A branch of cloud computing, Software as a Service (SAAS) is a software delivery model in which the software and all of its associated data are stored, hosted, and managed by a service provider’s datacenter. The client then pays the service provider a subscription fee to access their information over the internet.
If you are considering adopting an SAAS model for your payroll outsourcing, know it has a number of advantages.
- Savings for your Business- With SAAS, you can move away from the expense of having in-house information technology employees to handle the installation, maintenance, upgrades, and technical support needed for traditional software.
- On-the-Go Accessibility- SAAS applications can be accessed from any internet connected web browser, allowing you to work with the information from anywhere with a variety of desktop and hand-held mobile devices.
- Scalability- Should your company grow and more people need access to the SAAS application, you can simply adjust your subscription as necessary and let your vendor handle the rest. This eliminates the time and hassle of adding server capacity and paying for additional software licenses which will come with traditional software.
- Easy to Upgrade- Your SAAS vendor will handle all necessary hardware and software updates to keep your application current. As a bonus, you will find that SAAS software is typically updated much more frequently than traditional software programs. You can expect to receive updates quarterly, if not more often.
- Eliminate the Fear of Lost Data- Should a disaster strike in your office which causes your servers to be destroyed or wiped of memory, you can rest easy knowing that your data is safely backed up in the cloud.
- Security- Your SAAS vendor will be happy to discuss information regarding the security of your data by outlining their policies on the encryption, auditing, logging, back-up, and safe-guarding of their systems.
The ability to complete your payroll in a timely and accurate manner is essential to running a small business successfully. In order to establish trust with and commitment from your employees, they need to be assured that they will be paid the correct amount on the predetermined dates without error or delay. In addition, mistakes made in payroll calculations can quickly topple your company’s financial stability. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of payroll completion, below are some best practices for small business owners.
- Put all employees on the same pay cycle. Payroll is one area of your business where you do not want employees to multitask. Having some workers who are paid monthly and some who are paid every other week not only creates extra work for those processing payroll, but it can cause sufficient confusion as to result in duplication errors. Your business definitely does not want to be known for accidentally paying people twice, or not paying them at all.
- Make sure all of your software is fully integrated. You do not want to purchase a software system for your payroll unless you know that it will fully meld with the software you already have in place. Otherwise, you will lose valuable time and money data entering current information into the new system, and in the future, someone will have to place new entries into two different systems. In all of this, you clearly run the risk of mistyping key information crucial for filing local, state, or federal taxes.
- Consider outsourcing. A wonderful way for a small business owner to achieve peace of mind regarding their payroll is to leave it to the experts by outsourcing to a payroll services company. Outsourcing your payroll will ensure accuracy in records of employee pay, leave balances, benefits deductions, and tax filing.
The vast majority of workplaces in the United States fall under the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Per their website, the NLRB is “an independent federal agency vested with the power to safeguard employees’ rights to organize and to determine whether to have unions as their bargaining representative.” The NLRB also “acts to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices committed by private sector employers and unions.”
It is very important for employers to review their employee handbooks each year and make sure that their company’s policies are in line with the regulations implemented by the NLRB. This review will be particularly important in the coming year, as the NLRB is currently reviewing the legality of many long-standing labor policies in nonunionized workplaces. Largely, they are focusing on policies that can be considered overly broad or could be interpreted as infringing on employee rights. These include:
- Policies requiring “respectful” or “appropriate” conduct without defining what these mean.
- Policies prohibiting “gossiping” or “fraternization” between employees without defining what these mean.
- Confidentiality policies which restrict employees from discussing their salaries or any company disciplinary actions against them.
- Policies involving in-house grievance procedures.
- Dress codes which disallow wearing union insignia.
- Policies limiting employee social media use.
- Anti-bullying policies which are so broad they can be interpreted as limiting free speech.
- Policies prohibiting employees from “disparaging” their employer without defining what this means.
- Policies which disallow “inappropriate” online postings without defining what this means.
As you can see, labor relations law has a great deal of complexity to it. The best way to make sure your company is fully in compliance is to have an attorney specializing in this field review your company’s policies. A good place to start is by giving a thorough review to any policies that deal with employee verbal or written communication.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, commonly known as COBRA, is a federal law which outlines how employees and their family members may elect for continuation of health care coverage under an employer for a limited period of time after their coverage is lost due to reduction in hours worked, voluntary or involuntary job loss, divorce, death, or other life events. Employers with group health plans and 20 employees or more are required to offer this temporary extension of health coverage. It is estimated that approximately 20% of eligible employees utilize their option for COBRA.
At its most basic, administering COBRA requires employers to notify employees and their families of their COBRA options, reinstate health plans to those who elect to use COBRA, and calculate and collect the premiums required of those individuals. However, if you examine the law more closely, you will notice that the legal requirements involved are quite detailed. Even the most diligent employee could easily miscalculate while tracking the steps involved. Some common mistakes include keeping inadequate records, failing to send notices in a timely manner, or not offering participants the option to add or change coverage during their open enrollment period. Unfortunately, mistakes related to COBRA administration can be very costly to your organization. Both the United States Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service can issue fines for noncompliance, at the rates of $110 and $100 per day, respectively.
