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How Long Should Payroll Processing Really Take?

UPDATED 02/27/2023

No one gets into a medical or dental practice so they can experience the joy of payroll processing. However, it doesn't change the fact that it is one of the most fundamental parts of every business.



The simple truth is that you need to appropriately manage all your payroll functions. This includes accurately tracking the pay of your employees, withholding correct amounts, and making sure you pay your team on a correct and timely schedule.

Payroll must be done in a manner that is done with minimal administrative effort on your end. Thankfully, there are ways to accomplish these important goals and get you back to the tasks of managing your medical practice. HR for Health has software that can ensure you can manage your payroll with just a few clicks of your mouse. 

What is Payroll Processing?

"What is payroll processing?" is one of the most common questions about payroll and paychecks. Simply put, payroll processing is administration of payment. It ensures that you pay your employees for their hard work. This involves a variety of administrative activities on your end, including:


• Accurately tracking the amount of time an employee works

• Making sure you are paying them at the accurate rate, including factoring in any break(s) and/or overtime

• Adhering to all necessary local, state, and federal regulations

• Withholding appropriate amounts for taxes or benefits

• Maintaining all records for the legally required amounts of time, as determined by your industry standards and applicable law

As you can see, payroll processing is a highly comprehensive endeavor, and one that may take a long time to manage. This is why you may find it beneficial to work with an outside payroll expert - like HR for Health - that can help you manage all the above tasks. 


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How Long Does Payroll Take to Process?

The amount of time it takes to process payroll depends on the method you use. If you manage it yourself, it can take some time, as you will need to gather all necessary documents and information, check the accuracy of your employees’ hours worked, make all necessary calculations, and more. If you use a payroll management service - or take advantage of a service like HR for Health's payroll and timekeeping software - it will typically take far less time. This is because you only need to export information into the right system, then click a few buttons. 

Keep in mind that services like these might  take more time to set up, but once that setup is complete, you can process payroll in a few minutes. 

What is a Typical Payroll Cycle?

There are many types of payroll cycles, and different practices will have different cycles to fit their needs. Among the most common are:

• Biweekly, meaning every two weeks. In the typical year, this means there will be 26 pay periods, so there will be two months a year where there are three paychecks.

• Bimonthly, meaning an employee will get paid twice a month. This eliminates the need to have two months where there are three pay periods.

• Monthly, meaning an employee gets paid at the start or end of the month.

Most medical practices use biweekly pay periods, as these are the easiest to manage. There are many reasons that this is the case, including making it easier to process payroll. Payroll processing can become complicated when a pay period ends in the middle of the workweek, as overtime calculations can be more difficult. 


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What is Needed to Process Payroll?

In short: A lot.

Many pieces of paperwork are required to process payroll. You must have: 

• An EIN (employee identification number), as well as state and local tax numbers.

• Employee tax information, including a W-4 and I-9.

• This will have contact information from an employee, and will list deductions and withholdings you should make.

• Documentation noting employees rates of pay.

• Timesheet entries, if employees are hourly.

• Approval or denial of time off requests for that pay period

All this information will be used to calculate the employee's gross and net pay. You will then need to keep payroll records for any tax information, or in the event of any disputes. If you manage pay on your own, you will need to ensure that you maintain these records for the legally required time. 

This is a Lot of Work


What's your main takeaway from this payroll article? Simple: Processing payroll takes a lot of work and time. You need to track hours, ensure you have the right pay rates, manage exemptions and withholdings, track all paperwork, retain records for the legally appropriate amount of time, and more. Indeed, this is why businesses have entire payroll departments that are dedicated to making sure that your business is appropriately documenting all necessary payroll records. 

How HR for Health Can Help

Countless practices have found they lack the expertise and time to deal with internally managing their own payroll. Doing so often requires hiring additional staff and spending money on all the pay and benefits that come with the additional staff time.

Instead, many practices have found that working with an external resource such as HR for Health’s software for can provide them with the critical assistance they need. This comes with numerous advantages, as working with experts on an outside software platform can save money, ensure that you have the appropriate expertise, and ensure that HR experts are managing all of your payroll-related record retentions. 

Want more information? Reach out to HR for Health today for an HR Consultation, and learn more about how HR for Health can help to manage your payroll and ensure that your payroll processing is accurate, fast, and reliable. 

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