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5 keys to streamline payroll for your business

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Why do you need to streamline payroll?

If there’s any part of your business that needs to run smoothly, it’s payroll. An efficiently run payroll promotes trust between you and your employees, strengthens your business's reputation, and maintains your good standing amid tax regulations.

Consistently paying your employees the correct amount on time requires staying up to date on various factors – factors that can change daily. And not doing so will not only cost time, but unnecessary stress and loss of productivity.

The key to ensuring a streamlined payroll process for your business or company is to improve efficiency at every level; so whether you’re managing payroll yourself or entrusting it to a department within your business, these keys will help streamline your payroll so you and your team can rest easy and spend more time on other aspects of your business.

Embrace new technologies & stay current with new changes

Payroll software has come a long way in recent years. Tasks that once took up dozens of work hours are now automated and occur seamlessly in the background of your business without the expense of your employees’ time and energy.

Many of these softwares not only run on computers, but also on phones and modern POS systems. This allows for a simple user-friendly experience, and enables you and your employees to all be on the same page and using the same system.

A great deal of the payroll process consists of collecting data. Rather than manually inputting employee information and keeping track of it, modern payroll software makes it easy to input, store, and secure data. These systems also minimize human error and the chances of miscalculations and incorrect employee information.

Payroll regulations are constantly changing, and failing to implement new labor laws can lead to your business being audited. Payroll software can assist you in keeping up with and implementing new changes such as minimum wage laws, updated full-time employee requirements, and new employee confidentiality agreements.

Staying aware of new regulations will save you from the immense effort of having to play catch up and regain good standing in the face of legal troubles.

Integrate payroll with other parts of your business

Benefits: It’s common for businesses to allocate employee benefit packages to outside parties. However, doing so requires more data entry, time, and costs. Consider integrating employee benefits into your payroll solution and managing it in-house.

Payroll frequency: Reducing the amount of time you pay your employees can go a long way in making your payroll work more efficiently and at less cost. If we look at a pay period as a cycle that has a rise in expenses and labor hours every pay period, then it makes sense to minimize the amount of cycles to what’s only necessary. If your pay periods are currently weekly, consider bi-weekly.

Onboarding: Rather than have your payroll department enter and process new employee information, have them provide their data for you during onboarding, like completing Form I-9, Form W-4, and direct deposit authorizations even before they show up for their first day at work. This way, payroll can focus on processing and verifying the information, allowing you to save on payroll costs and getting new hires on the floor faster.

Outsource your payroll

Deciding whether to manage your own payroll, delegate it to a part-time bookkeeper, or set up a payroll department depends largely on the size of your workforce, your availability, and your budget. But another option that’s often overlooked is outsourcing your payroll to a third-party.

Managing payroll in-house requires a constant stream of time-consuming, repetitive manual tasks. Using a payroll service provider automates these tasks and frees you to focus on managing employees and directing your business.

Some payroll services consist of providing you a dedicated representative who learns the ins-and-outs of your business and alerts you to any legislation changes that may affect your company. It’s important to understand the impact of new legislation on your business and how it affects payroll and being aware of upcoming changes to ensure you don’t fall behind as soon as the legislation becomes effective. They’ll also be another set of eyes on your payroll and be available for questions and concerns. Other payroll services will take the payroll worries off your hand and simply carry out all aspects of it for you.

Outsourcing payroll can be customized and tailored to your exact needs, saving you costs and allowing it to always be an option no matter the scope of your business.

Involve your employees

Modern payroll systems allow for new employees and seasoned employees alike to message their concerns, updates, and requests directly to you, payroll, and HR. Getting your employees included in the processes of your payroll is a win-win for all parties.

Without having to manually collect it yourself, you’ll be able to gather the following:

  • Tax information
  • Availability
  • Shift requests
  • Wage concerns
  • Timekeeping
  • Time off requests

On their end, they’ll feel heard and that they have an efficient pathway to have their concerns answered promptly.

A common time consuming duty of payroll is scheduling, which involves meticulous planning to avoid unnecessary overtime and scheduling people outside their availability. Modern payroll applications allow this historically draining task to be done with little difficulty and more efficiently. These systems allow you to have your staff availability, time-off requests, and desired work load all in one place, helping you make quicker and smarter decisions.

Inaccurate shift recording can cost your business unnecessary labor costs, and can also lead to unhappy employees and disagreements between your staff. Streamlining timekeeping with modern tools allows for employees to report their hours more accurately and at no headache to you.

If your employees favor being paid through direct deposits, then modern payroll softwares will be able to automate their payments and save you time on not having to write out and deliver checks.

Additionally, payroll solutions can also automate the distribution of pay stubs, providing accurate information for workers to file taxes and know that they’ve been paid accurately.

An integrated process can allow you as a small business owner to focus on growing your company while simultaneously having peace of mind that your payroll is being paid accurately and promptly.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Labor laws are in constant flux, and many business owners aren’t experts in all the various regulations concerning payroll. Whenever an issue arises in which you’re uncertain, it’s always best to remember to reach out to a payroll expert or your payroll provider. In order to not slow your business down, payroll issues should be handled as they are brought up, as allowing them to fester can end up costing you a significant amount of time and profit later down the road; no business wants the IRS knocking on their door.

Interested in teaming with payroll professionals who will alert you ahead of time regarding changes in payroll ordinances?

Heartland is the point of sale, payments and payroll solution of choice for entrepreneurs that need human-centered technology to sell more, keep customers coming back and spend less time in the back office. Nearly 1,000,000 businesses trust us to guide them through market changes and technology challenges, so they can stay competitive and focus on building remarkable businesses instead of managing the daily grind. Learn more at heartland.us.