W I Pay Tip of the Day – Direct Deposit

According to the State of Wisconsin, you can require your employees to be paid via direct deposit rather than a paper check.  We strongly recommend you move in this direction, if you haven’t already done so.   

One hundred percent direct deposit is the way to go:

  1. Data entry into your bookkeeping system becomes much more streamlined.
  2. You no longer have to wait for employees to cash their checks.
  3. Your employees no longer need to wait for their checks.
  4. No more checks that went through the laundry and have to be reissued.
  5. Your employees no longer need to go to the bank to cash their checks.
  6. Your bank account information is much more secure.

We had a client who terminated an employee.  This employee decided to give herself a little severance pay by creating a new check after she had cashed her original check.  The company’s bookkeeper contacted us and asked us why we gave that employee another check.  We were able to confirm that the check did not come from us and that it was fraudulent. 

Had the company paid that employee via direct deposit, she would never have had access to the company’s checking account or the owner’s signature and this would never have happened.

Contact us to get your company set up with direct deposit for all employees.

W I Pay Tip of the Day – PPP Program

We want to check in with you again during this unique time for all of us both professionally and personally.  We have somewhat absorbed the new COVID19 legislation designed to provide small businesses with lifelines to make it through this tough time and have assisted many of you, providing reports, copies of returns and other data so you could complete your application for the PPP Loan.  Many of you have successfully completed your applications and been approved. For those not yet approved and heard that the well has run dry – stay calm – more funding is expected. When you receive your funding, breathe a sigh of relief, crack a smile and get a good night’s sleep. While you are enjoying that feeling, please start from day one to think about the next steps. 

The PPP program has a highly desirable component to it, that being the potential for the loan to be fully forgiven.  This depends on how you utilize your funds over the eight weeks starting the day you are funded.  If you get funded tomorrow, April 21st, your measurement period will end on June 16, 2020. Your use of funds during this eight-week period will determine how much, if any, of your loan will be forgiven. 

Basically, you must spend at least 75% of the funds on payroll. The remaining 25% can be used on rent and utilities. What constitutes “utilities” is still open for clarification which hopefully will come out shortly.  We obviously expect electric, water, gas, etc. to qualify, but the question is on internet, cell phones, etc. 

Our tip of the day??  KEEP ACCURATE RECORDS! 

Some banks are requiring a separate bank account to deposit the PPP funds, others not, and the funds go into your existing operating account.  Either way, you must keep extreme detail of what you use the loan funds for.  If you were required to have a new bank account and plan to just use the bank statements from that account as your back up, don’t use funds in that account to pay for things that won’t qualify for forgiveness such as, marketing, association dues, etc.  If the funds are commingled in your Operating account, somehow designate which expenses are being paid from the loan proceeds.  The more detail you put into it now, the easier it will be for you come late June, early July when you are applying for Loan Forgiveness. 

All the best to everyone.  We at WI Pay are here to help as much as we can, including tracking your payroll spending for you. 😊

New W-4 Required as of Jan 1, 2020

With companies hiring and firing and rehiring and employees filing tax returns and needing to change their federal exemptions we have been inundated with requests to “change the employee’s W-4 exemptions to Married and 2.  Sorry folks – no can do.  

For any changes to the federal W-4 the employee must complete the new form.  Following are instructions and a sample of the form. 

The form is a bit scary at first glance, but have no fear – an employee’s guide to the 2020 W-4 can be found by clicking on the following link:


or by going to Wisconsin Pay’s website: 


Click on Employee Services

Click on Form W-4

You’ll see detailed instructions and the actual form.

You’re welcome!

Recycling Made Easy

Among the questions we receive about payroll, bookkeeping and taxes, we also have received multiple requests regarding recycling of used electronics. After some research, we have confirmed that most municipalities have drop off locations for recyclable items.

But did you know that Best Buy is the nation’s largest retail recycle of used electronics and appliances? They’ll recycle all kinds of used technology items regardless of where you bought it or how old it is or who made it.   They also run different promotions each month.

