What Stresses You Out Most about Running Payroll?

Here at Red Wing Software, we talk to customers and prospects many times each day about payroll concerns. Every single company has different payroll issues that need to be handled in their own way. Frankly, many of our customers use Red Wing Payroll Software products to solve some of their biggest payroll issues and concerns! And when we cannot solve a payroll issue, we still do our best to help our customers handle them with our software. When prospects call us, the concerns we hear about most often include:

  • Employees working in multiple states.
  • Employees working in different departments on the same day.
  • Complex time calculations.
  • Unique deduction (and earning) tracking needs.
  • The need to solve time-consuming data entry.
  • The need to make tax filing and direct deposit more smoothly.
  • More flexible reporting with the ability to track specific information.
  • Flexible ways of paying employees.

So, what issues stress you out the most with running payroll?

Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) Rate Reduction

The effective tax rate for the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) will be reduced from .8% (.008) to .6% (.006) on July 1, 2011. Congress has announced that the FUTA .2% surcharge, first enacted in 1977, will not be extended after June 30, 2011.

The IRS is currently revising Form 940 (Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return) to accommodate the two different FUTA rates for calendar year 2011.

Please sign in above and the select your product below for a PDF with full instructions on Modifying the FUTA Rate:

Accounting Software - Benefits of Implementing Order Entry Software

An accounting program allows you to electronically enter, process and save orders. Typically, an order entry system is a component that works along with an accounting and/or inventory management software system. Using order entry can save a business significant time and streamline processes, when compared to using accounts receivable without order entry. Is order entry right for you? Consider the benefits of order entry, and you will get a much clearer picture of whether order entry is right for your business.

  • Know what’s available and increase order accuracy. Instead of writing orders on paper, with order entry you are entering orders right within the software system, where you are able to view item availability as the order is being entered. So instead of saying, “Just a minute, I’ll run back and see how many are available,” you’ll be saying, “There are twelve available to ship, and I can put the rest on backorder for you.” Not only does this make your customer happy, but also saves you time and extra work.
  • Create packing slips and pick tickets. Most order entry systems provide the option of printing packing slips and pick tickets when you are processing orders. The pick ticket is used for the shipping team to know what goes in the shipment, and which shelf to pull it from. The packing slip shows exactly what’s included in the shipment for the customer. Both items keep you organized, and present a professional image of you to your customers.
  • Create partial shipments, and put items on backorder. This is one feature of order entry that probably makes the biggest impact. If you are using accounts receivable, you can only enter invoices; there is no option to keep track of which items have been shipped or which ones are on backorder. Order entry keeps track of all of that information, and also allows you to ship partial orders, which maintains a high level of customer service. Retaining items on backorder also helps you remember to ship items once they arrive into stock.
  • Turn quotes into orders. The ability to create and save quotes is critical for winning more orders. Order entry allows you to create and save quotes, and then change those quotes into orders when it’s time, or even make edits to the quote and then change it into an order. This saves you significant time and also gives your customers what they need in an efficient way.

Adding order entry to your software can greatly speed up your workflow, increase accuracy and most importantly, keep your customers happy.

How to Choose the Right Time Clock Software for your Payroll Software

Many different types of businesses find time clocks crucial to the smooth and accurate operation of their business. Strawberry farmers, machine shops, fast food restaurants, manufacturing facilities and plant nurseries are just a sampling of the business types that would be lost without the ability to import time from a time clock in order to efficiently run payroll. Typically, a payroll software program is sold separately from a time clock. Thankfully, many systems are made in a universal format, such that they can often work together correctly. Use this article as a guide for how to choose the right time clock software to work with your payroll software.

