Payroll Challenges Most Small Businesses Face

Once you hire staff for your business operation, you need to make sure that you know the details of payroll. Employing someone is not as simple as having a verbal agreement. There should be a fair amount of initial preparation including business relations and business processes. There are many challenges that business owners face when hiring employees, here are the most common.

1. Superannuation Obligations

Superannuation only applies to ordinary time earnings However, superannuation can be applied to commissions, bonuses, loadings and allowances. For contractors that are sole traders, it is also important to make a payment for superannuation depending on the working arrangement’s nature.

Some business owners may consider a worker as a contractor simply because of invoicing and their services are only used sporadically. However, ATO will still consider the employee  for superannuation purposes. Using the online contractor decision tool, the ATO will determine if superannuation still applies to the employee. It is important to pay superannuation on time to avoid penalties. The director can also be held liable for any late super, which is not paid for by the company.

2. Pay Slips and Record Keeping

It is mandatory for business owners to keep records of receipts for a period of 7 years. The records that should be kept include the pay records, leave records, hours worked super contribution, payment details and others. These records must be handled with confidentiality. When it comes to pay slips, employees must receive them within one working day of pay day. In case the employee is on leave, certain information must be included.

3. Taxing Correctly

These days, small business bookkeeping software makes it easy for employers to calculate employees’ tax. However, the software is not capable of correctly taxing unusual payments such as commissions, terminations and bonuses. If these are not properly reviewed, it can lead to either overtaxing or undertaxing employees. For unusual payments, the tax must be calculated manually.

4. Default Superannuation Fund

It is mandatory for employers to provide a choice of superannuation to workers whether they are employees or applicable contractors. In case the worker does not select a fund, superannuation contribution must be paid somewhere. The default fund will be used to make a payment. It is the employer that selects the default fund.

5. Payment Summaries

There are cases when payments to employees are not taxed or set-up correctly. This only implies that you are taxing a worker for a payment, which is considered tax free. The employee may not get a refund even especially if it is reported incorrectly on the annual Payment Summaries. The money that is supposed to be awarded to employees will end up going to the ATO if correct payroll is not set up.

Bookkeeping Fraud: Is Your Business Safe?

Keeping track of the financial activity of your business is a critical role every bookkeeper should perform. You may have surely heard of horror stories about bookkeeping and accounting fraud, but due to its prevalence, it becomes a regular habit that business owners should get used to. However, just because fraud occurs regularly does not necessarily mean you should not do something to take care of your business.

Identify Signs of Fraud

Misfiled Paperwork: If you have trouble finding business records such as payroll records, deposit slips and supplier correspondence, then you need to ask your bookkeeper to produce them. While it can be easily misconstrued for sloppy filing, you still need to make sure that you are regularly keeping track of your financial transactions. Watch out for government letters about delinquent bills because in this case, your bookkeeper has a lot of explaining to do.

Inconsistent Financial Statement: When there are omissions and misstatement of financial data, it is a clear sign of fraud. While mistakes in data entry can be committed from time to time, when it is done deliberately, it becomes a fraudulent activity especially if it is done on purpose.  As a business owner, it is important you check your financial statement. With that being said, make sure you learn how to read the statement.

Incorrect Procedures: Bookkeepers need to follow correct payroll guidelines and procedures and if they are reluctant to adopt new processes it is necessary that you insist they should strictly follow new procedures. The payroll and financial records for previous years must also be investigated.

How to prevent bookkeeping fraud?

Create a reimbursement and expense policy. Instead of billing your credit cards directly to your company, bill them to your employees. You should also have an expense report for each employee and require them to turn in original receipts. Do not forget to set a daily limit so you will be able to control the amount that your employees spend. With this policy, you will be able to monitor expenses that are eligible for reimbursement.

Review financial records.  One way you can verify that sales are recorded is by keeping a financial record. Make sure the records are complete and if you find out that the customer records are incomplete, you should ask the person in charge of collecting money from customers. There should be checks and balances implemented so debt previously written off are properly recorded.

Avoid sharing passwords. It is common for most people to share passwords especially when separate user accounts are not available. For instance, if an employee wants to make changes to the account, there is no other option but to share passwords. As a result, you have lost control of permission security and unable to determine who made the changes to the account. It is important that Administrator password is controlled by senior management to prevent fraud.

Create a separate account for petty cash: You can easily monitor expenses if you have a petty cash account. This way, the expenses are properly recorded and tracked in a timely manner.