Archive for September, 2011

Quality Service Matters

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

PCS Quality ServiceAt Payroll Control Systems we believe our number one differentiator is our dedication to our Clients and the quality of service we deliver.  We’ve always had a philosophy of putting the needs of the Customer first and making an effort to truly listen to what our Clients are saying to us.  But just saying we deliver on our promises wasn’t good enough.  We wanted proof.

In order to find out if we were performing to Customer expectations, we launched an Annual Survey campaign December of 2009 where we proactively reached out to our Clients via phone to conduct a basic satisfaction survey.  In June of 2010, we expanded the survey to include more detailed and focused questions related to specific service departments within PCS.

We also realized that the best path to quality service with new customers was providing an implementation that was more of a transition instead of a typical payroll conversion.  We spent over three months revamping our on-boarding processes and capabilities and began surveying our new Customers after they had been on our service for 30 days.

The results of both surveys are amazing!

30 Day New Client Survey
The results from over 100 surveys done to date in 2011 are as follows:

(Ratings are on a Scale of 1 to 4 with 4 being the highest rating)

Question 1: Your Salesperson made a lot of promises when presenting our services.  How are we doing on living up to those promises? Average Rating = 3.786 or 94.64%

Question 2: How would you rate our conversion team?  Average Rating = 3.768 or 94.20%

Question 3: How would you rate our training team?  Average Rating = 3.83 or 95.76%

Question 4: How would you rate your overall conversion experience?  Average Rating = 3.80 or 95.09%

Final Question: Would you recommend us? YES = 95.5%

We’re excited about these results, especially the response on recommending PCS after only 30 days on our service!  As you can imagine, conversion is the most difficult time to be perceived as providing a high level of Customer awareness and service.  The high ratings are indicative of our team’s commitment to making PCS conversions feel like an easy transition.

Annual Quality Service Survey
We ask quite a few questions on this survey dependent upon the services our Customers are receiving.  For purposes of this article, I’m going to focus on the main component, Customer Satisfaction Level and willingness to recommend and / or be a reference for PCS.

Again, the ratings are on a scale of 1 to 4 with 4 being the highest.  Here are the results from 780 surveys conducted between 06/2010 to 09/2011:

Overall Satisfaction: Average Rating = 3.85 or 96.31%

Satisfaction with Client Account Manager = 3.86 or 96.47%

Client Account Manager Promptness = 3.82 or 95.48%

Would You Recommend Us? = 98.59%

Would You Be a Reference For Us? = 97.56%

Again, we are very excited about the results of the survey as they show that our efforts are paying off.  We’re especially happy that over 97% of our Customers would take time out of their busy day to provide a reference for us!

What’s Next?
Even though the survey results were extremely positive, we’re striving to get even better.  Last week all PCS employees went through an extensive four hour Quality Service training facilitated by Rich Breu from Breu Bros. Garage, “The Business Mechanics – Making Your Business Run Better”.  Rich has worked with companies large and small providing high level consulting and training.  Our goal is to continue raising our service level via providing a quality Customer experience by truly listening to our Clients and anticipating their needs both present and future.

If you’re a PCS Customer, please feel free to comment on this article, we’re always looking for additional feedback!  If you’re not a PCS Customer, please visit our website or contact us for more information.  We’d love to show you the PCS difference!

Article Submitted By:

Bob Willbanks
VP of Sales and Marketing
Payroll Control Systems
763.746.1934 Direct
bwillbanks@pcspayroll.com

FLSA Record Keeping Requirements

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

FLSA Record KeepingEvery covered employer must keep certain records for each non-exempt worker. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires no particular form for the records, but does require that the records include certain identifying information about the employee and data about the hours worked and the wages earned. The law requires this information to be accurate. The following is a listing of the basic records that an employer must maintain:

1. Employee’s full name and social security number.
2. Address, including zip code.
3. Birth date, if younger than 19.
4. Sex and occupation.
5. Time and day of week when employee’s workweek begins.
6. Hours worked each day.
7. Total hours worked each workweek.
8. Basis on which employee’s wages are paid
9. Regular hourly pay rate.
10. Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings.
11. Total overtime earnings for the workweek.
12. All additions to or deductions from the employee’s wages.
13. Total wages paid each pay period.
14. Date of payment and the pay period covered by the payment.

