Updated: May 26, 2020
Have you ever bought cupcakes? Were they behind the glass where you couldn’t reach them? Did you wish you could lick some of the icing off to see if it was the good stuff? When you got home and enjoyed your luxury cake product, was it as good as you thought it would be or was it hiding a surprise?
I’ve tasted a few cupcakes in this lifetime and let’s face it, we know when something looks good. But sometimes what looks good on the surface may be hiding a secret underneath, such as cupcakes. I’ve purchased cupcakes that looked great, brought them home and tasted them, and they were amazing. That happens rarely. The majority of the time they look great, you make the purchase and take them to a friend’s party, and the judgement begins. Some cupcakes get eaten out of obligation, some get bites taken and tossed in the trash, and some get only the bottoms eaten because the icing is disgusting. Does this sound more realistic?
Just because the cupcakes in the display look fresh and tasty on the surface, it doesn’t necessarily mean that is what you are coming home with. Your company payroll can fall into a similar situation. On the outside, its running smoothly, everything is ticking along wonderfully until year end comes around, and everyone is pointing fingers and asking what went wrong.
Speaking from experience, something went wrong because one of two things probably happened, someone didn’t notice, or my favorite, no one asked. The second one is a big one. In order to process effective payroll that is compliant, you must check or audit your compliance against the continuously changing legislation. Over the past couple years in Ontario Bill 148, the short-lived stat holiday pay calculation that still goes unresolved, and the changes made by Bill 47 have created several areas of concern for small businesses. That is the reason I only specialize in Payroll. I don’t do taxes, I don’t do bookkeeping, I don’t pretend to be an accountant, I do Payroll, plain and simple.
Let’s address the two payroll anomalies mentioned earlier:
No one noticed – This one is common because we are all busy and don’t always catch some of the little things that cross our desk in such a hurry. Payroll errors will happen, things get missed, deadlines get in the way, and so on. The important thing is to have adequate auditing procedures to keep these little hiccups from accumulating until year end when they all get noticed. The sooner they get noticed, the better the chance the employee is still active, and the correct course of action can take place. If the employee has been terminated, some payroll errors are not as easily fixed.
I didn’t know – There is an unconsumable amount of payroll knowledge to remember and no one can possibly remember everything, and since legislation changes, remembering it isn’t always the solution. The best solution is to provide your employees, or to know yourself, WHERE to look for the most up to date answers for your Federal and Provincial payroll questions. The CRA provides a substantial amount of info and there are a ton of provincial resources on the internet. Another resource I recommend is The Canadian Payroll Association, they provide a “payroll infoline”. They can be reached at 1-800-387-4693 ext. 772, or by email at email@example.com. Their turn around time has been very quick in my experience and they provide very detailed answers to your questions. If you are uncertain of a payroll code, taxation, calculation, benefit, allowance, and so on, it is always a best practice to ask. Providing comprehensive training, and continuously updating your employees in certain areas of payroll can mitigate your company’s risk.
The important thing to remember is that payroll can be complicated. With changing legislation it’s like hitting a moving target on most days. Stay informed and ask questions when you come across uncertainties. Keeping your payroll on track throughout the year will set you up for a smooth year end. Just remember, just because things appear to be running smooth on the outside, underneath all the icing, sprinkles and fruit slices, there may be a surprise. And you thought cupcakes and payroll had nothing in common.
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