running payroll

Money Flowing 

The lifeblood of any business is the money flowing through to the people keeping the business going. That is, our employees. Especially in the world of social work and caregiving where people are both the reason for the business and the mechanism for the business alike.

I am the Compensation Supervisor at Compass and whenever I get introduced to new employees, when they find out my role, i.e. the one who gets them paid, they like to joke that they will work extra hard to keep me happy. I’ve had a lot of free coffee offers, none of which have ever transpired, but that’s probably for the best.

One Stop Shop

As the Compensation Supervisor, it’s my job to make sure that my people get paid on time and accurately and my number one tool to get that done is QuickSolvePlus (QSP). I have been using QSP since I started doing payroll back in 2013 and I’ve been thankful the entire time for its ability to be our one-stop-shop for client and staff data management, scheduling, and payroll information. If I had to pick the top 3 things that you should always do when running payroll, whether you’ve been using QSP for ten years or ten days, I’d pick these:

3 Things You Should Always Do When Running Payroll

  1. Verify that the dates you enter to run your Payroll Processing Report (PPR) are matching the pay period you are intending to pay out. I always have a payroll schedule in front of my face as those dates dictate the majority of when and how I structure my work. There have been times when I went to run my PPR for the pay period I’d be paying out and I either entered in the wrong year (especially around the first of the year when you’re used to typing the previous year) or I used the wrong pay period start date because that was the last date on my mind. Luckily, I’ve always been able to catch the error before it became an actual pay error but save yourself the hassle by double-checking. Like the old woodworking saying goes, “Measure twice, cut once.” My new payroll processing saying goes, “Check the dates twice, run the PPR once.”
  2. Create a set of controls to spot anomalies. Depending on the size of your company, after you’ve downloaded the PPR, you might be looking at 40 lines of payroll data or 4000. When I run payroll, it’s the latter. For me to be able to spot errors within that many lines of information, I’d have to have a supercomputer in my brain. Because I don’t, I’ve created a system of controls that I will run through on each payroll to spot numbers and names that are problematic. For example, I’m aware that at the time of this writing, our state’s minimum wage is $15.50/hr. I will use a filter within Excel to search for any rates of pay that are below that amount. I also know how much our highest-paid employee makes and I can use the filter to check for any rates that are showing higher than that amount. There are myriad controls you can have to spot potential errors that may have been created by any one of the various inputs that go into the data showing up on your PPR. A schedule may have been entered incorrectly by a supervisor, a staff’s rate of pay may have been entered incorrectly by someone in HR or a client’s POS may have been entered incorrectly by your billing coordinator. Regardless, use your power as the last set of eyes on your data to look for outliers, anomalies, and errors. You will be saving yourself and your company time and money by doing so.
  3. Create a payroll checklist that you work down every time you process payroll. Similar to a set of controls, you’ll want to write out at some point, each step required to successfully process your payroll. For some people and companies, this may be all of three steps. Download the PPR from QSP, upload it into your payroll process software/platform, and click Submit.  For others, including ours, there are a number of extra steps that are crucial to making sure everyone gets paid properly. If you have a bonus plan, mileage reimbursement, or some sort of payroll correction that is only done once a month or quarter or when mercury is in retrograde, you’ll want to make sure that your checklist includes an if/then statement. For example, “If this is the last payday of the month, then run the Mileage Tracking Detail report so you can add it to payroll”, or “If a supervisor or staff has submitted a payroll correction for a previous pay period, then add it to this payroll.”

Even after 10 years of running payroll, the little nuances of our particular payroll can get missed if I don’t continually refer back to my payroll checklist to make sure every report that needed running and every item that needed adding was completed.