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Functions (Payroll Tab)

This screen is used to define Functions in the program - Functions are the formulas and methods that can be used to automate the calculation of various items in your payroll (e.g. deductions, benefits, accumulators, etc.). Functions can be used for simple calculations (e.g. a garnishment where a flat percentage of the employee's wage is deducted each pay period) or complex calculations where multiple items are involved (e.g. a deduction for a pension where the deduction is the sum of specified earnings that is multiplied by a set percentage).

Tutorial on mathematical payroll functions in eNETEmployer
Online Tutorial

Manual and Pre-Defined Functions - The program allows you to create functions manually (where you enter the function and supporting variables), or automatically where you choose your function from a list of pre-defined options.

  • If you wish to use a pre-defined function: Use the drop down list immediately to the right of the New button to specify the function type, then select the button to insert it into the table. Once added, you can define the details for each variable in the fields at the right side of the table. You may also modify the pre-defined expression as needed.
  • If you wish to use a custom function: Use the drop down list immediately to the right of the New button and choose the Empty Function option, and then select the button to insert it into the table. Once added, you can create your expression and then enter the details for each variable in the fields at the right side of the table.

Common Buttons

Visit the Button Descriptions help page to view detailed descriptions of every button that appears on your screen (whether in the Button Bar at the top of the table, or in the table itself). Note: If a button's text appears in a Grey color, either the command is not applicable to the current page, or its function has already been applied (e.g. some items can only be added once, therefore the New button will be unavailable on certain screens after it is used).

Sample command buttons

Context-Specific Buttons (Unique to This Page)

New - This button allows you to either a blank function or a pre-set function to the current payroll (the latter, based on the available pre-set functions provided in the drop-down list immediately to the right of this button). When you select the button, the chosen function appears in a new row at the top of the table and Edit Mode is activated so that you can define the data required for each cell. Some of the preset functions include:

The expressions that are generated for these pre-set functions are dynamic, with their arguments being based upon the items in the current payroll. For example, if your payroll contains 6 types of earnings and you choose the Earnings Percent function above, the resulting expression will read: P * sum(E1, E2, E3, E4, E5, E6).

You can modify an expression as needed as long as each variable also has a supporting symbol or value assigned. For example, if you have previously added the Earnings Percent function (as shown above) and now wish to add a seventh earning, you would need to do two things:


The following section of this help page describes the various cells and columns shown in the main table on the current program screen. If you see a help description on this page for a column that does not appear on your screen, you can add the additional column to your view by using the Customize option under the Views button (located at the left side of the screen just above the main table). Refer to the Customize View help page for more help on this feature.

Hidden Rows - The columns on the right side of the table contain sub-rows that are hidden from view initially (for screen space constraints). These additional rows can be revealed by selecting the Expand Row icon (the right-facing triangle expand icons for payroll rows). Expanding the rows provides access to the individual settings for each sub-row.

Rows and sub-rows are color-coded as follows:

  • Green indicates the top (Primary) row of a group of expanded sub-rows. Green rows are always visible even when the row is collapsed. Green rows cannot be deleted if there is another item of the same type (e.g. you cannot delete an Earning or Deduction row shown in Green if another earning or deduction exists in the list - in such a case, the other earning or deduction must be removed first).
  • Blue indicates rows that have been expanded under the Primary row.
  • Black Italic indicates that another item of its type exists for the current row (this is an allowable state as you may wish to have a second item that is processed for the current pay run only). For example, if you already have an earning defined for the row but choose to add another earning of the same type for the current pay run only, the subsequent earning would appear in non-bold italic formatting to indicate that the same type of earning already exists).

Add Variable

Add Variable - Use this button to insert a new variable sub-row. Each of these sub-rows can be thought of as an argument that consists of an Item assignment, a Type designation and a Symbol. Each time you add a new variable, the following two settings are applied:

Audit

This button allows you to view a list of changes that have been made to the current item. Choosing the button opens the Audit History window where item changes are shown in colored text. Note: Audit History is a developing feature and subject to updates as new functionality is added.

Expression

Use this cell to define the formula that will be used for calculation purposes when this function is calculated. The expression should be defined according to standard mathematical rules. For example, a typical expression would be written as (A+B)*.10 - meaning that the amounts for A and B are added together, then the result is multiplied by .10. The variables that will support the expression can be entered in the columns to the right of the Add Variable button.

Example A: Vacation Pay Using a Manual Expression - The ABC Company wants to setup a function where 4% of each employees earnings will be automatically accrued for vacation pay (this amount represent two weeks of holiday time over the year). In our example, ABC employees are paid either Hourly or by Salary. As such, there will be four earning types to assign (Regular, Salary, Commission and Stat Pay). Therefore, we need to calculate the vacation accrued on each of these earning types combined. So our formula will need to add up each of the employee's earnings, and then multiply the result by 4% (.04) - this will determine the vacation amount that must accrue.

To set up the Vacation Accruel Function:

  1. Insert an Empty Function (via the New button in the button bar), then enter "Vacation" in the Name column.
  2. Enter (x1 + x2 + x3 +x4)*.04 into the Expression column. The "x1" symbol is arbitrary and can be substituted for a letter, or even a word (refer to the Symbol cell's description later on this help page).
  3. Select the Add Variable button three times to create three variable sub-rows. Each of these rows must now be edited to support the arguments in the expression.
  4. In the Item cell for the first row, select the Earning Regular item. In the Type cell, select the Dollars option. In the Symbol cell, set the value to x1. This represents the first argument in the function.
  5. For the second sub-row, select the Commission earning type in the Item cell, the Dollars option in the Type cell and set the value to x2 in the Symbol cell. This represents the second argument in the function.
  6. For the third sub-row, select the Stat Pay earning type in the Item cell, the Dollars option in the Type cell and set the value to x3 in the Symbol cell. This represents the third and final argument in the function.
    Note: If your company has employees who are paid by salary, you could use this same function by simply adding a fourth sub row, setting its Item type to Salary and then adding an argument to the expression (e.g. x1 + x2 + x3 + x4, where x4 represents the new salary variable).

