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Functions (Payroll Tab)

This screen is used to define formulas and methods that can be used to automate the calculation of various items in your payroll. These formulas are known as Functions. Functions can be used for simple calculations (such as calculating wage garnishments to deduct a percentage of an employee's pay), or complex calculations involving multiple payroll items (such as a pension deduction where the deduction amount is the sum of specified earnings that are multiplied by a certain percentage). The most typical function is one that calculates employee vacation pay.

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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 insert the variables (e.g. earnings, deductions, values) and edit your expression to support the function.

Common Buttons

Visit the Button Descriptions help page to view detailed descriptions of each 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 screen, 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 add a function to the current payroll. You can choose the - Empty Function - option (in the drop-down list immediately to the right of this button) to create a user-defined function, or you can choose from a list of pre-set functions. 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 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).

Expressions (whether pre-defined or custom) can be modified at any time, but you must ensure that each variable has a supporting symbol or value assigned. For example, if you have previously added the Earnings Percent function (as mentioned 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:

  • Bold 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).
  • Bold Blue - Indicates rows that have been expanded under the Primary row.
  • Non-Bold Black Italic - Indicates that Primary item of its type exists for the employee. For example, if you already have a "Regular" earning defined for the row but choose to add another Regular earning with a different rate, subsequent earning would appear in non-bold Black italic formatting to indicate that a Primary earning of the same type 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 occurs:

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 when this function is calculated. The expression should be defined according to standard mathematical rules. For example, a typical expression might 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 assigned in the columns to the right of the Add Variable button.

Complex Functions - You can create complex functions through the use of If statements and other operators, such as MinN, MaxN, Sum, Sqrt(). In the example below, 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.

Item

Use this cell to specify the item that the variable represents. For example, if you want the function to calculate the employee's regular wages, you would select the Earning Regular option from this list. Similarly, if you want to calculate based on one of the employee's statutory items, such as thier employment insurance contributions, you would select the EI option from this list.

There are several types of items in this list - some are based on the employee's earnings and deductions, 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. Symbols are case-sensitive and can be entered as single characters 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 its associated items (Type, Item and Value). The variables in these columns are used to determine the resulting "test" calculation. Refer to the Value cell described on this help page for more information.

Test Result

This uneditable cell displays the calculated result of the current expression. This test value can be recalculated multiple times until the desired result is achieved (by adjusting the variables and then selecting the Test button again). Refer to the Value cell described 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 the corresponding variable in the row. This value is typically numerical (e.g. to represent a percentage or a fixed dollar value), but it can 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 (the latter, 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+D)*05. See the example below:

Payroll functions

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