Lynley Averis
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5 Tips to Avoid Holiday Pay Drama

Are you dreading your staff complaining about their holiday pay? Here are some ways to avoid the pitfalls. Holiday Pay can cause a lot of stress and so learning some simple rules can help smooth the way to better employee relations. 

For example; Annual Leave holiday pay is treated differently from Public Holiday pay and so you cannot assume that paying the normal weekly or daily amount will be correct. The way this must be calculated is that the average weekly rate over the previous 12 months, or the regular weekly rate can be paid - whichever is the higher. 

Here are some simple tips to keep in mind:

  1. Set up your systems correctly. You must load 52 weeks of historical pays for each employee to get the average rate.
  2. Keep accurate records, record sick leave taken, days absent without leave, conversations about performance or misconduct. Don’t fudge it.  7 years records are required by law.
  3. Make sure all staff have a comprehensive Employment Agreement and update with any changes to the law.
  4. Set up a simple file for each employee. Keep notes of changes there or in your payroll program.
  5. Keep track of hours worked if they fluctuate. Require staff to fill in time sheets.
  6. Annual Leave, and Bereavement, Sick and Public Holidays are not calculated the same way - get familiar with the rules.

Here is an excerpt from an excellent article by Jess Logan:

"The purpose of the Holidays Act is to promote a balance between work and employees’ personal lives and provide employees with minimum entitlements to:
  • Annual holidays to provide the opportunity for rest and recreation
  • Public holidays for the observance of days of national, religious, or cultural significance
  • Sick leave to assist employees who are unable to attend work because they’re sick or injured, or because someone who depends on the employee for care is sick or injured
  • Bereavement leave to assist employees who are unable to attend work because they have suffered a bereavement

to read more go to -https://www.myob.com/nz/blog/holiday-pay-why-do-businesses-get-it-wrong/

90% of the calls we get regarding payroll relate to holiday pay. Good record keeping, utilizing a payroll software program, and being up to date with current legislation goes a long way towards having a stress free payroll.

Do I need a Bookkeeper or an Accountant?

There are differences between bookkeepers and accountants and you could save money by knowing what those differences are. Apart from the obvious cost difference of each role, there are functions a bookkeeper generally does not perform. On the other hand there are jobs that an accountant will do but charge a lot more for – tasks that are more suited to a bookkeeper.

Bookkeepers and accountants work together, the bookkeeper preparing and entering the financial transactions, journals etc. Bookkeeping is a skilled job and a bookkeeper should have several years experience and/or a certificate or diploma or have completed relevant industry courses. A fully qualified accountant is a professional who has completed several years of post graduate education and training. An accountant will take the accounts to the next level, producing financial reports and analysis.

This article by Antonio from bookkeeping.com shares clear insights into the different roles.

Differences Between Bookkeeping and Accounting

“…Bookkeeping implies a more administrative work of keeping financial recording and retaining documentation for transactions. Many bookkeepers begin with performing functions of data-entry clerks, and then by gaining more experience in the field, their role within a company may evolve into being an accountant.

The functions of an accountant are more subjective. Their work may also involve reporting and business analysis to provide business owners with insights based on the information obtained through bookkeeping. As we see, a bookkeeper and accountant work in close cooperation. It is often that a bookkeeper is a link that helps maintain a strong business relationship between an accountant and management of a company.

Now, when we have acquainted with the basic terms, it’s time to learn the difference in their functional areas and the roles that bookkeepers and accountants perform within a company….”
Read more at https://bookkeeping.com/differences-between-bookkeeping-and-accounting/

In New Zealand the qualifications of an accountant are CA ANZ, CPA, ACCA, CIMA. A bookkeeper can qualify with an NZBAI. It is not necessary to a have a formal qualification for the bookkeepers role and most we meet are self taught. Several years experience in the finance department with hands on training is best. Accuracy and computer skills are essential as is knowledge of the General Ledger.

Alignment journals – why do you need them?

My accountant has asked I enter an alignment journal before I roll over. What is this about and what is the point?

The purpose of end-of-year (EOY) adjustment entries is to get your ducks in a row and align your MYOB file with your accountant’s end of year tax accounts. Their job is to check over your file and make various adjustments (corrections, depreciation and tax entries). To put you back on the straight and narrow they will want your MYOB to match their financial reports. This will help you for management reporting and be necessary if you need to visit your friendly bank manager – they inevitable want to study your Balance Sheet & Profit & Loss statement. It is very important your reports read correctly.

