary does not match what is showing up on the 940 form. It has always equaled this amount. No, I’ve never had to do a payroll reconciliation in the 4th quarter with my Summary vs. my 940 Payments vs. the Annual form. QuickBooks always does it for me.”

Well, I know I’ve hear that before. Automation does the work for me. But what happens when you cant understand a glitch OR what if it isn’t a glitch, maybe just maybe, something in the setup is amiss. I wholeheartedly admit in front of all of my readers that I was afraid I couldn’t find the reason. I was going to have to pull from my brain a historical analysis that I haven’t practiced in a long time. But it did remind me of a phrase repeated over and over to my clients and even to my children as they pursued software (or graphing calculators), “If you dont understand the appropriate output of this accounting, how can you turn it into a process to automate?

Payroll Processes

First of all, we ran the Payroll Summary together. Because the difference equaled an unknown number, we noted the amount that differed on the Annual 940 Report. Then, we looked at last year and discussed the company contribution amount is what increases the Annual 940 Report. So, now that we figured out that amount, we came down to one exemption factor. We scoured the payroll items setup, we ran Employee Wage Reports. We looked at each new employee setup for 2017 and VOILA! Something triggered my young friend’s mind.

The search lead us to an uncheck box and it appeared that one employee was exempt from the 940 calculation. JOY AND RAPTURE!!!! SOUNDS OF TRUMPETS!!!!! Thrilled that I rocked her world with a valuable experience, she acknowledged the lesson and I sighed with relief. My parting words: (after I got her billing information) “Mark December 15th CALL CHRISTINE¬† to take you through a tried and true MANUAL process of reconciling. It will be worth your time and money. I also directed her to some heavy hitting payroll classes and let her know it is ok to give up the risk, responsibility and liability to a company who’s sole job is to bear that burden. Something to consider, right? So, who processes your payroll?


Here are some resources from Intuit’s website:

Payroll: Get Started

Payroll Guide


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