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HR employee resources - Business Manager and Budget Planner guide to auditing the payroll calc

This article outlines the process for Business Managers and Budget Planners for reviewing the monthly payroll calculation before it is produced.


At the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, (UWL), the monthly payroll cycle consists of hundreds of modifications to employee records, representing the movements in their employment career at UWL, reactivation of contracts, returns from work breaks or leaves of absence, and the application of additional payments, commonly referred to as ‘overloads’ or ‘lump-sum payments’.  This complexity requires much review and analysis of the payroll calculation before it is produced to ensure the accuracy of all payments to employees for that given period.  This guide will provide approved campus stakeholders the process by which they can monitor their respective area’s payments for payroll activity.

Understanding HRS

HRS is the software tool used by the University of Wisconsin system to maintain all aspects of a person’s employment with their respective campus(es).  The program

Additional resources for navigating and understanding HRS

HRS Administration Home Page
HRS Professional Development and Training
HRS knowledge Base

Understanding the data in HRS

The language used by budgeting and accounting professionals within the university system does not always align with the language used by Human Resources professionals or those that maintain or manage the data in the HRS system.  

As a stakeholder who reviews payroll related data, developing a strong acumen for the language used for maintaining data relationships between budget and HR is critical.  Below is a snapshot of common terminology used by Budget and HR professionals.  

Full-Time Budget (FTB)FTB refers to the total amount of budgeted salary or wage equal to the amount of one full-time equivalent.  For example, a FTB may be set at $40,000 for a position assuming that it is staffed by a person who is working at 1 FTE, or 100% time.  This amount then gets multiplied against the FTE to provide the "Actual" wage an employee will receive.  The wage is pro-rated based on their expected job end date within the fiscal or academic year.
Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)The FTE refers to the percent of the time an employee works in their respective position.  1 of 100% FTE refers to a full-time employee working 100% of the time or 2,080 hours annually.  
Short Work BreakA short work break is a payroll tool used to keep an employee in an active status, but remove them from the payroll.  See the example below.
Pay BasisPay Basis refers to the 'basis' on which an employee is paid, for example, Annually, Academic Year, or Hourly.  

The presentation of information to the employee will always follow the information related to their budgeted position.  For example, in budget terms, an employee who works 92% FTE may actually work 100% of the time August through June but take the entire month of July off.  The average of 11 months at 100% time and 1 month at 0% time, averages to 92% budgeted time.  In HR and in HRS, this schedule is applied by receiving an Employee Action Form from the unit in which the employee works stating that beginning August 1, the employee will resume a 100% schedule.  HR would then expect another Employee Action Form to indicate that this employee’s schedule will be reduced effective July 1 to 0% AND placed on a “short work break”.

Additional resources regarding nomenclature, terminology, definitions, and more

UW Shared Services Glossary of HRS Terms
UWL Human Resources A-Z Index
UWL Human Resources Acronym Guide

Accessing queries and reports in HRS

To access queries and reports in HRS, follow these steps:

  1. Log into HRS:
  2. Click on the Navigate Button in the upper right corner of the screen:
  3. Click on “Reporting Tools”

  4. Click on “Query”

  5. Click on “Query Viewer”

  6. In the Query Viewer, you will be able to enter the name of the report you wish to run.  This step is further explained in the next section of this guide.


Running the monthly payroll reports

The two primary reports that will be beneficial for the purposes of confirming the accuracy of the payroll that will be produced are:

  1. The Payroll Edit Report; and,
  2. Expected Job End Date Report

Click the link on either of the reports above to learn more about the report and understanding the output information. 

When running either of the reports, you will be prompted to provide specific information unique to UWL.   Please note that all reports should be run at least four days before the “Unclassified” final calc.

The Payroll Edit Report

The Payroll Edit Report will ask for:

For UWL, the “Appointing Dept” or letter “a” will be your 7-character appointment department ID.  At UWL, all department IDs begin with the letter “E” along with six digits that identify the department.  You can also use the wildcard character (%) to obtain all employees under the division heading, e.g. “E02%” could be entered to obtain all employees under the “Provost Office”.  

For the “Pay Run ID” type the year in which you are seeking the payroll calculation followed by the wildcard character (%).  For example, you can select 2020% and click on the magnifying glass to select the payroll calculation you are seeking to audit.

This report is used to provide you the employee information, appointment information, funding information, and final dollar amount the employee will receive on the payroll selected.  

As a pro-tip in reviewing the Excel report on the Payroll Edit Report, you can use the Excel Pivot Table function to get totals for each person or to sort by "Earn Code".  

Here are some additional notes:

  • Earn Codes define what type of payment was applied.  For example, LWR is for Lump Sum payments, URG is regular pay, and UOL is an overload.  
  • The hours are based on the total hours for that month.  Find someone you know is a 1 FTE and this will be the total hourly basis for this month. You can use that number, (usually between 173 and 176) to divide against the number of recorded hours in the Excel report to confirm the person's FTE.

Expected Job End Date Report 

The Expected Job End Date report will ask you for:

For the “Business Unit” you may either enter UWLAC or use the magnifying glass to search for La Crosse.

The “As Of Date” field allows for you to determine who has an expected end date before that date.  UWL HR would advise that you project out at least 60 days to be able to correct any issues.  

For UWL, the “Department” will be your 7-character appointment department ID.   At UWL, all department IDs begin with the letter “E” along with six digits that identify the department.  You can also use the wildcard character (%) to obtain all employees under the division heading, e.g. “E02%” could be entered to obtain all employees under the “Provost Office”.  

The “Empl Class” refers to the classification code assigned to a specific group of employees, for example AS, FA, SA1, etc.).  To view ALL employees in your respective unit, use the wildcard character (%) to view all employees.  

This report is helpful for you to determine if an employee may need to be reappointed, have an expected job end date projected out further, (as the case may be with interim appointments), or allow for the employee’s position to terminate. In the later case, notice should be given to the employee.  Consult with HR in cases that you are allowing the termination date to proceed.  

Reporting problems to HR identified in the payroll report

All errors or issues with the payroll must be submitted to Human Resources by 12:00 Noon the day before the payroll “Final Calc”.  

When you find an error or issue with regards to an employee’s record in either the Payroll Edit Report or the Expected Job End Date, please contact Human Resources immediately at  If an Employee Action Form, or other document exists which identifies that a change should have been made, please include it with your urgent message to  If no documentation exists, indicate as such in the message and immediately cure this by developing a form and route through the normal approval process. is continuously monitored and issues are assigned to an HR Analysts for immediate review.

Additional resources

HRS Payroll Calendar and Deadlines
UWL Knowledge Base
UWSS Knowledge Base
HRS Administration Page
HR Report List for HRS

Getting help or training 

Need help or training?   Contact Human Resources at UWL for a walk-through of how to access these reports and to review them for accuracy.  Training can be provided by Human Resources at UWL.  Some training is offered on the HRS Administration Page.

Keywordspayroll calc, audit payroll, business manager, hrs report, query, monthly payroll   Doc ID106328
OwnerCarri O.GroupUW-La Crosse
Created2020-10-02 10:46:36Updated2020-10-06 07:44:09
SitesUW-La Crosse
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