What are the advantages of using time and attendance technology?

The basic advantage of an automated time-and-attendance system—whether based on time clocks, computer logins, badge readers, or other kinds of equipment—is that it pumps attendance and hours data directly from the collection points into your company’s payroll system.

These automated systems can eliminate the errors that often occur during the process of translating hours data from time sheets or time cards to your company’s payroll system.

Another benefit to automated systems is the convenient access to data they afford supervisors, so they can review and adjust it before each payroll is processed. Supervisors, employees, and the payroll department will each see a benefit in using automated systems:

• Payroll doesn’t have to cut as many corrected paychecks or carry adjustments over to the next payroll period.

• Supervisors have a better chance of getting to the root of any data problem.

• Employees have more confidence their paychecks accurately reflect all the time they worked.

Many employers have found that time and attendance technology can curb what’s known as time abuse. For hourly employees, this includes clocking in before work is available, clocking in for absent or late co-workers, or logging unauthorized overtime hours.

Note: If employees work unauthorized overtime, they must be paid for the time worked. However, employees can be disciplined for not obtaining prior authorization to work the overtime.

For salaried employees who are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime requirements, time abuse includes arriving late, leaving early, or taking long lunches. Your company can’t dock salaried, FLSA-exempt employees for such partial-day absences. However, it can boost employee productivity with new technology that tracks their time based, for example, on how and when they use their computers.

Besides increasing overtime compliance and reducing employee time abuse, these systems also can help your company budget and manage employees more effectively. For example, these systems can generate overtime data that show whether overtime costs are manageable, or whether the company would be better off adding more staff instead. Data also can be used to see how much time various departments or employees devote to projects or clients, which in turn can help with budgets and billing.

Timekeeping

Why use electronic timekeeping??

A fellow payroll service center sent out a notice to others in the industry that they had just completed a United States Department of Labor meeting with one of their clients.

One of the things that came out of their meeting is that the DOL can do a “surprise drop in” and demand on the spot timecards for all employees.  In today’s world, this poses little problem, as long as you are being proactive and tracking your employee’s time accurately and each day.

Ask us about Swipeclock and check one more worry off your list!  It is fully integrated with our payroll software, is user friendly with both desktop and mobile apps for both you and your employees. 

920-499-8463 x3 Wisconsin Pay Specialists

International Fraud Awareness Week

Nov 13-19, 2022 is International Fraud Awareness Week.

What is Fraud Week? International Fraud Awareness Week, or Fraud Week, was established by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) in 2020 as a dedicated time to raise awareness about fraud. The week-long campaign encourages everyone to proactively take steps to maximize the impact of fraud by promoting anti-fraud awareness and education.
International Fraud Awareness Week (fraudweek.com)

Hear Me Roar!

“The Struggle is Real, but so is the Reward”

Kat Meissner, Owner of Wisconsin Pay Specialists

Kat was the guest presenter at the Marinette Menomoniee Area Chamber of Commerce this week and shared her story of the struggles and rewards we experience.  An often emotional and telling story, the program ended with everyone singing and dancing to “Roar” by Katy Perry and a quote by Saint (Mother) Teresa:

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.

Life is beauty, admire it.

Life is a dream, realize it.

Life is a duty, complete it.

Life is a game, play it.

Life is a promise, fulfill it.

Life is sorrow, overcome it.

Life is a song, sing it.

Life is a struggle, accept it.

Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is luck, make it.

Life is precious, do not destroy it.

Life is life.  Fight for it.

WI Pay Tip of the Day – 50% Business Meals Deduction

Generally speaking, if you take a client out to dinner, 50% of the cost of the meal is deductible.  The IRS, as a means to stimulate the restaurant industry, removed the 50% limit on this deduction and replaced it with 100% deductibility for any meal expense incurred in 2021 and 2022.

To make sure that your deduction stands up to IRS scrutiny, it is recommended to document who, what, when, where and how much for each meal deduction.

