How To Process Payroll Like A Pro

By February 6, 2018Payroll
how to process payroll with SwipeClock

Integrating your payroll software with an automated timekeeping system simplifies payroll processing. You’ll be faster, more accurate, and have valuable data for smarter decisions. Plus, you’ll save money every step of the way.

The Problems With Incompatible Systems

Many companies have one system for time and attendance and another for payroll. There may also be separate software for accounting or employee scheduling.

If the systems aren’t integrated, someone has the unpleasant job of transferring data by hand.

Data entry and manual transfers can lead to big problems. Let’s review an example that illustrates the drawbacks with manual payroll processing…

Meet Kim. Kim is the HR manager for a manufacturing company with 150 employees. The company system consists of a punch clock, paper timesheets, and payroll software.

Their software hasn’t been updated in five years. There is also a separate accounting program. Things are unnecessarily complicated, to say the least.

To process payroll, Kim first collects timesheets from five managers.

Hopefully, they have already collected all the time sheets from their respective employees. She also depends on them to correct missed punches and approve the time cards. One or more managers miss the deadline nearly every pay period.

Kim manually transfers the employee hours into the payroll processing software. This process takes about six hours of dedicated time. The software then calculates wages, taxes, and deductions for each employee.

She prints the checks and gives them to the managers to distribute. Printing checks and organizing delivery can take up to an hour. Her last step is to enter payroll totals into the accounting software.

She double checks to make sure the payroll and accounting systems match. This can take another 90 minutes of time.

The company pays employees semi-monthly, so Kim spends about two days of every month processing payroll.

Manual Processes Are Sloppy

There are many variables at play in this manual process.

Kim has to separate regular hours and overtime hours. She has to put the totals in the correct cell on the right line.

Errors will cascade if she accidentally adds, omits, or transposes digits.

It’s a grueling job. For every hour of focused concentration, accuracy is sacrificed to fatigue. Every glance from paper to computer requires an adjustment. Using multiple systems makes this even worse.

The opportunity for error goes up with every manual transfer.

A conservative estimate of error rate is 2%. For Kim’s 150 employees, three would get an incorrect paycheck in any given payroll period. If you run payroll twice each month, this could add up to 72 inaccurate paychecks a year.

Separate Systems Are Inefficient

If you are using separate systems, you are duplicating work. And this work is painstaking in the first place. Administrative hours add up. If a $30/hour manager takes two days a month to run payroll, it is costing $480 in wages alone.

If that manager had the tools to process payroll in two hours, you would save $420 dollars per month. That’s $5,040 annually.

The payroll manager isn’t the only one spending time on payroll. Employees spend at least fifteen minutes twice a month reporting their hours. Managers spend additional time collecting and verifying time cards.

You lose money when workers leave their primary duties to do something a computer can do in seconds. The computer doesn’t make addition and subtraction errors, either.

If this is your company, the problems are only just beginning…

What’s at Stake?

Inaccurate payroll processing is a manager’s nightmare. For starters, you are creating problems for the employee.

Short checks or miscalculated deductions can cause employees significant trouble.

There can also be serious legal and regulatory problems for the company. Here are a few to consider…

Over- and Underpayment

If you pay employees hourly, your payroll is based on the hours entered. If the hours are wrong, you may be paying too much. Obviously, this can hurt the business as overpayments accumulate into significant amounts.

You may be paying too little. In this scenario, you are creating an employee incident that will cost in time to fix the error and employee frustration. Particularly for employees who are counting every penny.

PTO Mistakes

If employee hours aren’t entered correctly when processing payroll, time accruals will be off. A miscalculation in employee PTO can result in disputes, audits, and even regulatory fines.

When employees come up short, trust is eroded and disputes will increase. When too much time is calculated, the company loses money and production time.

Incorrect Deductions

If an employee’s hours aren’t accurate, the paycheck amount is wrong. If the paycheck amount is wrong, the deductions will be wrong, too. Inaccurate punches, time card math errors, or data entry errors could be the cause.

But the result is the same; errors must be corrected in multiple systems, new checks must be issued, and tax and revenue reporting needs to be updated. Quite a hassle, and it can all be avoided with automation.

Inaccurate Payroll Taxes

Finally, if deductions are wrong, then payroll taxes will be wrong. This is troubling territory for any small business. Audits are never fun, but when mistakes are discovered, scrutiny is increased.

Avoiding an audit is a matter of reporting accurately the first time, and having reliable records to back up your report. Automated systems that have full integration are the answer.

How To Process Payroll Like A Pro?

