When you run a construction company, payroll is often one of your most complex administrative tasks. At any given time, you probably have employees at multiple pay rates working across a variety of job sites and crews. By streamlining your payroll process, you can save time and make sure that everyone’s getting paid accurately and on time.
Allow Mobile Time Tracking and Online Hours Entry
Is your company still using traditional time cards or time sheets to track employee hours? You can save time and increase accuracy simply by switching to an internet-based time-tracking system with a mobile app. Instead of worrying about punching in or remembering to write down their hours on a time sheet, your employees can simply log their hours using their mobile phones. That way, they can track their time directly from the job site. Have office employees? They can use the app or track their time using a web login.
Online time tracking with mobile hours entry also has big benefits on your end. In an internet-based system, everything is updated in real time, so your payroll hours are always up to date. When it’s time to process your business payroll, all you need to do is log in — no need to collect time cards or pay someone to enter hours into the system. This reduces labour costs. Plus, by removing the data-entry element, you automatically reduce the risk of error.
Choose an Efficient Payroll Time-Tracking Program
The time-tracking program you choose has a big impact on your payroll process. As you research different options for time management apps, some features you can choose from are:
- Easy online login
- Customizable permissions to protect sensitive data
- User-friendly design
- Mobile app for remote logins
- Easy import to your accounting system or payroll system
Do you use QuickBooks Online? If so, you already have a convenient time-tracking tool at your disposal. Your staff can log in to access and update their time sheets online. They can specify the project or job site for each billable hour, which makes it easier for you to invoice your clients accurately. When you’re ready to do payroll, the hours are logged in your system and ready to go.
Another convenient time-tracking tool is TSheets. After your employees download the app or log in to the website, they can clock in and clock out with a single click. TSheets also makes it easy to record breaks, select the right construction project, or edit any hours they forgot to track. As the employer, you can use TSheets to create schedules or run reports about each job to predict costs. Do your workers work overtime hours? You can create automated overtime rules and pay rates right in the app. Best of all, TSheets integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks, so you can import hours and process payroll quickly.
Enforce Timely Reporting Procedures
Construction sites are busy, high-energy places. Crews come and go, vendors stop by with deliveries, and supervisors move between jobs. With all of this activity, it can be difficult to get your foremen and crew leaders to chase down time sheets. Mobile time tracking can help, but it’s only a start — you need to make sure that your workers are actually using the technology.
As with many policies, time-tracking is most effective when it’s implemented from the top down. In other words, your site leaders must be on board first. You can increase buy-in among foremen and crew leaders by involving them in the selection process. That way, they feel an increased sense of ownership and are more likely to enforce your time-tracking rules. Since they’re involved in ground-level operations, your leaders can also help you choose a policy that’s both doable and enforceable.
Once you have a solution and a plan for time-tracking, it’s helpful to communicate it clearly to the entire staff. Explain the benefits of the new system, especially as they affect the workers. You might emphasize that when everyone enters their hours accurately and on time, you can get payroll done quickly. If you’re using a brand new technology, it’s also a good idea to provide training so all of your workers feel comfortable using the online system. When you create a user-friendly reporting system — and get everyone on board — accurate time-tracking is an effective way to streamline payroll.
Integrate Payroll Into Your Accounting System
If you’re currently outsourcing payroll, one of the easiest ways to streamline the process is to bring it in-house. How? Integrate it into your accounting system. That way, all of your financial operations happen in one central hub. Any time you activate payroll, your records are immediately updated. This real-time information makes it easier to check cash flow and run accurate financial reports. Plus, you can save money on outsourcing fees.
The key is to find systems that work together seamlessly. If you’re a QuickBooks Online user, you can simply add Payroll. Then, you can create a file for each employee with the correct pay rate and tax rate. QuickBooks pulls in the hours for each pay period and handles all of the calculations for you — including taxes. Do you have workers on different schedules or payment methods? You can customize everything within the system. When an employee gets a raise or changes their filing status, you can simply edit their file. By taking care of the math and time sheet importing for you, this cloud payroll software reduces the risk of error. Other tasks that QuickBooks Payroll handles include:
- Creating Records of Employment
- Preparing ready-to-print T4 slips at the end of the year
- Creating payroll tax forms
- Running payroll reports
Encourage Direct Deposit
Paper cheques are one of the most fallible parts of a payroll system. Since they’re physical objects, they’re prone to loss, damage, and theft. The processing time for cheques can also cause payment delays, both for you and your employees. Cheques can also be expensive considering the materials, postage, and the labour it takes to prepare them.
If you’re looking to streamline your payroll, you might consider encouraging employees to switch to direct deposit. All you need to do is activate payroll on payday, and the money goes directly from your bank account to your employees’ accounts. This eliminates delays on both ends. You don’t need to worry about mailing cheques or delivering them to various job sites, and your workers don’t need to drive to the bank after a long week.
Plus, everything is digital, so your employees’ personal information stays confidential. Need documentation? Pay stubs are always available online. With programs like QuickBooks Payroll, you can set up direct deposit and activate payments online from anywhere. As a bonus, direct deposit is usually free, so you can save money while you streamline your payroll.
Bring in a One-Time Consultant
Payroll is one of the most important business functions in your construction business. When you do it well, it can improve your finances, help you stay compliant with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) rules, and keep your employees happy. When you’re ready to streamline the system, it’s important to get it right on the first try — mistakes can cost your company money and damage morale.
New to payroll and accounting, or feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of making changes to your current system? It might be worthwhile to bring in a one-time consultant. The consultant can work with you and your team to build a payroll procedure that’s tailored specifically for your company. Consultants charge a fee, but in most cases, the time and money you save more than make up for the cost. Many consultants can also provide training for your staff to get everyone off on the right foot.
Stay Up to Date on CRA Payroll and Tax Requirements
As an employer, it’s your responsibility to stay current on the latest tax rules for payroll. The CRA has a set of procedures that you need to follow for each taxable employee. If one element is incorrect or off, it can cause disruptions in payroll or inadequate tax payments.
When you’re running a construction business, you might hire a wide variety of people for different jobs. To keep your payroll on track, it’s important to understand whether or not you need to deduct taxes from each person’s pay. In general, if you pay a salary or a wage to someone, they’re considered an employee, and you need to deduct taxes. This might be different for some of the people on your payroll. For example, if you hire a self-employed tile professional to do a one-time job, you don’t need to withdraw taxes. Do you hire seasonal workers during the busy building season? You may still need to file a nil remittance after they stop working for the winter. These filings can get complicated if you have workers coming in and out — by keeping each person’s record current in your business online payroll system, it’s easier to maintain an accurate payroll.
Another part of managing payroll is figuring out what you need to deduct. For most workers, this includes Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions, Employment Insurance (EI) premiums, and income tax. The CRA changes tax and contribution rates on occasion, so it’s important to read the agency’s news releases. That way, you can prepare your payroll for upcoming changes and keep your business compliant. The same goes for your province’s tax authority. When it comes to taxes and payroll, a little preparation can save you a great deal of time and money.
Chances are, your construction business has many employees and many moving parts. By streamlining your payroll, you can design a more efficient operation that saves you time and money — and ensures that you stay CRA-compliant. Did you know you can pay employees in QuickBooks? Add Payroll today.