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David Geller

David Geller: Farm out Your Payroll

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David Geller: Farm out Your Payroll

Eliminate the hassle, drudgery and, most of all, mistakes.

BY DAVID GELLER

Published in the April 2012 issue

After helping many a jeweler with their QuickBooks over the years I am still so surprised to see so many people still having so much interaction with payroll. Of all the things to do in a store, this is one of the most boring and least productive.

I see many small-store owners using the old-fashioned IRS booklet and figuring up the taxes by hand. That is time-consuming enough but then they need to figure up time sheets, send them to an accountant, and then print out and distribute the checks. In contrast, QuickBooks (or other accounting program) requires just one entry: PAYROLL EXPENSE.

The other ways jewelers perform payroll include:

  1. Using the QuickBooks payroll module that can be downloaded directly into QuickBooks.
  2. Using a payroll company like ADP (adp.com), Paychex (paychex.com), Insperity (previously AdminSstaff, insperity.com)
  3. Your bank

Doing payroll yourself can lead to inaccurate figures and filling out 941s. You never want to be behind on submitting payroll taxes; they’ll hang you at noon. Even though the accountant doing it should be accurate there’s usually a monthly fee involved.

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QuickBooks’ payroll program is easy to use, but from my experience the user can make mistakes and the numbers can get jumbled and you might still need an accountant to check over your work at year-end.

For this reason I say don’t do payroll anymore, farm it out. Just make sure, whether it’s a bank or payroll service, that you can download the accounts directly into QuickBooks (assuming you are using QuickBooks). If not, you’re back to doing payroll and hand entering data into QuickBooks.

If you use your bank or payroll service (like the three above) then you usually you go online, enter the employees’ hours, commissions and bonuses, and the service does the rest. The best way to handle this is to have the service or bank take all of the money out of your checking account IMMEDIATELY. Then you have nothing else to worry about.

They will pay all your taxes for you, submit your 941s, and give you your W-2s. Employee paychecks can be printed and handed out but easier yet is using direct deposit. You just print and hand out pay stubs or even better, e-mail them to the employees.

Many of the services and banks can also handle retirement accounts.

Above, I listed Insperity. They are an “employee leasing” company. The employees work for them and they lease them back to you. I used them when they were AdminStaff and it was easy. But the best part was because all of us were members of a 25,000-employee company, our health insurance rates dropped, and that more than paid for their fees.

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These payroll services will also help you with employee manuals, compliance issues and sometimes even background checks.

So please, stop doing payroll.

David Geller is a consultant to jewelry-store owners on store management and profitability. E-mail him at [email protected].


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