Payroll professionals are continuously looking for ways to be more efficient, effective and compliant. By looking for opportunities to increase your compliance expertise, develop process improvements, and deliver better service within your company, you can personally contribute significant value to your organization’s goals, while helping them their manage business risk.
While you have likely just begun the activities for 2015 year-end, now is the right time to think about how to improve your year-end practices for 2016 and beyond. Have you thought about how you could manage year-end differently to increase accuracy and reduce the stress of processing both payrolls and year-end tax forms at the same time? Here are a few proactive practices to consider implementing in 2016 (or even now).
1. Access and communicate the impact of legislative changes
Ensure that you read the latest federal and provincial legislative and regulatory updates. Consider attending the Canadian Payroll Association’s Professional Development Seminars to stay current on upcoming legislative and administrative changes. Then, take it a step further by preparing a short internal document outlining how these changes might impact your employer specifically. Meet with management or the business owner to discuss these changes, to create more awareness of potential compliance issues.
2. Identify and maximize government programs
Be proactive and show your employer how certain government programs can reduce some of their costs. For example, many employers do not know that having extended medical programs can actually reduce EI rates.
3. Conduct year-end balancing and reconciliation quarterly
The most effective year-end best practice is to conduct a tax form balancing and reconciliation exercise on a quarterly basis, using the CPA’s 2015 Year-End/New Year Checklist (available to its members in the November 2015 issue of Dialogue Magazine). Establishing the discipline of a quarterly review of year-end will uncover errors and issues earlier, and eliminate the stress of last minute changes and adjustments during the peak year-end processing period. It has been our experience that practitioners who embrace quarterly year-end balancing as a best practice have the most error free year-end results.
4. Improve your taxable benefit administration
Do you wait until the end of the year to handle most taxable benefits? Make this review part of your quarterly analysis, and there will be less backlog at year end.
5. Deliver more self-service options to employees
Do you distribute electronic tax forms to employees? This practice can reduce your workload and provide more timely, convenient and secure services. Electronic tax forms are far more secure than paper tax forms that may go missing in the mail, and can provide time and cost savings for you and your organization.
6. Consider electronic provincial filing
Let’s not forget that Canadian year-end may also require filing with a number of provincial government agencies, such as for Worker’s Compensation or Employer Health Tax. Consider investigating electronic filing options with them to reduce your workload next year-end.
You have already invested in payroll technology. Now is the time to optimize this technology to proactively conduct many of your year-end activities on a quarterly basis as a best practice.
Information in this article has been excerpted from the Canadian Payroll Association Dialogue Magazine, which is one of the many benefits of CPA Membership. Consider joining the CPA today!
This article is from our Payroll Quarterly newsletter. You can view back issues and subscribe online here.