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Guide to Streamlining Your Payroll Processing

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Introduction

Every month, when that certain day comes around for you to start processing payrolls, many may find the feeling of dread extremely relatable. This process can be very time-consuming and tedious, especially when your business has more than a handful of staff. As your company grows, you hire more staff, and payrolls can get quite confusing. There are your part-time staff members who are paid by the hour, your full-time staff members who are paid monthly, and then there are the selected individuals who are on overtime duty. With the multiple state payrolls, complicated tax filing requirements, and payment methods, you just want the nightmare and headaches to end. While this is extremely demanding and unavoidable, there are some tips for you to simplify the process altogether, helping you make your job a lot easier and smoother. Here’s how!

Direct Deposit

Though not many companies realize this, switching to a direct deposit to your employees’ bank accounts can save a whole lot of time, effort, and costs. This can be done via an ACH file, which safely transfers your employees’ salaries right into their pockets. If your company has been using checks as a payment method, you may realize that there is a lot of miscellaneous costs involved; which include printing, purchase of envelopes, printer ink, stamps. Not to mention that extra time is required to check through each check to ensure that they are printed correctly, sealed in an envelope and that the correct addresses are written on each envelope. Alternatively, direct deposit pay stubs can be checked online through a portal instead of a ‘pay advice’ that has to be printed on plain paper. Another tool to consider along with this method is a Check Stub Maker that will easily generate pay stubs for you in an effortless manner.

This will effectively cut down on the need for a physical copy altogether. Making the switch will not only streamline the process, but it can also save your company a few extra bucks and a considerable amount of time and effort each month.

Electronic Tax Filing

For certain companies that have to do tax filing themselves because they do not use a payroll service to do the tax filing on their behalf, they can opt for eFiling instead. Short for electronic tax filing, this process can be done online as well, without needing to print and send forms physically. Essentially, the payroll system collects the information through the portal and makes it extremely hassle-free to file your taxes directly. However, one thing to keep in mind is that eFiling is made compulsory by the Federal government and in certain states, so do check the requirements as it is based on the number of employees in a company. Apart from those companies, switching to eFiling is one way to make your payroll processing a lot less burdensome.

Scheduling Reminders

For individuals who are appointed to process payrolls, keeping to deadlines, and remembering important dates are crucial not just for the jurisdiction that you are reporting to but also for your employees. For companies who use in-house payroll software instead of a payroll service, employers are required to report their payroll taxes to their respective jurisdictions, in a format that they approve of. Depending on the different entities and tax amounts, this has to be done either monthly, quarterly, or annually. Furthermore, there is also an unemployment tax that has to be filed every quarter or annually, depending on the laws of each state. With the many deadlines that one has to keep up with in order not to incur a penalty fee, keeping track of the dates is highly important. Making reminders on your own personal calendar is extremely useful, as you are able to have a clearer monthly breakdown of the deadlines, allowing you to start early and get your materials prepared. Remembering your dates last minute will send you into overdrive, as you scramble and panic to get your payroll processing done in an unorganized fashion.

Mass updating

When employers have to send updates to the whole company or a specific group of people, taking advantage of the mass update function on the payroll systems can help you save time and effort. Instead of manually editing each employee’s record, the mass update function will reduce the potential errors that could be made through manual entry, and save you time which can be spent doing something productive. These mass updates could include information on deductions, benefits, payroll information, taxes, leaves, and earnings; all of which your employees need to know about. Look into the payroll system that you are currently using and see if they offer such a function. If they do not, you can consider sourcing for other more modern payroll software and systems to ensure that they are time and cost-maximizing.

Time Entry

Time entry is probably the ultimate bane of anyone’s existence especially for individuals who are in charge of processing payrolls. However, this process can be simplified significantly if your company decides to invest in a time-keeping device. These devices eliminate the need to manually enter records, thus saving hours of your time. It also avoids entry errors as these time devices automatically print out the time that your employees clock in and out onto their time cards. Taking things one step further, there is also the possibility of an online time clock, where hours are entered online via a laptop, iPad, and even their phones; making it extremely fuss-free as the data will be stored online. As such, you will no longer be required to manually gather the data from the time clock.

Conclusion

Payroll processing is indeed an extremely tedious process as it involves precise calculations of finances and salaries, that your employees are heavily dependent on. Though it is impossible to do without this complicated process, there are still several ways to save you some time on it. Finding the right payroll system with the appropriate functions will help to make everything simpler for you, leaving you with more time to attend to other needs. As long as your company consistently sources for new methods and create innovative ways to streamline the process, payroll processing no longer needs to be that time consuming anymore.

