Payroll Process Improvement Ideas for Overwhelmed Teams

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Many companies believe that if they pay their employees punctually they are using an efficient payroll system, but payroll processing is perhaps an organization’s most complex undertaking.

The intricacies of tax compliance, employee benefits, and the ever-changing state and federal tax regulations can destroy the precision and scheduling ability of even the most sophisticated payroll system. A recent survey showed that the major hurdles companies regularly encounter in payroll management include:

  1. Manual procedures (23% of companies)
  2. The precision and timing of inputs (21%)
  3. Atypical or complicated processes (17%)

Ultimately, these issues can impact any business, so continual improvement of payroll processes is essential in today’s complex business environment. The following are some useful tips that can help overwhelmed payroll departments to streamline their payroll procedures and provide an enhanced pay experience for their workforce.

  1. Stay educated about the most recent state and federal payroll tax policies
  2. Conduct regular audits of your payroll activities and payroll software
  3. Make your payroll policy as simple and comprehensible as possible
  4. Go paperless with your payroll procedures
  5. Combine or synchronize your various pay schedules
  6. Outsource your payroll processes and management

Stay educated about the most recent state and federal payroll tax policies

Every inaccurately calculated payroll can have costly consequences for your organization. The inability to act in accordance with current IRS payroll regulations usually results in stiff penalties, and companies are required to correct their mistakes while at the same time sending any payments they owe to the IRS together with the penalties.

In order to avoid receiving such penalties, it is important to keep abreast of changing state and federal tax regulations and integrate them regularly into your company’s payroll procedures.  With every pay cycle, you need to verify that your payroll is in compliance with the most recent tax laws. Your payroll department team has to be retrained frequently to ensure that they are always up to date on these changeable and complex laws.

Conduct regular audits of your payroll activities and payroll software

If your workers are experiencing delayed or inaccurate payrolls, you need to perform regular audits, beginning with a workflow analysis in which every step is examined from start to finish. Errors occur not only with manual time card systems but also with highly automated payroll procedures.

Some payroll issues may involve incorrect classification of employee type, which can lead to providing erroneous tax status and withholding taxes or failing to factor in pay increases after they have already been given to workers. Auditing activities can include the following:

  • Examining each step in the payroll procedure for correctness
  • Checking add-ons to ensure that the software solution for preparing payroll is incorporated into your time and attendance procedures
  • Initiating an automated attendance system through the use of swipe cards 
  • Holding regular training seminars and communicating with employees as new tax regulations emerge.

Make your payroll policy as simple and comprehensible as possible 

Errors in payroll information often occur because of a poor understanding of payroll policies on the part of employees. For this reason, it’s important to make sure your payroll procedure is easy to comprehend and is accepted by all of your team members.

Establish unambiguous and concise policies in areas such as job attendance, reimbursement for expenses, and leaves of absence. Clarity on these issues will help to overcome vague areas in your policy before they become troublesome and potentially costly for your bottom line.

Several payroll issues, such as underpaid taxes and employee misclassifications, can be handled by putting an understandable and transparent payroll policy in place. Your payroll policy materials need to include information on the mechanisms of the payroll process, the employee classification system, the way in which salary levels are established, methods for correcting payroll errors, and the process by which job promotions and overtime pay are computed.

All of this data has to be made accessible to your workers by detailing it in written form and posting it at strategic locations in the workplace. In doing so, you encourage team members to refer to your company’s official written policies and guidelines before asking any questions of management.

Go paperless with your payroll procedures

Another practical idea for upgrading your payroll system is to go digital in all of its functions. Going paperless is more environmentally friendly and easier to manage for both your company and your employees. It eliminates the need to maintain huge archives of paperwork.

In addition, gaining access to the company’s payroll data online is much more effortless and efficient than having to handle huge quantities of paper documents and payslips on a regular basis. Since many other aspects of your company are managed digitally, why should your payroll system be any different?

