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HAPTER 15. The Human Resources Management / Payroll Cycle. INTRODUCTION. Questions to be addressed in this chapter include: What are the basic business activities and data processing operations that are performed in the human resources management (HRM)/payroll cycle?

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hapter 15

HAPTER 15

The Human Resources Management / Payroll Cycle

introduction
INTRODUCTION
  • Questions to be addressed in this chapter include:
    • What are the basic business activities and data processing operations that are performed in the human resources management (HRM)/payroll cycle?
    • What are the major threats and the controls that can mitigate those threats?
introduction1
INTRODUCTION
  • Employees are an organization’s most valuable assets:
    • Their knowledge and skills affect quality and quantity of goods and services.
    • Labor costs are a major expense in generating revenues and a key cost driver.
  • The traditional AIS has not measured or reported on the status of a company’s human resources:
    • Financial statements do not regard employees as assets.
    • Under GAAP, the value of human services is not measured until they have been consumed.
introduction2
INTRODUCTION
  • The most important tasks performed in the HRM/payroll cycle are:
    • Recruiting and hiring new employees
    • Training
    • Job assignment
    • Compensation (payroll)
    • Performance evaluation
    • Discharge of employees (voluntarily or involuntarily)
introduction3
INTRODUCTION
  • There are five major sources of input to the payroll system:
    • HRM department provides information about hirings, terminations, and pay-rate changes.
    • Employees provide changes in discretionary deductions (e.g., optional life insurance).
    • Various departments provide data about the actual hours worked by employees.
    • Government agencies provide tax rates and regulatory instructions.
    • Insurance companies and other organizations provide instructions for calculating and remitting various withholdings.
introduction4
INTRODUCTION
  • Principal outputs of the payroll system are checks:
    • Employees receive individual paychecks.
    • A payroll check is sent to the bank to transfer funds from the company’s regular account to its payroll account.
    • Checks are issued to government agencies, insurance companies, etc., to remit employee and employer taxes, insurance premiums, union dues, etc.
  • The payroll system also produces a variety of reports.
payroll cycle activities
PAYROLL CYCLE ACTIVITIES

The five basic activities in the payroll cycle:

  • Update payroll master data
  • Validate time and attendance data
  • Prepare payroll
  • Disburse payroll
  • Disburse taxes and miscellaneous deductions
update payroll master file
UPDATE PAYROLL MASTER FILE
  • The HRM department provides information on new hires, terminations, changes in pay rates, and changes in discretionary withholdings.
  • Appropriate edit checks, such as validity checks on employee number and reasonableness tests are applied to all change transactions.
  • Changes must be entered in a timely manner and reflected in the next pay period.
  • Records of terminated employees should not be deleted immediately as some year-end reports (e.g., W-2s) require data on compensation for all employees during the year.
1 update payroll master file
1. UPDATE PAYROLL MASTER FILE
  • The payroll department also receives notification of changes in tax rates and other payroll deductions from government agencies, insurers, unions, etc.
  • These changes occur periodically.
update master file threats
Update Master File Threats
  • Unauthorized changes to payroll master data
  • Inaccurate updating of payroll master data
update master file controls
Update Master File Controls

1a. Segregation of duties: HRM department updates master data, but only payroll department issues paychecks

