Author: Ian Hurst — Managing Director, Paymaster People Solutions
Payroll in 2018 has been a challenge. Then again, Payroll every year becomes more and more challenging as we try to keep up with all the new things being introduced. Old ways of doing things has also become more and more complicated. It seems to me that this year proved to be way more stressful than last year. In talking to my clients and people in the payroll world, they identified the following areas causing tension.
Implementation of new technology and systems
As always, this seems to take up a lot of our time. The trend is no longer on Employee Self Service. This is still important, but we are getting more and more requests for integration and for the “systems” to talk to one another. We expect automation to become a big issue in the next 3 years. Small things such as automatic reporting of over and under budget, the automatic drawing of reports and emailing them to the relevant person.
New Year’s resolution: Do a full investigation of your payroll system and look for areas of integration and automation.
Keeping up with the latest information
This year has convinced me that being a Payroll Administrator is more than just a data processor. We are required to step up and be the gatekeepers of what is right and what is wrong. It is our responsibility to make sure that our company is legal. We need to know the laws and how they apply to payroll. Payroll software and outsource companies do play that role but that does not release you from your responsibility to know and understand the laws.
New Year’s resolution: Attend training courses and seminars to keep up to date.
POPI — Protection of Personal Information Act
Payroll confidentiality is always an issue. As a payroll person, we should be paranoid about keeping people’s data safe. POPI has just made our jobs a little more challenging. This year we have been urging clients to go paperless. Going paperless means that there are no papers on the desk, no payslips being printed, no reports in filing cabinets. We have also done a comprehensive overhaul of our internet and computer security systems. Your reputation as a payroll department can so easily be damaged when employees’ information is not guarded properly.
New Year’s resolution: Look at going paperless. Do a complete write-up and study of your data security.
ETI — Employment Tax Incentives
I cannot tell you how many of our clients have almost given up with this. It seems that it is fraught with danger and can be very complicated, especially where the employees are hourly paid or interns. A case in point: Recently there were some serious complications with SARS system bugs and the August 2018 submissions. Complications also arise if if your company is not fully compliant.
New Year’s resolution: Attend a training programme on ETI and then double check your payroll.
SARS — South African Revenue Service
My favourite institution in the whole world. This year has seen an increase in obscure journal entries suddenly appearing on your SARS statement. Some as far back as 2007. The amounts can be very small. We had one client who owed SARS R 2.47 and therefore could not get a tax clearance certificate. It is easy to resolve, but you first have to find out where the amount comes from, then get the right reference to transfer to SARS on the right day.
New Year’s resolution: Every three months reconcile your SARS account and make sure you are in good standing with SARS.
Wishing you a prosperous 2019
So, there we have it. May these 5 payroll challenges lead to you making the best New Year’s resolutions yet.
From myself and all our staff at Paymaster People Solutions, we wish you a happy, efficient, and productive 2019 payroll year.