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Digitalization crucial to SIDs’ COVID-19 recovery, long-term development

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The upscaling of digital technologies presents a host of opportunities for small island developing states (SIDS) to diversify their economies, boost manufacturing, gain greater access to global value chains, and improve disaster preparedness. However, significant obstacles remain, including inadequate digital infrastructure, insufficient training opportunities for women and young people, a growing digital divide, and a lack of data and policy knowledge. That’s according to an expert panel convened for the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit’s Digital Series on the topic: “How Information and Communication Technologies can foster inclusive and sustainable industrial development in Small Island Developing States”.

Ralf Bredel, Chief of the Asia-Pacific Regional Programme at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), said that SIDS share common challenges such as limited resource bases, long distances to primary markets, and vulnerability to climate change.

“ICT has the potential to help SIDS in overcoming some of the challenges derived from the isolation and remoteness. It can support trade in economic diversification. This is even more true under the current circumstances, with COVID-19 and the restrictions on people’s movements and the heavy blow to SIDS’ economies in relation to their continued reliance on tourism,” said Bredel.

Vanessa Gray, Head of the Division for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Emergency Telecommunications at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), added, “We know that small islands are naturally prone to disasters caused by earthquakes and severe weather events and are being affected by climate change, resulting in increased tropical cyclones, hurricanes, flood and landslides, to name a few. Connectivity can help address these events by providing remote communities with access to early warning systems, real-time weather information, remote sensing and geographic information systems.”

Gary Jackson, Executive Director of the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE), said that countries in the region are “pushing the envelope” towards energy efficiency.

“We have to recognize that islands don’t have what we call a supergrid, don’t have a lot of interconnections that would give us reliability and availability and that’s what people really want,” said Jackson. “So one of the things we have to consider is how we move towards decentralization, decarbonization and some of the things that we need to do to ensure that reliability, availability and affordability are consistent with what people require.”

Michelle Marius, Publisher of the ICT Pulse blog highlighted a continuing gender gap concerning digital employment. “We do have so many girls and women in the workforce. Many of them, sometimes even in management positions in reputable organisations, but somehow we still have not been able to crack that barrier between women in tech and digital entrepreneurship by women” she noted.

Amjad Umar, Director and Professor of ISEM (Information Systems Engineering and Management) programme at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, said, “We know that, in many cases, SIDS do not have 3G technologies – they are still at 2G range. So, we specifically designed this plan (for the ICT4SIDS Partnership) that produces solutions that would work with very, very low technologies…”

“Digitalization consists of people, processes and technologies,” underlined Umar.

Concluding, moderator Martin Lugmayr, Sustainable Energy Expert at UNIDO, stressed that there is a long way to go towards realizing inclusive and sustainable industrial development in SIDS, particularly in light of current circumstances. “COVID-19 recovery must have a long-term perspective. Iit has to be green, it has to be blue in the case of Small Island Developing States, and it has to be digital,” he said.

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Fewer protections, lower wages, and higher health risks: Homeworking in the COVID era

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Image: European Wilderness Society

The UN’s labour agency (ILO) called on Wednesday for greater recognition and protection for the hundreds of millions of people who work from home, accounting for almost eight per cent of the global workforce even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since movement restrictions linked to the global spread of the virus were implement in many countries, the number of people working from home has increased sharply, and that trend is expected to continue in coming years, despite the rollout of vaccines that began in late 2020.

Drop in wages in rich and poor countries

According to a new ILO report, many of these “invisible” workers experience poor working conditions, face greater health and safety risks, and lack access to training, which can affect their career prospects. They are also likely to earn less than their counterparts who work outside the home, even in higher-skilled professions.

“Homeworkers earn on average 13 per cent less in the United Kingdom; 22 per cent less in the United States; 25 per cent less in South Africa; and about 50 per cent in Argentina, India and Mexico”, ILO said in a news release on Wednesday.

The report, “Working from home. From invisibility to decent work”, also showed that homeworkers do not have the same level of social protection as other workers, and are less likely to be part of a trades union or to be covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

Homeworkers include teleworkers who work remotely on a continual basis, and a vast number of workers who are involved in the production of goods that cannot be automated, such as embroidery, handicrafts, and electronic assembly. A third category, digital platform workers, provide services, such as processing insurance claims, copy-editing, or cutting edge specializations such as data annotation for the training of artificial intelligence systems.

Growth likely to continue

According to ILO estimates, prior to COVID-19, there were approximately 260 million home-based workers globally, representing 7.9 per cent of global employment.

However, in the first few months of the pandemic, an estimated one-in-five workers found themselves working from home. Data for the whole of 2020, once available, is expected to show a “substantial increase” over the previous year, said the agency.