The range of time clocks available is quite large, so be sure to find one that is appropriate for your business. First, think about your requirements and what type of information you would like to import from the time clock into your payroll system. For example, if you have simple time tracking requirements, you may need to import just the employee abbreviation, date, hours, and earning code. For more advanced requirements, you may need to also track things like profit center, department, work shift, pay defaults, expense accounts, pieces, etc. This all depends on your business. After determining the type of detail you would like to capture, it’s time to select the time clock. Determine the type of time capture tool appropriate for your needs and research manufacturers/distributors that offer the desired time clock solution. Here are a few examples of different types of tools that are available:

  • Electronic Time Clocks
    • Punch pad for employees to enter information
    • Card swipe (each employee has an employee identification card used to swipe)
    • Biometric (thumb or hand scan identifier)
  • Mobile/Hand held time capture devices (for capturing time/pieces at external locations)
  • Time Capture Software (computer based tracking)
  • Web-based time tracking tools

Before choosing the time capture device that’s right for you and your business, request a definition of the type of file their tool creates and the format of the file. If they can also provide a sample file, it is helpful in verifying compatibility. Here are the most common file formats.

  • Comma Delimited File Format (CSV) is a common file type for importing data. The data in the file is separated by a comma. For example: smithj,01012011,08,HR. The definition of that file would then be: employee abbreviation, date, hours worked and earning code.
  • Fixed Width File Format: The data isn't separated by any fields, instead the software tracks the number of characters per field being imported. An example of the data found in a fixed width file: 00000001110101201108HR. The file definition would then be: Characters 1-10 are the employee abbreviation,11-18 is the date, 19-20 is the number of hours and 21-22 is the earnings code.

Make sure that the file format for the time capture device you are interested in will work along with your payroll software. A call to your software provider would be helpful in ensuring the file format will work with the software.

Here are some of the popular vendors of time capture devices:

  • Qqest/Time Force
  • Acroprint
  • Nova Time
  • Kronos
  • T-3 Technology (hand held devise)
  • Agricultural Data Systems (hand held device)
  • Hand Track (hand held device)

Selecting the right time capture device to work with your payroll software will affect your business. Track the right information, select an appropriate time clock, set the whole system up correctly, and you will be on your way to seamless pay data entry for years to come.

Accounting and Payroll Software - Five Ways to Go Green

Everybody seems to be going green these days, and with good reason. As a business, it is important to do what we can to operate “greener”. There are things a business can do with their accounting and payroll systems that will make a large impact on the environment. As an added benefit to your company, while you are going green you will be streamlining your processes, saving processing time, and saving money too.

  1. Send invoices and statements via e-mail instead of via snail mail.

    These days nearly every business has an e-mail address. Set up customers with e-mail addresses to have their invoices and statements sent via e-mail. The environment will benefit in many ways, including the savings of gas to deliver the mail, the trees saved from the paper, and the gas emissions cut out. There are added benefits your company. You will save on the cost of stamps, invoice paper, envelopes, printer ink, and the cost of the time to print, mail and stuff the envelopes. What’s more, customers will have their invoices and statements instantly, promoting faster payment! If your business sends 300 invoices per month, that adds up to 3,600 sheets of invoice paper and 3,600 envelopes per year!

  2. Use direct deposit instead of printing paychecks.

    Imagine the amount of paper saved if you print checks every week for 100 employees. By paying employees with direct deposit, a company would save 5,200 envelopes and 5,200 checks per year. Save even more by skipping the printing of the pay stubs, and have your employees receive e-mail notifications about their pay, and the ability to log on and view pay data online.

  3. File tax forms electronically instead of printing and sending forms via mail.

    Do you order tax forms every year? Think of the time you spend ordering them, the cost, and the impact of all that paper. This year, file your tax forms electronically, and you can save the paper from the forms, the envelopes, and the stamps.

  4. Send and store reports electronically rather than printing.

    You likely run financial reports every month, whether it’s an income statement, balance sheet, or a long list of other reports you run for your business. You likely send the reports around to people who view them once, and then shred or throw them in the trash. Send the reports via e-mail, and you will save a significant amount of paper each month. Those who wish to keep the reports for later viewing can either store them in an e-mail storage file, or they can save the documents in a password protected file.

  5. Keep track of handwritten information in a computer spreadsheet.

    Sometimes it seems easier to just track things on paper instead of using a spreadsheet on your computer. Some of the things people still track on paper include serial and lot numbers, customer orders, customer pricing, and much more. Most people are shocked to learn how much time is saved by entering this information into a computer system instead of on paper! Most accounting software and/or payroll software can handle the storage of this information. By backing up the information on a regular basis, you can ensure this data does not get lost. Not only does this save on paper, it keeps information more accurate and easily accessible from one location.