4 Quick Tips to Streamlining Your Payroll

You’re probably spending too much time on payroll, but it’s not just you. Every business runs into this problem sooner or later. Payroll is vital to your operations, but it has far more moving parts than you expected. It doesn’t help that the risks are high. The IRS penalizes one in three businesses for payroll errors. So how do you streamline a process that requires strict accuracy while making sure it’s done right every time?

Whether you do all your payroll manually or manage these tasks with payroll software, here are four steps you can take to save time, improve accuracy and move the process along swiftly.

Set a Clear Schedule

The first step is to give your employees clear expectations. Choose a pay schedule and stay consistent with it. If your employees are paid by the job instead of on an hourly or salary basis, choose a set number of days after a job is finished when they can expect payment. The pay schedule is the foundation for an easier payroll process. Even if your company’s schedule hasn’t been consistent in the past, it’s never too late to start following a clear and consistent schedule.

Automate as Much as You Can

Even though you can do your payroll manually, it will probably cost you time and money. Save yourself the trouble of making tax calculations or sending out paychecks yourself and automate. There are several tiers of payroll services so you can find software suitable for any budget. The cost of payroll software is usually far less than any penalties you might incur from processing your payroll incorrectly. Plus, when you compare what your time is worth with the cost of the software, you’ll probably see that automating saves you money.

Automation keeps your process consistent, so employees know exactly what to expect. But even though automation is convenient, it’s a good idea to have a pair of human eyes do a final check for errors.

Consider Outsourcing

Payroll software is convenient, but it still requires basic familiarity with payroll. Having someone who has no idea what they’re doing with payroll will most likely result in errors. Errors either cost you extra time or money. Instead, think about outsourcing to a professional.

Outsourcing is the easiest way to save time. In general, you only need to enter the necessary company and employee information and the payroll provider will manage the rest. They’re guaranteed experts in local regulations, taxes, and wage law, plus part of their job is to keep up with changes in tax law. Many of these services send payments to your employees, pay your payroll taxes, file payroll taxes, and submit required payroll reports.

When outsourcing payroll, you should also look for a no-penalty guarantee. If your business is penalized, the payroll provider will pay the fee for you, since the error was on their end.

Go Paperless

When you automate payroll or hire a service, that’s the perfect time to go paperless. Making the transition to digital records isn’t just environmentally friendly; it saves your company the cost of paper, ink, and printing. Not to mention that digital files are far more compact than physical paper and are much easier to transfer to other people such as your accountant and the tax man.

Look for software or a service that allows you to create electronic pay stubs and post them on a secure, password-protected site. With all their pay stubs online, employees can access their information any time they need it. And if you haven’t already stopped using physical checks to pay your employees, it might be time to consider it. Direct deposit eliminates the need for paper or postage. Employees are paid quickly at the same time every pay period and you’re left with a clear electronic record of payments.

No matter where you are with payroll, you can take steps to streamline the process, eliminate tax-related headaches, and build your business. You should be free to focus on what you do best, creating beautiful, durable buildings you can be proud of, not the technicalities of local payroll taxes.

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