Payroll Management: Things to Always Keep in Mind

The payroll management system efficiently manages employee’s financial records, such as incremental adjustments, salaries, bonuses, insurance payouts, and much more. The system is managed to comply with the legalities and ensure maintenance of documentation, be it in the form of hard copy or stored as digital data.

The financial health of any business depends highly upon payroll administration and its efficiency. To manage the financial records reliably and accurately, any business needs to learn and understand the payroll management system.  Below are some interesting and essential points to keep in mind while managing payroll to help deliver detailed financial records.

  • Stay informed about state and federal tax regulations.

All employers need to stay updated with local tax obligations, as well as any changes in state/federal regulations. Running a business requires a lot of quick decisions and actions like hiring a remote employee, relocating business or even relocating employees. All these factors may also lead to changes in legal tax obligations. Thus, as a responsible employer, it is essential to learn about any updates that are required regarding payout and taxation.

Employees should be asked to fill and submit a W-2 form to the Social Security Administration by April every year. This helps the business keep up with the changes in the state and federal deadlines and makes sure the financial recordings are correct and accurate.

  • Automate the payroll process of your company.

Manually managing payroll processes can consume your company’s precious time and money. In today’s world, the most efficient way to manage your employee’s payroll is through automation. Automation not only helps to save time, but there are generally little to no errors in the process. Mistakes that could result in penalties are virtually eliminated.

If you are a growing or upcoming business with a growing number of employees, it has become increasingly beneficial to automate many of these time consuming processes. 

  • Always Create a Payroll Calendar

Payroll calendars are a must for any business with multiple employees. It helps the employees better understand when they are going to get paid and makes it easier for the payroll staff to plan the payment tasks.

There are many payroll software available that allows businesses to automatically create payroll calendars and schedule them according to the company. Gusto is a popular option and a reliable one.

While software is available to automatically create payroll schedules and calendars, it is also possible to create an excel sheet to track this information:

  • Using colored fonts for different information makes it easy to understand.
  • Provide a copy of the calendar to supervisors and above to assist with management.
  • Show all the pay periods throughout the year.
  • Maintain Transparency in the Payroll Process

Maintaining a transparent payroll process keeps the employer and employee relationship better. Problems can arise due to misunderstandings between the organization and the employee. The payroll policies of any business should be clear and upfront.

Here is a list detailing information that a transparent payroll policy should contain: 

  • A clear statement about how the payroll process works.
  • How the classification of employees is done.
  • Salary determination basis.
  • Company procedures in case of payroll mistakes.
  • Vacation pay and how it works.
  • How wages and promotions are calculated in the company.
  • Always Document the Payroll Process

Finding an excellent personalized payroll system can be hectic for companies. Analyzing previously documented payroll processes can help to ensure the software you choose meets your businesses specific needs. Documenting the payroll process is beneficial for the company on multiple levels. It helps the payroll processing department work efficiently and also helps the organization of company audits.

Businesses need to maintain standard payroll processing instructions for the payroll management department in order to drive better reporting and handling of different processes.

  • Payroll training should be available to HR staff.

To make employee and payroll management an efficient process in the business, it is essential to allow HR staff to attend payroll training. Payroll is a part of the HR profession, but their actual expertise focuses on records management and recruitment.

Although the payroll and HR departments have distinct designations, it is always better to get HR staff trained on payroll systems as it is interlinked with what they handle in a business.

Here are some benefits of providing Payroll training to your HR staff:

  • Better collaboration 
  • Simplified processes
  • Prevents any conflicts
  • Timely completion of on-boarding paperwork

Various employment forms are necessary depending upon the country and the state in which you employees work. When hiring a new employee, always make sure to get all legal employment forms filed and submitted timely. This process keeps your business informed about the classification of jobs and helps organization of payroll.

The most common types of employment forms are:

  • W-2 Form
  • W-4 Form (or W-9 for contractors)
  • I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form
  • Direct Deposit Form
  • Employee feedback on payroll procedures should be sought

Always ensure your employees fully understand your company’s payroll procedures. Make it a point to educate employees on the process and encourage them to ask questions so you can identify areas of misunderstanding, like incorrect timesheet submissions or issues relating to timecard use.

