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The perks of organizing your farm payroll

  • 2 min read

Are you working on the books during your slower period? It’s also an excellent opportunity to tackle your payroll.

Reviewing your current payroll structure when it’s less busy allows you to assess current methods, shop around, check out other options and implement any changes, says Terri Millar, a senior small business advisor with Meridian Credit Union. This process could take a few weeks to a month, she adds.

Benefits of getting organized

Millar stresses that an organized payroll is helpful  to both employers and employees.

An organized payroll system is beneficial to both employers and employees.

The benefits to farmers are more accurate calculations, more efficient processing and ease of cash flow management. An organized payroll also reduces costs through fewer errors, more timely processing, reporting and expertise.

“For the employee, it provides consistency, accuracy, convenience — especially with direct deposit — improved personal budget management and instils loyalty and sense of security,” Millar says. “If payday is consistent and paystub and T4s are accurate, the employee is happy.”

Where to start

Farmers could begin with consulting their accountant or financial institution, Millar advises.

“Accountants can recommend on user-friendly payroll systems compatible with their bookkeeping system, the frequency of payroll cycles, and offer various payroll options for the owner/operator versus staff.”

Payroll software, such as AgExpert, is available across multiple platforms, and posting updates and accessing information can be done from anywhere. Financial institutions can discuss the pros, cons and costs of manually written cheques, sending email money transfers, or depositing electronically to the employee. They also usually have a payroll service provider that they partner with to serve the needs of their clients.

Brian Rugg, a partner at Grant Thornton, also recommends farmers view Canada Revenue Agency’s website, which has payroll guides for download and information on how to calculate and remit payroll.

DIY or outside help?

When deciding between at-home solutions or professional services, consider the size of an operation, number of workers and complexity of benefits, which might be taxable, Rugg says.

A combination of both is also possible. The farm taking on payroll calculations and paystub issuance, and a provider looking after direct deposits and tax reporting, says Millar.

Bottom line

An organized farm payroll can be a positive for both producers and employees. And what type of service you choose can depend on operation size, number of staff and the benefits you provide. Farmers also can take advantage of software like AgExpert, look to accountants and financial institutions and explore federal government resources. 

Article by: Richard Kamchen