Anybody that has dealt with certified payroll is certain of one thing – it’s not easy! The work involved in processing certified payroll each week is time consuming. Trying to get everything done accurately and on time, is tedious and frustrating. By the time you’re done with the reporting for one week, a new one has started.

While there is nothing you can do to simplify the requirements of certified payroll, you can make it easier. Here are a few of the things you can do to reduce burden and frustration associated with certified payroll.

Switch to digital time and attendance

Tracking time is the start of the certified payroll process, and it is also where many mistakes begin. General time tracking mistakes include not accurately tracking start and stop times or buddy punches. Certified payroll, however, opens you up to additional mistakes, like when workers do not track their changing roles in the field. Finding these mistakes can be difficult and correcting them is time consuming. By digitizing your time and attendance system, preferably to one that will integrate with your payroll process, you greatly simplify your ability to track time without bogging your team down in admin work. You’ll also decrease errors and make it easier to fix mistakes that do occur.

Create a certified payroll checklist

Processing payroll requires you to follow a set of processes to gather, verify and process information each pay cycle. For construction companies that do prevailing wage work, this process has additional steps. You have to make sure workers tracked their changing roles, ensure that the correct wage determination is used and manage fringe benefits. This can quickly dominate your time and leaves lots of room for mistakes. You can help your team stay on track by creating a certified payroll checklist. Your team should use this checklist to track every part of your workflow to ensure that nothing is missed.  This is a good idea even if you use certified payroll software.  

Make preventing mistakes a priority

Nobody likes making mistakes, but they happen. This is especially true when you’re dealing with certified payroll because of all the moving parts involved in gathering, verifying data and reporting. Some of these mistakes are hard to limit from the back office, but you can focus your efforts on eliminating certified payroll mistakes you can control. For instance, you should double check that you are using the correct work classifications and wage determinations before payroll is processed. Double check all fringe rates and have a solid system in place for making wage restitution and correcting reports so that you can quickly recover from errors.

Consider your use of technology

To truly make certified payroll easy, you will need to reconsider the technology you’re using for every step of the payroll process. The fewer systems you use, the more simple your workflow will be. This will reduce the potential for errors and make it easier to find and resolve issues that do arise. It can also give you team back hours each week, allowing you to be more efficient and productive. 

Optimally, you’ll want a digital time and attendance system that feeds seamlessly into your payroll and reporting system. If you do a lot of government contracting, you should consider switching to payroll software that is designed to handle certified payroll.  The right certified payroll software will streamline every step of the payroll process, help assign prevailing wage and fringe rates, and make reporting quick and easy.

The material presented here is educational in nature and is not intended to be, nor should be relied upon, as legal or financial advice. Please consult with an attorney or financial professional for advice.