How Long Should Records Be Retained?
Each employer shall preserve for at least three years payroll records, collective bargaining agreements, sales and purchase records.

Records on which wage computations are based should be retained for two years, i.e., time cards and piece work tickets, wage rate tables, work and time schedules, and records of additions to or deductions from wages. These records must be open for inspection by the Division’s representatives, who may ask the employer to make extensions, computations, or transcriptions. The records may be kept at the place of employment or in a central records office.

PCS Ascentis HR provides employers with a comprehensive platform for maintaining all of their employee records in an electronic format.  Click here for more information.

What About Timekeeping?
Employers may use any timekeeping method they choose. For example, they may use a time clock, have a timekeeper keep track of employee’s work hours, or tell their workers to write their own times on the records. Any timekeeping plan is acceptable as long as it is complete and accurate.

PCS has a variety of web clocks and physical timekeeping systems that are inexpensive and easy to implement and maintain.  Click here for more information.

Additional Information:

FLSA Index

Department of Labor Website

PDF of Record Keeping Requirements

Submitted By:

PCS HR Department

Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and by no means should replace or substitute other legal documents (governmental or non-governmental) reflecting similar content or advice. If you have any questions concerning your situation or the information provided, please consult with an attorney, CPA or HR Professional.

Affordable Care W-2 Update

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Affordable Care UpdateStarting in tax year 2011, the Affordable Care Act requires employers to report the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan. To give employers more time to update their payroll systems, Notice 2010-69, issued last fall, made this requirement optional for all employers in 2011. IRS Notice 2011-28 provided further relief for smaller employers filing fewer than 250 W-2 forms by making the reporting requirement optional for them at least for 2012 and continuing this optional treatment for smaller employers until further guidance is issued. Notice 2011-28 also includes information on how to report, what coverage to include and how to determine the cost of the coverage.

The 2011 Form W-2 is available for viewing on IRS.gov. This is the W-2 that most employees will receive in early 2012. The form includes the codes that employers may use to report the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan.

This reporting is for informational purposes only, to show employees the value of their health care benefits so they can be more informed consumers. The amount reported does not affect tax liability, as the value of the employer contribution to health coverage continues to be excludible from an employee’s income, and it is not taxable.

For more information, see the 2011 Form W-2, IR-2011-31, Notice 2010-69, Notice 2011-28 and our IRS YouTube video and frequently asked questions.

Additional Information:

Affordable Care Tax Provisions

Health Care Reform – what do you need to know now?

New Health Care Tax Credit for Small Businesses

Submitted By:

PCS Tax Team

Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and by no means should replace or substitute other legal documents (governmental or non-governmental) reflecting similar content or advice. If you have any questions concerning your situation or the information provided, please consult with an attorney, CPA or HR Professional.

HIRE Act Retention Credit

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

HIRE Act Retention CreditTax Credits

After all of the dust settled on the March 18, 2010 Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, many businesses are forgetting that the Act provided a second opportunity for tax savings based on retention of HIRE Act eligible employees.

The HIRE retention credit is a general business credit to encourage retention of new hires and will be claimed on the employer’s income tax return. The amount of the credit is the lesser of $1000 or 6.2 percent of wages (as defined for income tax withholding purposes) paid by the employer to the retained qualified employee during the 52 consecutive week period. The qualified employee’s wages for such employment during the last 26 weeks must equal at least 80% of wages for the first 26 weeks.  This credit cannot be carried back to years beginning before March 18, 2010, but may be carried forward. The credit will be claimed on the employer’s income tax return.
*PCS does not apply this credit as it is a credit on your business tax return.