The best way to process payroll is with automation and integration. You need automated timekeeping that syncs to your payroll software. SwipeClock’s TimeWorksPlus integrates seamlessly with all major payroll systems.

TimeWorksPlus paired with a biometric clock is ideal for industries with hourly employees—construction, hospitality, healthcare, food and beverage, retail, and education.

Saving time on payroll is not the only advantage, though it’s a biggie for everyone.

Employees don’t have to fill out paper timesheets. Managers don’t have to correct time card errors.

The payroll manager doesn’t have to do manual data entry. Everyone meets their deadlines and the employees get their checks on time.

More importantly, errors are reduced and records are more reliable.

Process Payroll Without Mistakes

TimeWorksPlus reduces mistakes in payroll processing. Tracking time accurately is the first step to smooth and accurate payroll processing. TimeWorksPlus and a biometric time clock captures accurate punches.

When you import clean data into your payroll software, everything else falls into place.

Paychecks Are Accurate

With TimeWorksPlus, you pay your employees for each minute they work.

Schedule enforcement ensures that you don’t pay for punches outside of authorized shift start and end times.

Biometric identification protects you from employee wage theft such as buddy punching.

Logical prompts prevent common punch mistakes. TimeWorks Mobile (the mobile app) captures punches for offsite employees.

GPS tracking gives real-time oversight into the exact location of mobile workers.

Deductions And Taxes Are Accurate

Processing payroll with clean data ensures that deductions and taxes are correct.

Payroll processing synced to TimeWorksPlus protects you from underpaying payroll taxes. It also prepares you for an audit and provides accurate and reliable reports.

Accruals Are Accurate

TimeWorksPlus calculates vacation and sick time. Your employees will earn the correct PTO without anyone pulling out a calculator.

They’ll also be able to check on their own progress. Employees can log into the Workforce Management Suite to review or update their personal data. Self-service will reduce the impact on your managers, and empower employees to participate. Everyone will be happier.

Shrink Your Payroll

With TimeWorksPlus, you have the tools to optimize your workforce. Optimization saves money everywhere.

Eliminate employee time theft. Keep your staff on billable tasks instead of time card prep.

Let your managers approve time cards online in seconds. Free up your HR staff for projects that increase employee engagement or improve training.

When your company doubles in size, you won’t need to hire another payroll manager to handle the growth.

Don’t Let Overtime Bloat Your Payroll

TimeWorksPlus has overtime alerts that ensure tight overtime oversight. Customize per your overtime policies.

Then let auto-alerts simplify overtime management. The average business with 50 employees can save $13,650 yearly by using TimeWorksPlus.

You can calculate the total savings for your company with the SwipeClock ROI calculator.

Process Payroll So You Stay Compliant

Accurately compensate overtime hours for non-exempt employees. Ensure employees maintain part-time or full-time status under ACA.

Track employee or independent contractor status. Customize TimeWorksPlus for union or industry regulations.

Put The Strategy In HR Strategy

You don’t have to be a big company to use big data. TimeWorksPlus gives you insight into your workforce like never before.

A stack of timesheets can only give a limited view of employee attendance. Data-driven decision making can give your company a competitive edge.

HR planning, absence management, and advanced scheduling can all be optimized with organized data analysis.

TimeWorksPlus lets you isolate and analyze the data for any facet of your workforce.

Which shifts have the most punch exceptions? How does attendance vary by location or job site? Which seasons see the most PTO use? —all at your fingertips with our automated Workforce Management Suite.

Compile absences by department or project. Compare the overtime hours from team to team and contrast with production levels.

Create onboarding and training materials that reflect the dynamics of your organization.

When you process payroll like a pro, your company can focus on growth and success.

TimeWorksPlus Solves Payroll Problems

Payroll is an integral part of Workforce Management Suite. If payroll takes too long, the problem may lie with your time and attendance system.

For more information on how TimeWorksPlus can improve your payroll process, see SwipeClock TimeWorksPlus.

About SwipeClock

SwipeClock is a leading provider of simple and affordable integrated workforce management services that provide intuitive employee access to integrated automated time and attendance, scheduling, leave management, HR dashboards, and other HR resources.

The company’s cloud products (WorkforceHUB, TimeWorksPlus, TimeSimplicity) and hardware clocks (TimeWorksTouch and TimeWorksTUFF and others) enable employers to manage their most important and expensive asset—employees—by transforming labor from a cost of doing business to a competitive advantage.

SwipeClock’s workforce management solutions are sold through over 900 partners that empower more than 30,000 businesses to lower labor costs, comply with regulatory mandates, and maximize profits.

By Liz Strikwerda

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