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Paperless Payroll

by Christian C. Hoyt, CPP

pa·per·less - adj.  Not requiring paper because of the use of computers and other electronic media to record, convey, and store information: a paperless office. pa'per·less·ly adv.

It is 2009 and paperless reporting is a reality. Over 35% of the clients we service currently do not receive paper reports any longer and that percentage is climbing daily. The logic for paperless reporting is overwhelming. Payroll departments utilizing a paperless option for reporting save time, increase confidentiality, improve their archives, share data effortlessly, and most importantly, help the environment. The page has turned on paper (pardon the pun).

It saves time
The days of waiting for the payroll delivery are gone. Now you transmit your payroll and within an hour you can have all of your reports viewable on your computer. You can send and book your payroll in the same day. If you happen to discover an error, paperless reporting gives you the option of fixing the payroll BEFORE the end of that day. This is a huge benefit if you have a lot of employees on direct deposit.

Increased confidentiality
Imagine not having to sign for your payroll package ? sign? Forget that, you would not even have to be at work to receive the payroll package. The payroll reports are sent directly to you via secure email or you can download them off of a secure website. No more paper floating around your office on payroll day. Locking your payroll reports in your drawer or a safe is eliminated. At the end of the year, you can receive all of your previous year documents (including quarterlies and W2?s) on a single CD.

Better Archives
Instead of thumbing through volumes of pages, now you can search for what you need on your computer. Do you need to review an employee's pay from last year? Just a few clicks and you have your answer. Even if you still need to hold a piece of paper, you can print a page out and then know that you're OK to shred that page a few minutes later. Face it, all of the payroll reports are important, BUT only few need to be referenced on a consistent basis. Using a computer program is by far the more efficient way to maintain and retain payroll records.

Easy to share your data
Payroll data is highly sensitive, but it is common that different reports are handled by a few (or several) different people. I recall a client telling me how she spent a lot of time copying, cutting, and pasting to cover the other names on the check journal so she could give a department head data on one of their employees without showing him anything else. With paperless reporting you can just reprint an employee's check stub. You can even email the check stub! How about accounting or financial advisors? Do they need your data? They can be given access to the reports directly or they can also get the reports they want, emailed when they need them. Nothing is less efficient than passing around a huge binder among co-workers (not to mention the potential security issue). Go paperless and streamline your office.

Green is good
Payroll reports are viewed infrequently after the payroll has been booked, but they cannot go away. The law requires that the reports are retained for four years, but many nervous nellies out there will keep their payroll reports for 7 years or longer. Pack Rats can rest easier if they are not taking a forest down to fulfill their pet peeve. Paper is wonderful, but it is an unnecessary evil when it comes to payroll.

Go paperless today
There was a time when humans needed to re-copy BY HAND books in order to duplicate them. Paperless reporting is here and it is the future. Don't be a dinosaur. Save some trees and improve your office mechanics. Improve your payroll report security while saving and sharing those more secure reports more easily. Best of all, you can save time, the most precious commodity in the workplace. The message is loud and green!

*Reprinted with permission from the American Payroll Association

Christian C. Hoyt, CPP, President, Chief Executive Officer, joined PayUSA in 1990. Having spent a number of years processing payroll and selling for PayUSA, now as President, his concentration is on customer satisfaction. Christian was a speaker at the 2000 American Payroll Association's Congress concerning local taxes in Pennsylvania. In 2004-2006 he was the leader of a payroll service focus group for the APA's congress. He is an active member of the Southeastern Pennsylvania's local chapter of the APA and was previously the community outreach chairperson. Christian received a bachelor's degree in the double major of History and Political Science from Duke University. He became a certified payroll professional (CPP) in 1997. is a free online resource featuring a compilation of research, collaboration and web tools for use by payroll professionals and more including information about payroll tax articles, federal tax information and state tax information.

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