Payroll in Dental Offices Before Outsourcing – July 2009

Dentists are often frustrated by the myriad of laws and regulations that they must obey in setting up and running their practices. In many circumstances the step that is taken is to outsource everything to an outside company. But there are many steps that a dentist can take before outsourcing that can make the payroll understandable so that many steps of the process can be handled in house.

Hiring at least one person for your office that is familiar with the payroll process in small businesses such as dental offices makes obedience to the laws of payroll administration on a day to day basis a sure thing. Ask a few questions about payroll administration during the interview to hire the right person who will save you the headache of being responsible for regulations that might affect steps in the payroll process such as computing sick time owed, calculating payments under workers compensation laws and unemployment insurance laws, and knowing when questions should be referred to a tax expert, IRS assistance hotline, or state agency. Many times it is worth it to have a current employee take a tutorial on payroll procedures so that they can coordinate the business software used by the office and the regularly used and up to date payroll laws and regulations.

Consider the possibility of direct deposit to avoid the necessity of handing checks personally at the end of pay periods. This can avoid human errors in processing individual checks and obeying the proper laws concern payroll procedures. Your bank can provide you with the cost of such services and whether it is worth it to you. If prompted about the convenience of using direct deposit to get access to pay quicker, many employees will see that this might be the solution for them as well as you in making out individual checks with the right deductions. Also make sure that employees can see the details of their pay stubs on line and that you are aware of the new security laws for information about such items as payroll that are on the rise.

Have a process for making sure state and federal payroll laws concerning new hires reporting are being met. There is most likely a time period within which new hires must be reported to a state or federal regulatory agency. Also make sure your new hires are aware of   the deductions that will be made from the gross pay that they are being offered, as well the possibilities for retirement plans, health insurance plans and investment plans that can be available through the payroll process.

Make sure your personal and business tax goals are met by making sure that there is a proper reporting of the amounts paid to employees on a quarterly or annual basis. Late payments can result in paying interest or other penalties when tax time comes.

Inquire into the possibilities about what your present business software can do to help with the payroll process and also keep track of recent regulations regarding payroll. Programs, such as Quickbooks, can often be coordinated with many of the aspects of the payroll process that are available in other software programs. The developer of Quickbooks, Intuit, offers low cost payroll software for this particular purpose, and the programs offer up to date tax filing information and forms.

Wage and hour laws are often required to be posted in a business such as a dental office, and it is necessary to have other information affecting payroll like the Family and Medical Leave Act and ERISA available for employees. There must be a uniformly applied process for increases and decreases in salaries and wages so that it is certain that anti discrimination laws are not violated.

Admittedly, there are many areas of the payroll process, such as meeting all taxation regulations, that are often beyond the scope of regular employees that handle much of the payroll practices on a day to day basis, it is important to understand that there are aspects of the process that need not be outsourced and that can be handled by in-house employees. Beyond that, a particular payroll provider that has been selected by the ADA for small businesses and dental offices is SurePayroll, at which offers ADA members discounted pricing, first month free and free W-2s the first year.