This is an excerpt from The Score Adagio newsletter. Find more issues, technical tips and more here.
Every year, Softrak asks its channel partners and end users to complete a survey. It helps them stay aligned with the software needs of their clients and dealers, and allows them to gauge their Net Promoter Score measure for customer satisfaction. The results are always interesting. Here are some “take-aways”:
- Less than 15% of the respondents work alone in Adagio (85% have 2 or more people working in Adagio concurrently).
- The most popular avenue for learning about Adagio is Warren’s “Show me how…” video series.
- Over 40% of end users said their Adagio Consultant was their most valuable resource.
- PSR’s prefer to read the manuals.
- Over 60% are already planning to attend AOC 2017, which will be held in Toronto this year, May 21-25.
Thanks to everyone who participated, Softrak appreciates your feedback.
Report taxable benefits throughout the year:
Not reporting taxable benefits on a per-pay-period basis (or as they are enjoyed) could result in late remittances, fines and penalties, and year-end adjustments. According to Canada’s Income Tax Act, benefits must be included in income as enjoyed or received. Therefore, taxable benefits and allowances provided by an employer are subject to source deductions on a pay period basis.
One of the more common taxable benefits that does not meet compliance requirements involves employer vehicles provided to employees that are not reported during the year, or mileage reimbursements paid out through accounts payable (which can often be taxable when not using the reasonable rates). There is a prevailing belief that reporting a benefit received throughout the year (such as an automobile taxable benefit) only needs to be updated through payroll at the end of the year if, for instance, the employee maxes out on Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Pension Plan contributions part way through the year.
However, this belief is completely untrue. The employer is required to attribute the per-pay-period value of the taxable benefit in each pay period in order to calculate the applicable CPP and income tax due on the benefit. In the event of an audit, an organization failing to do this may be subject to fines and penalties because the CPP/QPP would be considered as a late remittance.
Best Practice: Implement an internal policy to ensure transactions related to taxable benefits go through payroll first. At the very least, transactions should be run by payroll in advance to confirm reporting requirements.
Manual cheques and/or off-cycle bank transfers must be communicated to the payroll department immediately:
Manual cheques and any type of off-cycle payments need to be processed into the payroll system immediately. When this does not happen, it usually results in problems for the payroll department at year-end. Unfortunately, some payments are communicated to payroll after the year has finished. At this point, there is a significant risk that the employer will receive a Pensionable and Insurable Earnings Review (PIER), due to deficiencies in CPP and EI.
In addition to statutory deductions, payroll also has to manually update the payroll register to include these payments so that they report to the employee’s T4. These earnings also could affect additional contributions such as Workers’ Compensation premiums.
Best Practice: Implement an internal policy requiring communication between payroll and any parties outside of payroll who issue these types of payments to employees. Ensure that such communication happens within a few days of the payments. Communication is the most important element here. Lack of communication results in extra time required for the payroll team to handle possible late remittances, penalties and interest, PIER reports, year-end adjusting, T4, and other year-end reporting adjustments.
Reporting fees for services paid to self-employed individuals:
Fees for services paid to self-employed individuals are often handled through accounts payable. However, preparation of tax forms (T4As or T5018 for the construction industry) is usually handled by the payroll department. Internal communication is therefore crucial, as all parties involved must be aware of their respective responsibilities. For example, will accounts payable issue the payments and provide payroll with reporting information? Will accounts payable handle issuing payments and issuing tax forms? Will payroll be required to issue the payments and tax forms?
Best Practice: Regularly touch base with accounts payable to ensure that the implications of payments to self-employed individuals are considered. Furthermore, verify that the status of the employee-employer relationship is being considered to ensure that there are no potential compliance pitfalls in the treatment of employees and independent contractors.
Workers’ compensation reporting and reconciling:
From a workers’ compensation perspective, not all provinces and territories carry the same deadline and reporting requirements or maximum assessable earnings, nor do they recognize insurable earnings in the same way. As a result, organizations that have employees in more than one jurisdiction in Canada need to take extra care to accurately calculate Workers’ Compensation Board premiums and perform year-end reconciliation.
Best Practice: Create reporting for each of the provinces and territories in which the organization has incorrect payrolls. Based on the types of earnings that are used in the specific province, they may be assessable in one province but not the other. Monitoring the maximum assessable earnings in each jurisdiction is easier if each province or territory is logged separately. Most payroll software or service providers are capable of generating custom-built reports that will accommodate the variability, and in the event that an in-house system is used, the time spent on creating an in-house report is well worth the investment.