1b. Access controls

2a. Data processing integrity controls

2b. Regular review of all changes to master payroll data

2 validate time and attendance data
2. VALIDATE TIME AND ATTENDANCE DATA
  • Some employees are paid on an hourly basis.
  • Some employees earn a fixed salary, e.g., managers and professional staff.
  • Sales staff are often paid on a straight commission or base salary plus commission.
  • Increasingly, laborers may be paid partly on productivity.
  • Some management and employees may receive stock to motivate them to cut costs and improve service.
2 validate time and attendance data1
2. VALIDATE TIME AND ATTENDANCE DATA
  • The payroll system needs to link to the revenue cycle and other cycles to calculate these payments.
  • It’s also important to design bonus schemes with realistic, attainable goals that:
    • Can be measured
    • Are congruent with corporate objectives
    • Are monitored by management for continued appropriateness
    • Are legal
2 validate time and attendance data2
2. VALIDATE TIME AND ATTENDANCE DATA
  • How can information technology help?
    • Collecting time and attendance data electronically, e.g.:
      • Badge readers
      • Electronic time clocks
      • Data entered on terminals
      • Touch-tone telephone logs
    • Using edit checks to verify accuracy and reasonableness when the data are entered.
validation threats
Validation Threats
  • Inaccurate time and attendance data
validation controls
Validation Controls

1a. Source data automation for data capture

1b. Biometric authentication

1c. Segregation of duties (reconciliation of

job-time tickets to time cards)

1d. Supervisory review

3 prepare payroll
3. PREPARE PAYROLL
  • The employee’s department provides data about hours worked.
  • A supervisor confirms the data.
  • Pay rate information is obtained from the payroll master file.
3 prepare payroll1
3. PREPARE PAYROLL
  • Procedures:
    • The payroll transaction file is sorted by employee number (same sequence as master file).
    • For each transaction, the payroll master file is read for pay rates, etc., and gross pay is calculated.
      • Hourly Employees: Gross pay = (hours worked x wage rate) + Overtime + Bonuses
      • Salaried Employees: Gross pay = annual salary x fraction of year worked
3 prepare payroll2
3. PREPARE PAYROLL
  • Payroll deductions are summed and subtracted from gross pay to obtain net pay. There are two types of deductions:
    • Payroll tax withholdings
    • Voluntary deductions
  • Year-to-date totals for gross pay, deductions, and net pay are calculated, and the master file is updated. Cumulative records are important because:
    • Social Security and other deductions cease or decline at certain levels.
    • The information will be needed for tax reports.
3 prepare payroll3
3. PREPARE PAYROLL
  • The following are printed:
    • Paychecks for employees--often accompanied by an earnings statement, which lists pay detail, current and year-to-date.
    • A payroll register which lists each employee’s gross pay, deductions, and net pay in a multi-column format:
      • Is used to authorize the transfer of funds to the company’s payroll bank account.
      • May be accompanied by a deduction register, listing miscellaneous voluntary deductions for each employee.
prepare payroll threats
Prepare Payroll Threats
  • Errors in processing payroll
prepare payroll controls
Prepare Payroll Controls

1a. Data processing integrity controls: batch totals, cross-footing of the payroll register, use of a payroll clearing account and a zero-balance check

1b. Supervisory review of payroll register and other reports

1c. Issuing earnings statements to employees

1d. Review of IRS guidelines to ensure proper classification of workers as either employees or independent contractors

4 disburse payroll
4. DISBURSE PAYROLL
  • Most employees are paid either by:
    • Check
    • Direct deposit
    • In some industries, such as construction, cash payments may still be made, but does not provide good documentation
4 disburse payroll1
4. DISBURSE PAYROLL
  • Procedures:
    • When paychecks have been prepared, the payroll register is sent to accounts payable for review and approval.
    • A disbursement voucher is prepared to authorize transfer of funds from checking to the payroll bank account.
      • For control purposes, checks should not be drawn on the company’s regular bank account
      • A separate account is created for this purpose
        • Limits the company’s loss exposure
        • Makes it easier to reconcile payroll and detect paycheck forgeries
4 disburse payroll2
4. DISBURSE PAYROLL
  • The approved disbursement voucher and payroll register are sent to the cashier. The cashier:
    • Reviews the documents.
    • Prepares and signs the payroll check to transfer the funds.
    • Reviews, signs, and distributes employee paychecks (which separates authorization and recording from distribution of checks).
    • Re-deposits unclaimed checks in the company’s bank account.
    • Sends a list of these paychecks to internal audit for investigation.
    • Returns the payroll register to payroll department, where it is filed with time cards and job time tickets.
    • Sends the disbursement voucher to accounting clerk to update general ledger.
4 disburse payroll3
4. DISBURSE PAYROLL
  • Efficiency Opportunity: Direct Deposit
    • Direct deposit can improve efficiency and reduce costs of payroll processing
      • Employee receives a copy of the check and an earnings statement
      • Each bank receives a record of the payroll deposits for that bank via EDI. The record includes:
        • Employee number
        • Social Security number
        • Bank account number
        • Net pay amount
disburse payroll threats
Disburse Payroll Threats
  • Theft or fraudulent distribution of paychecks
disburse payroll controls
Disburse Payroll Controls