Amazingly, even in today’s highly digitized business environment, many companies continue to cut paper checks and mail them out to employees. Printing and sending out paper checks consumes a huge amount of a payroll department’s time and energy. Instead of mailing out paper checks, urge your employees to make the change to direct deposit, thus eliminating paper waste and lightening the load on your payroll team.

In this way, you not only save precious time and energy on administrative tasks but also take a step toward making your organization “greener” by reducing paper consumption. 

Combine or synchronize your various pay schedules

Many companies maintain a variety of different payment schedules for different categories of employees, for example, monthly paydays for their executives, managers, and supervisors, and weekly or bi-weekly paydays for their hourly workers.

Although this policy may seem reasonable on the surface, in fact, it can easily cause errors to arise in the pay distribution process. As an alternative, you can maximize your payroll team’s efficiency and reduce unnecessary payroll errors by combining all pay cycles into one schedule, thus helping to avoid the duplication of processes and giving the team more time to pursue other tasks.

Using this approach, each category of employee is paid on the same timetable—once a week, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or once a month. Having only one payroll system to deal with instead of several enhances your payroll department’s productivity and makes life a lot simpler for everyone.

Outsourced payroll services from Employer Advantage

It can be very difficult for both large and small business owners alike to manage their company’s payroll. It can be an overwhelming process, and it can also be expensive to have multiple employees in place whose only duties are to manage payroll and the like. If you have already tried the aforementioned payroll process improvement ideas and are still struggling, it may be time to enlist the help of an outsourced payroll service provider.

At Employer Advantage, our mission is to free our clients from hassles like payroll and human resources management so that they can focus on their own missions and the things that are more important to them. If you are interested in our services and require help, please contact us at simplifyyourHR@employeradvantage.com or give us a call at 1 (877) 737-4408.

 

What Are the Key Functions of HR?

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The most valuable resources that a company has are its employees. Unfortunately, employees are also some of the most difficult resources to handle and successfully manage. Every employee is a unique individual, and they bring that individuality to the job in the form of their abilities, as well as their own expectations and needs.

When it comes to being productive for the company, all these individuals need to work as a team, or else the company won’t be as productive as it can be. Generally speaking, human resources works closely with leaders across an organization to evaluate the work that is necessary to accomplish a company’s objectives, put the right employees in the appropriate positions, and provide those employees with the tools necessary to be as productive as possible.

A good HR department requires a little bit of science and a little bit of art to help the company achieve its objectives. The following are typical functions of human resources (HR).

1) Employee recruitment process

This is one of the most important functions provided by the human resources department, and it generally involves workforce planning, writing job descriptions, advertising openings, screening applicants, and assisting managers with making good hiring choices. While doing all this, HR professionals also have to keep in mind the broader goals of hiring individuals who can contribute to and work well with a diverse group of employees.

Recruiting and hiring also involves providing candidates with company handbooks, preparing contracts, re-evaluating job descriptions as necessary, ensuring a diverse workforce, and conducting exit interviews. All these activities will help ensure that the right people are hired to fill available positions.

2) Compensation development and processing

Another very important HR function is to establish a salary range for company positions and to find qualified candidates who can fill said positions. One aspect of managing compensation is to perform performance appraisals and provide incentives based on the results of those appraisals, such as sales commissions or year-end bonuses.

It is very important that companies have a sensible approach to compensation so that employees feel that they are treated well and motivated to succeed. To be sure that compensation rates are within normal ranges in the country, HR professionals may have to consult the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports for all available positions. A good HR department will also periodically conduct reviews of pay scales internally, to be sure that there is no bias towards different races, genders, or ages.

Recommended Read Advantages of Outsourcing Payroll Services: A Look at How Businesses Benefit

3) Performance management and improvement

This is an ongoing process in which companies evaluate employee performance and identify areas that need improvement. An HR department should also recognize high-performing employees and find ways of rewarding those employees who perform exceptionally. Most companies will have performance reviews on some kind of regular basis, usually at year’s end.