Keeping on top of year-end reporting requirements is essential, and a simple chart created internally that includes all of the applicable provinces and territories, deadlines, and maximum assessable earnings will help keep every professional on track. Another great tool to help facilitate smooth year-end reporting is the CPA’s annual Legislative Rates Sheet, available on the CPA website for members at the end of 2016.
Remember, it is always a best practice to keep year-end top-of-mind year round. Treat the year-end process like an ongoing evaluation of how payroll is processed throughout the year. Do not wait until after the end of the year to look for errors that might have occurred throughout the year. Perform regular audits throughout the year to ensure that earnings, taxable benefits, and deductions are being properly reported in the correct boxes of the tax forms.
Employers must remember that they are responsible for compliance, even if they are using the services of a payroll provider. A common misconception is that a payroll service provider will ensure proper reporting and payroll compliance, when in fact, this responsibility remains with the employer, regardless of the outsourcing arrangement. Visit payroll.ca for more information and the most up-to-date payroll compliance resources to support you at year-end – and throughout the year!
These best practices come from Dialogue Magazine, a publication for members of the Canadian Payroll Association. Find out more about their member benefits at payroll.ca
Electronic document interchange, or EDI, allows companies to exchange documents and forms, such as purchase orders and invoices, with their suppliers and customers electronically, rather than through the mail. By eliminating the necessity of human workers handling, filing, entering, and checking paper forms, EDI reduces errors, speeds up processing, and makes workers more efficient. More and more companies are discovering that use of EDI can make a significant contribution to their bottom lines.
But how, exactly, does EDI do its magic?
How EDI Works
With EDI, workers don’t handle paper. Instead, they fill in forms on a computer screen. For example, when a purchase order is to be sent to a supplier, the worker can fill in a form on an office computer and then have it sent electronically to the seller. When received by the seller’s computer, that purchase order can be automatically processed, checked for consistency, and entered into an order entry system. The seller’s computer can then send the buyer acknowledgment that the order was received.
The Role of EDI Translator Software
The big issue in business-to-business (B2B) electronic communication is that computers are rather single-minded and inflexible. A human can look at a form sent from another company and immediately recognize the specific details, such as item to be purchased, number of units desired, price, and date by which the order must be received, even if that person has never seen that particular form before. Most computers can only handle data that is already in a format they understand.
To successfully exchange business documents like invoices or purchase orders in electronic form, each document must be converted to a commonly accepted format so that the recipient’s computer can correctly interpret the information. For this reason, both sender and receiver normally use a piece of software called an EDI translator to encode a document for transmission, and to decode it when it is received.
How EDI Works in the Cloud
Until recently, a staff of experts was needed to keep EDI translation software up to date and matched to the translators of the customers and suppliers with which a company was trying to communicate. Along with the cost of setting up required servers and networks, EDI was cost-prohibitive for many companies.
Today, cloud-based EDI service vendors do all the hard work of providing software translators and keeping them updated according to changing standards. It’s part of the software as a service (SaaS) model that is making many applications that were previously too expensive for smaller companies available for a monthly fee. In this approach, it’s the vendor, not the customer, that’s responsible for keeping EDI translator software up to date and compatible with those of the customer’s trading partners.
EDI was once a complex process that required specialized software that was expensive and difficult to maintain. But with the advent of SaaS EDI offerings that can be accessed through a simple web browser, most of the complexities inherent in EDI are hidden in the cloud. Most users will never even notice them.
This is an excerpt from The Technologist newsletter. Find more issues here.
Softrak has announced that their annual Adagio Opportunity Conference will be held in Toronto this coming May.
Channel Partners’ Conference
May 21 – 24, 2017
May 23 – 25, 2017
Delta Toronto Hotel
75 Lower Simcoe St.
Details to follow as Softrak releases them. Stay tuned to this blog.
Did you know that Softrak’s Adagio Accounting YouTube Library contains instructional videos on all Adagio products?
- “Show Me How” videos will show you a brief overview of various processes or features in Adagio. They provide a quick way to investigate how a specific function works and useful tips on how best to use it.
- “Watch Me” new release videos demonstrate significant new features in Adagio upgrades and what benefits they give.
The videos are all relatively short in length, so they can be “easily digested” and referred back to as needed.
You can subscribe to the channel so that you will be notified by email every time a new video is uploaded to the Adagio YouTube Channel. Also, you can search their library by keyword, or view by playlist to see all the videos pertaining to one particular module, as shown below.