Go to their website and find out if your item has value and trade it in for a Best Buy gift card. Please note, this recycle program is designed for residents – not businesses.

Thank you Best Buy.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

How to Grow a Successful Business in 2018

I’ve heard that determination and elbow grease are all that you need to make it big in business today. While that may be somewhat true, bringing on new business and retaining existing customers also requires knowledge, critical thinking, technology, problem solving, patience, talent and empathy. Empathy? Yes, empathy.

In the payroll world for instance, we are required to have a robust knowledge of the payroll industry and the constant changes in legislation and laws. Staying current on all these regulations is crucial to the legitimacy of our business.   We must meet all deadlines, provide accurate paychecks, file correct returns and make timely tax payments. But every payroll service must do the same or they will not be in business for long. So what can set us apart? What can set your business apart?

Empathy. The definition of empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, i.e. the capacity to place oneself in another’s position. Today more than ever, successful businesses must develop strong relationships with their customers. They must have a connection with their customers. They need to find things they have in common. They must relate.

Last week, I returned home after being with my 11-month-old granddaughter for five days. I went to a local gift shop and was chatting with the sales lady – who was gift wrapping my purchases (a service she does for free) and we got to talking about our grandchildren. As I welled up with tears because I was missing my granddaughter, she welled up with tears because 3 of her grandchildren live 3 states away and she only see them 3 times a year. Upon my leaving, she said, “you come on back if you ever need someone to cry with you over missing your grandbaby.” I sure will.

Building and maintaining relationships is the key to running a successful business. We need to build trust, listen, give and receive feedback and develop empathy. All business can “cut checks”. But business isn’t about that. It’s about people and how we can better serve them. Relationships. Trust. Integrity. Empathy.

Thinking About Outsourcing Your Payroll?

The trend to outsource payroll is definitely on the rise.

The return on investment, if done correctly, will include higher efficiency, re-engineered processes, lower costs, and less time spent managing the process. This should leave you with a leaner organization that will allow you to focus on growing your business.

There are several areas to consider when making this transition.

Price.   A cheaper price may cover basic services but then may charge for each deduction, call, email, click or quarterly returns.  As with everything else, you get what you pay for and if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Understanding services needed.  Be sure to properly define the services that you will be receiving to make sure that you get what you pay for and are not paying for something that you do not require.  Are you looking for timekeeping, HR services, tracking vacation etc.

Experience. Hiring a local CPA firm may gain you well-trained accountants but this will only benefit you if they have expertise in managing payroll processing. Many CPA firms focus on the bigger picture in accounting vs all the parts that make up the end result.

Do your homework.  Be sure to evaluate the current cost of processing your payroll. This includes salaries, benefits, payroll taxes for staff along with the overhead cost for running the department. How much time does your staff spend on answering questions from the employees?  Are you utilizing the latest technology?  Is the data secure and backed up properly?  Do you have multiple employees able to run the payroll in the event someone is out sick?  How much do you spend updating your payroll software each year?

Security and Confidentiality.  A big plus for outsourcing payroll is keeping things confidential such as rates of pay, bonuses and other benefits.  There is nothing more detrimental to staff morale than having rates of pay disclosed to employees receiving less pay.

Ask for References.  Any firm that is in the business of processing payroll should be able to provide multiple references for you to contact and find out if the provider is a good match for you and your company.

Are we building our business?

In October we spent two hours having staff pictures taken so we could update our website, the photographer’s computer was out for repairs so it took until mid-December to get the photos.  (They look great – so it was worth the wait.)

Wisconsin Pay Group

On Tuesday, I spent 4 hours updating the employee bios for the “About Us” page of the website, picking out new pictures and updating our available services.  Our web guy made all the changes and life was good again – back to working on building our business – or so I thought.

I got to the office this morning and our internet speed was brutally slow – and I mean brutal.  We pay for 20 mb and were getting less than 1.  So a call to our telephone provider ensued (who by the way is the only option we have – lucky for them).

