Not many of us wants to spend our precious holiday time pursuing business-related activities.

Yet, if you have a spare day or two, a prudent business owner will take the opportunity to get ready for an even more efficient and profitable year ahead. Optimising your payroll, for example, is an excellent use of your time.

Optimising your payroll process is a key component of a well-oiled business machine. Any way you can remove unnecessary processes from your life, while improving accuracy and compliance, is a clear winner for any small business owner.

So, without bending over backwards and forgoing your well-earned Christmas beverage, what are some low hanging payroll fruit you can pluck?

1) Ditch the paper!

The age of paperwork is over. Accept it. No excuses. The trees will thank you and so will your business.

It’s no secret that manual payroll work amounts to a lot of dead time and potential for mistakes. If you enjoy outdated, laborious and error prone processes, by all means keep using paper.

What every modern business needs is a cloud-based payroll app. It will not only automate much of the payroll process, but also represents a secure, digital, and green procedure that supersedes the paper-based and manual payroll process.

Going digital with payroll software also makes your payroll easier to visualise and report upon, cutting down on compliance issues.

Not only is payroll software more efficient and user friendly, your staff will thank you too. Paper pay stubs and summaries are a hassle and betray an outdated mentality within your organisation.

2) Consolidate your systems already

Now you understand that paper is dead, have you also considered the other processes in your business and consolidated them under one digital roof?

If your accounting software or financial management software is being operated under a different system to your payroll – you’re wasting time, money and are likely blind to a lot of relevant data.

Worse yet – are you still a ‘shoebox’ operator with a folder of physical receipts and paper-based accounting methods? Please. Stop it.

Having a consolidated, single source of financial truth for your business is a must in this day and age. Being able to see your payroll in the same window as your invoices, cashflow, BAS and bank feeds means you have an excellent snapshot of your entire business in one place.

Consolidation makes business health checks a breeze, compliance and reporting a cinch and allows you to see patterns in your businesses finances you would otherwise be blind to.

3) Invest time in training and scheduling

Training and scheduling are two primary components of a smooth payroll process. Neglect them at your peril.

Training

First off the rank is training. If you have a HR professional, administrative employee or business manager behind the helm of your payroll or financial operations, invest in training them properly.

Whatever process or solution you’ve landed upon, get your team behind it and ensure they fully understand it with adequate training. If you handle payroll yourself, the same thinking applies.

You can do it yourself, outsource it or look to the solution provider themselves. Often the people who sold you the software will have webinars, manuals, videos and how to guides coming out of their ears. Use them.

Mistakes in payroll processing, or slow-moving employees will cost you time, money and employee satisfaction.

Scheduling

Maybe you have a mixture of full time and casual employees or contractors. Perhaps you have a variety of payment schedules to match this disparity? Think again.

By designating pay runs at a stable time, for all employees under various awards, you radically simplify your operations and reap the benefits of a steady and dependable payroll schedule.

With consistent payroll scheduling, your administrative burden will fall and your efficiency will rise. If you combine this with solid training, you’ll find that you have a pretty slick payroll operation on your hands.

Now go and eat some prawns and drink something cold. You deserve it.