Every Other Friday

For a large percent of the population, Friday morning is met with a sense of hope and excitement. Not only is it the last day of the workweek, the first half day of the weekend, but it is also quite frequently PAY DAY. However, for a small percent of the population, mostly payroll professionals, every other Friday can be a day filled with anxiety, dread and frustration.

Imagine this… you go to bed knowing that you made it through another pay cycle without overdrawing your account, you were able to write your rent check on Wednesday evening knowing that it wouldn’t be deposited against your account until Friday, and when you wake up Friday morning, everything should be fine. You log in to your bank account on your nifty banking app to see your amazing pay check deposit amount… but it is not what you expected. Not just a little bit off, but like seriously short of where you thought it would be. Who are you going to call about this? Your bank? Surely they haven’t under-deposited the amount. Your manager? Surely he or she approved your time records when they were due. No. You call payroll. And you are going to give that payroll professional a piece of your mind for getting your paycheck wrong. Am I right?

Now imagine this… you are one of the non-banked individuals in your company, so you will be picking up a paycheck in person on Friday. You make your way to the Payroll Department at 12:03 p.m. during your lunch hour and are extremely disappointed to find that the payroll team has gone to lunch. How dare they?! Don’t they know that it’s payday? Don’t they know that this is the ONLY time you can get away from your desk? Don’t they know that you shouldn’t have to email, call or “ping” them to say that you’re on your way? It’s pay day! They should have someone there all day to hand out those checks, no matter what.

Finally, imagine this… Friday is preceded by a week of chasing down un-submitted time cards and creating a preview payroll file on Monday, making any corrections or edits based on the emails from employees asking for special treatment “just this once” and re-creating the preview payroll file on Tuesday, explaining all variances to the norm to the management in order to obtain final approval and transmit the final payroll file within the legally mandated 48 hours before pay day in order to facilitate direct deposits on Wednesday, and balancing all of the data against what was scheduled to occur in the pay cycle like the scheduled deductions for all benefits including 401(k), flexible spending plans, garnishments and other voluntary benefits, the taxes withheld from the employees as well as the employer’s portion of the taxes, and earnings like regular hours, commissions, bonuses, and special one-time arranged manual entries on Thursday.

This is the life of a payroll professional. What should be a great day, because remember please that the payroll teams get paid on pay day too, turns into a day of hearing only complaints, accusations or no communication at all. Honestly, if you are the person in the first example above, and there isn’t anything wrong with your direct deposit amount, who are you going to call? Nobody, right? I mean, there’s nothing wrong… Why would you call the payroll team to acknowledge the fact that they got you paid accurately and timely. And if you are the person in the second example above, and you get your check the first time you visit the Payroll Department, aside from the obligatory “thanks” that you murmur under your breath as your handed the envelope containing the check that you’ve worked so hard for, do you offer thanks to the payroll team member who worked so hard to put that check in that envelope for you? Why? It’s his/her job, right?

There is no “easy” button in payroll. Every payroll team works diligently to ensure that their company is compliant and that all employees are paid what they are owed when they are due to be paid. And every payroll team works diligently to stay current on the ever-changing ways of our tax systems and payroll related laws, regulations and court rulings by attending online training, reading white papers and scrubbing through the IRS regulation memos when they come out.

Did you know that there is a National Payroll Week? A week dedicated to recognizing the hard working payroll professionals who pay hard working Americans every other Friday as well as acknowledge the hard working Americans that get paid? In 2015, National Payroll Week is September 7th through 11th. Maybe this should be the year that you know about it. Maybe this should be the year that you let your payroll team know that you know about it. Maybe this should be the year that you let your payroll team know that you appreciate them. Use your imagination. Do something extraordinary during National Payroll Week this year to really acknowledge your payroll professional. After all, even when there are mistakes, any paycheck is better than no paycheck.

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