After being on the phone for 45 minutes, I was informed that I was going to lose what little internet we had for a while – great – I was on an internet phone – and of course, the tech could not call me back because his phone only rings in.  So I called back and 20 minutes later, reached the new tech.  His first question to me was what number could I be reached at so he could call me back if we got disconnected. What?  Call me back??  Okay – whatever.

An hour later, he discovered that our “new” modem was actually a refurbished modem (which I paid full price for) and still had the old user’s name and password so was not communicating with CenturyLink for upgrades.  Another morning gone and no business building…

A CPA once told me that the people who bring their books in squeaky clean and timely are usually not as successful in their businesses as those who are a little behind and a little stressed when it comes to their books.  The reason?  Those who are under the gun have usually spent more time building their business than recording it.

One goal for us in 2018 will be to spend more time building our business than administering and recording it.  First thing on the list – make a “To Do List” to stay focused.  Let’s get building!

Social Security Wage Base Change for 2018 & Angel Food Candy

I received word today that the Social Security wage base (the amount of taxable wages earned per individual that is subject to social security tax each year) has been lowered – a whopping $300! What?!?!?

Why would they make a change of $300 from $128,700 to $128,400? Is this for real? I have conversations with my children like “pick your battles” “is this worth arguing over” “will this matter in 5 years” “does what you’re doing make sense” etc.   I am thinking I ought to have the same conversation with the “Powers That Be.”

In the big scheme of things, I am sure this is not a big deal, except that every payroll software must be updated and every payroll specialist must memorize a new amount.   Each company that pays its employees over $128,400 will save up to $18.60 per employee and those employees likewise will save up to $18.60 per year.

I also discovered today that my little, local chocolate shop is out of sponge candy (angel food candy). Again, what?!?!? I NEED this for St. Nicholas Day next week.

Let’s see, IF I DID make $128,700 – I could actually purchase an additional 5 pounds of angel food candy next year, provided the store doesn’t run out.  Sometimes one just has to shake their head and wonder…

Hours away from Deer Season 2017!

Hours away from Deer Season 2017!

I am from a small town in Northeast Wisconsin. Growing up, my cousins to the south (Milwaukee) were amazed by the fact that we got the whole week off for Deer Season! It made them crazy!   (I thought it was completely normal and that everyone had Deer Season off until I was in high school.)

I am not, nor have I ever been, a hunter – but I can appreciate the comradery, the thrill of the hunt, the excitement, the traditions (No Shave November, etc.).     Traditions are good. They are the strings that keep families and friends connected.

At WI Pay, we have traditions too. In November, we start readying for year end, gathering new unemployment tax rates and deductions for our clients’ employees. We are making a list and checking it twice to make sure all our bases are covered, I’s are dotted, and T’s are crossed. It can be a crazy time for us, but in keeping with our tradition of preparing ahead, it becomes a great opportunity to feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

It’s always good to begin new traditions too. This year as you take to the woods, perhaps you would consider taking part in the Wisconsin Deer Donation 2017. Here is the link to a document with all the information you need for donating deer in Wisconsin and helping those in need:


Happy hunting, have fun, be safe, enjoy your traditions and create some new ones!

Thank you for serving!

            Thank you for serving!

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I and became a national holiday in 1938. In 1954 President Eisenhower officially changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. In 1968 Congress moved the celebration to the fourth Monday in October; but in 1975 President Ford returned Veterans Day back to November 11, due to the important historical significance of the date.

Unlike Memorial Day, which honors those who lost their lives as a result of serving, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans – living or dead – who served their country during war or peacetime.

Jesus, you said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Today we pray for those men and women who have, in their military service, sacrificed their time, strength, ambition, health and even their lives on this earth to benefit “friends” known and unknown.   We honor our Veterans in your name and we thank them for their sacrifices. We ask that you bless them, provide peace to them and their families and remain with them all the days of their lives. Amen.