These are just some of the reasons COBRA administration is one of the most commonly outsourced functions within Human Resources. A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management showed that 55 percent of companies outsource all or some COBRA functions, with 38 percent outsourcing COBRA completely. Benefits of outsourcing COBRA administration include minimizing your risk of costly tracking errors, being assured of your legal compliance, and the freeing of time for your Human Resources team to work on other tasks. Outsourcing is especially recommended for companies with a high number of employees and/or a high turnover rate.
NETCHEX NAMED AS FINALIST IN
2014 STEVIE® AWARDS FOR SALES & CUSTOMER SERVICE
8th annual awards will be presented on February 21 in Las Vegas
[Mandeville, La] – January 23, 2014 – Netchex has been named a Finalist for Customer Service Department of the Year in the eighth annual Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, and will ultimately be a Gold, Silver, or Bronze Stevie Award winner in the program.
More than 1,500 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were evaluated in this year’s international competition. Finalists were determined by the average scores of 129 professionals worldwide, acting as preliminary judges.
Netchex’s submission for its Customer Service Department highlighted the team’s achievements in 2012 and 2013, including overcoming a hurricane, organizing trainings for our client conference and instituting a new, company-wide customer relationship management system. The team, which is consistently credited with Netchex’s 97% client-retention rate, accomplished these feats while handling an average of 700 phone inquiries every week.
“Our customer service group is the heart of Netchex,” said Netchex CEO Will Boudeaux. “From day one of our business, they have been a true difference in our ability to earn and keep long-term clients. Their focus on personal needs and business goals, coupled with technology and leadership, has allowed them to not only scale, but thrive as we have grown. To have a Stevie Award earned by this group is validation that their hard work and dedication to our customers is not only important, but recognized.”
More than 100 members of seven specialized judging committees will determine the Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award placements from among the Finalists during final judging, to take place January 27 – February 5.
The awards are presented by the Stevie Awards, which organizes several of the world’s leading business awards shows including the prestigious International Business Awards and the new Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards.
The final results will be announced during a gala banquet on Friday, February 21 at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Finalists from the U.S.A. and several other nations are expected to attend.
“In a record-breaking year for nominations, the judges saw extraordinary quality in the achievements portrayed in these Finalist nominations,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards. “The final judges should enjoy reading and evaluating such a treasure trove of excellent work.”
“This award is a product of the hard work and dedication of each and every one of our team members – from our leaders and trainers to our newest representatives, “ said Customer Service Department Manager Chris Roig. “Congratulations to the award winning Netchex Service Team!”
Details about the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service and the list of Finalists in all categories are available at www.StevieAwards.com/Sales.
Mandeville-based Netchex was founded by two St. Tammany residents in 2003 and has quickly grown into an industry leader in web-based payroll, human resource, benefits and time and labor management services. Netchex has been listed on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing, privately owned businesses in the country for the past years.
About The Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in five programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. A sixth program, the German Stevie Awards, will debut later this year. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about The Stevie Awards at www.StevieAwards.com.
Sponsors and supporters of the eighth annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service include the BusinessTalkRadio Network, Competence Call Center, and ValueSelling Associates.
A strategic plan is essentially a set of goals for your company’s future. For example, if you want to diversify your company, you may set a goal of buying another business in an area in which you would like to expand, or developing new products for your company to sell. If you want to improve your company’s cash flow, you may decide to change customer payment terms or hold less inventory in your warehouses. Similarly, Human Resource planning is also considering what your business will need in the future. Some of the ways they do this is by reviewing the cost of employee benefits plans, evaluating the return on investment of voluntary employee benefits, and verifying you are in compliance with all federal and state laws regarding employment and labor. When the two are considered together, it is clear that Human Resources staff is needed to carry out any item in a company’s strategic plan. In fact, their activities are essential.
There are some major ways in which your Human Resources team can assist you with implementing your strategic goals. One is through impact assessments. If you are considering a new idea, Human Resources can provide you with the costs involved in implementing it in terms of hiring new employees, overtime pay for current employees, and employee training. A second way is in the execution of your idea, which would include handling the items previously mentioned, hiring and training. Finally, a crucial way in which your Human Resources team can assist you with carrying out a new idea is through financial and employee monitoring. They will be able to let you know if the implementation of the plan has created unforeseen costs, as well as if your project has created any issues with employees.
Employee turnover is a natural part of owning a business. In some ways, it can be viewed as a positive, as it allows your company to bring in new employees with fresh perspectives. However, for a small business, losing even one person with a specific set of expertise can greatly impact your daily functioning until a replacement is found. While staff choosing to leave your company is largely out of your control, there are some steps you can take toward minimizing your turnover rate.