Ask your staff for suggestions to improve the process to get their support once you’ve implemented the changes.

  • Audit Company’s Payroll Process

To ensure an error-free payroll process, it is necessary to audit the data frequently. Though rare, mistakes can happen in automated systems, and employees may complain about errors in payroll computations. In these cases, an effective audit is the best solution as it helps to keep the data clean.

These are some points to consider for an effective audit of payroll processes:

  • Confirm the currency values across all accounting, payroll, and cash records by verifying and reconciling.
  • Ensure that employees are logged in at work by installing a check-in system and biometric hardware.
  • Ensure that your time and attendance system is integrated with payroll software properly by testing plugins or add-ons.


Employee retention can be affected if the accuracy of paychecks becomes an on-going issue. Maintaining consistent payroll practices ensures that the business is trustworthy and shows distinct goodwill.

Curate a personalized payroll management strategy and always make sure your business is running the payroll system with the most advanced and best technology available. This simple thing will support your employees and help to create a thriving, positive work place.


Landscaping Industry – An Outsourced Industry that can Leverage Outsourcing

In the discussions on outsourcing an offshoring at times Landscape and Lawncare businesses don’t think of themselves as outsource providers.   In fact the core of the service industry is to outsource non-strategic activities from say a University or HOA to an expert like a commercial/residential landscaper.

Oftentimes Landscapers don’t take advantage of the same opportunities for their internal operations.  As we close down on the summer the labor shortages are becoming more acute and more challenging.  That is where Process-Smart can help.

Core activities:

  • Accounts Payable
  • Scheduling Support
  • Invoice Support
  • First level customer service support
  • Marketing lead generation

Following is an article by Mihifeld & Associates going in-depth on outsourcing in case you are interested.  Bottom line, just like you help your clients with expertise and focus, leveraging an offshore provider of administrative services can free you to build and retain your business.  Please give us a call or send an email, and we can walk you through the Process-Smart opportunity. 

Defining Outsourcing

Many Americans have an unfavorable view of outsourcing. The older generations commonly mistake outsourcing for offshoring. Younger generations grew up hearing outsourcing used in the same sentences as job losses, layoffs, or companies moving departments to foreign countries. Additionally, many Millennials and Gen X’ers remember the original NAFTA discussions in the 1990’s and there are as many who viewed it negatively at the time as there are who viewed it positively. All across the region commonly referred to as the “Rust Belt” the word outsourcing is a four-letter word.

However, outsourcing is one of the best strategies a business can employ to keep jobs local are at least in the US. From the start, let’s clear up the major differences between outsourcing and offshoring so we are on the same page moving forward.

Outsourcing is when an organization contracts a non-affiliated business to complete work for their business. Outsourcing is primarily done when an organization requires specific skills or specialized machinery to complete some action or product that is not central to the core of the organization.

Example: When companies hire firms to design and build their website, do their accounting,  manage their landscaping – they are outsourcing.

Offshoring is when an organization relocates a department or portion of their business to a foreign country. The number one agenda in offshoring is to lower costs by taking advantage of the circumstances in another country. Many developing nations have fewer environmental regulations, looser labor laws, and lower wage expectations and for those reasons, offshoring is an attractive option.

Example: When there was a surge of companies moving their customer service call centers to India, Philippines, Malaysia, and so on – that was offshoring.

You Are Already Outsourcing

A few all too common phrases that are usually inaccurate:

  • “Our company doesn’t outsource”
  • “We do everything in house”
  • “We have never outsourced”
  • “The owner/president doesn’t work with third parties”

The overwhelming chances are your company is already outsourcing jobs and you just don’t realize it or never thought of it as outsourcing. Think about all the departments in your whole company, now think about all of the responsibilities and resources of that department, are any of those responsibilities or resources carried out or provided by someone who doesn’t work directly for your company? Here is quick list of the most commonly outsourced responsibilities people often overlook.

