Online Payroll: Have You Considered Its Many Advantages?

by National Peo National Peo No Comments

Online Payroll: Have You Considered Its Many Advantages?

Online PayrollCountless small businesses have switched to online payroll systems, reaping even more rewards than they expected. These user-friendly programs offer freedom from older, more labor-intensive options so key players can focus on revenue-generating responsibilities. Various time- and money-saving features will simplify your company’s accounting, employee payment, and payroll tax processes.

Consider switching to online payroll processing if you are:

  • Faxing payroll information
  • Preparing payroll and taxes separately
  • Not following payroll tax laws consistently
  • Dedicating too much time to payroll preparation and processing
  • Overspending on your current method

Contact National PEO today to become another satisfied online payroll client. Alternatively, you can fill out the form on our website to request a demo. The following general overview of automated payroll systems’ best features also will help you understand their greatest advantages.

24/7 Online Access From Anywhere

Whether administrative users are at work, home, or any remote location with Internet access, they can utilize all system features and run your payroll ? even on iOS and Android mobile devices. Luckily, cloud computing syncs all your payroll data across all devices. Therefore, any changes someone makes on an office desktop computer will appear on all users’ additional options like Online Payrollhome computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. You can grant employees limited online access to their paycheck stubs and W-2s along with personal information and payroll data.

Built-In System Precision

You do not need to key in all information for every payroll period. Just select repeated details from drop-down menus or check boxes. Reducing data entry will help you avoid typing mistakes. Your program will compute all figures including regular, overtime, and bonus pay plus all applicable payroll deductions like taxes, health insurance, and 401(k) automatically. That major advantage helps you avoid time-consuming manual calculations and human errors. To boost accuracy even higher, Web-based payroll systems validate all data before saving it.

Auto-Completed Taxes With Electronic Filing

Online payroll programs speed up and simplify timely electronic tax filing. Convenient reminders will help you meet every IRS tax deadline and avoid steep late-filing penalties. Numerous payroll services can complete tax forms from your employee records. After reviewing them, just click “Submit.”

Guaranteed Tax Accuracy

In 2014, companies’ payroll tax penalties reached $4.5 billion. Penalties for incorrect taxes start at 5 to 10 percent. A 100 percent tax fine may follow, with money due from the firm and its employees. However, guaranteed payroll services can ease your worries over potential restitutions. Some providers ensure absolute tax accuracy for each form you file with the IRS. That huge bonus assures you that the IRS will not ever assess payroll tax penalties on your organization during your subscription.

Strong Security Measures

Modern payroll programs take extra-special precautions including firewalls and powerful encryption to fortify all data from hackers, interceptions, and thefts. These valuable features make online processing much safer than other payroll methods. Typical security measures include OpenSSL encryption with protection from 128 to 256 bits. Some payroll providers require two-factor authentication, making your login process considerably more secure. In today’s high-tech business world, such enhancements are vital to avoid leaking confidential employee data. You can trust that the highest security protocols go with from your office’s network to a coffee shop that offers Wi-Fi.

Easy-to-Learn Interfaces

Popular programs’ user interfaces (UIs) tend to be excellent, polished, and easy to use. All payroll processes take place on the Internet. Just create your account, add employees, input hours for the current pay period, and process your payroll. After a few pay cycles, the automated process should become surprisingly simple and fast.

Organized Procedures

Many small start-up businesses handling payroll manually in house do not understand their diverse obligations. You may fumble for years, make various paperwork errors, confound yourself and your workers, and shell out hefty fines. Switching to an online payroll system will establish an efficient sequence of proper working procedures. Website screens create a structure that follows all necessary payroll stages in order. Your new routine will override any flawed practices you have developed, boosting efficiency and accuracy greatly.