Your accountants may provide the EOY adjustment journals by paper form or as an Excel spreadsheet. If they don’t give you anything it is recommended you do a general journal to correct the Balance Sheet figures to the Lodged Balance Sheet provided by the Accountant.

So how do I enter in MYOB?

  1. Go to the Accounts command centre and click Record Journal Entry. The Record Journal Entry window appears.

    The general journal number and transaction date appear by default. Date the entry the last day of your financial year. NB You may opt to select the Year-End Adjustment option to identify the transaction as an adjustment journal entry. When you prepare reports for the period, you can exclude these adjustments from appearing.
  2. In the Memo field, enter a comment to describe the transaction, for example, ‘EOY adjustment from accountant’.
  3. Each row of information entered in the scrolling list is a line item. The line item details are identified in the journal adjustments provided by your accountant. For each line item:
    • a. Type the account number (or name), or select it from the account list.
    • In the Debit and Credit fields, enter the debit or credit amount for the line item. Note that GST is N-T for all lines.
    • Record the entry.

Once posted print your Balance Sheet at EOY and check it matches your accountants Balance Sheet (do not assume the entry will line you up).

MYOB alignment journal

Holiday Pay Headaches

Xmas is coming yet again. But before we can swap the keyboard with a glass of wine many of us need to prepare holiday pays for the shut-down. Yes, it’s a headache but one which can be mitigated if you take the time now to plan it.

Whether you use MYOB Payroll, ACE Payroll, IMS Payroll, EXO Payroll or Essentials payroll the legislation surrounding HP is the same.  And you must comply.

​Our tips for processing pays over the shutdown:

  • Run the Holiday pay report mid-December and check leave balances for accuracy. If leave is not shown on payslips, now is a good time to communicate the leave available for each employee. Employees can take any lieu days they have saved as well as their annual leave. We recommend staff complete leave forms.

  • If you shut down for say 3 weeks run 3 individual pays as opposed to one pay of 3 weeks. The tax will be correct and you can schedule the payment to be uploaded to the bank on the right date. This helps your cashflow and will help your employees budget.

  • If some staff work some hours over the shutdown or have extra time off then do a wash-up pay when you return to work.

The legislation in brief

Employees working on a public holiday are entitled to 1.5 times ordinary pay as well as a day in lieu. Only open on public holidays if it makes good economic sense or you have no choice.

Employees get a paid day off on a public holiday if it’s a day they would have normally worked on.

It is very important to calculate the right rate of pay for leave and holidays. Annual holidays are calculated differently from public and alternative holidays, sick and bereavement leave.

Payment for annual annual leave is made at the start of the employee’s holiday and paid at a rate which is the greater of the employee’s ordinary weekly pay or average weekly earnings.

This must be calculated each time the employee goes on leave as the appropriate payment rate may change even from pay period to pay period.

Annual holidays are paid at whichever rate is the higher of:

  • the employee’s ordinary weekly pay at the beginning of the annual holiday, or
  • the employee’s average weekly earnings for the 12 months just before the end of the last pay period before the annual holiday.

Your payroll should work this out for you. Expect to pay a higher rate over shutdown particularly for waged/hourly employees.

Sick leave, bereavement leave, alternative holidays and public holidays are paid at the rate of either relevant daily pay or average daily pay.

Relevant daily pay means paying an employee what they would have earned if they were at work on the day. This also includes payment such as commissions, bonuses & overtime if the employee would have received them on the day. If it’s not possible or not practical to work out relevant daily pay, or because an employee’s daily pay varies in the pay period in question, an employer may use average daily pay.

How to get accounts staff that will help, not hinder, your business

Everyone wants the perfect person in the office. One that comes with a high level of understanding and experience in both accounting and payroll. One that has knowledge of the software you use PLUS competencies using a computer AND a working knowledge of Microsoft Office. As well as that you want them to fit in with the dynamics of your office and get on with other staff, customers and suppliers. It's a big ask.