When an employee is not performing up to expectations, the HR department may be required to impose some kind of discipline or create a plan for performance improvement, with achievable goals built into the plan. For more serious violations of company policy, employees may have to be placed on probation or terminated. Whatever disciplinary actions are taken, however, these must be spelled out clearly in the employee handbook so that all employees are aware of the consequences of their actions.

4) Benefits management

A large percentage of an employee’s compensation is made up of benefits. Some of these benefits might include educational opportunities, use of a company car, assistance with childcare, health insurance, and other perks. Benefits management is often a time-consuming process that requires attention to detail so that employees are properly enrolled, insurance premiums are paid, and the company sees the full impact of its investment in benefits.

The HR department is responsible for administering these extra benefits on behalf of the company. Whatever benefits are provided by a company, these should be clearly advertised so that employees are aware of how much value they’re getting in addition to their standard compensation. With the rising costs of health insurance and the importance that most employees place on their benefits, it is crucial that these are well managed.

5) Training and development

Most employees are interested in developing as professionals, so they can increase their skill level and advance their careers. On-the-job training is a great way to orient employees initially or to cross-train them for other positions in the company. Some companies will pay for off-site training and educational benefits that will enhance their employees’ skills.

Training employees and providing them with opportunities for personal growth requires a significant company investment. However, the payoff certainly makes that worthwhile because it can result in higher quality work, greater productivity and engagement, and a significantly improved level of employee retention.

6) Employee relations

When a company has positive relationships with its employees, it can foster an atmosphere of greater productivity and create a more effective working environment. Happy employees are much more productive than dissatisfied or disgruntled employees, so it’s to the advantage of any company to foster an atmosphere where employees are content.

In order to do this, HR management should research what employees value in the workplace and try to accommodate that. For instance, if flexible work schedules are the most desirable characteristic of working for a particular company, that should be emphasized. Surveys and interviews can be conducted to determine appeals the most to different employees.

7) Compliance with labor laws

This is an essential component of any HR department. All company practices and policies must comply with regulations issued by state and federal agencies in order to safeguard both company and employees. For example, there should be a prohibition on any kind of harassment or discrimination that is based on genetic information, national origin, disability, age, sex, religion, race, or pregnancy.

It is important to ensure that employees can take leave when necessary to fulfill obligations such as pregnancy, illness, jury duty, military duty, and disability. It’s a good idea to have all company policies checked out with a legal consultant to ensure compliance and actually enforce those policies as they are written.

Turn to an outsourced HR department

A company’s HR department has to handle several crucial pieces of running a business, including making sure employees are content, determining adequate compensation and benefits, ensuring that employees stay on in the long term, and complying with local and federal labor laws. It’s a lot to handle. Hiring and training employees to handle all these tasks can be difficult.

This is why many companies have turned to outsourcing as a way to manage their HR functions. At Employer Advantage, we deliver top-of-the-line HR services for both large and small businesses alike. As an outsourced HR department, we will make sure that all of the aforementioned functions are handled effectively and efficiently. In addition to HR services, we also offer outsourced payroll services, risk management, and employee benefits management.

 

Advantages of Outsourcing Payroll Services: A Look at How Businesses Benefit

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More and more companies, both small businesses and large corporations, are turning to outsourcing as a means of handling their payroll processing needs. For many businesses, it’s the best decision because it saves a great deal of time and money and solves compliance issues associated with payroll processing.

There are a considerable number of providers who offer highly competent and thorough payroll services, and when reliability is added into the picture, outsourcing begins to make sense from every angle. Here are some of the most useful benefits of employing the services of a reputable payroll provider.

Use the latest technology

Many of the global providers offering fully managed payroll services do so on cloud-based systems, thus allowing for greater visibility, data integrity, and audit-tracking. When all of their payroll data is centralized, businesses have much greater access to that information, instead of going through the slow process of waiting for data requests.

This greater access to data also allows businesses to integrate payroll information with all the related systems that they may have in-house, which can help their organization become more successful. Administrative costs are reduced, as well as I.T. costs, which leads to significant time savings and greater efficiency.