Here’s an example (below) of a recent video on how to evaluating your open receivables and reconciling to the ledger control account using the Aged Trial Balance Report in Adagio Receivables:
Be sure to check it out and add the channel to your browser bookmarks!
Performing a monthly bank reconciliation can be a tedious task for any accountant or bookkeeper. However, this necessary evil also keeps us on top of a company’s cash position, and thus cannot be neglected. Luckily, Adagio BankRec can speed up the bank reconciliation process significantly, while making it easy to account for NSF checks and apply payments to high volume accounts.
BankRec, which integrates with Receivables, Payables and Ledger, provides a single point of entry for cash receipts into Adagio. An on-line inquiry instantly shows your current cash position, and allows you to recalculate the position “as at” any date in the past. The reconciliation process is simple and straightforward, easing month end processing chores. Unlike bank-based reconciliation services, Adagio BankRec does not require you to tell your bank what checks have been issued. The deposit slip report saves you the trouble of manually listing each check on your bank’s deposit slip.
BankRec’s top features include:
- Monitor your cash position with up-to-date cash balances
- Reconcile your bank statement with a few mouse clicks, or import your bank statements and reconcile your bank account electronically
- Auto-apply cash to outstanding invoices in Receivables
- Drill-down from a deposit to see the individual checks making up the deposit
- Automatically reverse NSF checks, accounting for bank fees and charges to the client
- Automatic creation of a cash batch for Adagio Receivables
- Automatic retrieval of all checks written in Adagio Payables
- Automatically mark cleared items in Adagio Payables
- Import checks and check batches written by other systems such as payroll
- Determine your expected cash position with the Cash Flow Report — forecast cash shortages and surpluses by aging Receivables, Payables and estimated payroll amounts on a single report.
- Print donation receipts and maintain an audit file of donations
- Print a bank deposit slip
- Supports Multi-currency
This is an excerpt from The Score Adagio newsletter. Find more issues, technical tips and more here.
Audit. How can such a simple five letter word cause payroll practitioners to cringe? The mere thought of going through an audit can be very stressful. The reality is, if you are responsible for payroll, chances are you will be audited. However, if you are compliant, keep up-to-date with changing legislation and maintain complete and accurate records, your audit should be a piece of cake!
Following these simple steps may help mitigate the risk of noncompliance penalties and fines.
Typically, there are three types of audits that payroll professionals may encounter: an internal compliance audit, an external audit, and a government audit. A government audit is performed by an agency responsible for overseeing a particular area of legislation. Government regulatory bodies including the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Workers’ Compensation (WC) Boards, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Labour conduct audits on a regular basis.
Audits can be administered on-site or at a third party’s establishment.They are carried out to ensure that organizations satisfy their obligations related to the employment of workers, payment of salaries and wages, the collection and remittance of statutory withholdings and the accuracy of annual returns. To ensure a smooth audit, you are recommended to prepare information ahead of time, cooperate with the auditor, and be available for any questions they may have.
Being proactive and keeping complete and accurate records is the best approach to ensuring a smooth audit. Follow these best practices:
- Ensure that employee records are set up properly (e.g. tax brackets, pension set up)
- Conduct a self-audit to ensure a reasonability test is complete (e.g.Are all the taxable benefits and allowances on the payroll register reported on the T4 in the appropriate boxes?)
- Confirm that all taxable benefits are set up correctly
- Verify that all taxes are withheld and remitted on time and that you balance back to your required financial reports (e.g. general ledger) and
- Conduct monthly or quarterly Pensionable and Insurable Earnings Review (PIER) testing.
Taking these steps will help you determine if you need to make additional changes to your organization’s processes to mitigate any further risks from non-compliance.
Depending upon who is conducting the audit, any of the following records may be requested for review:
- Payroll records, registers and supporting documents (e.g. time & attendance)
- Financial statements
- General Ledgers
- Payment records including cancelled cheques
- Accounts payable records including payments to contractors
- Records of any independent operator rulings issued by CRA or a WC Board
- T4, T4A slips and summaries and other information returns filed with the CRA
- RL slips and summaries filed with RQ
- Clearance Certificates for the year(s) under review in a WC audit
- Organization meeting minutes and other governance/managerial records and/or
- Files and working papers used to calculate payroll remittances.
The auditor will contact you in writing to indicate the place of the audit and which records they require. Therefore, it is essential to keep a detailed paper trail or traceable transactions of your payroll from start to finish.
