Time is money. In no sector of industry is this old adage more apparent or more important than in construction. From the moment builders break ground on a project, the clock is ticking towards important milestones and crucial deadlines. Meeting client expectations, whether that client is a private or a public entity, is the key to success. Doing so is all about properly managing your business’s time in addition to accounting for all the work in progress. In other words, we’re talking about payroll.
In the past, the paperwork associated with employee timekeeping and payroll consumed huge amounts of important business time. This is still true for many contractors and builders today. However, advances in technology mean that the cumbersome punch cards and time clocks of old are now just mere memories. Instead, by enlisting the help of computer software, new timekeeping equipment, and experienced third parties like Accuchex, handling your construction fi rm’s payroll is easier than ever.
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- The Many Layers of Payroll Processing
- Breaking Down the Basics of Certified Payroll Requirements
- Understanding Prevailing Wages and Their Importance
- Choosing the Correct Time Clock For Construction Applications
- Integrating Mobile Timekeeping into Payroll Solutions
- Modernize Crew Scheduling with Time Simplicity
- Using Your Accurate Payroll for Better Workers Comp Rates
- A Better Payroll Process Begins With the Basics
The Many Layers of Payroll Processing
Payroll isn’t just about punching in hours worked and cutting a check based on some simple math. In fact, paying your employees is just the beginning of the process. Especially when under government contract, there are other requirements you know you must meet in order to comply with the law fully. The whole process from creating and certifying your weekly payroll to ensuring all employees receive the appropriate prevailing wage requires careful attention to detail.
You’ll also want to ensure your staff can accurately record their hours worked while reducing time spent on payroll activities across all levels of the business. Finally, producing accurate payroll reports often has a real financial implication for construction firms. Not only does it satisfy legal requirements, but total payroll expenses are a major factor in workers compensation insurance premiums.
Recently, we featured a series of articles on our blog outlining guidance for businesses in the construction industry with regards to implementing new, improved payroll systems. Our goal is to lay out the basic path towards creating a system characterized by accurate reporting with less time wasted. Accuchex designs streamlined payroll solutions using extensive knowledge of the needs and requirements facing builders working on civil contracts, A combination of leading products and services yields comprehensive options for builders. Taking advantage of these options begins with understanding the requirements facing construction firms.
Accuchex designs streamlined payroll solutions using extensive knowledge of the needs and requirements facing builders working on civil contracts, A combination of leading products and services yields comprehensive options for builders.
Breaking Down the Basics of Certified Payroll Requirements
In our first blog, “Understanding Certified Payroll Services for Construction Companies,” we discussed how important accuracy in payroll is for construction and broke down what “certified payroll” really means. Civil construction work — projects financed by municipal, state, or the federal government — is one of best sources for contracts and revenue in the industry. However, the government is careful about selecting contract recipients. They also take care to ensure those contracts meet certain standards; it’s not just about putting up a solid building. The government, as your client, focuses on labor fairness and proper compensation for your employees. One of the primary tools the government uses for accountability is the certified payroll report.
This report is a contractor’s accounting of every wage paid on a contract executed for the government. It records the number of hours worked, the wages paid to each employee (both the pay rate and gross wages), along with each employee’s job role. These job roles must match the appropriate wage rate, called the prevailing wage; more on what that means later on in this guide. This is what the payroll “certifies:” that contractors pay out the fair and correct wages owed.
The certified payroll requirements — and the concurrent need for increased care and accuracy in construction record keeping — has its roots in the labor movements of the Great Depression. A law passed in 1931, called the DavisBacon and Related Acts, created the framework for prevailing wages and certified payroll reporting requirements. Since then, similar legislation has become law in a number of states, adding additional layers of responsibility. The need to file multiple reports on a regular basis demands a well-rounded solution, as there are penalties for failing to report weekly. Accuchex provides just such a solution.
Time2Pay by Accuchex features an easy to use interface that makes building your certified payroll simple. Users can input basic information such as dates and times worked, job and pay codes, total wages, prevailing wage rates, and more. Create projects in the software, and designate employees individually to each group for accurate tracking of their hours across multiple job sites.
Time2Pay’s web interface enables supervisors to work on payroll any time with any web-enabled device. Adding or updating info on the fly is as simple as logging into the system. At the end of each week, the software’s powerful built-in report generation provides you with the finalized documents required. Showing that you’ve followed every procedure required is no longer a harrowing process, and with Time2Pay, construction companies have the ability to drastically streamline their payroll. Next, consider how the software ensures accuracy with regards to the issue of prevailing wages. Previously, we covered this topic in an article titled “Construction Cos: Know About Prevailing Wages & Certified Payroll.”
Understanding Prevailing Wages and Their Importance
Once you understand how a certified payroll’s function is to show proof to the government that your workers receive the right wages, it’s time to understand from where those pay rates originate. As mentioned, prevailing wages have their roots in the same legislation as the certified payroll requirements. Let’s break down some of the most pertinent facts about what prevailing wages are and how they’re established.
