Construction offices know how invaluable good payroll reports are — whether that’s for keeping track of accruals through the year, reprinting an earnings history or filing W-2s — but what about pre-payroll reporting? Pre-check reports that let you view the effect of a payroll run on your accounting before you finish processing it are often overlooked. Meanwhile, contractors stand to gain a lot from pre-check reporting — and save even more.
Here are just five of our top reasons why checking pre-check payroll reports is a critical step in processing your construction payroll.
1. The Eyeball Test Matters
Payroll software is like a giant calculator — it’ll crunch the numbers it’s given — so how do you check it was given the right numbers? Eyeball it! In other words, look carefully to see if the calculations on your payroll reports look right to you. If Pat’s FICA withholdings seem high for someone who’s been on vacation, or if Rob’s OT looks suspiciously low when you recall his schedule, or if your electrician’s getting paid for a roofing job, there might be an entry error for you to investigate.
Only your company knows what hours, states and jobs your employees worked. That’s why it’s crucial that you give your pre-check reports a good once over — or twice over.
2. Leaving Out or Overpaying an Employee Can Cost You
If you find out after payroll is posted or sent off that an employee was overpaid or shouldn’t have been paid at all, that can result in stop-payment or other fees from your bank. That’s if your bank can stop payment. These fees will vary by financial institution, but with preparation, they’re a cost you don’t need to pay.
Leaving an employee out of payroll because a timecard was never entered can also come at a cost if you need to request expedited payment from your bank. Making sure everyone’s submitted on one payroll has an added benefit: everything gets posted to your G/L at once as one transaction date. And you’ll appreciate those clean transactions on your books later.
3. Not All Runs Play by the Same Rules
When issuing bonus checks and other special check runs, you can expect different tax liabilities and miscellaneous deduction behaviors, and you’ll also need to look out for different methods of payment — direct deposits for employees who normally receive checks or vice versa.
Any time you add a new employee or update deduction or union tables, this is another especially crucial time to watch your pre-check registers. You want to be sure that you’re letting the results from your “calculator” verify that the information put into the system is entered and set up correctly and that you’re ahead of any surprises.
As a rule, any time you’re processing payroll out of the ordinary, it pays to be on alert.
4. It Takes a Little Time to Save a Lot of Time
Taking a handful of minutes to review each of your relevant pre-check payroll reports is one of the easiest ways you can save hours or more later. Remember: your payroll software might know payroll — but you know your company’s payroll. By catching an entry error or finding a timecard missing before you process payroll, you can avoid the inconvenience of submitting adjustments and corrections — or paying the cost of bank fees.
5. It’s Easy to Get Started!
Build pre-check proofing into your own processing routine.
1. First, identify the reports you find most helpful or easiest to follow; put those at the top of your weekly or biweekly checklist.
2. Place the ones that feel like the biggest pain toward the bottom. Make sure each angle of your payroll is accounted for.
3. Finally, consider placing a big overview pre-check register at the end of your process so you get one final look at the big picture.
Now that you have a checklist, commit to following it. Store it with your process documents or print it out and tack it to your bulletin board. Making that commitment to run through the complete process each time — and having the reminder in front of you — can go a long way to help make sure your payroll is always submitted correctly the first time.
To get more than a dozen pre-check and proofing reports at your disposal, check out Payroll4Construction.com with an instant payroll quote!