Employment Standards gives inspectors wide ranging powers related to investigations, including the ability to:
- Enter and investigate without a warrant;
- Examine records;
- Require production of relevant documents;
- Take records or any other relevant documents; and
- Question any person, including employees.
The most common records that inspectors investigate include:
- Time records
- Vacation records
- The different employee positions in the workplace and
- Payroll records.
Regardless of which type of audit is being conducted, there will be a requirement to produce organization documents for review. It is the responsibility of the organization to maintain and store accurate records. For example, the CRA requires that organizations must make the records available and permit the auditor to make or receive copies, as requested. Electronic records are allowed, as long as they are supported and maintained in an accessible and readable format. All backup copies must be stored, preferably at a Canadian site other than the operations location.
If you deduct Canada/Quebec Pension Plan (CPP/QPP) contributions, Employment Insurance (EI) and income tax from remuneration or other paid amounts, your records must include the following:
- Hours worked by employees
- Amounts withheld for CPP and QPP contributions, EI premiums and taxes
- TD1/TP1015.3-V forms
- CRA Letters of Authority to reduce tax deductions for certain employees for a specific year
- All issued information slips
- All filed returns and
- Registered Pension Plan (RPP) information. (For RPP members, this is required even if there are no statutory deductions.)
Records of an employee’s gross earnings, CPP contributions, EI premiums and income tax (payroll register) must be kept for six tax years plus the current year. Records must also be kept of the remittances paid to the CRA, as well as T4 and RL-1 filing.
This is an excerpt from Dialogue Magazine, a publication for CPA members. Best practices for topics like audit preparation are available to members on their website at www.payroll.ca.
It always feels like “back to school” this time of year, and that applies to our colleagues and clients as much as it does our children. Accountants in BC have a number of conference opportunities this month to help them get into the “back to school” spirit.
The One 2016 National CPA Conference
Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada)’s The ONE National Conference is designed for all CPAs who want to be at the top of their game. CPA Canada and CPA British Columbia are proud to present this year’s event. Connect with the top professionals in your field and customize your own professional development experience.
When: September 19-20, 2016
Where: Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver BC
GFOA 2016 Western Conference
“Making Connections Count” is the theme for this year’s Western Canadian Government Financial Officers Association Conference.
When: September 21-23 2016
Where: Delta Grand Okanagan Resort, Kelowna BC
The IPBC IGNITE Conference
This is the annual conference for the Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada, where you will have access to experts and thought leaders in key areas of professional business practices that will ignite your business, your employees, and your life!
When: September 28-Oct 1 2016
Where: Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel, Richmond BC
Any time you go online, you are at risk of becoming infected with some form of malware, like viruses, Trojans, and spyware. Even if your computer is protected with some type of anti-virus/anti-spyware application, it is still possible for malware to infect your computer.
All too often, users forget to update their anti-virus/anti-spyware application, leaving their machines at risk of infection by newer versions of malware. If you have forgotten to update your virus protection, it is possible that your computer is already infected.
What are the signs that your computer is infected with malware?
- Poor performance is one of the initial signs of malware infection. Once your computer is infected, it may begin to perform each task more slowly than usual. This is because its resources are being used up by malware.
- If you suddenly find your online searches being re-routed to websites that have nothing to do with the term you are searching for, then you can suspect that your computer’s browser has been hijacked. If you look closely, you may even see some minor changes to your browser when you open it.
- Another sign that your computer is infected with malware is sluggishness during start up or shut down. Generally, this occurs because the malware application is hogging computer resources.
- Another sign that your computer is infected by adware or some form of computer virus is the frequent occurrence of pop-up ads. Some of these ads may even suggest that you click on them to run a clean-up utility or download an anti-virus application. All too often, these simply trick computer users into downloading spyware, adware, or a virus.
- Malware infections can also cause you to lose the ability to access your hard drive, your email, and other areas of your computer’s functionality. Even if you are able to open your email account, you may discover that it does not work properly.
- If your computer suddenly begins to make funny noises or acts as though it is working harder to start up, shut down, Malware Infection Warning Signs or access files or applications, it is possible that your computer has become infected with malware. The noises indicate that your computer is dealing with more than it can handle – in this case, the finger is pointing at the presence of malware.
If your computer shows any of these warning signs that it has become infected with some form of malware, you should take steps to rid your computer of the intruder. If you already have an anti-virus/anti-spyware application installed, you should update it so that it is current with the latest protection. Next, you should run your anti-virus/anti-spyware application to remove the malware. In almost all instances, this will rid you of the problem.
This is an excerpt from our Technologist Newsletter. You can find more issues of The Technologist here.