The Davis-Bacon & Related Acts were remedies, in part, to one major problem plaguing construction work contracted by the government. Upon winning a contract, builders would then bring in labor from outside the work area — often from states far away. These migrant workers could be paid far less than similarly skilled local workers. In other words, local job markets remained depressed due to unfair labor practices shutting off major sources of employment. To prevent this from happening, the government mandated the creation and use of the prevailing wage.
Consider a carpenter. If more than half of the carpenters in a county’s largest city receive a similar rate of pay, then that is the wage that prevails. However, it’s a little more complex than it seems on the surface. To determine the fair wage for builders working under federal contract, a regulatory body examines a number of important factors. For example, the average hourly rate in the area, the benefits one might normally expect in a given job role, and possible overtime all factor into determining a prevailing wage.
As you might expect, this rate will vary widely from area to area. The Department of Labor and individual states publish prevailing wage schedules, recalculated regularly, for use by construction businesses. Maintaining access to updated tables is important for accurate reporting. Time2Pay by Accuchex again provides a simplification of the process.
When accurate reporting is of the utmost importance, having your payroll set up in Time2Pay is the easiest way to save time without sacrificing peace of mind. The software enables users to simply match employees to the correct job codes, which in turn correspond to the appropriate prevailing wage. Viewing any employee’s information — including job site and role, wage, and so on — is also simple, enabling supervisors to verify accuracy personally.
Time2Pay tracks all this information accurately and includes the appropriate data in your weekly certified payroll report. For more detailed info on prevailing wages, check out the full article mentioned above on Construction Cos , prevailing wages and certified payroll. Meeting your legal requirements with Time2Pay is far less stressful than tracking everything by hand on paper. Of course, there are other elements you must keep track of besides simply how much to pay each employee. After all, before you can pay someone, your system must know how often they worked.
Choosing the Correct Time Clock For Construction Applications
In Researching Time Clock Solutions: The Pros and Cons, we established that error-free payroll reporting really breaks down into two parts.
First is knowing the prevailing wage, as we just learned. Second is keeping an accurate count of the hours each of your employees works. Logging hours with a high level of accuracy is a key part of doing due diligence with regard to your record keeping requirements. Accurate timekeeping is also crucial for builders looking to avoid costly budget overruns caused by overtime. Knowing how many hours everyone has each week at a glance allows you to make changes to the schedule as necessary.
Accuchex looks to enable construction companies to maintain reliable time clock options. The full blog takes a close look at these options and the different settings in which they work best. These time clock solutions are:
- PIN/Badge Swipe
A system common in many industries, these time clocks allow employees to “clock in” and “clock out” by using a company issued identity badge. They may alternatively enter a unique PIN on the machine. Badge time clocks are ideal for smaller firms or companies which need to transport the clock from one site to another. When connected to the Internet, these machines can export data into Time2Pay for a seamless transition. However, these machines are susceptible to time theft when workers share badges or PIN information with one another. Nonetheless, it is a solid overall option
- Biometric Time Clocks
For a higher tech and higher security choice, biometric time clocks are ideal. These machines use unique physical identifiers, such as an employee’s fingerprint, to identify them and record the start of their shift. For businesses struggling with buddy punching, these can quickly eliminate the problem. However, these clocks often reside at a permanent installation. Its always on Ethernet connection to the web means punches are instantly recorded into software and made available for review, though. Even with its benefits, businesses should consider their needs carefully with biometric machines; there is a potential for a higher setup cost, plus the need to safeguard fingerprint data.
- Web-enabled time clocks
Now it’s a snap to take advantage of employee smartphone ownership. Accuchex offers a web-only time clock option; there’s no need for workers to report to a specific site to punch their time card. Instead, staffers can use their phones or tablet devices to visit the time clock web page and begin or end their shift. With built-in integration with Time2Pay, there’s no need to transport data from one place to another. Additionally, there’s no need to worry about errors introduced in re-keying as there’s no need to re-enter any data.
Integrating Mobile Timekeeping into Payroll Solutions
Overhauling your time clock system is a smart part of refining your payroll process. Barring a specific need for a biometric time clock, mobile timekeeping and web enabled options are the best choice for businesses in the construction industry. They simply provide the biggest advantages in productivity gains, improved employee satisfaction, and error reduction. In the blog entitled “The Advantages to Adopting Accuchex’s Mobile Timekeeping Solutions,” we laid out the key reasons to make the jump towards a fully mobile system for tracking employee hours. As licensed sellers of the highly engineered mobile time clock called TimeWorksPlus, construction firms can take advantage of our experience in implementing these systems. There are several core advantages in making this choice.
First, it rapidly reduces human introduced payroll errors while also reducing processing delays. TimeWorksPlus, integrated with Time2Pay, improves reliability and the speed with which supervisors can process payroll. That means less time, and less money, spent throughout the whole process. Rather than gathering mobile timekeeping 13 paper copies of time sheets and entering the data by hand into your computer, TimeWorksPlus eliminates that entire cumbersome process. Files created by TimeWorksPlus upload straight to Time2Pay with perfect accuracy — no need to re-key the data. The extraordinary precision of electronic timekeeping makes data instantly available and does away with the need to round. This process reduces waste and allows for finer control over often considerable construction payroll expenses.