Example B: Garnishment Using a Pre-defined Expression - The ABC Company wants to setup a function to deduct 30% of an employee's Net Pay up to a maximum amount of $4000. To do this, you can use one of the program's pre-defined functions: Net Percent with Max.

To set up the Garnishment Function:

  1. Choose the Net Percent with Max option from the drop down list beside the New button.
  2. Select the New button and the pre-defined function appears in the table, ready for editing. The Expression column shows the resulting expression as: If(P * N <= T - D, P * N, MaxN(T - D, 0)). Four sub-rows appear with their symbols and corresponding type designations already applied (the symbols will have default values applied for testing purposes - these default values will need to be edited to support your actual needs):
    • The "P" symbol is designated as a Dollars type and will be calculated based on the percentage shown in the Value cell. Change the default value to read "0.30" to represent the 30% garnish amount.
    • The "N" symbol is designated as a Dollars type and will be calculated based on the employee's current Net Pay for each period.
    • The "T" symbol is designated as a Dollar type and will be calculated based on the number shown in the Value cell. Change the default value to read "4,000" to represent the $4000 capped amount for the garnish.
    • The "D" symbol is designated as Y.T.D. type and will be calculated using the employee's year-to-date values. If you are setting this up as a new function, you can zero out the default number shown in the Value cell (then the program will use the employee's current year-to-date values in the calculation).

The Expression, If(P * N <= T - D, P * N, MaxN(T - D, 0)), is based on an If (condition, A, B) function - meaning that if condition A is true, do A - if it is not true, do B. If percentage (P) (in this case 30% multipled by Net Pay (N) ) is less than or equal to the Total Maximum Amount (T) (in this case $4000) subtracted by Y.T.D. already deducted (D) (in this case 0.00 because we are just starting to setup the function), then it will deduct the whole amount. If it is not true, it will perform option B and only deduct what is left to be paid.

Complex Functions - You can create complex functions through the use of If statements and other operators (e.g. MinN, MaxN, Sum, Sqrt(), etc.). In the above example, we used a pre-defined function to create a garnish of 30% that caps out at $4000. If you prefer, you may use other methods and formulas to perform similar actions. For example, to define a garnishment of 5% (that caps out at a $500 maximum amount) from an employee's Net Pay, you could use the following expression: If (Net * 0.05 <= Total - Paid, Net * 0.05, MaxN (Total - Paid, 0) ). See the example below:

complex payroll functions

Function

Use this cell to enter the name of the function. The name shown here will appear in various screens and locations throughout the program.

Note: The content for this cell cannot be edited directly. If you wish to modify the cell's text or value, you must open the appropriate screen that is used to manage the cell's content. For example, to edit the person's Surname, you would need to do so via the Setup Employee screen.

Item

Use this cell to specify the item on which the variable's calculation will be based (i.e. what the variable represents). For example, if you want to create a function that will employ a value that is based on a multiple of the employee's regular wages, you would select the Regular option from this list. Similarly, if you want to create a function that is based on one of the employee's statutory pay items (e.g. E.I. premiums), you would select the E.I. option from this list.

There are several types of items in this list - some are based on earned amounts while others are based on the sum of multiple items. The categories include:

Symbol

Use this cell to enter the name of the variable as it appears in the expression. The symbols you define here are case-sensitive and can be entered as single character or as a complete word or term. Single character symbols will result in shorter, more concise expressions while word-based symbols will produce longer expressions (though the latter may be easier to understand). Note: Symbols in the top row of the group must begin with either a letter or an underscore character ( _ ). Sub-rows however, may include a number as the starting character.

Test

Test - Use this button to test the calculation result based on the data in the columns to the right of the Add Variable column. The variables in these editable columns and their assigned earning is what is used to determine the resulting "test" calculation. Refer to the Value cell described later on this help page for more information.

Test Result

This uneditable cell displays the calculated result of the current expression, based on the data in the columns to the right of the Add Variable column. This test value can be recalculated multiple times until the desired result is achieved (by adjusting the variables and then selecting the Test button). Refer to the Value cell described later on this help page for more information on this feature.

This cell will read Invalid Expression if the variables entered do not result in a valid calculation. In this case, you must review the variables and adjust them as required to achieve a valid result.

Type

Use this cell to specify how the selections in the Item column will be treated when they are calculated.

Value

Use this cell to define the value that will used for each variable in your expression. This value can be numerical (e.g. to represent a percentage or a fixed dollar value) or it may be text-based (e.g. an arbitrary symbol or series of characters to represent a variable). If the latter method is used, you must also associate the symbol with a corresponding choice in the Item cell.

Test Values - Depending on the variable's type, the value entered in this cell can either be used in the "live" payroll calculation or as a test value only (when you are using the Test button to verify the effects of your formula).

For example, if you have an RRSP Deduction formula that is to deduct 5% from the employee's pay each period, the formula could read (A+B+C)*05. See the example below:

Payroll functions

Note: The value in the Test Result column is used only on this screen in order to show a test outcome of the expression - it will not be used for any actual payroll calculations.