Paymaster Magazine
10 Hats Worn by Payroll Professionals: Hat 2

10 Hats Worn by Payroll Professionals: Hat 2 — The payroll professional as accurate keeper of records

This is part 2 in the 10 part series — Read part 1 here (click)

No pressure, but did you know that, when asked, your reputation as an efficient payroll professional is built upon the fact that you can efficiently and quickly find documents. You need to find that expense claim slip, or leave application or overtime sheet—even if it was 3 years ago.

Payroll professionals must have all the answers

Everybody in a company knows that their payroll department has the answer: “Let’s ask them” they all say! Everybody in the company expects fast, accurate, reliable information that is backed up by facts, policy and—of course—the relevant documentation.

You do know that senior management, HR, and general managers, as well as employees, all expect you—the payroll department—to have the answer.

As payroll professionals, we are expected to keep all records and to know exactly where to find these records. Similarly, when questions relating to these records arise, the payroll professional is expected to answer them—even some of the obscurest of questions.

Payroll professionals must answer these types of questions…

10 Hats Worn by Payroll Professionals: Hat 2Payroll professionals must be ready to quickly, efficiently and accurately answer the following types of questions:

  • “How many overtime hours did my staff team work from last year December to this year—ordered by department and by week—And please also calculate the difference in money that was paid out for this period?”
  • “How many total leave days are still owing and what must my department budget for?”
  • “When is the company’s employment equity report due—Who earns what and what promotions or separations have happened?”
  • “Please send me the monthly payroll reconciliation report, clearly detailing all new employees, staff resignations, salary increases and net salaries paid.”
  • “Send me all employee budget information for the next 12 months.”

Consequently, it ought to be plain to see why payroll professionals need to do everything in their power to uphold their good reputation in the organisation. At all times, it is incumbent upon the payroll professional to quickly and efficiently deliver accurate up-to-date information.

For this to be assured, the following is important:

Understand what needs to be kept for how long

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act clearly tells us what needs to be kept: employment contracts, time sheets and payslips all need to be kept for a minimum of 5 years—this includes keeping records due for submission to the South African Receiver of Revenue (SARS) and the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). And don’t forget about the many leave records, leave balances, and many other instructions sent to the payroll department relating to salary increases, loans, pension fund deductions and of course medical aid (and the list goes on and on).

Note: The current trend is for companies to go paperless—nowadays, all payroll administration is electronic. Do you have all the policies in place to manage the evaluation and destruction of old data.

Correctly file/save the information

You will need to know where everything is. Nothing can give you a worse reputation than when you need to rummage through the filing room, or search the computer’s hard drives for information (while management frustratingly has to wait on you). This can be avoided. Some online payroll systems have archives that include the ability to extract information from a historical data base without restoring backups. This certainly does make life so much more convenient, particularly when extracting historical reports.

Key questions to ask yourself: Do you have all the correspondence backed up? Can you easily access old data that you need? Are your employment contracts and other vital documents stored in the cloud and backed up?

Know where to find important information, even after staff changes

10 Hats Worn by Payroll Professionals: Hat 2A good administration system that is understood by all really helps. Consider this: If you need to restore backups, does everyone know how and where they are?   Are there handover procedures that make sure that knowledge-transfer takes place? Whilst writing things down is always a great idea, a fully automated online payroll system makes finding important information an absolute walk in the park—easy, convenient and a pleasure to do.

Know what needs to be presented, when it must be presented and what format

Every month, every quarter and every year reports need to be presented and submitted. The payroll professional knows exactly what is required.  For example, the payroll professional knows that tax returns are due for submission by the 7th of the month (in South Africa). Similarly, the payroll professional knows that management calls for reconciliation reports by the 9th of the month, and the human resources manager checks leave reports by the 15th of every month.

To be sure of the many reports needed, be sure to create a standard list of all reports and when they are needed. To produce these reports accurately and on time, you simply need to setup the automatic report-generating process on your payroll system. Consequently the system will be certain to electronically distribute all reports, on time—Done! Accordingly, your good reputation as proud payroll professional is sure to be upheld.

Understand the consequences of incorrect information.

Know the consequences of inaccurate information. Make sure that the information that is mission critical is 100% correct. If you need to, put in a checking system for those with serious consequences.

Some examples:

  1. Inaccurate reports to management regarding payroll leads to a breakdown of trust.
  2. Inaccurate leave records leads to inaccurate payments on termination.
  3. Inaccurate EMP 201 reports could lead to tax penalties.
  4. Inaccurate interpretation of policy could lead to incorrect payment.

Please read Paymaster’s latest published article on POPI and Payroll to make sure that you are compliant with all 8 areas of the PoPI Act.

Invitation: To find our more, why not sign up for the Paymaster POPI webinar to be held on Tuesday 19 March — click here to sign up.

Talk to Paymaster People Solutions to help you with the paperless office and record keeping. Paymaster already does this for more than 500 satisfied clients. Contact us today!

Ian Hurst

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