A guide for small business owners
by Shawn Grundy
Payroll checks can often be a nightmare for the ill informed small business owners of today. With so many choices and options available, it seems a whole lot easier to just write a personal check than have to deal with learning how to create payroll checks, what types of payroll checks to get, how to print payroll checks, and so on and so forth. It sure seems like a daunting task and, in many cases; business owners would rather have a root canal than go through this torture.
Does it have to be this difficult? Of course it doesn't. Like many things, the THOUGHT of learning something new is far more difficult that the ACT of learning it. The truth is that once you get things with Payroll checks it will make your life a lot easier.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Check your current Payroll Software. Most payroll and accounting software suites have some sort of payroll check interface so that you can print payroll checks directly from your software. This saves a lot of time and prevents errors if your write or create payroll checks manually. Check your software to see which checks and check sizes are compatible.
- Advertise your business with every check you print. There are many companies that will allow you to submit a logo and/or a tagline from your company to be printed right on the check itself. This is an inexpensive way to get your name out there a little more.
- Check with 3rd parties. There are lot of 3rd party companies that can provide you standard or customized payroll checks at a fraction of what your bank may charge. This will vary depending on the bank so make sure to do your research before making a decision.
- Stay away from post-dated payroll checks. Post dating payroll checks is not only bad practice, but it might be illegal depending on your state & local laws. Stay away from this practice. It doesn't help anyone in the long run.
- Pick a time and stick with it. Even though the software available today will let you be flexible as to when you print your checks, you should pick a time and stick as close as possible to that time every pay period to print your payroll checks. This will avoid having to rush at the last minute which could avoid making costly mistakes.
- Keep your payroll check stock secure. Some small business, especially retail outfits, share the business office with the employees. This could be a dangerous setting if the computer in this office is the same computer used for payroll. Treat blank payroll checks with same care that you would your personal checkbook. If there is only one office at the store, consider moving the payroll operations to your home. There is no price that can be put on peace of mind.
- Get personal. One of the nice things about payroll checks is that you can personalize them to fit your business. Maybe there is some inspiring message that you share with your employees or a mascot that you all love and laugh about. This is another way of showing your employees that you care and the boost in morale certainly offsets the few pennies extra that it costs to personalize the checks.
Once you get these pre-cursor items out the way it should be smooth sailing. Don't let payroll checks be a burden, let them be a positive tool.