Appoint the wrong person and it can cost your business dearly. If you take on someone with minimal knowledge of accounting & payroll and leave them to their own devices then it is likely the following may occur:

  • Entries will be missed meaning customers may be incorrectly invoiced or just not invoiced
  • Creditors may be paid twice or not paid at all jeapordising your supplier relationship
  • Bank/credit card accounts may not be reconciled correctly meaning reports are wrong
  • Stock and job costing entries may not be posted resulting in errors in stock and job reports
  • GST may be incorrectly calculated which puts your business at risk if audited by the IRD
  • Management reports such as Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet will have errors
  • Payroll processing may mean employees are paid more or less than they are owed
  • Holiday pay or termination payments may be incorrect due to a lack of understanding

Any of the situations above will cost your business. We regularly see unqualified and/or inexperienced people taken on to do accounts. As there is no formal qualification for a bookkeeper, people profess to know when they don't. Applicants will say anything to land the job. We have been asked by new recruits to have training the day before they start the job. This is scary stuff.

To avoid this problem and mitigate the likelihood of having a tidy MYOB file destroyed by an incompetent bookkeeper we recommend you use a recruiter to short list and help appoint your accounts staff.

We like recruiters who work with MYOB software and understand both accounting and payroll. Recruiters who can quickly source and select candidates to fit the required roles. Recruiters who have skin in the game and work with you and the candidate to ensure there is a good fit.  We also strongly believe that candidates should be assessed to test their capabilities. A good recruiter will do that.

What roles should you use recruiters for?

Pay clerks - for IMS, ACE, MYOB Payroll or EXO Employer Services Payroll. Good experience with one payroll certainly helps learning another payroll. Understanding NZ legislation is a must.

Bookkeepers/Accounts people - part or full time bookkeepers to process accounts receivable and payables, complete and reconcile cash books, maintain inventory and job costing where required. These positions may be sole charge and include payroll and other responsibilities.

Accountants - fully or semi-qualified part and full time accountants to process and complete end of month reconciliations for management reports, prepare and file both GST and PAYE summaries.

If you are looking for new staff and want advise on where to go then please call us. We can direct you to a recruiter who can help.

Should you use MYOB or Xero?

We get asked all the time... “Is Xero better?”; “What about MYOB?”; “Should I use Xero?”; “Is MYOB online?” and so on. It seems that everyone has an opinion (informed or otherwise), when it comes to answering these questions. MYOB has a range of solutions to suit micro businesses all the way up to larger businesses. We focus here on AccountRight.

The fact is that MYOB AccountRight and Xero are very different beasts. For a start they work quite differently - Xero is 100% browser-based *, while MYOB AccountRight is a hybrid model which means the software is installed on your computer but the data's in the cloud meaning you can access it online or offline. (* MYOB Essentials is similar to Xero being browser based).

Xero and MYOB AccountRight each have pros and cons. As professional accounting software consultants we’re very familiar with both - here are some of the things we like about each:

What We Like About XERO

  • Connects to more add on software than any other accounting software package which means you can add functionality not available in Xero
  • Available via any browser which is convenient as software doesn’t have to be installed
  • Ability to use foreign currency means you can keep track of sales and purchases in other currencies
  • Includes an Asset Register which means you can track and depreciate assets and print an asset schedule

What We Like About MYOB

  • Telephone support – people talk you through your problem or issue rather than the wait for email support
  • Price – monthly subscription cheaper
  • Large selection of reports (over 140) means you don’t have to use add-on software or Excel to manipulate data
  • The range of functions within AccountRight means less need for add-on software
  • Choice of working online or offline or on your network means you’re not reliant on the internet
  • Point in time backups means you can restore a backup should something go wrong
  • Off line read only access after your subscription lapses means you are not committed forever to a subscription
  • The MYOB servers are based in Sydney – Xero servers are in the USA.
My accountant insists I use Xero. Should I?

Some Chartered accountants insist you must use Xero. They do this because it suits them. Our philosophy is that you use the software that suits you best. That may be Xero or it may be MYOB. It may be Quickbooks, Infusion, Cash Manager, MYOB Advanced, Great Plains, Net Suite or some other package. Your accountant exists to do your end of year accounts, advise on tax and business structure, and provide advisory services. They are not there to dictate what car you drive and what business tools you must use. A good accountant should be able to open any accounting program and run the reports they want. They should use software which imports the data and we are able to assist them if required.