More Affordable Than Other Options

Automated payroll services cost considerably less than time-consuming methods that require calculating figures by hand. Typically, online payroll programs offer a myriad of powerful features with money-saving price tags. Most providers do not hit you up for activation fees. Your only extra expense may be a small monthly fee per employee. In addition, your online payroll total will be a fraction of the cost you would pay your own full-time payroll manager, in-house accounting department, or outside bookkeeper. Many timesaving conveniences make this truly affordable solution an even better bargain.

Automatic Backups

Most Web-based providers back up clients’ payroll data regularly. You do not need to initiate that process. It starts automatically at signup. Whether your service uses online or cloud servers, losing all data is extremely unlikely. If you remove a staffer or even wipe out your company’s complete payroll history by mistake, restoring your saved data is easy.

Employment Compliance Issues You Can’t Overlook

by National Peo National Peo No Comments

5 Employment Compliance Issues You Can’t Afford to Overlook

Employment compliance issuesAs an employer, you know that hiring employees comes with a lot of paperwork. While you know that maintaining thorough employee records is important, what you might not realize is that failing to update certain documents or keep them on file properly could land you in hot water with various government entities — and lead to major fines.

The start of a new year is always a good time to check your records and make sure that everything is up-to-date and filled out the way it should be. As you start planning for 2015, add these items to your to-do list to ensure you are in full compliance with state and federal laws.

1. Update W-4 Forms

The W-4 form determines how much of an employee’s check should be held for taxes, and is usually filled out on the first day of work. However, employee circumstances change. They might get married or divorced, have children, or realize during tax time that they had too much or too little withheld from their check. Employees might not think to adjust their W-4s after these events, so making a review period a matter of policy could save them a lot of hassle and expense. Provide employees with a copy of their current W-4, and ask them to fill out a new one only if they wish to make changes. Remind employees that they can make changes at any time, and that they do not have to wait until January to do so.

2. Manage I-9 Forms

I-9 forms may seem simple — and feel like a formality — but failing to comply with all of the regulations in the 69-page I-9 manual can lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines if an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement audit discovers inaccuracies.

An annual review of I-9 forms should focus on several key areas of compliance. These include:

  • Reverification. In some cases, workers are required to provide updated documents to verify their citizenship status before their original documentation expires. At the beginning of the year, determine which employees may need reverification, and either notify them of the pending requirement or review the documents immediately.
  • Purging old files. ICE law requires employers to destroy I-9 forms for former employees either one year after termination, or three years after the date of hire, whichever comes later. If you are subject to an audit, and ICE discovers that you have old or outdated audits, not only will you face fines for failing to destroy the documents, you can also be fined for any errors those documents contain.

Employment compliance issues3. Check Applications

The law requires that all employees fill out, and employers maintain, job applications that contain certain information, questions, and notices. These notices generally have to do with at-will employment status and criminal background checks. Double check that every employee has a completed and signed application in their employee file, and take corrective action if necessary.

4. Reiterate OSHA Requirements

Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) rules dictate that every employer, regardless of size, must adhere to certain rules and regulations regarding employee health and safety. At minimum, as an employer, you must have a written breakdown of health and safety rules and take steps to create a hazard-free workplace. One of those steps is to provide training to employees.

It’s always a good idea to reiterate the safety standards for your workplace, and the beginning of a new year is the ideal time to provide that training and education. The beginning of the year is also the time when you should review the notices that you’re required by law to post, such as federal minimum wage guidelines, and ensure that you have all of the most up-to-date and relevant postings displayed. Failing to do so could result in major fines if your company is inspected or audited.

5. Review New Laws and Regulations

Every year, lawmakers pass new laws and make changes to existing laws that can affect how employers operate their businesses and manage new employees. Most take effect on the first of the year, so familiarize yourself with changes before January 1, and have plans in place to communicate changes to employees or manage new requirements going forward. When it comes to compliance, lack of knowledge or preparation is rarely a valid excuse, so you do not want to be caught off guard when the new rules take effect. Some of the areas that you should explore to ensure that there aren’t new laws affecting your business include payroll, overtime pay, recordkeeping requirements, leave laws, privacy laws, and anti-bullying or harassment laws.

