Even on the smallest and most tightly-knit teams, payroll may be a challenging process to untangle. For example, it can be more difficult to maintain strict employee privacy. Underpayments and overpayments are becoming increasingly widespread, making them more challenging to identify. Accuracy, standardization, backup systems, and other standards may slip through the cracks, resulting in a time-consuming audit.
According to a recent On Pay survey of over 1,000 small businesses, business owners who administer payroll manually spend an average of 18 hours per month paying employees. Despite this, most payroll advice is aimed toward larger firms, making it unhelpful for improving the efficiency of your lean team. Here’s a guide to help small business owners efficiently handle their payroll.
What is Payroll Processing?
Payroll processing is a critical business function that calculates employees’ net pay after adjusting for appropriate taxes and deductions. It also requires filing tax returns with HMRC and paying employment taxes. These computations must be conducted on time to meet the organization’s pay schedule and applicable rules.
Payroll processing is essential to running a small business that employs people. Many elements, including pay scales, personnel classifications, promotions, and terminations, can make managing challenging. As a result, checkpoints at critical stages in payroll processing are essential for error prevention. Outsourcing payroll processing services can ensure flawless payroll processing while freeing up your time and energy for vital business activities.
During payroll processing, the payroll administrator must do the following tasks.
- Create an organizational pay policy that includes flexible benefits, a leave encashment policy, and other features.
- Define the pay components, such as primary and variable pay, HRA, LTA, etc.
- Get extra payroll inputs from the transportation company or the food/canteen vendor.
- Net pay is calculated by taking the gross salary and deducting the statutory and non-statutory payments.
- Finally, make the employee’s compensation available to the public.
- Returns are filed, and payments are made to appropriate authorities, such as TDS, PF, etc.
Payroll Tips That Small Business Owners Should Know
Handling payroll can be complex for running a small business, and payroll tax law makes it even more complicated. To save you time each month and throughout tax season, consider the following recommendations for optimizing your payroll process and keeping your records nice and orderly:
1. Make and Keep a Payroll Calendar
If you’re only going to do one item to organize and streamline the payroll process, make it this one. One of the most crucial components of keeping your team happy and your payroll in order is ensuring all employees are paid on time. It makes little difference whether you do it weekly, bimonthly, or monthly as long as you have a structure.
The ease with which a payroll calendar can be found and maintained is the most enticing feature. The National Finance Center’s pre-made, downloadable calendars are available to anybody. However, remember that your company’s pay schedules may not exactly match the calendars you discover online. Consider making your own to reflect your business procedures better while keeping track of your upcoming payday.
2. Automate Payroll-Related Taxes
Payroll tax automation is something you could perform to reduce the administrative burden of payroll management. But, sadly, it’s much more severe than that.
Late tax payments might result in harsh penalties. Trying to manage them all manually is doomed to fail at some time. For example, paying taxes late by just one day will result in a 2% penalty. The penalty quintuples to 10% after 16 days. Such errors may seem inconceivable, but manually paying taxes significantly increases the danger. The sooner you deliver those payments to the IRS, the less worried you’ll be.
Automated tax payments are available from several major payroll providers and software packages. However, read the fine print carefully because you’re dealing with the IRS. If your software package or payroll supplier fails to deliver, the IRS will pursue you rather than them. So, whatever arrangements you adopt, be sure they are verifiable, guaranteed, and can withstand an audit.
3. Classify Every Employee
Your employees’ pay schedules will fluctuate dramatically depending on their categorization, as will the tax ramifications for your business. As a result, the line between an independent contractor and a full-time employee can become blurred, particularly in small enterprises with few resources.
No simple solution exists: each employee must be thoroughly assessed and classified. Then, using the IRS’s classification guide, you may establish whether they are an independent contractor or a full-time employee; include all of your classifications back into your payroll system to ensure that no crucial distinctions are missed.
4. Perform Double Duty with Data Entry
Smaller firms do not have payroll teams or the ability to outsource the function. Create whatever payroll method works best for you, but always have a second pair of eyes on data entry. An extra zero today could lead to a lifetime of headaches later.
Enter, run, and crunch the numbers twice to avoid this. Then, incorporate it into your monthly plan review meeting to make it easier and less time-consuming. This guarantees you have more eyes on the data and more time to review it thoroughly.
5. Look for the right software, but don’t rely on it.
Payroll software is typically the first thing that springs to mind when thinking of a simple solution to expedite the payroll process and with reason. Most software solutions are simple to use, economical, and allow your organization to focus on what it does.
However, over-reliance on payroll software might lead to new issues. For example, merely entering the figures and letting the program do the rest can leave you perplexed about the financial state of your payroll. They may also make data collection more complex for possible audits. So, if payroll software works for you, don’t let it exploit you.
This is not the place to cut corners if you have invested in payroll software. Instead, make sure you budget for this investment regularly, know its capabilities, and double-check to ensure it is compatible with any/all legacy systems your company employs.
This is also an excellent time to think creatively. What other areas of your organization can benefit from a higher-end payroll software package? Is the package you’re considering capable of handling billing, invoicing, and other financial tasks? It’s easy to get tunnel vision when tackling a single problem, but take a step back and look at the overall picture.
6. Understand the Law
This one should go without saying. Payroll law rules and regulations can be complex and usually differ from state to state. You’ll want to ensure your company’s payroll system is legally compliant from the outset, and the American Payroll Association’s guide to state payroll regulations will help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the rules, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice – it’s better to work it out now rather than suffer the repercussions later.
7. Appoint a Payroll Manager
Most companies regard “payroll manager” to be a full-time job. The complexity of a vast corporation’s remuneration must be sorted out. The roles for lean teams aren’t as rigorous. Still, they’re just as crucial as requesting a team member with accounting, human resources, or company finance skills to assist with payroll administration. With a solid software system and proper assistance, these duties are unlikely to represent a substantial barrier.
Even if more than one employee is required, having one manage the entire process can be significantly more efficient than attempting to patchwork your way through it all.
8. Save All Documentation
Keeping payroll records is a legal duty, not a suggestion. To comply with IRS standards and the FLSA, firms must preserve employment tax records for up to four years, payroll records for three years, and wage determination records for two years, according to Patriot Software. While software can help with some of this, retaining physical and digital documents is best to decrease the chance of loss.
9. Financial Backup
Businesses must always have enough operating cash to keep their operations running smoothly. As a result, businesses may face difficulties if they do not obtain sufficient credit when required. That is why firms must ensure they have adequate financial reserves.
10. Provide Payroll Process Training
Whether your company conducts payroll manually or through payroll software, make it essential to teach staff who will require payroll assistance. There are several approaches to doing payroll training in your company:
- Provide all payroll policies and related documents that are easily accessible.
- Record all the payroll processes and share them with your employees.
- Conduct quizzes and interactive learning to help you make your employee more aware.
We hope you liked the above payroll tips for your business to maximize growth. Payroll is always a pain, but following the right advice early on can help alleviate the pain later. Small businesses have enough on their plates; keeping payroll simple can prevent anything else from being added. We hope you enjoyed the above payroll advice for your company’s growth. But on the other hand, are you looking for professional payroll small business services?
Then contact the accounting and bookkeeping experts at Bestarion today! Managing complete payroll processing on top of your core business processes can quickly become overwhelming, resulting in payroll issues. Outsourcing payroll management services to Bestarion can ensure flawless payroll processing while freeing up your time and energy for core business functions.