This module is essentially an article from the Houston Chronicle that contains basic information intended to foster an understanding of computing employee gross pay. The article provides an elementary overview of the topic and contains a step-by-step approach for the computation. The material is a good ancillary reference for a discussion of payroll in a financial or managerial accounting course or a professional development session.
Type of Material:
Open journal article
Individual, Team, In class, Homework
Google Chrome, IE, Firefox
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The purpose of this particular article is to teach individuals how to compute employees' gross pay. It breaks gross pay into hourly and salary classifications for computational purposes. It looks at the semimonthly payroll period only.
Target Student Population:
High school or lower college level financial or managerial accounting. Possibly professional development.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Introductory financial accounting and a calculator.
The material provides a good overview of the gross-pay calculation. It contains basic information that can be used as a starting point for a variety of discussions. The module provides a very concise summary of this core concept, which is an essential element in payroll accounting.
While the information is generally clear, the information found using the link to bimonthly payroll is confusing. Bimonthly payroll is uncommon and the information provided is inaccurate. This article does not provide complete information on computing gross pay since it does not address the fundamental topics of minimum wage, overtime pay, and multiple pay frequencies. Information presented about the Social Security tax wage base is inaccurate and reflects a figure that has been obsolete for several years. Finally, the article contains a tiny fraction of the information that a payroll accountant would use to compute gross pay. The material has a cursory summary and provides no integration of gross pay and its role in business decisions.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The content of the article demonstrates the relationship between salaried and hourly employees’ gross pay computation. It is a good starting point for in-depth discussions. This article would work as a supplemental piece to accompany a more comprehensive text.
Learning objectives are not identified at the beginning of the article, and prerequisite knowledge is presumed but not explicitly stated. The unit builds on prior knowledge associated with having employees. It is not suited for assignments because of the superficial coverage of the topic. By reading this article alone, a person could learn just enough about the gross pay computation to make costly mistakes.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
This article is very professional in appearance and presentation. The use of steps in the format makes the instructions relatively easy to follow. The design quality is very high, as would be expected from a large-scale publication.
The instructions for completing gross-pay computations are confusing because they are not covered in enough depth. The language used is easy to follow, but it is overly simplified given the complex nature of the topic. The visual appeal is moderate because the article is clearly text-driven, lacking graphics that might improve the audience’s understanding. The article is not interactive in any way.
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