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Anonymous
Not applicable

When you’re running payroll, what’s typically your biggest “day of” challenge?

I used to review time sheets and run payroll for about 20 staff on four separate teams. Our onsite GM (general manager) set an early day-of payroll deadline so he could go over our figures and have it done by 10:00 am.

 

I had to be very strategic with my time. We had a huge site, so chasing down employees that potentially needed timesheet corrections that morning was a chore, to say the least. I typically did my time sheet reviews the night before, in anticipation of the inevitable "day of" disasters in the cafe - essential production items, like ovens, had a habit of breaking on payroll day. Being in the back office made me a target for one-off questions, which broke my concentration and prolonged the task.

 

So, to get it all done as quickly as possible, to avoid distractions, I did my rounds of the cafe first thing in the morning and then set a 15-minute no-call window. I told my team to ask my fellow cafe manager if they had questions, shut off my phone and hid in a random corner on a different floor of the building so I could commit  100% focus to the task at hand. 

 

Do you have a similar story? What strategies do you use?

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Best answer March 15, 2018

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Level 2

When you’re running payroll, what’s typically your biggest “day of” challenge?

I think when I first started payroll, everything was a "day of" challenge. I believe one of the biggest "day of" challenges I had was getting all the checks ready for signatures. The checks were printed and had to be signed by two board members. The payroll schedule meant that sometimes the checks had to be signed on the same day as a board meeting. Those days were really challenging in that I was trying to make sure the payroll was accurate, but also prepare everything for the board meeting. Arrrrrgh.

Since that time, many many things have changed. Payroll is still stressful, but nowhere near as stressful as it used to be. 

1. We went from 19 to 2 overtime categories

2. We went to direct deposit

3. We went to a strict biweekly pay period (from a 28 day pay period with a weird draw thing)

4. I created a payroll checklist

5. I created procedures for different aspects of payroll

6. We changed the shift schedule for the firefighters, the current shift schedule is much easier for me in dealing with their time cards

Finally, I have over 4 years of experience now and I am sure a lot of the lack of stress is due to that. 

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Level 6

When you’re running payroll, what’s typically your biggest “day of” challenge?

Hi,

I would like to add to that. It’s also the day when your QuickBooks starts acting up. Some of the major reasons for that usually are -

  1. Your subscription is not up to date
  2. Your QuickBooks is not updated
  3. Your QuickBooks Payroll is not updated

So before you run your payroll please check up on these three things too.

 

Highlighted
Level 2

When you’re running payroll, what’s typically your biggest “day of” challenge?

I think when I first started payroll, everything was a "day of" challenge. I believe one of the biggest "day of" challenges I had was getting all the checks ready for signatures. The checks were printed and had to be signed by two board members. The payroll schedule meant that sometimes the checks had to be signed on the same day as a board meeting. Those days were really challenging in that I was trying to make sure the payroll was accurate, but also prepare everything for the board meeting. Arrrrrgh.

Since that time, many many things have changed. Payroll is still stressful, but nowhere near as stressful as it used to be. 

1. We went from 19 to 2 overtime categories

2. We went to direct deposit

3. We went to a strict biweekly pay period (from a 28 day pay period with a weird draw thing)

4. I created a payroll checklist

5. I created procedures for different aspects of payroll

6. We changed the shift schedule for the firefighters, the current shift schedule is much easier for me in dealing with their time cards

Finally, I have over 4 years of experience now and I am sure a lot of the lack of stress is due to that. 

View solution in original post

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Anonymous
Not applicable

When you’re running payroll, what’s typically your biggest “day of” challenge?

James,

 

Can totally relate!  I think there is something about restaurant payrolls that is just frankly a PITA!

 

I currently do payroll for a restaurant that right now has 35 paychecks per pay-period.  But it's winter, and they are on the beach.  From May 1 to June 15 the payroll will swell from the 35 to about 105.

 

So.... here are my tips for making payroll more doable.

 

1.  BI-WEEKLY PAYROLL.  Having payroll occur on the same day every week allows you to schedule for it more easily.  Bonus for restaurants - Monday/Tuesdays tend to be slow.  Anti-bonus... they also tend to be management days off.

 

2. HAVE A FRIDAY PAYDATE.  Give yourself all the time you possibly can to get people in.

 

3.  DO OFF-WEEK RUN THROUGHS.  By reviewing stuff weekly *as if* you were going to do a payroll, a lot of the errors will be found before the big day.  Plus, you'll get an idea about how much your labor is running.

 

4.  DON'T COVER PAIN.  When i used to work in-house at a restaurant, and i found something wrong in the early AM, i had no problem calling the person who didn't clock out the night before, or the manager that forgot to approve hours.  No matter what time it was.  Enough said.

 

5.  DON'T COVER PAIN II.  It is a real pain to have to redo checks or supplement checks.  But if people repeatedly don't clock out, declare tips, etc etc. then there is something to be said for letting the errors go through, and making a whole production of the fix.  Making it extremely inconvenient to be repeatedly wrong tends to cut down on the wrong.

 

6. FACILITATE THE SIGNING.  Either get direct deposit, have a signature on file with the payroll company, or make sure that a signer is always there on payday.  Those are kind of the options.  If a signer is repeatedly not there, see #4 & 5.

 

7.  MAKE THINGS EASY.  Give people tools and procedures that allow them to record, catch and correct as they go along.  And connect those protocols to other things they are already in the habit of doing, like other closing procedures.  Plus give something back for their time  -- reflect back that yesterdays labor cost was high or low as a matter of course without cruising it first for errors and you'll find that errors don't make it past end of day much anymore.  Especially if incentives and kudos on this aspect of management performance are made to matter.