The changing face of accounting software

Accounting as a practice has never changed in hundreds of years and manual systems taught in secondary school is the same as ever. We still have source documents, journals, ledgers, and trial balance, final reports (Balance Sheet, Profit & loss). Apparently the word ‘ledger’ comes from bookkeepers who wrote transactions in their ‘book’ with their feet rested on a ledge.

The programs that help you do your accounting are thoroughly different now to 10 years ago. Software (and hardware) has changed heaps and the change will continue. In times to come I think we will use voice recognition to make entries to our accounting programs.  The truth is that bookkeeping & accounting work will take less & less time.

We often come across bookkeepers who used MYOB years ago. Those people need refresher training otherwise they go back to their old (and slow) ways of doing things.

What are some of the changes in MYOB Live?

  • Cloud (on-line) means you can access MYOB from the office or home or from any pc with internet connectivity
  • MYOB now multi-user with minimum 5 users (all live versions)
  • Backups done for you on off site servers plus a local backup every 20 mins
  • Bank feeds (bank and credit cards) directly from your bank to your MYOB. Bank balances now show in MYOB and you can auto-reconcile.
  • Scan in your invoices to MYOB so they sit next to your purchase. Details can be ‘read’ by MYOB.
  • MYOB now on your smart phone means you can invoice (and get paid) without having to go back to your office
  • You can roll the year both back (and forward)
  • Upload GST returns directly to the IRD website (for GST filing). Coming June 2016.
  • Integrated payrolls - a choice of desktop or online payroll

Are the changes good for my business?

Yes – they mean you can spend less time than ever doing accounting and more time & resource in the production and marketing side of the business. What we see is that the ‘progressive’ companies have cut out the overhead cost of accounting by adopting new technology. They embrace the change and use technology to make their lives easier.

As a business owner how do I embrace change?

We think ongoing training is necessary plus having people who are prepared to learn. There is all sorts of self training as well as professional training that we offer. No excuses - people must keep themselves relevant.

Are you short paying Holiday Pay?

We have been inundated with employers asking the question as their employees have been asking them the question.


Last week we did an audit for one such business. The unpaid holiday pay on bonus and commissions for the last 7 years was in the region of 8% of $1,450,000 which equated to $116,000! The underpayment made our eyes water but the employees (and ex-employees) were happy.

Payroll software works out the annual leave rate for you. It is important the rate is adhered to and not changed. If you employee people who work on a roster (every week they work different days and hours) then it can be more tricky. We recommend employers in the hospitality industry have in writing the procedures they use and follow them. 

Your payroll program will work out this calculation for Annual Leave:

  1. Work out the weekly average of your employee’s total gross earnings by dividing the “total gross earnings” for the 12 months before the end of the last pay period before the annual holiday by 52. This gives the “average weekly earnings”.

    Note: “total gross earnings” means all salary, wages, overtime pay, allowances, commission, and any previous payments for holidays and leave in the period during which the earnings are being assessed.
  2. Then work out what the “ordinary weekly pay” is (as at the beginning of the annual holiday) by multiplying the ordinary hourly rate of pay by the number of hours the employee normally works each week. This gives the “ordinary weekly pay”.
  3. Whichever of these amounts is the LARGER becomes the rate of the weekly holiday pay.
  4. To get the daily or hourly rate, divide by the number of normal days or hours.

For other leave (Sick, Bereavement, Public holidays)..

Payment should be at the rate the employee would ordinarily be paid on the day leave is taken (relevant daily pay) or their average daily pay where applicable (see calculation above). For example, an employee who normally works eight hours Tuesday to Friday is sick on Tuesday, a payment of eight hours would be due under relevant daily pay.

Where the employee works continuously but to an irregular pattern, sick leave would be payable if the employee was rostered to work on the particular day leave is taken, or could have expected to be rostered. The sick leave would be paid at the employee’s relevant daily pay or average daily pay. Payment for sick leave is made in the normal pay cycle.

End of Financial Year Checklist

You’ve entered everything in your accounting system and are ready to send it to the accountant for end of year. What checks should you make first? Follow our step-by-step guide and you won’t miss a beat.