Businesses who outsource their payroll also gain access to advanced analytical tools, which highlight useful insights into the payroll process, as well as human resources management. Performance analytics can also help to determine the extent of any errors that might be occurring, so businesses can take steps to prevent them in the future.

Prevent errors and penalties

When a provider fully manages their payroll processing, businesses can expect far fewer errors to occur. Because payroll processing can be fairly complex, this becomes an important consideration, as any errors made in payroll processing can carry serious consequences. 

Since their livelihood and their reputation depend on staying abreast of all tax requirements and regulatory issues, providers are obliged to constantly be aware of such developments. Leaving the handling of payroll to experts reduces the chances of any mistakes being made, and that can help avoid some very costly penalties or fines. 

It also means businesses don’t have to spend as much time in-house on keeping up with all the most recent changes with regard to compliance and regulatory issues. That will help free up personnel to focus more on business-related issues like sales, marketing, or improving cash flow.

person-doing-payrollTime savings

Payroll processing can be a very tedious, time-consuming task, as it comes with the duties of monitoring benefit deductions, garnishments, paid time off, terminations, new hires, federal regulations, and state and local regulations.

Additionally, whoever is handling payroll has to prepare W-2 forms and ensure that they are sent out prior to the annual deadline. The person in charge will probably have to be dedicated to the task full-timeand it may even require a whole department of employeesif the company is very large.

Some companies are still entering payroll information via outdated data entry processes, and this can add many hours to the duties of those employees. When businesses have expert providers handling those processes, their employees and managers are free to pursue more value-added tasks in the company, making the workforce far more productive.

Better security

When processing payroll in-house, there are several risks to consider. Companies with insufficient internal controls on their payroll process are susceptible to embezzlement. Additionally, businesses that have stored sensitive personal information on unsecured computer systems are at risk of a cyberattack that compromises employee and identity information.

Most payroll providers whom businesses can outsource their payroll processing to have state-of-the-art server systems for data storage and protection, and they also have redundant backup capabilities which can recover data when necessary. In addition, a number of payroll services also use technologies that can identify when payroll fraud is being committed by someone, and they can alert businesses to the situation.

No worries about losing key personnel

What happens when a business has a single individual running its entire payroll process who then decides to jump ship and go to another company? The answer is that the business will be left high and dry because that key person will take all of their knowledge and expertise with them.

Unless the company took the time and effort to fully train someone as a backup to their payroll expert, the company leaders might find themselves in a situation where no one in the company is quite sure how to manage its payroll processing. If one or two important personnel abruptly depart from the company, they will probably be obliged to quickly train other individuals to take their place.

Training an employee on payroll processing can require a great deal of time and understanding, and the business probably wouldn’t have replacement personnel ready for the next pay period. When payroll is processed by a third party, these concerns are eliminated, because the payroll provider will have competent replacements ready to step in to provide expert service.

Expert payroll services from Employer Advantage

Employer Advantage is an outsourced payroll and human resources provider that has been helping businesses to free themselves from the hassle of HR for more than thirty years. Our expert services provide businesses with all of the aforementioned benefits and then some.

Small business owners can sleep well at night knowing that their payroll functions and payroll taxes are being handled by an experienced and reputable service provider. If you are interested in outsourcing your payroll services, email us at simplifyyourHR@employeradvantage.com or give us a call at (877) 737-4408.

 

Take a look at our outsourced payroll services!

 

 

4 Solid Reasons Why Businesses Should Get Accounting Help

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Do you love to crunch numbers for your business? If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you answered “no” to this question. In fact, you may have even screamed it inside your head! That’s because, while they are essential, bookkeeping tasks can be tedious and complicated for business owners to handle on their own. They can also be time-consuming. This is why so many entrepreneurs seek help from Employer Advantage. But if you still need convincing, here are a few more good reasons to get help with accounting.

Payroll Can Be Confusing and Mistakes Can Be Costly

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Payroll mistakes are pretty common. Some of the most prevalent mistakes that small businesses make when processing payroll include:

  1. Missing deadlines and failing to pay employees on-time.
  2. Forgetting to send tax forms, including 1099’s and W2’s.
  3. Keeping unorganized and/or non-detailed payroll records.
  4. Not backing up payroll records and other essential documents.