First, it is absolutely crucial that you communicate well with your employees. All of your employees should be aware of your business goals and vision for the future. They also need to be kept up on what is happening from day to day. For example, if you recently took out an advertisement or sent out a mailer that may increase phone call volume of customer inquiries, you should let your employees know this. Another part of communication is good listening. Your employees should feel free to provide you with suggestions and feedback at any time. If you sense they feel uncomfortable providing their opinions, try sending out the occasional anonymous survey, or place a suggestion box in the employee break room.
Next, let your employees know that they are valued. A little praise can go a long way, so starting an “employee of the month” program to recognize your employees for their hard work would be greatly appreciated. Additionally, being supportive of staff training and professional development will show your employees you are invested in them. You can also consider organizing social events for your office. Something as small as ordering in pizza for lunch once per month will help create a fun atmosphere and camaraderie among your employees.
Finally, if an employee does decide to leave your company, you should make sure to conduct a thorough exit interview. By finding out why an employee is leaving your business, you may discover ways you can improve the working environment for your current staff.
“I’m overworked and underpaid,” is a mantra we’ve heard many times, both in our real lives and the popular culture around us. In fact, a just-released survey by the Pew Research Center supports this feeling among the working population. In the survey, only 54% of workers and 62% of supervisors said they feel they are paid fairly for the work they do. If you work in Human Resources, you are likely used to hearing employees tell you they feel undervalued. Since you don’t have the power to increase salaries yourself, one way you can help employees feel more valuable to the company is to educate them on the many benefits your company provides in addition to salary.
According to a November 2013 report from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average amount of money an employer spends on employee benefits averages out to be 28.8 percent of an employee’s annual salary. Employees are likely aware of the benefits they receive that are mandated by law, which are Social Security, Medicare, federal and state unemployment insurance, workmen’s compensation, and depending on your company’s size, health insurance. However, they may have forgotten about all of the voluntary benefits you offer since they last reviewed them at new employee orientation. It is good to remind them that scheduled overtime, paid time off, life insurance, disability insurance, 401(k)s, tuition reimbursement, and flexible spending plans are all benefits your company offers at some expense to themselves. Don’t forget to mention any other perks your company offers such as flex time, the ability to telecommute, free coffee service in the kitchen, company picnics, subsidized public transportation, and workplace wellness programs.
If you are often approached by employees that feel undervalued, you may want to contact your payroll services provider about issuing a Total Compensation Statement for each of your employees. This will fully detail an employee’s benefits package, so they can see in writing the added value of their benefits.
Tax season is approaching. Are you ready? If you are one of the many businesses who outsource their payroll, you are likely breathing a little bit easier this time of year. By outsourcing your payroll, you are saving:
- Time: By leaving payroll management to the experts, you are freeing up man hours within your human resources department to focus on other matters. A payroll company will not only process your payroll, but cut and distribute checks, calculate withholding and employment taxes, and prepare and distribute W-2s and 1099s at the end of the year.
- Money: By outsourcing payroll, you will be spared the expense of hiring a payroll professional for your company. Additionally, your current staff will have more time to focus on other tasks because the payroll company will handle answering employee payroll questions.
- The Aggravation of Tax Penalties: It is estimated that one in three small businesses who do their own taxes receives penalty of $800 or more each year due to math errors. You will be worry-free when you allow a payroll provider to keep up to date with changes in tax code, calculate your payroll taxes, and provide you with monthly or quarterly employment tax reports.
In fact, outsourcing payroll duties has become so popular that the Internal Revenue Service has posted some tips on doing so to their website. They caution that even if your business is hiring a company to make tax payments on your behalf, it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure the deposits are made. Therefore, they encourage businesses to make sure their payroll service providers file taxes through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. This system gives employers access to the last 16 months of their payment history, which allows you to verify that payments are being made on your behalf.
The decision to incorporate an employee time and attendance system into your current payroll software offers many advantages to your company. The end result of such a system should be increased control over labor costs, more efficient workforce administration, and more accurate payroll processing. However, because most tracking systems place the responsibility on the individual employee to log his or her own time, it is imperative that your entire staff know how such a system can be of benefit to them. Below are ways in which an integrated employee time and attendance system can be of benefit to your staff.
- Everyone has bills to pay, and absolutely no one wants to be inadvertently shorted on their paycheck. Therefore, it is important to assure your employees the system will help their paychecks be more accurate. Having a punch clock or computer to log exact start and stop times will produce a more clear record of actual time worked than a paper timesheet which is subject to be misinterpreted due to smudges or illegible handwriting. An automated system will also automatically calculate total hours, eliminating potential human error in the mathematics.
- Your employees who arrive on time and work their designated hours will have a sense of increased fairness with an integrated employee time and attendance system. They can be assured that if they see less diligent colleagues arriving late, leaving early, or taking extra-long lunch breaks, this will be reflected in their timekeeping record.
- Your employees will experience an increased sense of job satisfaction in knowing there is accurate written proof of the time they put into the company. This is especially true of employees who are continually working overtime on special projects. They can also be assured that if a particular person or team seems to be working harder than others, the situation will come to the attention of management through the employee time and attendance system.