  1. Who were you with?
  2. What did you discuss?
  3. When did you do this?
  4. Where did you go?
  5. How much (including gratuity) did you pay?

The key to having your deductions hold up in the event of an audit is proper documentation.  We upload all receipts to our QuickBooks file and in the memo line, we type in the who and the what.  Everything else is included in the QuickBooks entry and the receipt is attached for future reference.

Because of the temporary 100% business deduction, it is a good time to take advantage of this deduction which will end on December 31, 2022. 

WI Pay Tip of the Day – WI Unemployment Insurance Voluntary Contribution

The State of Wisconsin sometimes allows companies to “purchase” a lower unemployment insurance tax rate.  Wisconsin Pay has done the calculations on behalf of our clients and will be sending you an email if it pays for you to buy down your 2022 rate.  This service has been provided at no charge to you by your Payroll Department (a/k/a Kayla and Katie at Wisconsin Pay Specialists).

If your company will save money by making the voluntary contribution, you will receive an email from service@wisconsinpay.com that will include the amount required to be paid to lower your rate and the tax savings.  You can go online and make this payment yourself or contact us and we’ll make it for you for a fee of $35.

The Voluntary Contributions must be made no later than NOVEMBER 30 in order to lower your 2022 rate.  If, you want us to make the payment on your behalf, we need to hear from you no later than Friday, November 26. 

Here is an example of an employer whose Reserve Fund Percentage is 8.98% (which is close to the next level of 9%).  By making a contribution of $14.12 – this employer will save $193.51 on its 2022 Unemployment Insurance Tax.    They paid the $14.12.    The best one we found was a client who had to pay 90 cents and saved $860.00!  Happy Thanksgiving!!

WI Pay Tip of the Day – Help Wanted? Time to Outsource!

Thirty years ago, I was managing Christopher’s Restaurant in Coleman.  My sister owned the place and we made a pretty good team if I don’t say so myself.  One day at 12:30 pm approximately 50 classic cars rolled into the parking lot for lunch!  It was an exciting afternoon to say the least.    As we were waving goodbye to our car-loving visitors, we both “remembered” that today was the day our federal tax deposit was due and we had missed the deadline.  Ugh – that feeling of impending penalty over-shadowed the elation of the day.

That was it – we needed to outsource our payroll.  We spent multiple hours each week translating timecards and then adding them and then confirming they were punched into the correct department.  It was a nightmare and we rock – paper – scissored each pay period to see who had to do it.  

The best business decision we ever made was to outsource, which is the process of shifting tasks to a third party instead of managing them yourself.  Companies who outsource don’t have to invest in recruiting and training new employees, instead, they outsource the work to professionals who already know how to do the job. 

The benefits of outsourcing include:

  • Keep up with competition – a small company can appear much bigger with a professional 3rd party managing certain projects.
  • Finding new talent – if your employees are lacking certain skills necessary for your business to grow, a 3rd party can fill that gap
  • Better technology – an outsourcing company usually has the best of the best equipment and technology
  • Professional – 3rd party companies focus on certain aspects, payroll, HR, graphic design, etc
  • Focus on other areas of business – determine whether your payroll person can take those 15 hours and use them to help the company grow instead of doing non-strategic tasks
  • Risk reduction – if you choose the right company – they will use their experience to guide your decisions and keep you compliant with the IRS, etc.

For us running the payroll wasn’t the big problem, it was the time we spent away from our customers and the inability to find employees who knew how to run payroll and keep us compliant.   We liked the idea of outsourcing payroll so much, that when my sister sold Christopher’s we called our payroll company and told them we would be interested in purchasing their company when they were ready to retire – that was 2005 and we haven’t looked back! 

WI Pay Tip of the Day – IRS Backlog

The Internal Revenue Service warned Thursday of a programming issue that’s affecting business taxpayers who need transcripts for requesting COVID-19 employment tax relief.

