Top 5 Mistakes when it comes to Payroll Processing

Payroll mistakes are expensive.



Payroll processing involves complex and time-consuming processes that affect accurate preparations. The accounting process requires precise and effective management methods to improve accountability, achieve total comprehensive employee compensation, represent the real-time activity of company payroll, reduce the risk of audits, and reduce expensive penalties.

Caution while preparing Payroll

While preparing payrolls, accountants may encounter several challenges relating to taxation, compliance, miscalculation, and organizational inconsistencies. These challenges can further attribute to delayed approvals, legal issues, and financial crises. Contrastingly, precise payroll preparation helps to assess expenses and profit levels to determine cost-saving techniques and further help to build accountability of the payroll clerk. However, proper planning, time tracking capabilities, education, and the use of the right tools are effective ways to avoid common payroll mistakes. ​ ​Consider these common mistakes in payroll preparation.

Taxation-Related Issues

Tax rules are regularly changing, and payroll specialists need to constantly familiarize themselves with these dynamics to ensure that taxes are placed correctly on employee salaries. Failure to timely send out and collect tax forms, and tax information of employees are common mistakes of payroll clerks and could result in financial penalties. Businesses should, therefore, accurately calculate employee taxes and pay their share of the payroll taxes. Unpaid or late payroll taxes can result in extra work hours, financial penalties, and an increased tax burden. Always endeavor to prevent paying the wrong tax rates of employee salary.

Employee Mis-classification

Payroll professionals sometimes misclassify employees into different categories. Professionals should note the various types such as freelance, contractors, temporary employees, part-time employees, and permanent employees. Wrong employee classification results in payroll issues and non-payment of owed taxes, consequently resulting in penalties and fines. These kinds of errors may also result in over or underpayment, refutation of employee benefits and longer working hours for payroll clerks. Staff should be categorized appropriately to aid proper payroll processing.

Limited compliance and accuracy levels

The payroll process must comply with the industry requirement, employee-related requirements, and federal, state, and country laws to avoid the penalties of non-compliance. To achieve this, payroll providers should continuously monitor the ever-changing regulations of all relevant regulations. The different types of state and federal payroll processing methods are essential factors when making payrolls.

​Accordingly, payroll systems must contain past and present information processes. The payroll clerk should incorporate maternity pay, promotions, absences, payroll deductions, and overtime pay of the employee. More so, these deductions and increments must always reflect federal, state and locality laws, statutes, and exceptions. Vacation tracking is also most prone to errors as payroll clerks may face difficulty manually tracking staff productivity.

Lack of a comprehensive data  storage system

Limited data storage units is a familiar mistake clerks face while compiling payrolls. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) demands at least two to three years of records of the employee's earnings to boost compliance and ensure accuracy. The documents also include information such as child labour, equal pay, overtime, and minimum wage. Sufficient documentation also helps to build consistency when processing bookkeeping tasks, balance profit and loss statements, process balance sheets, manage tax liability reconciliation and boost accountability. It also helps measure employee productivity and performance to measure the number of hours worked, minimize disputes, and compensate employees accordingly.

Lack of data backup systems

A reliable backup of the employee data is essential in a data disaster such as theft, computer breakdown, fire or flood outbreak. Organizations should adopt a cloud backup system to protect their payroll data. The design should be regularly updated with several foolproof strategies and preferably stored in multiple units to prevent data loss. Payroll clerks could adopt a daily or weekly backup plan that suits their mode of operation.


Tax-related issues, employee misclassification, limited data storage,  limited compliance and accuracy levels, and insufficient data storage are common mistakes staff often encounter when preparing payroll for organizations. These mistakes are usually attached to specific penalties such as fines, data loss, overpayment of staff, lack of accountability, and financial losses.

Payroll professionals should understand these common mistakes and their penalties and discover how to avoid them while processing payrolls. More importantly, tax-related issues in payroll processing of employees must be carefully calculated to evade increased tax burden for the organization.

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