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Payroll Benefits – Tips for Tracking Them More Easily

clock January 21, 2011 9:49 AM by author StephanieE

The task of managing payroll benefits can quickly become difficult once your number of employees starts to grow. What may have previously been handled in a starter or free payroll software application can often be easily handled in advanced payroll software. Here are some ways payroll software can help you track payroll benefits and be more confident in your data.

Predefined Benefit Deduction Codes

Some payroll systems come with a variety of standard predefined codes for tracking benefits. These ‘deduction codes’ make it easy for you to set up new employees and keep track of important information without reinventing the wheel, in order to simply track the right payroll benefits for your employees. Most payroll systems will include deduction codes for widely used benefits such as 401K, vacation pay, sick pay, and so on.

Benefit Deduction Code Customization

As your company grows, you may find that the standard predefined codes included in your payroll software are not able to handle every need when tracking payroll benefits. In this case, it is crucial to have a system that allows you to customize and use your own deduction codes. Not all payroll systems allow for this; however if you anticipate growth and unique benefit tracking, be sure your system does offer custom code setup.

Scheduled Benefit Deductions

Some benefit deductions may not be taken out of every single employee check. In these cases, it is useful to schedule benefit deductions, for example, on the first and third payroll of each month, and so on. By scheduling these benefit deductions; you can be confident that the correct amount is deducted at the correct time.

Retirement Plan Limits

Eliminate guesswork and worry when tracking retirement pay! As an employer, you may have a limit for your 401K contribution, your employee may have a limit, and of course the government has a limit as to how much can be contributed. The ability to set up plan limits within your software can tame the nightmare associated with 401K tracking. Once the limits you set up are reached, the amount will no longer be deducted, keeping all the involved parties happy.

Effective Dates

Are you worried that you will forget to activate an employee’s benefits after a probationary period or some other type of waiting period? Set up effective dates in your payroll system, so that benefits will automatically take effect on the specified date. This can take away the constant worry about forgetting to start an employee’s benefits from taking effect.

Take advantage of every tool at your disposal in your payroll system to ensure your payroll benefits are managed properly, and take the worry that payroll benefits are being missed or calculated incorrectly.



Green Ideas for Your Business: What Can Paper Reduction Mean to the Environment?

clock January 17, 2011 3:27 PM by author StephanieE

Here are some staggering facts about the impact of paper on the environment, taken directly from www.payitgreen.org:

In one year, by switching from paper to electronic billing, statements, and payments, the average American household would...

  • Save 6.6 pounds of paper
  • Avoid producing 171 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions—the equivalent of:
    • The emissions avoided by not driving 169 miles
    • The emissions avoided by not consuming 8.8 gallons of gasoline
    • Planting 2 tree seedlings and allowing them to grow for 10 years
    • Preserving 24 square feet of forestland
  • Avoid releasing 63 gallons of wastewater into the environment
  • Avoid using 4.5 gallons of gasoline to mail paper items

Many people and businesses making small changes add up to a big difference!

Here are some things your business can do to help cut down on the use of paper:

  • Send invoices electronically via e-mail.
  • Provide your customers the option of electronic billing and payment options.
  • Sign up your own business to receive and pay bills electronically.
  • Send financial and other reports via e-mail instead of printing them.
  • Use direct deposit to pay employees, and use electronic tax filing.


Internet Marketing: Landing Page 101

clock January 14, 2011 10:06 AM by author StephanieE

Have you heard all the talk about landing pages? Much like a landing strip for airplanes to land upon, a landing page is where you want internet searchers to land (once they have clicked on your online ad), so you can show your custom messages to them. You wouldn’t want an airplane to land on the grass, now would you? The landing strip is smooth and long enough for the pilot to land carefully and safely. That’s because it’s MEANT to be landed on. The landing page is a similar concept. You purposefully develop a page on which you would like internet searchers to land. If you are currently doing online advertising or are interested in giving it a try, maximize your efforts by creating landing pages with these rules of thumb:

  • Develop different landing pages for each subject/ad you are running. You want your visitors to know they are in the right place, so they don’t click away!
  • Have one clear, compelling call to action. Clearly show people what you want them to do, whether it’s to fill in a form, buy a product, call you, or something else
  • Keep the landing page clean and simple. Don’t clutter the page with lots of text and confusing layout. Make it simple, so people can easily find what they are looking for quickly.
  • Keep your fulfillment form simple. Don’t ask your customers or prospects to fill in 20 questions-- internet searchers want information fast.
  • Use short, simple points instead of lengthy paragraphs. Long paragraphs don’t work on the internet, where people want to get their information and go.

Having specific landing pages for your online marketing can drastically improve your results, and can also reduce your costs.



Order Entry - What is It, and Do You Need It?

clock January 10, 2011 1:31 PM by author StephanieE

As you are busy managing your business, it isn’t likely that you are mulling over which things you can add on to your software to make your life easier. And yet, you might be shocked to know how much the jobs of multiple people could be streamlined by simply adding a new accounting software function to your system.

The purpose of an order entry system is to track and manage orders in your system, before sending them over to accounts receivable for billing. Adding order entry functionality to an inventory management software system can be beneficial to any small business. If you are experiencing any of the following problems, you might just find that order entry can solve them for your business.

“I cannot track backorders.”

“I have no way of printing pick tickets and packing slips.”

“I want to allocate products to a customer’s order, but don’t want to ship it yet.”

“I want to know how many items are in stock while I am taking the customer’s order.”

“One person writes down our customers’ orders, and another enters the order when the order has been filled.”

Check into adding order entry to your accounting software if you find the above situations are true for your business.



Accounting Software - What Matters Most?

clock January 7, 2011 10:24 AM by author StephanieE

Let’s face it, you can find accounting software fairly easily these days, whether you purchase it from a local accounting software professional, research and purchase on the Web, or simply walk into a chain store and purchase it off the shelf. And while accounting software may be easy to find and purchase, what really matters most in your decision are two things. 1. Are you able to enter your data into the program easily and in a way that is meaningful? 2. Are you able to pull out the information you have entered in such a way that it allows you to make good management decisions for your business? Here is why.

  1. Are you able to enter your data into the program easily and in a way that is meaningful? A business typically has transactions to be entered on a daily basis. The system you use should allow you to enter these transactions easily and intuitively. Be sure that you are able to easily find the correct account code for entering the transaction, so the data will be accumulated into the correct ‘income or expense bucket’. If your business accounting software system is not intuitive or is just plain difficult, you will find mistakes being made, and this will make the analysis of the data extremely difficult, if not impossible. If mistakes are made, be sure there is a way to easily fix them with an audit trail to track those changes. Without an easy to use entry system, the entry of your data will be a difficult and frustrating effort.
  2. Are you able to pull out the information you have entered in such a way that allows you to make good decisions about your business? The number one reason for having an accounting software program is for viewing information that allows you to make important management decisions. Do we need to cut the marketing budget in order to stay profitable? Why did we spend three times more than budgeted in sales last month, and how will this affect us? These are just a few of the questions that can be asked if the data is analyzed. Without the ability to review the data and ask such questions, you are left to make decisions that are not based on good, accurate financial data. By using your accounting software and data in the correct way, you are ensured of making better, more informed decisions, thereby improving your business’s profitability in the short term and for years to come.


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