Preparing for US payroll year-end

November 14, 2019 Shruti Patel

The end of the year can be a very hectic time for those who work in Payroll especially without proper planning.  There are several ways that you can prepare in advance for year-end and the year-begin tasks within Workday Payroll.  Here is a checklist of steps that can be taken at different points throughout the year to insure you are ready to successfully finish the payroll year.

Ongoing Reporting

Reporting and auditing your year-to-date payroll data is crucial to ensuring a smooth end to the year.  There are several reports that can be run on a regular basis to monitor balancing in preparation for W-2 data processing.

  • Monthly:  W-2 Preview, View W-2 Errors
  • The W-2 Preview report can be run as many times as needed throughout the year to ensure your pay results are accurate and on-track for year end.
  • Quarterly:  Tax Filing Quarterly Data for Workers, Tax Filing Quarterly Data by Company

Annual Maintenance

There are several tasks that you think of at year-end, however, they can be completed at any time, in preparation.  The list below outlines the regular maintenance activities you will want to perform in your tenant.

  • Create Year End Dashboard
  • Request employees to update contact information if W-2s are being mailed
  • Review W-2 mapping prior to running any W-2 processing
  • Update Payroll Period Schedules
  • Update Holiday Calendars
  • Update FLSA Work Period Calendars
  • Prior to Fiscal and Ledger Year updates, review the security for the domains that house these tasks: 
    • Search:  Security Analysis for Securable Item and Account and verify that the correct people are assigned roles that will allow them to make the necessary updates to the Ledger Years and Accounts.
  • Update Fiscal Years
  • Update Ledger Year, Ledger Periods and Open Ledger Periods for new Fiscal Year
  • Extend the dates for scheduled reports and integrations that are set to expire
  • Extend the dates for alerts that are set to expire

Year-End Maintenance

The tasks below can only be done after your payroll processing has been completed for the last pay period of the year.  These must be completed prior to running your first pay calculation for the first pay period of the new year.

  • Update SUI rates
  • Update 401k limits (this is done automatically by Workday)
  • Update HSA and FSA limits (review – These should be done automatically by Workday)
  • Update Employee Stock Purchase Plan limits
  • Update Tuition Reimbursement limits
  • Update any additional deductions that may have custom limits
  • Update goal amounts for benefit deductions
  • Verify any earnings pay inputs with amounts are cleared or end-dated
  • Verify any deduction pay inputs with goals are cleared or end-dated
  • Run “Expiring Exempt Tax Elections” to see all workers with Exempt Status.  These must be updated either manually or via EIB.

Tax Processing

  • Finalize and complete any year-end manual adjustments for wages and/or taxes
  • Complete year-end tax form preparation, such as W-2 processing, utilizing the Workday provided Year-End Checklist from Workday Community 

Finally, consider which reports you could run more often. Are there maintenance activities you could do at different times of the year? You should put these tasks on your calendar to stay on top of your payroll responsibilities throughout the year.


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