I’ve posted about this in the past on social media for a laugh, but it stands to be a simple truth. Don’t wait for Christmas to audit your payroll. Payroll is complex and has several moving pieces and involves many people and departments to function efficiently. Like having a Christmas party, not everyone you invite shows up. So, try having a payroll party between Christmas and New Year’s and see who shows up. Good luck getting those reports you need or expense receipts you are always requesting. This is how your final pay period becomes full of surprises.
What’s the solution? Be proactive. Audit regularly. Quarterly audits are an example of keeping on track and avoiding last minute scrambling. It also provides time to lessen the impact to your employees if a substantial adjustment needs to be made. Cramming all the final adjustments into the last pay period of the year can cause some uncertainty amongst your employees, especially if something big happened in the past and the rumours are still traveling around the office.
“Remember when Bill had that big long term disability adjustment right after Christmas and most of his pay was gobbled up, so he had to sell the riding lawn mower he got for Christmas to pay for the DJ he hired for his New Year’s party.”
Rumours like that tend to hang around a while and can cause some uncertainty. It does happen though. Sometimes you will get retro charges on your billing for an employee that should have been set up earlier and you will have to act accordingly. Always be on top of the billing from your benefits provider to stay on top of any previous period adjustments. Also keep your policy renewal date in mind as the costs tend to change a bit on an annual basis. Employee amounts will need to be adjusted accordingly to ensure you hit your updated year end figures.
Having time on your side also allows you to spread the recovery of the funds out over a few pay periods so the impact to the employee is manageable. No one wants to be Bill on Dec 29th this year.
I’ve really only touched base on one type of audit here, but there can be so many others. CPP and EI audits are equally important on top of all the other employee deductions you reconcile on a regular basis.
Bottom line, employees don’t like surprises. Especially around the holidays. So be proactive, do your audits early this year and ensure your employees receive a predictable payroll with no surprises.
Good luck everyone!
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