The ILO predicts that the growth of homeworking is likely to continue and take on greater importance in the coming years, bringing renewed urgency to the need to address the issues facing homeworkers and their employers.

Poorly regulated

At the same time, homeworking is often poorly regulated, with little compliance with existing laws, and homeworkers usually classified as independent contractors, which means that they are excluded from the scope of labour legislation. In response, ILO outlined clear recommendations to make working from home “more visible and thus better protected”.

Industrial homeworkers should be made part of the formal economy, given legal and social protection, and made aware of their rights, ILO urged. Similarly, teleworkers should have a “right to disconnect”, to ensure the boundaries between working life and private life are respected.

The report also urges governments to work closely with workers’ and employers’ organizations, to ensure that all homeworkers move from invisibility to decent work, “whether they are weaving rattan in Indonesia, making shea butter in Ghana, tagging photos in Egypt, sewing masks in Uruguay, or teleworking in France”.

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Which jobs will be made obsolete in 2021 by technology

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Image source: pexels

Technology is becoming advanced every day, resulting in a rapid change in world circumstances. Even with professional education becoming more accessible, there is an increase in the fraction of unemployed individuals worldwide. Though, if you look into this yourself and search it online, you will notice many articles explaining and listing the jobs that will be obsolete, but Lottoland has explained their perspective and mentioned the jobs that will be replaced by technology in upcoming decades. So, this article enlists the dropdown thatLottoland looks at more jobs being replaced by technology.

Cashiers being replaced by self-check machines:

With the development of self-made checkout machines, the need for cashiers is becoming extinct. We know that the emerging deadly situation because of the covid virus has compelled millions of people to shop online. Amazon is one of the leading stores that merchandise each and everything. An individual can open the app, search online, and add to the cart. The company delivers the goods at your doorsteps. On the other hand, there is a plausibility that RFID tags will replace both the self-made machines and cashiers. 

Newspaper delivery replaced by electronic reading devices:

This one’s pretty obvious. Previously, newspaper delivery guys used to dispatch newspapers every morning at your doorstep, but unfortunately, these are gradually being replaced by the mighty internet. Every household has a mobile and internet. It has become effortless for folks to tune in to the latest news by searching online merely. Even the trend of visiting libraries for reading newspapers is also fading gradually.

Travel agents by travel websites:

With the excessive use of the internet, people around have found ways to make things super easy and accessible. Travel agents were previously booked or hired for traveling purposes, but nowadays, numerous travel websites can provide you with every detail on fingertips. Even discounts and packages regarding any foreign trips are available on every social media platform. But on the brighter side, there are still people like business folks or people who want to travel for pilgrimage readily hire travel agents to make all the bookings.

Taxi dispatchers or drivers replaced by mobile apps.

Who doesn’t know to use Uber or Careem? It is indeed a fact that a person no longer has to stand on the road and wave to the taxi dispatchers to stop the car and bargain the rate. Everything is arranged online now. This is an excellent convenience for everyone who doesn’t own a car and commute to their workplaces via public transportation. Uber drivers are located at every corner globally. All you have to do is book your car, see the fare and wait for it to arrive at your doorstep. And this part doesn’t snatch a person’s job as a driver. Anyone with a valid driver’s license can register at one of these apps, become a car captain, and start earning instantly.

Referee replaced by video cameras or technology:

When it comes to sports, whether it’s cricket or a football match, we know how critical the referee’s role is. His sole objective is to look at live games and assess every minute. But with the advancement in video technology, there are chances that a referee’s job may become obsolete in the coming years. But the importance and value it holds can never be replaced since we know how tactfully a referee works in every game of the show. Even if it is replaced by technology, people will miss the job of a referee and the way he uses it.

Robots replace telemarketers:

It seems like the whole world is going to be replaced by robots. We know that there was a distinctly individual voice behind every marketing object or company in our childhood. And these telemarketers use to guide us out wholly. It was fun. Kids even use to tease them by ringing them over several times, but again technology will replace this sort of employment. Since robots are trained to do human jobs, there is a high possibility that the companies will provide robotic help on call. That’s a little off, isn’t it?

The everyday individual replaces social media experts:

Previously, unique social media experts communicated their knowledge by assisting people in knowing how social media works. It was indeed a decent job, and many people were pursuing it as a professional career. People used to learn how to operate these platforms, but with the rise of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, countless people have learned how to use them and have taught everyone else how to use them. If you wonder who is left and who doesn’t know how to run these social media platforms? It is now a simple job. We see bloggers almost at every forum representing the same thing over and over again. So, there’s no difference left, which means everybody is a social media expert regardless of the generation.

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