DEFINITION of 'Payroll'

The sum total of all compensation that a business must pay to its employees for a set period of time or on a given date. Payroll is usually managed by the accounting department of a business. Small-business payrolls may be handled directly by the owner or an associate.


Payroll can also refer to the list of employees of a business and the amount of compensation that is due to each of them. Payroll is a major expense for most businesses and is almost always deductible as such.

Payroll can differ from one pay period to another due to overtime, sick pay and other variables.

  1. Employee Stock Option - ESO

    A stock option granted to specified employees of a company. ESOs ...
  2. Take-Home Pay

    The money that an individual actually receives from working after ...
  3. Just Compensation

    Compensation provided to an owner whose private real property ...
  4. Highly Compensated Employee

    For employer-sponsored, tax-advantaged retirement plan purposes, ...
  5. Camouflage Compensation

    Compensation that is granted to upper echelon employees, directors, ...
  6. Employee Buyout - EBO

    A restructuring strategy in which employees buy a majority stake ...
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Payroll Deductions Pay Off

    Find out how you can bypass or defer taxes on thousands of dollars each year.
  2. Forex Education

    Trading The Non-Farm Payroll Report

    Discover how to trade the NFP report without getting knocked out by the irrational volatility it can create.
  3. Taxes

    Small Business Tax Obligations: Payroll Taxes

    Don't leave it up to your accountant - owners are ultimately responsible for fulfilling tax obligations.
  4. Entrepreneurship

    7 HR Basics for Small Businesses

    Whether or not you are a fan of human resources, every employer needs to know the answers to these questions.
  5. Active Trading

    An Introduction To Depreciation

    Companies make choices and assumptions in calculating depreciation, and you need to know how these affect the bottom line.
  6. Savings

    A Quick List of FSA Eligible Expenses

    The ABCs of FSAs: What you can and can't use your Flexible Spending Account funds for.
  7. Investing Basics

    What are the fiduciary responsibilities of board members?

    Find out what fiduciary duties a board of directors owes to the company and its shareholders, including the duties of care, good faith and loyalty.
  8. Entrepreneurship

    How to Start a Business While working a Full-time Job

    Do you have an idea for a business, but are struggling to find the time to launch it? Here's how you can start a business when working a full-time job.
  9. Markets

    Operating Cash Flow: Better Than Net Income?

    Differences between accrual accounting and cash flows show why net income is easier to manipulate.
  10. Investing Basics

    How To Efficiently Read An Annual Report

    Annual reports are clearly prepared without any intent to deceive or mislead investors. Still, investors should read them with a dose of skepticism.
  1. What is the catch-up contribution limit for qualified deferred tax plans?

    The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) established a $6,000 limit on the catch-up contribution to qualified deferred tax ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Are checks escheatable?

    Checks of different kinds, such as travelers checks and payroll checks, can become unclaimed property after a certain period ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What impact does a higher non-farm payroll have on the forex market?

    Traders are constantly monitoring various economic indicators to identify trends in economic growth. Some of the most watched ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Can LLCs have employees?

    A limited liability corporation (LLC) can have an unlimited number of employees. An employee is defined as any individual ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Do flexible spending accounts (FSA) funds roll over?

    An individual can utilize an employer’s cafeteria plan of employee benefits to establish a flexible spending account (FSA). ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Can working capital be depreciated?

    Working capital as current assets cannot be depreciated the way long-term, fixed assets are. In accounting, depreciation ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
  2. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s short-term liquidity. The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet ...
  3. Black Tuesday

    October 29, 1929, when the DJIA fell 12% - one of the largest one-day drops in stock market history. More than 16 million ...
  4. Black Monday

    October 19, 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost almost 22% in a single day. That event marked the beginning ...
  5. Monetary Policy

    Monetary policy is the actions of a central bank, currency board or other regulatory committee that determine the size and ...
  6. Indemnity

    Indemnity is compensation for damages or loss. Indemnity in the legal sense may also refer to an exemption from liability ...
Trading Center