The Payroll Blog

News, tips, and advice for small business owners

5 Payroll Mistakes to Avoid in 2019

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Chris Bibey

With 2019 in full swing, there’s no better time than now to review your payroll system to ensure that everything is in good working order.

A man leaning over a computer with a magnifying glass.

If everything checked out as planned in 2018, you can continue down the same path over the next 12 months. However, if you made any payroll mistakes last year, it’s imperative to avoid them in the future.

As a business owner with employees (even if it’s just one), you must have a system for handling all payroll related activities. From paying employees to filing government tax forms, there’s no shortage of responsibilities.

Here are five of the most common payroll mistakes, all of which are easy to avoid with the right system in place:

1. Worker Misclassification

Is a worker an employee or contractor? Exempt or non-exempt? While you might not think this is a big deal, misclassification will throw your payroll system into a tailspin, not to mention the fact that it can cost you a lot of time and money.

The employee vs. contractor designation is one you must understand. The IRS outlines everything here, including the consequences of misclassifying an employee. Misclassification doesn’t hurt just you as a small business owner; it also hurts your employees. For example, if you classify an employee as exempt when they should be non-exempt, that employee could have missed out on overtime wages.

2. Missing Deadlines

If you don’t have a payroll calendar, there’s a very good chance you’ll miss a deadline at some point. For example, you may forget to file an important federal or state return. Subsequently, you could be hit with a penalty and interest charges. When it comes to payroll, the one date you don’t want to forget is the day you process payroll. Missing a payroll date messes up your records and delays your employee’s paychecks, which is something they won’t be happy about.

Note: At SurePayroll we know life gets in the way and payroll dates occasionally get missed. Because of this, we have options to help: same-day, next-day, and auto payroll.

3. Lack of Record Keeping

A record keeping system is a must. Without this, you could make inaccurate payments, mix up Social Security numbers, and forget to provide the necessary agencies with the information they require.

Not only does poor record keeping add stress to your life, but it can impact your bottom line and efficiency.

4. Miscalculating Overtime Pay

Don’t assume you can do whatever you want in regards to how you pay your employees overtime.

Federal overtime provisions are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and it’s your responsibility to understand what’s required of you.

If you miscalculate overtime pay now, it could cost your company big money down the road.

5. DIY Payroll

Many business owners are looking for ways to save a buck (even if it’s only a few dollars here and there). This leads them to a DIY (do-it-yourself) payroll system. There are many potential problems with this, including:

  • Lack of knowledge regarding local, state, and federal requirements
  • Time-consuming
  • Greater chance of making an error
  • Nowhere to turn to ask questions or express concerns

With a small business payroll provider on your side, you can forget about these potential problems. Instead, all the work is done for you. DIY payroll will be a thing of the past.

Bottom Line

While some payroll mistakes are simple, others are time-consuming and costly to fix. As a small business owner, mistakes are bound to happen, but being aware of common mistakes and asking for help when you need it can help. If you decide the risk of the mistake isn’t worth it, choosing to go with a reputable payroll provider is always a good choice.

Have you made one or more of these payroll mistakes in the past? What steps are you taking to avoid them in the future?

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This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. SurePayroll is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, SurePayroll. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant. If you require legal or accounting advice or need other professional assistance, you should always consult your licensed attorney, accountant or other tax professional to discuss your particular facts, circumstances and business needs.