Compliance in the world of HR is an important issue. Failing to stay within the guidelines of the law can lead to significant fines, legal sanctions, or even bankruptcy if the offenses are especially egregious. Spend some time ensuring that you aren’t making some of the most common mistakes, and start the new year off on the right foot.

Why, When & How to Switch PEOs

by National Peo National Peo No Comments

Why, When & How to Switch PEOs

Switching PEOsUsing a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) is completely necessary for most mid-sized businesses. PEOs offer a wealth of services, like providing benefits, overseeing payroll, and aiding in recruitment efforts. However, businesses expand and change, and eventually your company might outgrow the PEO you started with all those years ago.

If it’s been a while since you’ve evaluated the usefulness if your current PEO’s services, you may be due for a PEO audit to determine the value of switching providers. Here’s everything you need to know about changing PEOs.

The Why

You may have become comfortable with your current PEO, but that comfort could be clouding your ability to determine whether or not your PEO is providing everything you really need. There are four main reasons companies should seriously consider switching service providers.

  1. Cost savings. It’s just a fact: Some companies charge more for services than others. If the economy is hitting your business particularly hard, you may need to look for a PEO that better suits your budget. However, be aware that cheaper PEOs will likely provide fewer options or lower quality service than more expensive ones.
  2. Lack of transparency. Some PEOs aren’t good at letting their company clients know what their fees are going toward. Payments for various PEO services may transfer in a lump sum, and PEOs may fail to itemize the costs of their various services. Companies exist to make profit, not spend it, so companies like to know how exactly PEOs are using their money. If your PEO isn’t telling you what your funds are going toward, you may be able to do better somewhere else.
  3. Substandard service. This one is a no-brainer — if you aren’t being treated right by your PEO, it’s time to move on. Poor service can manifest in unreturned communications, inappropriate insurance, or even incorrect procedures, like wrong payments or missing benefits.
  4. Unmatched growth. The most important goal of any business is progress, and sometimes companies move faster than the providers they employ. Your business may have more workers than your PEO can handle, or you may desire benefits your PEO simply can’t provide; there are myriad ways PEOS can’t expand with a company, and the only way for a company to continue up is to get out.

When to Switch PEOsThe When

No matter the reason companies need to switch PEOs, the timing of the change can be critical. Payroll taxes and health insurance fees reset during specific times of the year, meaning selecting a new PEO services provider at the right time could save you serious money.

Payroll taxes are those taxes taken out of employee paychecks for Social Security, Medicare, and other taxes. If you change your payroll services provider at the wrong time, these already-paid taxes could actually be forfeit, meaning you’ll need to repay all of those dues. Depending on the amount on your payroll and your number of employees, you could cost yourself $100,000 or more for this mistake.

Meanwhile, providing health insurance for your employees is mandatory, and you face strict penalties if you fail to cover your employees for a certain period of time during the year. If you leave your current PEO without another PEO in the works or without appropriate coverage options for your workers, you’ll pay. Additionally, you risk your employees’ insurance deductibles; since these payments add up throughout the year, if you switch benefits packages in the middle of the cycle, you and your employees may lose all the money you’ve contributed to those deductibles and have to start over from scratch.

The How

Once you discover that your current PEO isn’t providing everything you want or need, you might be tempted to ditch them and find someone new right away. However, if you don’t allow for the proper research, you could find yourself in the same situation you started: employing an inappropriate PEO with unsatisfactory services creating intense headaches and costing you more money than you have. Instead of succumbing to that knee-jerk reaction, be patient and diligent in your new PEO search.

First, review your new needs and how your current PEO isn’t servicing them. You must know exactly what to look for before you begin your search. This will help narrow your search and give you something to look for in the long list of PEO services.

