Managing your payroll is one of the most important—and sometimes most challenging—aspects of owning a business. Your payroll includes employee salaries, bonuses, and any other form of compensation. Payroll can also include the money you spend on benefits, such as health insurance.
While managing your payroll may seem daunting, some simple things you can do will help the process run smoothly. Below are five ways to manage your payroll effectively.
1. Keep a Detailed Payroll Journal
Keeping a detailed payroll journal will help you track the money you have earned and spent on your employees. You can spot any errors or discrepancies in your payroll records by keeping a journal.
You can also use a payroll journal to calculate your company's overall payroll expenses including wages, salaries, payroll taxes, and benefits. This information can be helpful in budgeting for future payroll costs. To start a payroll journal:
1. Create a spreadsheet with all the relevant information.
2. Include columns for the date, employee name, hours worked, pay rate, the amount paid, and other information.
3. Update the journal regularly so it remains accurate.
Of course, only smaller organizations can record payroll because the volume is a lot less.
2. Have a Clear Payroll Policy
With any well-organized and efficient business, employees know when they will be paid, how they will be paid, and what to do if there are problems with their pay. Payroll can be complex and sensitive, so it's essential to have a clear and concise policy that everyone can understand and follow.
If you're not sure where to start, here are a few key points to include in your payroll policy:
• The frequency of pay (e.g., weekly, bi-weekly, monthly)
• The method of pay (e.g., direct deposit, check, cash)
• The date of pay (e.g., the first of the month, the 15th of the month)
• Any conditions or exceptions to the policy
Once you have established the policy, communicate it to your employees. You want to avoid any misunderstandings regarding payroll. The policy should be put in writing with copies distributed to employees. Also, place a copy of the policy in common areas and include it in the employee manual.
3. Automate Your Payroll Process
It’s a good idea to automate your payroll process to eliminate the need for manual data entry, which can help reduce errors and improve efficiency. Additionally, automating your payroll can help you track your employees' hours and vacation time better.
If you're unsure how to get started, you can do a couple of things to automate your payroll process. First, you'll need to choose a payroll software like QuickBooks that meets your business needs. Once you've selected software, you'll need to input your employees' information and set up payment schedules. When your system is up and running, you can start processing your payroll automatically, which will help you manage your business more efficiently.
4. Outsource Your Payroll
Managing payroll can be time-consuming and complex, which is why many businesses outsource this function. Outsourcing your payroll saves time and money, reduces your administrative burden, and helps ensure compliance with tax and employment laws.
If you're thinking of outsourcing your payroll, keep a couple of things in mind. First, make sure you choose a reputable and experienced payroll provider. There are many payroll companies, so do your research and read reviews before making your decision. Second, understand what services are included in your payroll package. Some companies offer essential services like salary payments and tax filing, while others offer more comprehensive packages. The key is to be clear about what they will provide so it fits your budget, and you have all you need for your payroll process.
5. Review Your Payroll Regularly
As a business owner, it's important to review your payroll regularly to ensure that you are correctly withholding the required taxes and paying your employees accurately. You'll need comply with payroll laws, so checking your process regularly is smart business. For example, you'll need to determine which taxes you are required to withhold from your employees' paychecks. The most common taxes are federal income tax, Social Security tax, and Medicare tax. You must withhold these taxes from your employee's paychecks and remit them to the appropriate government agencies.
Ensuring compliance and paying employees on time and correctly is critical to maintaining a happy and productive workforce.
Managing payroll correctly can be complex, so whether you choose to take this function on yourself, or outsource the function, be sure you know all the intricacies involved to stay compliant and have a smooth payroll process.
If you'd like to discuss this or any of the tips above, feel free to e-mail us or call 203-641-7678 (Hamden, CT).