It is no secret that Santa watches us when we’re eating and sleeping, but did you know he knows your year-end habits too? When you’re frantically trying to do ‘last minute’ year-end tasks, the big man is watching (and probably shaking his head).
This has somewhat become a trend for businesses everywhere. Putting off year-end tasks until the last minute only to let it consume most of your time from October to February. So how can we right this wrong? We can start by taking the appropriate steps in the beginning of 2015 in order for prepare for the end of 2015.
Set Up a Schedule
The best thing you can do during the beginning of the calendar year is plan out your process.
This should include:
- A list of what went well and what didn’t go well last year-end
- A list of earnings and deductions for your organization
- Plan your audits through the end of the year
- Identify key parties involved in year-end
Setting these parts in place will aid you in further prepping for a smooth year-end.
Enter Adjustments Quarterly
Take the time to enter adjustments into payroll prior to running the last payroll of the quarter.
Adjustments should include:
- 3rd party sick pay
- Fringe benefits
- Void checks
- Other adjustments
Part of entering adjustments means communicating with those key parties involved in year-end processes to make sure you have all the information you need. Once you complete your adjustments and run your last payroll of the quarter you can complete your audits and compare your quarterly 941 report to payroll reports.
Begin Communicating With Your Provider
The beginning of the 4th quarter is a great time to reach out to your payroll provider to get some clarification on what is expected of you for year-end.
Some things to clarify are:
- Do they offer a checklist for guidance?
- Who is printing W-2s?
- Can employees receive electronic W-2s?
Once you know what to expect from your payroll provider you can begin reviewing other things. For example, 4th quarter is a great time to review the paid time off policy and add in paid holidays for the new year. Other things that can be done are employee information audits and entering in adjustments to payroll.
Tying Up Loose Ends
Before you run your first payroll of the new year there are a few things you should do.
- Provide your payroll provider with the new state unemployment tax rate.
- Double check that IRS changes have been implemented in payroll.
- Re-evaluate your earnings and deductions.
Once you complete those tasks you will be able to run your first payroll of the new calendar year.
Time For W-2s
Before you release W-2s to your employees you will want to do one last audit to make sure all the information is correct. First you should compare your 4th quarter 941 reports. Then you will want to add all your 941s together and compare the total to the W-2s. Once you are sure everything matches you can release W-2s to your employees.
Need additional assistance during year-end? Download our year-end checklist below to guide you toward a smooth year-end.