The period between mid-December through mid-January is arguably the busiest time of the year for payroll departments. This is the time of year they are dealing with seasonal employees, year-end bonus pay, W-2s and W-3s, and so forth. The stress can be enough to make even the most experienced payroll manager pull his/her hair out.
One of the benefits of contracting with a payroll service like BenefitMall is all the help you get at this time of year. With a competent payroll provider, you are not left scrambling to make sense of things when you should be enjoying the holiday season along with everyone else.
Whether you outsource payroll or keep things in-house, the end of the year does not have to be chaotic. Below are a handful of tips we think you will find helpful through the end of the year and into 2019.
Plan for Your Final Payroll
It could be the end of December by the time you read this post. Now is the time to check the date for your final payroll of the year. Remember banking holidays on December 25 and January 1. Those dates may affect when you run your last payroll. Also plan for when you are going to pay year-end bonuses. It can be influenced by the calendar as well.
Update Employee Records
The payroll department is going to have to start working on W-2s as soon as they come back from the Christmas-New Year's break. A smooth process then starts by verifying employee records now. This is the time of year to update those records.
An easy way to do this en masse is to give all your workers a form they can complete and submit. It can be a paper form or form you place on the company website. Either way, it is a lot easier for employees to verify information on their own than having your payroll department contact each one individually.
Prepare for W-2 Forms
Handling payroll in-house dictates that you prepare now to issue W-2 forms. Your payroll software should be able to print the forms in their entirety. On the outside chance you are still doing payroll by hand, you're going to have to go down to your local IRS office and procure handwritten forms. We hope you're not still doing things this way.
If you are using a payroll service like BenefitMall, you don't have to do anything in this regard – at least initially. Expect W-2 forms to arrive from your provider by the second or third week in January. Do not wait any longer than the third week. If W-2s have not arrived by then, get on the phone with your provider. Remember, you have to distribute W-2s no later than January 31.
Start Shopping for Payroll Provider
Finally, we get the fact that you may still do payroll yourself. That's fine. But we want to invite you to seriously consider contracting with a payroll services provider beginning the first of the year. Obviously, we believe BenefitMall is your best choice.
Outsourcing payroll to a company like ours takes a lot of stress off your staff. HR employees currently handling payroll can be relieved of those duties and assigned to something else.
Outsourcing also should save you money in the long run. How so? Through efficiency. Because we are experts in all things payroll, we can handle your payroll and benefits administration more efficiently than you can. Greater efficiency equals lower expense.
It is that time of year again. So step back, take a breath, and get to work. The chaos will pass soon enough.