After you’ve assembled a list of likely candidates, you can revert to more traditional lines of questioning to find the perfect pick. Ask about the strength of their company (how long they’ve been in business, how many clients they serve) and their compliance with various governmental regulations. You should also be asking about fees — it’s always a good idea to get the best bang for your buck, and the cost of services could be the deciding factor in your search.

Many PEOs do their job so well you barely even remember they’re there. However, when a PEO becomes unmanageable, it’s time to look elsewhere. The search for a new PEO can be grueling, but it will be rewarding when you find a PEO with the perfect fit.

When and Why to Outsource Your Payroll

by National Peo National Peo No Comments

When & Why to Outsource Your Payroll

Why to Outsource Your Payroll The economy is growing (finally!) and your business is booming like you haven’t seen in more than six years. You’ve successfully fought your way from start-up all the way through small status to reach the coveted position of medium-sized business. You have more employees — and profits, don’t forget those — than you know what to do with, and your accounting and human resources departments are feeling significantly overwhelmed.

Payroll was a headache when you had four employees and you were working out of your garage, and now with 50 or more people looking for their paychecks every two weeks, you find your time and resources devoted solely to getting everyone paid on-time and in full.

Close down your Excel sheets and throw out your calculator; there’s a much better way to make sure your payroll is completed efficiently and accurately for every employee, and you’ll barely have to lift a finger. Outsourcing payroll services is quickly becoming the only way mid-sized businesses can stay afloat of their rapidly increasing workforce. Here are five big reasons you should shrug the responsibility of payroll onto a trusted and qualified PEO.

Cut Back on Costs

It’s true, you’ll save if you pay someone else to worry about payroll. Many small and medium businesses falsely believe that doing everything in-house will save tons of money, but research shows that this just isn’t the case. Factor in the time and energy your staff is devoting to payroll every week, and you’ll find that you’re retaining salaried employees just to grapple with everyone else’s payroll. Consider these activities that are completely essential to completing payroll every pay period:

  • Calculating total and individual payroll every pay period
  • Printing, verifying and signing pay checks or stubs
  • Distributing pay checks or stubs to appropriate employees
  • Creating and verifying reports for accounting records
  • Generating and sending payroll taxes to various government agencies

Staff tasked with payroll services just can’t get anything else done. If you ease their workload by outsourcing payroll, you’ll find increased productivity, which brings in more revenue, and happier workers.

Avoid Facing the IRS

Because payroll is so complicated, many small and mid-sized businesses fail to accurately report the money they spend on salaries and wages. The IRS states that one in three employers makes a payroll-related mistake on their taxes, which results in fines and penalties incurred by various individual companies totaling more than a billion dollars annually.

PEOs, who basically function as outsourced human resources departments, are practiced hands with payroll. They have all the necessary technology to keep track of employees, salaries and benefits, and they’ll have all the necessary payroll tax information organized and accurate without any intervention from you. Fees and penalties are a useless drain on your company’s profit margins, and you’d do much better to avoid the risk of making a mistake on your taxes.

Improve Your Company’s Security

Your employees forfeit a surfeit of information in order to get paid. Not only does payroll require sensitive information like addresses and phone numbers, but most employers require social security numbers and even bank account information to pay their employees. Even with trustworthy employees and top-of-the-line network security software, you could experience an information leak putting your employees (and your company) at risk.

If you want to avoid identity theft, embezzlement and tampering with records, don’t trust your employees; trust a company that makes its name on the safety and accuracy of its services.

When to Outsource Your PayrollOffer Upgraded Services

Payroll is complicated in and of itself, so for the in-house payroll department, it is virtually unthinkable to add any special bells and whistles to the process. This means your employees must suffer through the old-fashioned activity of receiving their paychecks and visiting the bank to deposit their money. Going to the bank is a chore no matter what the occasion, and antiquated payroll techniques that require it weigh heavily on employee morale.