The problem affects transcript requests for Form 941, the Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return. Tax professionals have been filing amended versions of the Form 941 to help their clients claim the employee retention credit. But the programming bug won’t be fixed until Sept. 26, according to the IRS, which could further delay tax refunds for the businesses that need them.

The problem is only the latest in a series of technology problems plaguing the IRS, which has struggled to update its antiquated systems to handle all the many changes in tax policy and tax relief that have arisen since the start of the pandemic.

“There is a Transcript Delivery System (TDS) programming issue impacting business taxpayers who reported information related to COVID-19 employment tax relief on Form 941,” said the IRS in an email last Thursday to tax professionals. “Account Transcripts requested for Form 941 for all quarters in Tax Year 2021 may not generate properly. Transcripts are not being delivered to the Secure Object Repository (SOR) Mailbox for e-Services users. When viewing the transcript online, a message will display on the transcript indicating TDS has encountered an unrecoverable error processing the request. With the Postal Mail delivery method, no transcript is mailed.”

That will likely mean further frustrations for beleaguered tax professionals and their clients since even postal delivery is affected by the bug, and the overworked customer service reps at the IRS won’t be able to help. Tax pros will also be facing confusing messages from the system.

“As the Record of Account Transcript is a combination of the Tax Return and Account Transcripts, the Record of Account Transcript is also impacted and can display a message of ‘No record of return filed,’” said the IRS in its email to tax professionals. “IRS Customer Service Representatives are also unable to obtain these transcripts.” The IRS expects the programming issue to be fixed on Sept. 26, 2021.   Hang on… this too shall pass.

WI Pay Tip of the Day – Calculating Payroll Taxes

Payroll taxes are mandatory contributions that both employees and employers make including federal, state and local income tax, Social Security tax, Medicare tax, and federal and state unemployment tax.  The percentage of payroll taxes paid by an employer is a minimum of 9.25% depending on state unemployment rates, so it is important to include the employer’s taxes when calculating the “real” cost of an employee (and don’t forget about your worker’s compensation).

The employer pays 6.2% for Social Security; 1.45% for Medicare, .6% – 6% for federal unemployment and an additional percent for state unemployment (dependent on employer).

The employee also pays 6.2% for Social Security and 1.45% for Medicare.  The employee does not pay toward unemployment but does have federal and state income taxes withheld.  This amount varies by employee based on the W-4.  While the state withholding procedures have remained unchanged (at least in WI), the new federal W-4 has been a source of stress for many employees.

Basically, the Feds look at each paycheck and assume that is how much you will make each pay all year and taxes accordingly.  Therefore a check that includes a bonus may have substantially more federal income tax taken out and a check with only a few hours on it may have no federal income taxes withheld.  To determine how best to complete your W-4 or to see if you are on target, the IRS has created a Tax Withholding Estimator  Tax Withholding Estimator (irs.gov).

Sound confusing – it is! 

Let us help clear things up for you and your employees (and keep you compliant)!

WI Pay Tip Of The Day – ERC

Did you know that as an employer you may be eligible for the ERC (Employee Retention Credits)?  These credits apply to qualified wages paid after March 12, 2020 and before December 31, 2021.  Eligible employers for the purpose of ERC either fully or partially suspended operations during any calendar quarter due to orders from the government due to COVID-19 or experienced a significant decline in gross receipts during the same period.

To date, we have done returns on behalf of several of our clients and they will collectively receive well over $100,000 in credits.    These credits are designed to encourage employers to keep their staff working even when sales are down.  However, the time frame to receive the credits is now estimated to be between 8 – 11 months from the time you file the return.   If you think you may qualify, please call Kayla at our office 920-499-8463 ext 1 and she will assist you in moving forward.  (Note – you do not need to be a current client in order for us to file for ERC on your behalf.)

For more information, go to

 FAQs: Employee Retention Credit under the CARES Act | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)