  1. Are you shipping any kind of product?If you don’t own your fleet of trucks and have drivers on your payroll then you are already outsourcing your transportation and freight.
  2. Do you have a website?Websites require constant maintenance and it is often much more affordable to have a 3rd party host and maintain a website than keep someone on the payroll for that sole purpose.
  3. Who balances the books?It is very common for businesses to use accounting firms to handle their financial reporting, tax preparation, and even payables and receivables.
  4. Who cuts the grass?The majority of businesses hire a landscaper. It is not financially responsible to purchase lawnmowers, pay for upkeep, and maintain people on the payroll just to cut the grass once a week and spread the mulch.
  5. Do you Market or Advertise?Many companies do have a marketing team, but very few have an advertising team. Simple difference, Marketers study analytics to see what medium will have the greatest impact (tv, radio, internet) with what message (the actual content) – Advertisers make the commercials and ads. Most companies do not employ actors, graphic artists, or photographers to make all of their advertising in house.
  6. Where do you get your talent? One incredibly important area, and often outsourced responsibility is recruitment. Who is hiring your new associates? Where are they finding them? How are they selecting the best candidates? Almost every HR department is outsourcing some part of the hiring process whether it is finding qualified candidates or hiring a recruitment agency to handle the whole process. Another option that is very commonplace is companies who only hire from temporary agencies. That way every new employee starts on a temporary basis and is eligible for full employment after a pre-determined amount of time.

Why You Should Outsource More

It is easy to make the business case why outsourcing is a great strategy. The common business ethos is if you aren’t growing, you are dying. Removing from the equation any industry that is currently on the way out, all businesses, public and private, are expected to grow. There are different goals for growth such as revenue, market share, locations, and so on – but measurable growth nonetheless. Outsourcing specific functions will have an immediate and long term impact on growth. Here is a quick list of guaranteed benefits from outsourcing.

  1. Easy Access to Industry Professionals– You do not have to scout, hire, and rollout the red carpet for the most knowledgeable professionals in an industry that is not core to your business. You can rent them! If your company makes widgets, you will benefit from having great widget engineers and widget production professionals on board to make the best widgets you can make. However, you do not need to recruit and hire the leading authorities in supply chain management to move your widgets. It can be a far more cost effective and an overall better strategy to outsource your transportation logistics to a company who only works in that industry. If you want the best, you don’t have to hire the best – you can just partner with the best for the same results but with a cheaper price tag.
  2. Grow Abilities Without Spending Capital– Perhaps you have no trouble growing your business, but you are experiencing the best of problems; you are having trouble keeping up with demand. We are in a great period of economic growth and many businesses are competing for resources to meet demands. Is it better to tie up a huge amount of capital to expand your operation or bring on a third party to help grow your current abilities? This is a calculated decision the ROI department has to review thoroughly. The majority of the time, the safest route is to bring on a third party to help with current operations and reinvesting that capital in new R&D to stay ahead of the competition.
  3. Increase Your Workforce, Not Your Payroll– Continuing the theme of getting the right human capital in the right places, there are very few limits to how a business can maximize the abilities of its workforce through outsourcing. Whether the goal is to hire an ultra-specialized consulting firm to provide a specific solution to a complicated problem or work with a temp agency to fill 100 new factory positions that could become full-time positions in the future, you get the benefits of those workers without adding them to the payroll. That is not to say they are free, but the cost is much more affordable than having to hire all of these extra positions at once as company employees with all of the applicable taxes and benefits required.
  4. Access Resources Without Buying Them– While human capital is usually the largest business expenditure, resources and technology add up quickly. There are new hardware and software offerings regularly as the level of technology grows exponentially. Buying a brand new technology solution now may leave you holding an obsolete tool before you even pay it off. Outsource the resources that are not necessary to the core purpose of your business. If you are a commercial printer company, it makes perfect sense to buy that $100,000 commercial printer. However, does it make sense to start your own paper mill and build an ink factory? Your business is printing, not making paper and ink. The core of your business is your specialty; let someone else’s specialty work for you.

Outsourcing and the Individual

In the previous section we discussed the business case for outsourcing – the personal case is very much the same. Every business relies on some other organization as either a supplier, retailer, or a customer – you are not operating within a vacuum. Many people enter specific industries because they have a passion for it. There are not only businesses, but whole industries that rely on outsourcing. When your company outsources something like landscaping, web design, or logistics planning they are not killing jobs by not hiring people to do those things in house – they are creating jobs by supporting businesses who specialize in those things.