If you use outsourced payroll services, it’s likely you’ll be eligible to receive more advanced payroll practices, like direct deposit into bank accounts. This speeds the receipt of employees’ payment, making them happier overall.

Get Rid of Pain

We’ve said that payroll is a headache, and it’s not just a metaphor. The stress of payroll is immense, and such intense stress takes its toll on the body. From regular migraines to nausea to insomnia to decreased libido, pains caused by trying to fix your own payroll woes are almost impossible to measure.

Instead of trying to treat the symptoms, treat the disease at its source by getting rid of your in-house payroll system. You’ll find that your nightmares will disappear almost immediately after you have other people worrying about getting everything right. You can rest comfortably and easily while an established and qualified PEO takes care of your troubles for you.




Common Payroll Mistakes And How to Avoid Them

by National Peo National Peo No Comments

If you own a small to mid-sized business, running your payroll operations in-house could be more trouble than it’s worth. If you make a mistake on an employee’s pay or fail to get payroll done in time, you could lose your employees’ trust or even your employees. That’s a hefty price to pay for doing your payroll yourself.

That’s not the only thing you risk by taking care of your payroll in-house. Forty percent of small businesses rack up payroll-related IRS penalties each year. The average penalty is $845. That’s a lot of money to spend on a mistake.

The IRS is cracking down on small businesses, and you don’t want to get caught in the crosshairs. Know what the most common payroll mistakes are — and what you can do to avoid them.

Setup Errors

If you payroll operation isn’t correctly set up, it doesn’t matter how carefully you calculate your employees’ wages or whether you get payroll done right on time each pay period. You need to register your business and set up your federal, state and local tax withholding correctly. You also need to make sure you classify your employees properly. You could be in big trouble with the IRS if you withhold the wrong amount from your employees for state and local income taxes, Medicare and Social Security. You also don’t want to get caught incorrectly classifying an employee as an independent contractor or vice versa.

Failing to Make Tax Deposits Correctly or on Time

Once you’ve set up withholding correctly and you’ve taken the proper amount from both your employees and your business, do you know what to do with that money?

You need to know when and how often you should be depositing your tax payments, what forms you need to use, and whether you should deposit the funds electronically or the old-fashioned way. There are many rules about this, and they can be confusing. One thing’s for sure, you’ll be penalized if you mess it up.

Forgetting to Record Payments

One of your employees wants a payday advance, and you’re in a hurry, so you quickly write out a check. Or it’s the holiday season and you’ve decided to give your employees gift cards this year instead of cash bonuses. Did you remember to record those in your payroll processing system? Many times a small business has found itself struggling to balance the books because of a forgotten record of a payment or two.

Doing Payroll Late

If you get into a hurry with your payroll calculations, you could pay someone too little or too much, and that will throw off your books and possibly damage employee morale. However, you can’t do payroll late, or you’ll be asking for a slew of disgruntled employees. Once you lose your employees’ trust, you could never get it back. Further, failing to do your payroll on time could mean late tax deposits, and IRS penalties.

Forgetting to Update State Unemployment Rates

Your state unemployment rate (SUI) rates can change over time. If you get a new rate from your state agency and you forget to change your payroll system accordingly, your filings will end up misconstrued. Naturally, you’ll get fined for that too.

Protect Yourself from Payroll Mistakes

Luckily, there’s an easy way to avoid payroll mistakes. You can outsource your payroll services to a professional employer organization like ours.

Outsourcing your payroll services saves you time that you’d otherwise spend working on, and no doubt struggling with, your payroll — and that includes all the hours you’d spend wondering and worrying if you did your payroll correctly. Outsourcing your payroll to a PEO is typically much cheaper than hiring a dedicated HR person, and you don’t have to worry about losing the employee to another company, to illness or to extended leave.

When you choose to outsource your payroll services, you don’t have to worry about incurring tax penalties or any other kinds of fines. Your payroll will be in the hands of professionals who know the tax and employment laws inside and out — and that’s even more important these days, when new legislation and health care reform are making employment law compliance more complicated than ever before.

