Fund Accounting – Five Tips for Managing a Better Budget

Most organizations use past history and trends to determine their budget. With a limited number of funds that are predetermined, the goal of the budget is to cover operational costs as well as plan for future capital expenditures. Without comprehensive fund accounting and payroll tools, it can be difficult to organize and manage the budget efficiently. Here are five tips on maintaining a better budget.

  1. Manage budget by department and by fund. Some programs only allow budget management by fund. However, the ability to also manage by department gives quick access to a wealth of information about each department. Being able to see budget data by department and by fund can give department heads or managers the information they need to quickly compare their actual spending to the budget.
  2. Unlimited funds. Be sure whatever system you are using allows for an unlimited number of fund accounts, ensuring that the system can still handle all of your organization’s budgeting needs. Each organization is different and you may want to add additional funds down the line.
  3. Customizable reporting. Your organization clearly wants to see your data in a way that is most useful to you - complete and accurate. With a system that you can customize, you will be able to view reports with information specific to your reporting needs.
  4. Integrated payroll. If your pay data is not integrated with your accounting data, you may not easily be able to get a clear view of your budget and where it stands. By integrating the two, you will streamline your payroll processes and pay information can accurately be viewed within financial reports.
  5. Copy budget from previous year(s). With the ability to copy and edit a budget from a previous year, you can save significant time setting up your budgets each year. You will also be more confident in your budget, knowing it was based on a budget system that had already been in place the prior year.

With the above budgeting tips, you will find the budgeting process much simpler to set up and manage!

Wage Garnishment and Payroll Software

According to Wikipedia, “A garnishment is a means of collecting a monetary judgment against a defendant by ordering a third party (the garnishee) to pay the money, otherwise owed to the defendant, directly to the plaintiff. Wage garnishment, the most common type of garnishment, is the process of deducting money from an employee’s monetary compensation (including salary), sometimes as a result of a court order.”

Calculating wage garnishment withholdings and making payments can be complex, and processing them incorrectly can result in legal repercussions. Here are some ways your business can use payroll software to help ensure deductions are made accurately and on time.

  • Set up and track garnishment calculations. Set up garnishment calculations to compute automatically when payroll is processed, and you are assured a consistently accurate dollar amount is being withheld, keeping both employee and creditor happy.
  • Specify a minimum net pay. Many garnishment court orders require that an amount be deducted from the pay, yet the employee pay should not go below a specified amount. Set this up in your payroll software, and you can be confident the proper garnishment is taken out, and that the employee gets their minimum amount.
  • Set up a garnishment priority. When an employee has more than one garnishment, you need to know which garnishment takes priority. Setting up a priority system within your software allows you to automatically deduct the garnishment in the correct order, so that the proper amount is deducted for each creditor.
  • Specify the priority of other deductions. A garnishment may be set up to allow the employee to contribute money to other areas before the garnishment is taken, such as a 401(k) contribution. In this case, setting up a rule within your system to handle this will make certain that the garnishment is taken only after the other deductions are taken.

Using these methods of tracking wage garnishment keeps your information accurate, and also makes it much easier to calculate payments. Keeping track of employee payroll wage garnishments can be overwhelming. Use your payroll software to make the job of tracking and paying wage garnishments much easier, and also to stay in compliance.

Five Payroll Features that can Drastically Simplify Your Life

If you are in charge of managing a payroll system and/or are actually doing the payroll processing, then you should be aware of the newest features available that can simplify the entire payroll process. Newer features now available within leading payroll programs can have a drastic impact on a payroll manager′s workload, and can also improve accuracy.

  1. Direct Deposit

    Direct deposit is a tool that allows you to transfer pay electronically to employee bank accounts. More and more employers are offering direct deposit as an option, or even paying employees only via direct deposit because of simplified processing and money saved. Since direct deposit advices can be printed on plain paper, the employer saves money on the cost of the check stock, printer ink, envelopes, and the manual labor of putting them all together. Transferring pay electronically via direct deposit can shave off hours every week of a payroll processor′s workload.