1a. Restriction of physical access to blank payroll checks and the check signature machine

1b. Restriction of access to the EFT system

1c. Prenumbering and periodically accounting for all payroll checks and review of all EFT direct deposit transactions

1d. Require proper supporting documentation for all paychecks

1e. Use of a separate checking account for payroll, maintained as an imprest fund

1f. Segregation of duties (cashier versus accounts payable; check distribution from hiring/firing; independent reconciliation of the payroll checking account)

1g. Restriction of access to payroll master database

1h. Verification of identity of all employees receiving paychecks

1i. Re-depositing unclaimed paychecks and investigating cause

5 disburse payroll taxes and miscellaneous deductions
5. DISBURSE PAYROLL TAXES AND MISCELLANEOUS DEDUCTIONS
  • The employer pays some payroll taxes and employee benefits directly
    • The employer withholds federal and state taxes from employee paycheck, along with Medicare tax, and the employee’s share of Social Security.
    • May also withhold voluntary deductions such as union dues, United Way contributions, credit union savings, retirement contributions, etc.
5 disburse payroll taxes and miscellaneous deductions1
5. DISBURSE PAYROLL TAXES AND MISCELLANEOUS DEDUCTIONS
  • In addition, the employer pays:
    • A matching amount of Social Security
    • Federal and state unemployment taxes
    • The employer share of health, disability, and life insurance premiums, as well as pension contributions
  • Some companies offer flexible benefit plans, sometimes called cafeteria-style benefit plans.
    • These plans offer a menu of options.
5 disburse payroll taxes and miscellaneous deductions2
5. DISBURSE PAYROLL TAXES AND MISCELLANEOUS DEDUCTIONS
  • The company must periodically prepare checks or EFT to pay tax and other liabilities.
disburse taxes and deduction threats
Disburse Taxes and Deduction Threats
  • Failure to make required payments
  • Untimely payments
  • Inaccurate payments
disburse taxes and deductions controls
Disburse Taxes and Deductions Controls

1 and 2. Configuration of system to make required payments using current instructions from IRS (Publication Circular E)

3a. Processing integrity controls

3b. Supervisory review of reports

3c. Employee review of earnings statement

outsourcing options
OUTSOURCING OPTIONS
  • Many entities outsource payroll and HRM to:
    • Payroll service bureaus
      • Maintain the payroll master file and perform payroll processing activities
    • Professional employer organizations (PEOs)
      • Perform the services of the payroll service bureau
      • Also administer and design employee benefit plans
      • Generally more expensive than payroll service bureaus
outsourcing options1
OUTSOURCING OPTIONS
  • When organizations outsource payroll processing, they send the service bureau or PEO at the end of each period:
    • Personnel changes
    • Employee time and attendance data
  • The service bureau or PEO then:
    • Prepares paychecks, earnings statements, and a payroll register
    • Periodically produces tax documents
outsourcing options2
OUTSOURCING OPTIONS
  • Outsourcing is especially attractive to small and mid-size businesses because:
    • It’s often cheaper for smaller companies
    • The bureau or PEO may provide a wider range of benefits
    • It frees up the company’s computer resources for other areas
  • However, companies must carefully monitor service quality to ensure that these systems integrate HRM and payroll data in a manner that supports effective management of employees.