 

I think the key is making things easy to catch and correct as you go along, so that there isn't a ton of that on the day.  Even though we have such a big flux, and the payroll does take about 2 hours for me to do in summer, it's not a crazy bad time anymore because management and i have worked out the kinks for the most part.

 

Kristencurtis-macnewton-317636alt.jpg

 

 

 

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Community Champion

When you’re running payroll, what’s typically your biggest “day of” challenge?

@Anonymous Kristen, I love Number 5! Make a big production out of having to correct errors (which having done this for so long I actually find quite simple and quick in Desktop Enhanced)

 

I have been running payroll in QB for close to 20 years now in a variety of settings. 

Some of the challenges where QB is of little help and could use some improvement (as I see it and maybe it does work right and I just have not found teh proper pages)

 

1. Agricultural (and productioh shop) Piece Rate and need to keep track of hours for compliance with mnimum wage - I always referred to the time card and manually verified they made at least minimum compared to the hours

 

2. Wage garnishments, especially child support and neven two supports to two states -  deducting in QBDT was and is straight-forward and you can track it and be reminded to submit in the Payroll Liabilities screen but the issue is the minimum take-home pay % that cannot be violated. No way yet I have found inside QB to auto-adjust the child support - or even a pop-up warning box that the deduction esxceeds what the law allows

 

I am certain I will think of more later and some of it has to do with  -oh, yeah, just went through this---

3. QB will produce an acceptable upload file for W2 for my state, PA, but it does not include the state version of W3. There is no file from QB that complies so , after receiving emails from my state, I went into the state website and manualy entered info to match the previously uploaded W2 totals - what a pain. Could be worse but I onlly deal with around 20 empoyees on an annual basis. Even quarterly I manualy enter UC and local tax info as I find it quicker and any permanent employees info is prepopulated

 

As far as the "day of" it is usually cut and dry. We use time cards but rarely timesheet entry, in fact I have only just started with that (after 20 years of this, and another 20 with other software and pencil and paper before that) I can enter total hours (and overtime) and print checks all in less than 15 minutes. It is now the day after when the fun starts.

 

We have been "upgraded" due to dollar volume to semi-monthlly deposits. Biweekly payday is Friday so now my Monday tasks include not only submitting child support and retirement contributions but also tax deposits, but it does get it out of the way.

 

Back to timesheets, or its evil twin - single activity time data entry and the need to manually identify and enter applicable overtime as that type of payroll item. Wouldn't it be nice if there were a popup warning when enters more than 40 hours of hourly pay for an employee? Same could be said for Kristen's restaurant - why not an automatic calculator that pops up and says something to the effect of "This employee's tips added to their base wage do not meet minimum wage requirements for your location. The appropriate added pay per hours is X, would like QuickBooks to autoimatically increase this employee's wages by X times hours? (and would you like QB to perform and engage this calcualtion every pay period for all employees?)

Highlighted
Anonymous
Not applicable

When you’re running payroll, what’s typically your biggest “day of” challenge?

@Sangeethmathew,

 

Is there a good way to remind clients to always check for (and not skip) updates? 

 

I am prone to closing pesky notification bubbles ><.

Highlighted
Anonymous
Not applicable

When you’re running payroll, what’s typically your biggest “day of” challenge?

@tamalita, having to balance two important recurring events in the same day sounds like a tough challenge! Why do critical tasks always happen on the same day? 

 

Were you often forced to prioritize one over the other? How did you navigate that?

 

That's a great list of changes, were you instrumental in all of them? Sounds like you had to negotiate a ton of moving parts, what a pro!

Highlighted
Anonymous
Not applicable

When you’re running payroll, what’s typically your biggest “day of” challenge?

@Anonymous, I am both happy and sad that you can relate - because it means no one has solved this for the industry! 

 

I think every store I've worked in, without exception, has had payroll problems. There are just so many variables and details that are way too easy to overlook. I love #3, #4 and #5. I tried to double-check the numbers every other day so I could catch mistakes early and rectify them as they occurred (sort of). I also employed checklists to help my mushy "day of brain," which helped immensely. Then there are always those one offs - a few minutes missing on a paystub, a signature missed because someone called out, and then an oven explodes...

 

For #4 and #5, I ran into a conundrum which had more to do with our management team than the employees themselves (well, it was both). The head chef was semi-lax about lateness, he just wanted his people in the door and food on plates. Our GM was a stickler for the rules. 

 

There was a constant push and pull - if we came down too hard on new employees about rules, they had a tendency to abandon the job. We lived in a competitive high-cost area, so quickly finding employees in our pay range was a huge challenge. Having fewer employees meant more strain on the existing team. If we weren't strict, we'd make our boss mad. It was a challenge to be firm one way or the other knowing the outcomes - I just wanted our team to do good work... and do what they were supposed to do. 

 

#7, I ended up taking over payroll for another manager and created a clear set of protocols that anyone could just pick up and follow through with. Do you ever talk to your clients about doing that with their teams? How do you go about having that conversation without "stepping on toes"?

Highlighted
Anonymous
Not applicable

When you’re running payroll, what’s typically your biggest “day of” challenge?

@john-pero, this is great insight - even as technology makes calculations and input easier and faster, there's always room for improvement.  

 

We used in-house accounting software that did just what you described - a warning came up whenever an employee went past 40 hours in a week which required one of us to key in an approval code. Then the real challenge presented itself - going to each employee, asking why they have overtime, asking their lead if the overtime as approved, then getting the employee to sign the time correction form for the overtime - all while everyone is slicing and dicing vegetables. There should be a digital way to handle things, but I remember something about labor protocols... 

 

Have you always been in agriculture? 

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