Payroll Services

Any business that has full-time or part-time employees will benefit from hiring a CPA firm to handle payroll. Cooke, Lavender, Massey, & Company, P.C., is equipped to offer payroll services for any business. We have invested in software and training for a team dedicated to this service. We provide convenient weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly payroll services. Our team of experts can handle everything from paying your employees to preparing and filing your quarterly and annual reports. 

Choosing to hire employees is a significant decision for small businesses. It adds a new layer of complexity to the accounting system because the company must pay employees, pay federal and state withholdings, and pay federal and state unemployment taxes. Hiring a qualified CPA to handle your payroll reduces the likelihood of penalties and helps ensure accuracy and timeliness of reporting and payments.

Payroll Services

Payroll is an involved process that is more complicated than ensuring that each employee receives the correct paycheck. The process involves strict payment and reporting deadlines.

Hiring a professional to handle your payroll and benefits helps ensure your bookkeeping is correct, your payments are made timely, and your report are filed accurately and on time. Our payroll service includes any level of service you desire. Typically, we process payroll each pay period, prepare all required payroll reports, and if desired, make payroll tax deposits for our payroll clients. 

Allowing a team of experts to oversee your payroll is an easy thing to outsource to free your schedule, offer peace of mind, and allow you to focus on the aspects of your business that you enjoy.

What is included in Cooke, Lavender, Massey, and Company, PC payroll services?

Our team will process your payroll and arrange the direct deposits or print manual checks.

Clients who have part-time or hourly employees provide us with information about wage rates and hours each pay period. For salary employees, our clients inform us of any changes in withholdings or deductions. We can also prepare the tax deposits at the frequency they are required. Finally, we’ll prepare all of the required payroll reports timely so you avoid unnecessary penalties and interest.

Cooke, Lavender, Massey, & Company, P.C. uses QuickBooks to provide payroll services.

Three Common Payroll Mistakes

It is critical to run your payroll accurately. Even small errors can result in costly penalties. Here are a few common mistakes business owners make when doing payroll.

Improperly classifying workers

Many small business owners hire independent contractors to help them complete their workload. Hiring independent contractors allows any business to respond quickly to demands of the marketplace.

Treatment of short-term labor as independent contractors can provide significant savings. Depending on the state in which you operate, a true independent contractor may not be required to be paid overtime or have workers’ compensation coverage. Additionally, the company is not required to pay FICA taxes for these workers. This treatment can be very attractive.

However, many companies misclassify workers who should be categorized as employees as independent contractors instead. Our experienced accountants can help you navigate these complex issues, choose the correct treatment for all of your workers, and prepare the annual W-2s and/or 1099 forms required for payments made to employees and independent contractors.

Miscalculating overtime pay

Overtime pay is different from regular wages, and you must calculate it correctly to avoid having to pay back wages, interest, and penalties. 

The federal overtime provisions are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA requires that nonexempt employees be paid for hours worked in excess of 40 in a respective workweek. For these employees, the overtime pay rate cannot be less than one-and-a-half times the regular rate of pay. Many strict regulations must be followed if your business is subject to paying overtime to employees.  

Our experienced payroll team can help you navigate these complex issues.

Paying the wrong tax rate

It is critical to check your employment tax rates regularly because tax rates change frequently. Many tax rates are updated annually. Paying the incorrect tax rate will likely cost you penalties and interest, in addition to the owed taxes. 

Employers should check the tax rates and tables for the following taxes each year:

  • Federal income tax
  • State income tax
  • Local income tax (as applicable)
  • State unemployment

Payroll Services Frequently Asked Questions

What are the client’s responsibilities? What information do you need to provide? 

Each pay period, you will need to provide information about hourly rates, how many hours each employee worked, and any updates to withholdings or deductions for salaried employees. Employers must also provide W-4, I-9, VA-4, and benefit forms for any new employees or contractors. 

What forms do new employees need to complete?

When a business hires a new employee, there are several required employment forms the employer should obtain from the new employee:

  • W-2 Tax form
  • I-9 Form (and any related documents)
  • Direct deposit authorization (if applicable)
  • Federal W-4 Form
  • VA-4 Employee’s Withholding Exemption Certificate
  • VA New Hire reporting form

Factors to consider when choosing a payroll provider

Whether you use our firm or another provider to assist you with payroll or do it all in-house, there are a few factors you should consider first, including the questions listed below.

What are the potential costs of handling payroll yourself?

Businesses who handle payroll in-house run the risk of making mistakes that can take hours of valuable time and money to resolve and can cause significant amounts of stress. 

One of these common mistakes is filling out quarterly 941 forms inaccurately, which causes them to not agree with the W-2 and W-3 forms at the end of the fiscal year. 

How much administrative or personal time will outsourcing payroll free up?

Outsourcing payroll to a knowledgeable team of experts will alleviate stress, free up many hours spent on administrative tasks, and ensure your payroll and forms are correct and were processed accurately. This can save you valuable time, energy, and money throughout the year and allow you to focus on the aspects of your business that you enjoy and that provide for future growth and success.