A career working in payroll is challenging and sure keeps you busy. We know! So here are some tips to help keep you on track and save time!
Make sure all your employees’ information is accurate
There is nothing more frustrating than going to process payroll and having the wrong information for an employee. Confirm every new employee’s information before you process their payroll so that you don’t have to go back to them on payday for the correct information. Here is what you will need:
To begin, you will need the following items:
- Your company legal name, DBA (if applicable), and company address
- All of your tax ID numbers, including:
- Your federal employer identification number (EIN)
- Your state tax withholding ID number
- Your local tax ID numbers (if applicable)
- Your state unemployment (SUTA) account number and SUTA rate for your company. Note: Your state unemployment agency may send your SUTA rate determination in a separate letter. This rate is based on your industry and your company’s individual claim history for unemployment.
- All employee information*, including :
- Social Security numbers
- tax filing status
- details on current deductions & contributions
- (*This can be found on the W-4 form filled out by your employees.)
- The pay rate and pay frequency (weekly, biweekly, etc.) for all employees.
- All payroll registers for the current year, by pay date.
- All employer taxes for the current year, by pay date.
- Copies of all tax filings for current year (i.e. 941, state & local tax returns, SUTA).
Have a checklist
Make a list of the things you need to do to process payroll accurately and on time. This will save you time and streamline the process.
Here are some items you might want to include on your list:
- Collect time and attendance efficiently
- Enter payroll information in your system
- Process the payroll
- Provide pay stubs, whether you pay employees in person, through the mail or with direct deposit
- Tabulate taxes if your system doesn’t do this for you
- Double check your information to ensure accuracy
Keep your records organized
While this is typically a job for HR employees, there are files you may need to access as a payroll professional. This will allow for efficiency if changes need to be made in your system. Each employee should have a file that contains all of their payroll information.
The following information about your employees is what you, as a payroll professional, should be able to access quickly.
- Employee identification number
- State and local tax ID numbers
- State unemployment ID number (most states require this)
- Employee addresses, phone numbers and email addresses
- Social security numbers
- I-9 forms
- W-4 forms
You should also carefully organize and be able to easily access:
- State Withholding Allowance Certificate
- Department of Labor (DOL) records
- Publication 15 (Circular E)
If you are looking for more information about what these files should look like and include, take a look at this article by ADP.
Find a payroll software provider that works best for you
There are so many different payroll processing platforms out there. Some of these platforms, like Gusto, QuickBooks or Patriot are better for small businesses. Some payroll platforms are effective for all business sizes.
When processing payroll, try to automate as many processes as possible, using one of the payroll platforms mentioned above. Manual work creates a greater margin for human error. Not only does this cause mistakes that could create issues for the company, manual work is a waste of time for you! Automating as many aspects of payroll as possible will save time and money for you and your employer. For more information about how to avoid payroll errors, take a look at this column from the Journal of Accountancy.
Use direct deposit
Using direct deposit can save you tons of time and money. There are great benefits of direct deposit. Here are just a few of them:
- Reduces worry about losing paper checks
- Allows employees to access funds right away
- Better for the environment
- Increased security because no paper checks are changing hands
Some savings that you will realize from using direct deposit for payroll are:
- Reduced payroll-processing time
- Decreased check fraud
- Less time away from work for employees (they do not need to leave work to deposit checks)
If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of direct deposit, the NFIB has a detailed article about this.
Double check your work
For aspects of your payroll system that are manual, make sure to double-check your work. You can’t entirely avoid human error, but you can try! Just as a copywriter proofreads what they write, proofread your input into the payroll system to avoid errors.
Hopefully, some of these tips will help free up some time in your busy schedule as well as help you to work more efficiently in the long run.