Closing a Payroll Period

The process of closing a payroll period should be completed for several reasons. Closing the payroll period:

  • Generates an exportable payroll report with overtime and other totals necessary to complete running payroll.
  • Calculates certain types of time off accruals.
  • Archives employee time in the closed payroll period.
  • Calculates contractor total pay.
  • Removes the time from the dashboard totals.

To Close a Payroll Period

To begin, click Close Payroll Period in the left menu to reveal the payroll close form.

  1. Select the users to include in your payroll period.
    • Choose from Include All Users, Include Only Hourly Users, or Include Only Salaried Users to include the entire class of selected users in the report.
    • Choose Select Specific Users to manually select individual users only. This option is useful, for example, when generating a final payroll report for a terminated employee.
  2. If you need to test for meal or other work time violations, you may select the checkbox to identify records exceeding a threshold value (default is 5 hours). Checking this box will identify continuous records in the payroll report that exceed the specified threshold. You will still be able to close the period, but any matching records will be highlighted.
  3. Select the date range for your payroll period.
    • Choose Create a payroll report for your scheduled payroll period if you set your payroll schedule in Company Settings and want to use the pre-selected payroll period dates. Choose the appropriate pay period from the drop-down menu.
    • Choose Create a payroll report by manually selecting a date range if you wish to set a custom payroll period.
    • Choose Update an existing payroll report by adding the users selected above if you wish to add or re-add employees to an existing payroll report.
  4. Click View The Preliminary Payroll Report to view a preliminary version of the payroll report prior to saving you work. Check this report for accuracy, but note that this is only a preliminary report—the pay period is not yet closed and edits to timesheets can still be made if an error is detected.
    • If the report is accurate and correct, click Save & Close the Payroll Report to complete the process and close the payroll period. You may add a note to save with the payroll report before closing.
    • If the report contains errors or is otherwise inaccurate, you may abandon the process and return to the dashboard in order to edit timesheets. Start the close payroll period process over once you’ve made the necessary changes to employee timesheets.
  5. After the pay period is closed, you’ll see a confirmation message on your screen. You’ll also see a list of past payroll reports with the most recent shown at the top of the page. You can export a payroll report in your desired format by clicking on the blue download arrow on the right side of the page. For a printer-friendly version, download the report using the default export format (PDF). Text export version suitable for your spreadsheet software are also available.

Notes and Troubleshooting

It is not necessary for records to be marked as “signed” or “approved” prior to closing a payroll period. Those notification are for information purposes only and will not prevent you from completing the close process.

You may see one or more warnings or errors on the preliminary report. Warnings can be ignored, but errors must be addressed before closing the payroll period. For example:

  • You may see a warning that unpaid time exists prior to the period start date. This warning is intended to notify you that there are unarchived time entries from a previous payroll period which were not closed in a previous payroll period report. This can happen, for instance, if manual time entries are made for dates in a previous period that was already closed. The warning can be ignored, but it’s best to address this problem by closing, archiving, or deleting the older time entries. If you ignore this warning, then you will see it each time you close a new payroll period.
  • You may see a warning that a payroll period overlaps a previous period. This warning lets you know that 2 payroll periods have overlapping dates. You can ignore this warning, but it’s usually worth looking into in the warning is unexpected.
  • You may see a warning about split employee time records. This warning alerts you to the fact that an employee time entry either crosses a date line (usually over midnight) or is split between two payroll periods. The warning can be ignored but it’s best to carefully review the time entries in question to ensure accuracy before closing the payroll period, especially if the warning is unexpected. This error occurs most often when employees forget to clock out at the end of the day and remain clocked in over night. The warning could also be the result of an incorrect day start setting in an employee’s settings > options, sections 3.
  • You may see an error that one or more alerts exist for employees included in the payroll report. Alerts in the payroll date range and for all included employees must be resolved before closing a payroll period to Timesheets.com knows how to calculate correctly.
  • You may see an error about overlapping timestamps for a specific user. This error must be resolved before closing payroll for that user. This error prevents duplicate entries that would result in paying the employee twice for the same work hours. Visit Reports in the left menu, then run report number 7 (Overlapping Records) to quickly view the problematic time entries. Once the error has been identified, visit the employee’s timesheet to edit and correct the problem and then restart the Close Payroll Period process.

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