The most talented individuals in a field often want to work for the best companies in that field – they don’t want to work for a company who just needs someone in that field.

Example: The top of class graduates from Ivy League Law Schools often join the most prestigious law firms rather than take in house counsel positions for SMBs. If you need the best attorney, you better call one of those firms.

Everyday Professionals working in blue collar jobs also thrive when your company outsources. Most locally-owned businesses rely on outsourcing.

Example: There is a cornucopia of everyday professionals who count on you to outsource to their locally-owned small business. When the sinks and commodes back up you need that plumber. The AC or Furnace needs maintenance you need that HVAC professional. Breakers blow or outlets go dead and you need an electrician.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with outsourcing if you partner with the right person for the right job.

Still Weary of Outsourcing – Try Partsourcing

Something many people take for granted are the subtle complexities of euphemisms. There is quantifiable data showing the uptick in the used car market when dealerships changed the terminology from “used car” to “pre-owned vehicle.” The idea being that “used” had a negative tone that made it sound as if the car was worn down and “pre-owned” made it sound as if the car was the same as new except the title had been in a person’s name before – that is no big deal – you can’t drive the title. However, at our core we know the product, regardless of terminology, is the same product. Numbers don’t lie though, people prefer pleasant terms.

With an appreciation of the subtle complexities of euphemisms and the hope people will ignore their bias against outsourcing, M&A presents the term: partsourcing.

Partsourcing – is when your business partners with a third-party company to have them fulfill part or all of the work associated with a specific area of your business.

Example: J&P’s Widgeters just partsourced many logistics functions to Mihlfeld & Associates, Inc.

Real Outsource Partsource Examples

Apple Inc. is one of the best examples of Partsourcing. From the beginning, Apple has maintained they are a design company – not a manufacturer. They have always partsourced all of their manufacturing and over the years have taken some flak for it because they partsourced internationally. However, Apple maintains there are no manufacturing companies in the US that can do what they need done, and they aren’t going to build those factories because they are not manufacturers. It is an interesting position, and one that perfectly illustrates how some companies define themselves and why they need to partsource. Obviously, Apple is one of the most successful companies in recorded history so this has proven to be a great decision for Apple.

Amazon decided to partsource their inventory management after 18 years in business. The online powerhouse always had one goal and that was to please customers with a hassle-free online purchase. Because the whole business revolved around buying and selling inventory, inventory management was key to Amazon’s success. However, with a refocus on e-commerce, delighting customers, and growing in markets and offerings, Amazon decided to partsource a large part of their inventory management. Again, an obvious success for Amazon as they continue to grow and challenge other retailers on every front.

Wrapping it Up

If the two first trillion dollar companies both outsource huge parts of their operations there has to be some merit in its efficacy. If organizations as large as Apple and Amazon outsource help, then it is fair to say that SMB’s should outsource help as well to stay competitive in their industry.

Maybe you built your own business from the ground up. Doing what you did to get to this point, probably won’t get you to where you want to go next. You go to the doctor when you get sick; you don’t make someone in your family go to medical school and then wait for him/her to treat you ‘in house.’ Businesses outsource every day and more often than not, it pays off. All you need is to know what needs to be done and who is the best person for the job.


Accounting Services Offshoring

Recently Canbay international published a blog post describing the benefits of offshoring tasks.  Here at Process-Smart we believe that offshoring can deliver big advantages to your business.  Particularly now, when labor is so hard and expensive to find.

Process-Smart offers these core services:

  1. Transaction Support, whether this is data entry, or comparing the results in two systems.
  2. Phone support, particularly with wait time for IRS.  We can serve to get the call ready for your team to engage by waiting on connecting as soon as we get an agent.
  3. Accounting Support (Quickbooks, Netsuite, other ERPs).
  4. Accounts Payable work.
  5. General Back Office Support.