It takes a lot of time and attention to detail to avoid these missteps, so it’s smart to turn to the many courses and other resources that are accessible to you online.

Invest in Payroll Software and Services

While the above-mentioned mistakes may not seem like major ones, making any one of them could land your business in serious hot water. Some payroll mistakes have even cost large businesses millions of dollars! If you want to avoid added expense and stress, you need to understand current tax rules and regulations and stay on top of new ones.

One way to streamline your efforts is to offer paycheck direct deposit. Direct deposit will ensure that your staff is always paid on-time and without either of you having to worry about paper checks. Last-minute adjustments are also easy enough fixes, so neither you nor your employees have to worry about inconvenient delays.

Tax Mistakes Can Spell Disaster for Small Businesses

Another reason to get help with accounting is your taxes. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done your own taxes solo — taking on business taxes is a whole different ball game. That’s because businesses have to follow an entirely different set of rules from the IRS.

You may be thinking that DIY taxes will help save your business money, but you also need to consider the potential costs of making an error on your returns. Missing a deadline could land you with hundreds (or potentially, thousands) of dollars in penalties, or you could face an audit. But understanding these rules can be difficult and is one reason most experts warn against DIY returns.

Get Professional Help When Filing Your Taxes

At the very least, it may be well worth it to hire an outside firm like Employer Advantage to handle your payroll taxes, as well as another great partner to manage your business accounting. This way, you’ll have easy access to the documents you need to file your return in a timely manner. You also won’t have to worry about payroll and tax mistakes that could result in penalties.

You can also simply visit a tax preparation service each year or invest in more robust accounting help for your business. On average, most small businesses pay between $1,000 and $5,000 for professional accounting services. This is a fraction of the cost of potential accounting, payroll, or tax mistakes. Also, accountants often find hidden savings opportunities in your books to make up for the expense.

Time is one of your most important assets. If payroll, taxes, or any other accounting task takes affects yours, it may be time to bring in help — be it a top-rated accounting software or experienced professionals. Either way, saving time and stress will be well worth any extra expense.

If you need help with payroll, human resources, risk management, or any other operations in your business, contact Employer Advantage for a consultation.

Blog contributor: Chelsea Lamb of businesspop.net

Big Announcement! Employer Advantage Expands Into the Phoenix Area With the Acquisition of Choice Employer’s Resource

Exciting news! Employer Advantage has expanded into the Greater Phoenix area with the acquisition of Choice Employer’s Resource, an HR services company in Mesa, Arizona. The sale was finalized June 1, 2020.

This will add a third Employer Advantage location to serve clients with personalized, strategic outsourced HR services. It will allow us to help more businesses lift their administrative burden to improve profitability and growth. Phoenix is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. and a growth incubator for startups and good-paying jobs in a variety of sectors. This makes small to midsize Phoenix companies a natural fit for outsourced HR services that help them run lean while still providing the excellent benefits that retain employees.

Employer Advantage President & CEO Jared Young spoke about the acquisition: “Small and mid-sized businesses typically don’t have the resource in house for all of the administrative, HR and compliance functions today’s employers have to handle, and that causes a tremendous burden. It stifles growth and profitability. Our goal is to free employers from that burden so they can focus on their business success.”

Shared company values and a personal connection were also important factors in the acquisition.

“Choice shares our values and our commitment to a high standard of service,” Young said. “We’ve known the owners, Brad Bowman and Steve Winger, for many years and have the highest respect for them and their company.”

Bowman and Winger will stay on as employees of Employer Advantage, continuing to work with and support existing and new Phoenix area clients.

“While we’re extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished as a business, we have been looking for a larger partner to help us meet our clients’ evolving needs,” Bowman said. “Employer Advantage is ideal because they have our same dedication to personalized service, but they are large enough to bring additional resources and technology to the table.”