Accounting software lets you record transactions in the 2017 year without having to finish recording transactions in the old year. Don’t stop entering sales, purchases, doing bank feeds and other everyday stuff in the new year, and take a few weeks to make sure that all transactions are spot on in the old year. We suggest you get on with the jobs below early – the longer you leave it the more you forget what happened.

  1. Enter every transaction up to the last day of the financial year (31/03/16)
  2. Reconcile all your bank, credit card HP & loan accounts – deal to any ‘stale’ entries (reverse them, don’t delete them). Nothing should be left unreconciled except cheques (if you still use them).
  3. Reconcile your PAYE account to match your payroll software. The balance at year end is what you paid in April.
  4. Run the General Ledger detail report with a view to finding coding errors. Check all coding for consistency and correctness.
  5. Run the GST reports again for the previous 12 months and check they still agree to that filed. You can still amend a future GST return.
  6. Run the Receivables Reconciliation report at 31/3/16 and check the debtors. Bad debts need to be written off at 31/3/16. The out-of-balance should be $0
  7. Run the Payables Receivables Reconciliation report and check you have statements/invoices for each balance. The out-of-balance should be $0
  8. If you have stock run the Inventory Reconciliation report. Make inventory adjustments to correct the list (code to a cost of sale account)
  9. Run your Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet report for the last 12 months – does it make sense?
  10. Supply the accountant with all the information they need (best to invite them to use your accounting program so they can enter the year-end entries such as depreciation and tax directly)

Once the alignment journal is entered:

  1. Do a final backup and label it “Company_name-2016.myox”
  2. Open your file and choose [File] Close a Year. Read each screen carefully before clicking Continue. All entries in your file should be retained forever so you can look back anytime! Some programs allow you to roll back if necessary.
  3. Yeah!… you’re done.

Final note: If some of these points fall into the too-haEnd of financial yearrd-basket, then call us. We can sort your out-of-balances and do the checking for you plus enter the alignment journal if your accountant hasn’t provided one.

 

Want to speed up your MYOB AccountRight?

Some find AccountRight Live slower than your old desktop version of the software.  Some find AccountRight Live faster mainly those who have been using MYOB Premier. Generally it is slower but the enhancements to the software reduce the time we take to do accounting.

Check the table below for possible ways to speed up AccountRight Live:

Possible causeTry this solution:
Your computer might not be suitable for running AccountRight.Make sure your computer meets the minimum system requirements to run the new AccountRight. You should have at least 4 GB RAM and an i5 processor running at 2.6 GHz is recommended. The type of processor in your computer is the most important factor. Not all computer chips are equal.
If sales or purchases take a while to record, you might have an abundance of contact logs.Try purging your contact logs as described in the support note Purging contact logs in the new AccountRight
You might be using an older AccountRight version.Check for updates – if you see an orange ribbon around your program then it is time to update. You should always be on the latest version of AccountRight. Each version gets progressively faster as the MYOB technical team speed up particular areas
Your computer’s hard disk might not have enough free space.Download and run CC Cleaner. You can get this useful tool free and its purpose is to defrag your hard drive and free space by deleting unnecessary files. Seehttp://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download/standard
You might have software on your computer which you no longer need.Remove unwanted software to free up some of your computer’s available resources. Uninstall Programs you no longer use.
Your computer may have spyware, malware, or viruses.Remove spyware and check for viruses. How you do this will depend on the antivirus and anti-malware software you use. Refer to that software’s help documentation for instructions on how to perform a full scan of your computer. If you don’t have antivirus and anti-malware software, speak to an IT person.
Your antivirus software might be interfering with AccountRight.Add an exclusion in your antivirus software for AccountRight – see Antivirus exclusions for help on this.
 Check your internet download and upload speedGo to your browser and paste http://www.speedtest.net/Without downloading any software run the speed test which measures download and upload speed. You should download at minimum 8 Mbps & upload at 6 Mbps. Speak to your internet service provider about options to speed up your broadband.
Your Windows might not be up to date.Check for Windows updates. Click the Start button and choose All Programs then choose Windows Update.

PS You don’t need to have your file in the cloud to get bank feeds. Some users prefer to have their file on a local pc or network drive and backup daily to a cloud service. With AccountRight you have that option. Note that speed varies tremendously between sites and at certain times of the day. If the speed is driving you to drink then contact us so we can advise.

 

 

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