HIRE Act: Questions and Answers for Employers

From IRS Website www.IRS.gov

Under the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, enacted March 18, 2010, two new tax benefits are available to employers who hire certain previously unemployed workers (“qualified employees”).

The first, referred to as the payroll tax exemption, provides employers with an exemption from the employer’s 6.2 percent share of social security tax on wages paid to qualifying employees, effective for wages paid from March 19, 2010 through December 31, 2010.

In addition, for each qualified employee retained for at least 52 consecutive weeks, businesses will also be eligible for a general business tax credit, referred to as the new hire retention credit, of 6.2 percent of wages paid to the qualified employee over the 52 week period, up to a maximum credit of $1,000.

Helpful Links

Business Credit for Retention of Certain Newly Hired Individuals in 2010

HIRE Act Flyer from IRS

Are You Missing Out? – PCS Blog Entry

Article Submitted By:

Bob Willbanks
VP of Sales & Marketing
Payroll Control Systems
763.746.1934 Direct
bwillbanks@pcspayroll.com

Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and by no means should replace or substitute other legal documents (governmental or non-governmental) reflecting similar content or advice. If you have any questions concerning your situation or the information provided, please consult with an attorney, CPA or HR Professional.

Social Engineering

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Social Engineering“If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”  This statement has never been truer than today, with billions of fraudulent emails sent daily and thousands of legitimate websites hacked to deliver bad software.  No matter how secure your network is, either at work or at home, true security still relies on the common sense of the user – you – to avoid breaches and infections.

“Social Engineering” is the term used by security professionals to describe the most common tool employed these days by the bad guys to get what they want – either money or information.  (And information probably leads to money, as well.)  Social Engineering means, in short, tricking you into doing what the bad guy wants.  This can take the form of clicking on a link, opening a file, wiring money, installing software or entering a credit card number, among others.

Most of us would be quite wary of a stranger who walked up to us selling a $10 Rolex, but we’re sometimes less wary of offers made in emails.  We shouldn’t be, as very few, if any, really good deals come via email.  Groupon and similar services are one thing – you’ve subscribed and asked for deals.  But most other offers really are way too good to be true.  Be they free pizzas, UK lottery winnings or millions from the widow of a disgraced Nigerian bureaucrat, just stop and think about the likelihood of such an offer being legitimate – almost nil.

Scammers also try to gain your trust by impersonating an organization or person you already trust, like your bank, the IRS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, Microsoft or Homeland Security, among many others.  None of those organizations communicate with you out of the blue, much less send you attached files to open.  If you have any doubt about an email, call the company and verify that it’s legitimate.  Similarly, a note from your friend who’s stuck overseas with no money (often seen on Facebook) merits a few phone calls to check out the story before wiring money.

Another common tool designed to wheedle money and credit card numbers from unsuspecting people is often called “scareware”.  This most often takes the form of fake virus alerts and fake antivirus software.  The alerts can be realistic and very convincing.  If, while browsing the Web, you suddenly see a window that tells you your PC is infected with dozens or hundreds of things you’ve seen no sign of until now, the best thing to do is immediately to shut down your computer from the Start Menu, or just turn it off by pressing and holding the power button.  This often will get rid of the threat before anything gets installed, but it’s still worth running a full scan with your real antivirus program once your computer starts up again.  (You do have antivirus software installed, right?)

Using a firewall, keeping your Windows programs up-to-date and running antivirus software are the best ways to help your computer protect itself.  You can do your part by thinking twice before clicking or double-clicking.

Article By:

Brian Compton
IT Infrastructure Director
Payroll Control Systems
763.746.1941 Direct

Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and by no means should replace or substitute other legal documents (governmental or non-governmental) reflecting similar content or advice. If you have any questions concerning your situation or the information provided, please consult with an attorney, CPA or HR Professional.