Handling payment for a whole team of workers is more complicated than writing a paycheck to each employee. Fortunately, an expanding payroll is a sign of business growth — one that can be streamlined to accommodate the needs of your diverse workforce. Whether you take on everything in-house or choose to outsource, these strategies are an important part of providing payroll solutions that work for everyone.
With so many innovative payroll solutions available for companies of every size, it doesn’t make sense to have corporate accountants sitting in offices writing paper checks. Technology allows you to automate cumbersome but essential processes, and also gives your workers a way to update their withholding, share vital new information and self-report benefit allowances such as flextime usage. The fewer touches your payroll team can make to the payment process, the better off you’ll be. Consider upgrading your in-house software as needed; if you outsource, demand the best in secure, flexible systems that grow with your business.
Everything and everyone is going electronic — even the United States Postal Service has embraced digital scanning and tracking for the most standard mail deliveries. While new tech trends can help employees know when their payment is due to arrive, they don’t alleviate the anxiety of waiting for a check in the mail and navigating the options if it’s lost en route. Paper checks are expensive to replace, vulnerable to fraud and costly for unbanked employees to cash. Consider ditching paper payroll altogether in favor of electronic deposits. They’re secure and assure both the worker and the employer that the money is where it should be. Another option could be incorporating a prepaid payroll card, especially if some of your employees live in an underbanked area.
While you’re at it, consider going paperless with as many aspects of the payroll process as possible. W-4 forms, change of address requests and even timecards can all be transitioned to electronic processes to avoid costly snags in your payroll solutions.
Finally, it’s wise to have a dedicated payroll, tax and legal professional on staff to handle any issues that may arise. Even if you can’t hire them as a full-time employee, keeping a tax and payroll lawyer on retainer has its benefits. When the latest Tax Cuts and Jobs Act prompted the IRS to issue a new Form W-4, many employers were scrambling to get workers educated on the new withholding requirements and how to perform a paycheck checkup. Access to a professional who is well-versed in tax law is valuable for such times when something as simple as the standard deduction or personal exemptions became unfamiliar to workers.
Other sticky situations that might benefit from counsel include state or municipal minimum wage changes, classification of independent contractors and payment to employees that work out of state or country. Choose a professional whose job is to stay on top of these tax and legal changes and you’ll save yourself worry and trouble down the road.
Paying workers correctly the first time is a good practice for a number of reasons, many of which include legal and financial benefits for the company. With only 51% of workers claiming to be satisfied in their jobs and unemployment at a record low for the youngest generation of workers, it’s more important than ever that companies look for ways to meet and exceed employee expectations. Timely, accurate and fair compensation is simple way to keep the best people working for you.
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