From Canbay:
Accounting firms, big or small, are increasingly benefiting from the offshoring model. Finance and accounts are an essential part of all businesses. Even if it isn’t the core business of a company, it is still highly important. A small mistake in a process can significantly cost a company. It is meticulous work demanding a lot of time and attention to details. It is the reason companies prefer to outsource their accounting and bookkeeping, and other related services, to accounting firms.

As a result, accounting firms in the USA and UK are finding themselves overburdened with work. With every new client, they take on, their responsibility increases. But the lack of resources leads to decreased productivity and poor quality of work. In such situations, offshoring has many advantages to offer accounting firms. Small accounting firms can especially benefit from this model. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of offshoring for accounting firms.

Increased Productivity

There are numerous tasks outsourced by businesses to accounting firms. While some tasks require the expertise of accountants, there are others that don’t necessarily demand their attention. Yet, they are required to do them because of the limited number of employees in the firm. The cost of hiring and managing in-house employees for various jobs can be monumental. So the work is delegated to the existing employees, which can lead to their focus being diverted from high-value tasks. It can cause a drop in employee productivity, which can impact the company’s reputation with its clients. By offshoring, accounting firms can hire employees for their firm at a reduced cost, which is an ideal solution for lack of money and employees both. Your in-house accountants get the much-needed assistance in work from their offshore employees.

Improved quality of work

As stated earlier, accounting errors can be disastrous for a company. A large amount of work and not enough hands on deck can mean mistakes and poor work quality. Offshoring allows you to hire talented and experienced accountants who know the gravity of their work and ensure compliance with all the state and federal rules. They are familiar with the rules and regulations and keep up with all the latest changes in their line of work. With the workload decreased, your in-house accountants are also better focused, which allows them to perform their jobs up to the standard expected of them with no errors that might lead to any audits and penalties. There are no mistakes and no delays.

Business growth 

There are times when a firm has had to turn away potential clients because of reaching their peak workload. Business growth and expansion can only be attained by getting new clients, and that can only be attained when you have the required infrastructure in place. Not only does that mean more human resources, but also a workspace, software and hardware, and other overheads. It can be incredibly challenging for a small accounting firm to adjust these expenses within their limited budget. But offshoring makes scaling a business easy. You can hire dedicated employees without spending on any infrastructure. It allows the firms to take on new clients without spending a massive amount to supplement their growth. It is the quickest and the most cost-effective solution for growing your firm.

Scaling up and down with ease

Accounting tasks can be seasonal in nature. There are certain services that only require to be carried out during certain months in a year, such as tax preparation. In these months, the firm’s workload usually increases a lot, leading to increased pressure and stress. But it is impractical to hire a full-time in-house employee for the whole year for a job that needs two or three months at most. It is a waste of precious resources. Offshoring allows the accounting firms to scale up and down as required. Since the offshore service providers have potential candidates available to them at all times, short notice is all that is needed to hire or let go of a remote employee. There is no hassle. The accounting firm can hire extra sets of hands during peak season, easing the workload of their in-house team, and then letting them go when the job is done. It is quick and efficient.

Additional services to clients

Offshoring allows you to hire any employee at reduced prices. Whether you need an expert accountant, bookkeeper, financial analyst, or tax preparation specialist, the offshore service providers offer a variety of services at all experience levels. It allows you to provide more services to your clients without having to worry about hiring in-house employees. With various services being offered in one place, it makes your accounting firm stand out in the market and makes you more lucrative to potential clients. It gives you an edge over your competitors.

Advantages of offshoring for accounting firms are manifold, and if you are an accounting firm looking for a cost-effective solution to boost productivity and efficiency, how about considering offshoring?



Process-Smart focuses on Accounting and Bookkeeping but that’s not all we do. We often work on complementary tasks and processes. Sometimes, it is necessary to get a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution implemented before we can help with day-to-day activities. We partnered with our client, Down to Earth Landscape and Irrigation (DTE) to perform the data entry of clients, contracts and employee data for all 15 of their offices. With our help, they were able to implement the solution across the entire entity on time and in budget! And now we are handling their Accounts Payable. DTE actively searches for what additional processes they can outsource, to lower costs and increase efficiency. Watch this recording to learn how.