  2. Advanced Earning Matrix

    If you have employees working at different pay rates for different shifts, departments, locations, profit centers and more, payroll data entry can become complex and cumbersome quickly, since your list of pay codes becomes so long. With an advanced earning matrix, you set up parameters for each of the variables needed within a grid for each employee. Paying employees becomes a snap with the ability to simply choose employee parameters from that grid to enter pay rates. All earnings and deductions are then calculated accordingly when time is entered, solving the very difficult problem of finding the right pay code within a sea of other available codes.

  3. Electronic Tax Filing

    If you manage payroll, you are aware that employers are required to file quarterly and yearly taxes. It wasn′t so long ago when W-2 forms were filled out by typing in triplicate on a manual typewriter! Nowadays some programs offer the ability to print the tax forms on plain paper, saving on the cost of purchasing the tax forms, and also the time associated with printing them. To take the simplification a step further, some payroll companies also allow you the option of filing the tax forms electronically online, which eliminates several steps including the steps of printing, collating, stuffing, and mailing the forms. File tax forms electronically can sound daunting, but an average of 98% of customers who try online tax filing continue doing so year after year because it makes their job so much easier.

  4. Custom Checks, Stubs and Payroll Reports

    Your business is unique. Perhaps you want your employees′ vacation to show on the check stub, or you want their employee number to print out on their check. Maybe you want a column of information to show on your payroll register report. If you use a payroll system that allows you to modify and save your version of checks, stubs and payroll reports, you will always be able to see and show others information in the way that is most useful. It will also cut down on copy and pasting into Excel and making manual edits.

  5. Electronic Time Clock

    Reading hand-written time sheets can be a difficult chore with the challenge of various handwriting types, and the re-entry of that data into a system can also result in human error. By implementing an electronic time clock, you can save yourself the time and also eliminate re-entry errors by pulling the data that was entered electronically by the employee into the payroll system. Many payroll software programs offer standard import utilities, so that you can set up and pull in the data you choose from the electronic time clock, making the job of entering payroll a much easier and faster task.

Financial Management in Agriculture – Why It’s So Important

Many farmers spend thousands of dollars to improve production, but hesitate to spend money on tools that can help them improve their financial management. In fact, managing farm finances offers the best possibility for adding profits and ongoing profitability to an agricultural operation. Consider these reasons why financial management is crucial to the success of your agriculture operation.

GOALS: You cannot meet a goal if you don′t set one. Setting goals is a crucial aspect of maintaining a business. Whether your goal is to grow by a certain percentage over a certain period of time, retire early, or simply keep your operation running successfully, any of these goals are more easily achieved when a plan is there to back up the goal. Then, once your goal has been set, progress toward your goal must be constantly checked and evaluated. Your financial management tools can help you manage your progress, by using reports within your system.

SMART DECISIONS: Smart decisions lead to more profits. Using the information on reports within your financial management system can help you make the best decisions possible: ones that are based on real numbers and facts rather than feelings and assumptions.

Keeping Up with the Cutting Edge

In an industry where technology is updated all the time, it's easy for your business to become less efficient if the software you rely on doesn't keep up with current trends.

Whether it's supporting the latest database servers or being able to run on the latest Microsoft Windows® operating systems; a piece of software that hasn't been updated for quite some time could be surprisingly detrimental to your bottom line.

Here are some things you can do to make sure your business isn't left in the dust:

  1. Stay on top of updates released by your software provider

    Don't let them pass too long, not only could you get a fix for a defect you've been working around for the last few weeks or months, but you might also pick up some new functionality which could make you more efficient in your day-to-day processes.

  2. Make sure you have a support plan

    These may seem like an unnecessary expense; what could go wrong - right? But find yourself in a jam just once and you'll wish you hadn't held-off on buying some peace of mind. Support plans also ensure you'll receive continued updates and product enhancements over the coming year(s).

  3. Really learn the software

    You rely on software to make your business profitable, yet how often have you watched someone else use the same product only to discover some functionality you never knew existed? Most line of business applications offer training options, whether through enhanced how-to documentation, online webinars or on/off-site training sessions - utilize the knowledge of the professionals, learn all those tips and tricks for getting the most out of your software.