Digital payroll systems accurately calculate wages and deductions—you only need to enter employee data once into the system. You can also integrate the software with other tools you use for HR management or sync data across platforms. Usually, inaccurate wages and late payments stem from poor payroll management practices. If you just hired your first employees or find yourself outgrowing manual payroll, you may not know where to start.
It gives you access to important data including payroll costs, absentee rates, productivity levels, and tax payments. For example, IRS regulations require you to keep all payroll tax records for a minimum of four years. Violations can result in costly fines from the Labor Department, IRS, and state agencies.
Here are 27 of the best payroll tips to keep in mind, broken down into the segments of the payroll process for efficient management. If you have a limited staff, you might decide to opt for payroll outsourcing. This is where you contract a third-party service provider, known as a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), to process your employee salaries. A manual payroll system is cheaper than hiring a service provider to do the work for you. While it is less expensive, it does run the risk of errors in calculations and withholdings.
Your employees deserve to be compensated consistently and correctly and not doing so can have a huge impact on your business. Be it a paycheck that sends home less money than expected, a misclassification of an employee’s role, or any other of a myriad of issues, misunderstandings cause problems. An issue for many businesses, but especially smaller ones, is that each organization’s payroll leader has his or her own way of processing and documenting payroll.
Establish A Payroll Administrator
The first step in creating an effective payroll management system is identifying what your budget is. In other words, the impact that payroll expenses will have on your business’s finances. This is imperative as you need to make sure you have access to enough money to pay your employees in full and on time. If you are running payroll manually, the process will be important to ensure that you don’t overlook any critical detail when processing payroll.
While you won’t have to submit withholding taxes for independent contractors, you would have to fill out Form 1099-MISC if you paid them $600 or more over a year.
It also makes onboarding new payroll managers easier, should you ever hand off the task.
By digitalizing and automating your payroll management process you have access to all the data you need, and you can securely store it for as long as the law requires.
Ask an employment law expert to review the document and make sure everything’s in place before sharing it with your workers.
You’ll need to keep your own records and find a system for calculating every single payroll payment.
With all of the time, energy and potential liability involved in payroll, this is well worth the price. This is where you do all of the payroll calculations on your own and then submit any direct deposits or print any checks all by yourself. You’ll need to keep your own records and find a system for calculating every single payroll payment. You’ll need to withhold tax amounts and forward the totals at the appropriate time. The first few payrolls will likely be the most difficult as you walk through the process and get used to what you need to do. It may be helpful to consult with a tax professional or accountant to make sure that you are checking everything in the process.
Step 4: Comply with wage laws
There are several choices depending on how large your organization is and the level of in-house expertise you have. Federal labor laws require precise recordkeeping, as well as minimum wage, overtime, and child labor standards to be met. And it’s not only the employees that require you to manage payroll effectively; the law does as well. Post-tax deductions are subtracted from the net pay and include wage garnishment (court-ordered deductions for debts or child support), life insurance plans, or 401(k) loan repayments. Finally, the federal government (and some state and local governments) requires businesses to file tax reports every few months (i.e., quarterly) or at the end of the year.
Step 1: Find your employer identification number.
If full-time payroll staff won’t fit in your budget, consider hiring a freelancer or simply delegating the task to one of your most skilled and trusted employees. When internal management handles payroll, the time-intensive work takes time away from every other aspect of operating the business — namely, revenue-producing pursuits. The time consumption escalates as the business grows and adds more employees, but even a business with just one employee may be better off outsourcing payroll. Ways to keep things consistent include standardizing processes and promoting internally. If that’s not possible, another option is to outsource to a payroll management firm, which is likely to maintain very standardized practices. After reconciling it, you’re ready to run payroll, which means approving direct deposits and the preparation of checks.
Create a Payroll Calendar
Service providers do all the calculations, pay the appropriate tax bodies and benefits providers and handle the checks or direct deposits for employers. This takes the task of processing payroll from hours to minutes for busy employers. If you are giving employees paid time off (PTO), you’ll want to track this as you process payroll. Record the tally of hours worked on a spreadsheet, noting any PTO that should be paid as well. There are two ways to go about getting payroll processed; you can do it yourself manually or use a service provider. It is important to know that ignorance or honest mistakes are not justification for errors in taxes or withholding.
Payroll services, or payroll management companies, are a way to outsource your payroll management to a team of professionals. They calculate your payroll, file tax statements, deposit payments to employees, process new hires, and more. With tips that can be easily implemented, we’ll identify alternative options to manual payroll management that can save time, reduce long-term assets definition and meaning errors, and provide a lifeline for new business owners. Among the many items on small business owners’ to-do lists, payroll tasks can be particularly important and complex ones. However, there any many risks and costs to handling these administrative responsibilities on your own, perhaps most significantly the time they can take away from your already-busy workday.
In this phase, you also set aside payroll taxes and the cost of benefits for you, the employer. Problems often arise because of employee misunderstandings of the payroll system. This happens most often in organizations where pay policies are either not accessible or inadequately presented to employees. Many payroll issues such as underpaid taxes or employee misclassifications (contractor vs employee) can be corrected by instituting a wholly transparent payroll policy. In running a business, poor decisions like this can easily be overlooked until it’s time to process your payroll tax payment. You could end up not having enough money to replace the borrowed funds and risk not being able to pay the IRS.
Plus, most importantly, your payroll policy defines the responsibilities and accountabilities of all payroll staff and managers, including access and security levels. An HRIS system efficiently manages various HR tasks, ranging from employee recruitment and onboarding to performance management and payroll processing. What makes Rippling stand out is its full-service U.S. and global payroll feature. Rippling makes it easy to quickly pay employees and contractors worldwide in their local currency, so you don’t have to wait for transfers or conversions.
Keeping track of gross pay vs. net pay, making sure each is accurate and then paying all of the taxes to the appropriate government entity is at least a full-time job all by itself. The cost of paying an employee to process this may wind up being more expensive than using another option. Technically, a manual payroll is done by hand with calculations performed on paper. With the use of computers, most people consider manual payroll as any payroll you process without the help of a payroll processing provider. Note that the current percentages for Social Security is 6.2% for the employer and 6.2% for the employee. Make sure you set aside the right amount from the employee’s gross wages and from your own business account to pay these required taxes.