Payroll Processing: How to Make It Easier and More Efficient

Group of employees working together

Your employees work hard to earn their paychecks — so you want to make sure that payroll is processed on time and with zero mistakes. But that’s often easier said than done. Payroll processing is a complex and often tedious process that requires careful calculations and meticulous review to ensure that each employee's hours, deductions, and pay rates are correct.

Payroll software can automate processes and save time, but not all payroll software options are created equal. Many payroll service providers are designed for large for-profit companies that mostly employ salaried workers. Behavioral health employees often have shift differentials, different labor allocations, and frequent overtime, making payroll processing a bit more involved. Learn how to find the best payroll solution for your organization to ensure that those paychecks are processed accurately and on time.

Payroll Processing: A Brief Overview

Payroll processing: entrepreneur using a calculator and a computer

Running payroll is a complex process, largely due to the number of laws and tax filing requirements that employers must follow to manage withholdings and pay employees correctly. Employers must accurately calculate federal, state, and local tax deductions based on all relevant income tax laws, including Social Security and Medicare taxes in addition to standard income taxes. Overtime wages must also be calculated in accordance with applicable laws.

Running payroll can also be a time-consuming operation. Employers need to collect timesheets and verify employee hours (a task that can be streamlined with integrated time and attendance software), pay rates, differentials, benefits deductions, and taxes. 

Many behavioral health employees earn higher pay rates when working less desirable shifts — for example, the graveyard shift. As such, companies must take extra care when reviewing the hours worked and the pay rate for each shift. All of these steps must be completed in a timely manner to ensure that payment is made on the scheduled payday. Employers typically need to finish payroll several days before the pay date to allow enough time for direct deposits to be scheduled (or for paper checks to be printed).

Organizations with mostly salaried employees may not have as much work to do each pay period as the deductions and payments are fairly consistent each period. However, behavioral health workers often work on an hourly basis with different labor allocations, overtime, and shift differentials. These additional complexities also increase the likelihood that errors will be made, so HR and payroll teams need to spend extra time reviewing their work before actually running payroll.

Streamlining Payroll With a Unified HCM Platform

Payroll processing: group of entrepreneurs discussing some documents

Using unified human capital management (HCM) and payroll processing software can significantly decrease the time spent on payroll by automating tedious tasks. HCM software can also improve the accuracy of employee pay statements and bank account deposits. Here are some ways that a unified HCM platform can streamline payroll processing.

Unified Processes

One of the biggest benefits of running payroll with a unified human capital management platform, such as ContinuumCloud, is that all of your HR processes can be managed in one place. Time and attendance data flows directly into payroll without any duplicate data entry or extra steps, thus ensuring that hours are accurately entered into payroll. 

A unified HCM system can also seamlessly pull in employee benefits data to accurately calculate deductions. This makes the process quicker and easier for business owners or human resources staff running payroll.

A single platform also makes the employee experience better. New hires simply need to enter their information into one system during onboarding rather than several different HR platforms. Employees can submit time cards, manage their direct deposit settings, view pay stubs, review health insurance selections and premiums, and more all in one platform. 

Automated Taxes and Deductions

Payroll taxes are a significant administrative burden for many businesses — especially small companies and those with limited funding for administrative resources (such as behavioral health organizations). 

According to a recent survey conducted by the NFIB Research Center, 60% of businesses reported that administration of payroll taxes was moderately to very burdensome to them. Federal taxes such as federal business income taxes and federal unemployment taxes also create a heavy administrative burden for employers, according to the survey.

ContinuumCloud’s HCM software can help lighten the burden of payroll and federal taxes. It automatically calculates and deducts liens, employee wage garnishments, and taxes without any intervention. The platform can even manage payroll for organizations with employees spread out across multiple states. HCM software can also support employers in completing IRS tax forms and required tax payments. 

Improved Compliance

Using an HCM system for automated payroll processing and tax filing calculations can help employers stay on top of the ever-changing tax laws and requirements. Organizations with smaller HR departments often struggle to keep up with legal changes regarding pay rates, overtime, payroll taxes, benefits, worker classifications, and other complicated employment laws. 

ContinuumCloud’s HCM system automatically updates its payroll processing protocols to stay on top of legal changes and keep organizations compliant. This is particularly helpful for behavioral health and human services agencies that operate in multiple states or cities as employment laws can vary significantly across different regions.

Labor Allocation Management

When employees work on different projects or provide support across several departments, it can be hard to properly calculate their time and compensation. A consolidated payroll system can help automate the process of calculating special pay rates and distributing labor costs. With ContinuumCloud, employees can easily allot their time to various cost centers, programs, and more. The platform can also automatically allocate time on a percentage basis for employees who regularly work in multiple areas.

Accuracy Checks

When you run payroll, ContinuumCloud’s HCM solution provides a detailed payroll analysis report to help ensure accuracy before processing. The unique preview mode allows for real-time analysis of the current payroll period compared to the previous three historical periods. If anything looks unusual, you can quickly drill down into that line item to review and fix it if necessary.

Meaningful Reporting

Basic payroll providers offer simple payroll reports, but a unified HCM can provide more actionable and meaningful insights. When payroll is combined with the full suite of HCM tools, organizations can access more robust reporting. With all of the important employee information stored in one unified system, reports can be built to analyze labor costs, employee benefits utilization, hiring needs, and more. 

Simplify Payroll With ContinuumCloud 

Now that you understand how a unified HCM platform can help improve the accuracy and efficiency of the payroll process, it’s time to take your payroll operations to the next level. ContinuumCloud’s cloud-based solution can help your company easily calculate taxes, benefits deductions, and shift differentials in one seamless system.

ContinuumCloud’s HCM system was built for behavioral health and human services organizations. As such, it’s not only well-equipped to support the payroll process, but also to meet the specific HR needs in your industry. Contact us to learn how ContinuumCloud can help your company today.

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