There will be no worries about using the wrong tax tables, updating your payroll software or doing your calculations correctly. You won’t have to run yourself ragged trying to be an accounting expert on top of everything else you do for your business.

Best of all, you’ll be able to easily offer your employees great benefits like direct deposit and 401(k)s. Paychecks will be issued on time every month and there will be no mistakes, so your employees will be happy and you’ll be happy too.

More than a third of small businesses cough up tax penalties each year because of payroll mistakes. Don’t let it happen to you. Outsource your payroll services now, and get a professional in your corner.

Five Reasons you should be Outsourcing Payroll

by National Peo National Peo No Comments

If you were to ask any of your employees what they think the most important department in your organization is, chances are they will say payroll. Even the happiest, most productive employee is going to be less than thrilled when his or her paycheck is incorrect—or doesn’t arrive at all.
While some small business—and even some larger ones—perform payroll functions in-house, more and more companies are turning to payroll services to handle the essential functions required to make sure employees get paid.
If your company isn’t outsourcing payroll, here are five reasons why you should reconsider that decision, and leave that task to the professionals.

Using an outside payroll company saves time

While large companies may hire employees specifically for the purpose of managing employee pay, in smaller organizations the task often falls to the staff bookkeeper, accounts payable department or even the office manager or business owner. In many cases, these individuals have additional tasks to handle, and have to make sure that employees get paid in addition to handling the company bills and more. Outsourcing employee paychecks removes that burden from employees, and allows them to focus on other things that need to be done. If you aren’t sure, calculate how much time your employee spends managing payroll. Chances are, you will be surprised at how much time it eats up—time that could be better spent on other tasks.

Payroll contractors save money

Again, calculate how much time your own employee or employees spend doing payroll. Are they working overtime to get everything done? If you are paying someone extra cash to do payroll, you might be better off paying an outside vendor. And it’s not just the weekly or bi-weekly payroll that eats up time and cash. Your employee probably also handles tax documents throughout the year, and manages the tax filing process—a time-consuming job for anyone. Factor in the costs of paper, printing, mailing and more, and using a payroll contractor can save you money.

Outsourcing increases reliability and accountability

Many organizations prefer to have payroll done externally for one important reason: security. If you hand off payroll functions to an unscrupulous individual, the chances of your organization being the victim of theft increase exponentially. Most payroll vendors have security procedures and checks in place to prevent loss of assets, and provide extensive training to employees in how to manage payroll to avoid costly errors. Not to mention, when something does go wrong, the payroll company is liable for the mistake, and generally has the resources to pinpoint the problem and rectify it immediately, something that can take days or weeks when handled internally.

Payroll specialists offer greater accuracy

As a business owner, are you up to date on every tax law and regulation that affects your operations? Is your payroll department? In large businesses with dedicated departments, the chances employees will know all of the ins and outs of the laws regarding payroll increase, but in small businesses, it’s hard for everyone to stay on top of that information. Using an outside service virtually guarantees that your company’s payroll will be managed within the scope of current laws; in fact, many services continuously update software to allow for changes and adjustments to ensure compliance. And by using an outside vendor, you avoid all of the payroll knowledge leaving the company if your manager leaves—ensuring a smooth transition during which your employees will always get paid.

Tax benefits

Engaging the services of a payroll provider certainly allows for business expense tax write offs, but the tax benefits go beyond deductions. Many businesses unnecessarily pay excess fees for incorrect or late tax filings each year—and using incorrect or outdated tax tables can be disastrous to your bottom line. A payroll company will help ensure that your tax filings are handled correctly and on time, saving you money and headaches.

These are just a few of the reasons that hiring another company to handle your payroll functions is a good idea. If nothing else, handing the task off to qualified professionals reduces your worry and stress, and allows you to focus on running your business and making it as successful as possible.