Keeping back-office success top of mind helps avoid bookkeeping headaches

Moving away from manual tracking of time and attendance will help with payroll compliance.

When you started your business, you likely launched it with a great deal of passion for solving your customers' problems. Or perhaps you spend your days in a family business focused on new ways to deliver the same reliable services your parents once offered.

No matter why you got into it, the meticulous mindset you use to run your enterprise is the same mentality you need to implement best-practice back-office functions like payroll, human resources and accounting. Taking the time to get these things right will help you stay compliant with payroll and avoid charges of wage theft, a key focus for the Australian Tax Office. Here are some essential areas of focus to stay compliant and avoid costly fines.

Lean on technology
Making it easy to track time and attendance is the foundation of good payroll procedures. You'll want to make sure each employee's award is applied correctly come payroll time — which is far easier to do when your employees have correctly entered their time and attendance into an accessible system.

Achieving this feat can be all the more difficult during lockdowns or in emerging hybrid work arrangements, where employees are out of sight for long periods. There are many apps and online tools to help, though. The size of your team and the location of your colleagues are among the factors to consider when selecting the right one.

After you choose it, don't forget to set time aside to train all employees in how to use it, particularly the colleague who handles payroll.

Focus on payroll compliance
There are myriad nuances in play when it comes to handling payroll properly. Even at a small business, it's important not to make payroll a collateral duty; it must be done properly by a professional.

This is all the more true given an increased focus on wage theft, or the deliberate failure to correctly pay salaries and entitlements like superannuation. Should one of your employees suspect they aren't being paid properly and make a complaint, you'll be asked to go back through years of records — a cumbersome and time-intensive task.

It's best to get things right the first time around. So don't skimp on a dedicated person — whether they're in-house or an external payroll professional — to properly handle this essential back-office function.

Set a tax time
Failure to regularly dedicate time to keeping up with tax lodgements and responsibilities might leave your business with an unexpected tax bill.

Regardless of whether you hire a professional or decide to manage your tax obligations in-house, keeping up with projected tax bills will help your business projections be as accurate as possible. Keeping up with your tax liabilities will also help you keep up on payment schedules and avoid penalties.

If you're looking for help managing essential back-office functions, WMC Accounting would be pleased to assist you. We are here to enable you to have the best chances of business success while meeting all your payroll and tax obligations. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

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