Of course, no system is completely foolproof. Employees can still make errors by punching in at the incorrect time. Others may forget, or in the rush of a busy day, make a mistake in recording their time. Supervisors can easily edit these punches in TimeWorksPlus, and additionally receive alerts when missing punches require correction.
Second, TimeWorksPlus includes powerful supervisor tools. Editing punches is just the beginning. With a well-rounded “at a glance” view, supervisors can quickly check to see who is clocked in and whether any edits await their approval. Managers can change job roles for any employee directly in the application. Additionally, you may add new hires or finalize a termination. For busy supervisors always on the move, this is an excellent method for accessing payroll quickly.
Finally, Accuchex’s TimeWorksPlus solutions provide for convenient employee self-service functions. This yields a significant reduction in the amount of time supervisors need to spend addressing issues directly, minimizing the irritation associated with tasks like correcting missed punches. The system can also function in a configuration where employees can edit their time cards, provided there is final supervisor approval. The accuracy and inherent fairness of such systems provide a solid way to build employee confidence. For employees to be able to punch in at all, though, they’ll need to have a schedule to follow. Accuchex has scheduling solutions ideal for a construction setting, too.
Modernize Crew Scheduling with Time Simplicity
Scheduling is a concern of unique importance to construction companies. Consider that a business based in an office will rarely have trouble with the logistics of scheduling employees. However, one construction firm may have workers spread out across a large area. An even larger number of job sites may exist in that area, depending on the size of your operations. That equals a large number of employees to schedule — and all of them likely have different availabilities.
The fluid nature of the schedule presents compounding difficulties. Workers may call out sick, others may wish to exchange shifts, and some may have outstanding requests for time off . Without a solid answer to the scheduling question, you can spend huge amounts of time on the schedule alone each week. With Time Simplicity provided by Accuchex, however, you have access to a slick digital scheduling solution.
First, employees send in their scheduling preferences, letting you know which shifts are best for them. The software tracks this info so there’s no need for you to do the same. After inputting necessary additional information, Time Simplicity quickly builds six weeks of schedules at a time. Supervisors can then customize these schedules through the intuitive “drag and drop” interface. If an employee receives a shift they cannot work, the software will alert you to make a change.
Time Simplicity also lets supervisors interact with employees. Imagine a scenario where you need to cover a shift on short notice. You can simply reach out to available employees directly through the application to offer them the chance to pick up additional hours! Approving or denying time off requests is just as easy. Time Simplicity allows you to respond to the shifting needs of each day’s scheduling demands without losing too much of your own valuable time. Time Simplicity, TimeWorksPlus, and Time2Pay form the backbone of an ecosystem for construction scheduling and payroll.
Time Simplicity allows you to respond to the shifting needs of each day’s scheduling demands without losing too much of your own valuable time. Time Simplicity, TimeWorksPlus, and Time2Pay form the backbone of an ecosystem for construction scheduling and payroll.
Using Your Accurate Payroll for Better Workers Comp Rates
With all of the effort put into creating an accurate payroll on time, it’s important to know that the end result is not just an accurate report ready to submit. Accuchex also works with construction firms to use payroll information as part of finding the best rates on workers compensation insurance. You can find out all of the many benefits when you read the in depth blog Accuchex Simplifies the Workers Compensation Insurance Process for Contractors.
Injuries during construction are always possible — it’s simply a fact of life. Even with the best safety practices in place, honest mistakes and accidents can still occur. Protecting your business, and your employees, from the costs incurred by a workplace injury is best accomplished with workers comp insurance. Where will you find the time to track down a solid policy, though? There are many factors that go into the decision, and many possible providers; that means a lot of fine print to read.
Accuchex has years of experience as a workers comp broker and excellent working relationship with many major providers. As your broker, we will empower you to choose the plan that meets the specific needs of your business with premiums you can afford. In some cases, we can even offer direct billing through your payroll. When you cut paychecks to all your employees, you’ll also pay your monthly policy premium. In terms of tracking expenses and factoring premiums into your budget, this is an important advantage.
We make an extensive effort to understand each construction company’s situation, from your payroll to the potential for injury. You will always have a personal Accuchex representative to assist you throughout the process and as a point of contact in the future. Cutting through the red tape and helping you to find the right policy is what we do best. After allowing us to help you restructure your payroll system to take better care of your company, let us help you to improve care for your employees, too.
Accuchex also works with construction firms to use payroll information as part of finding the best rates on workers compensation insurance. You can find out all of the many benefits when you read the in-depth blog Accuchex Simplifies the Workers Compensation Insurance Process for Contractors.
A Better Payroll Process Begins With the Basics
From producing accurate certified weekly payroll reports to saving time with digital and web-enabled time clocks, there are many ways to enhance a construction fi rm’s processes. At Accuchex, we’ve developed robust solutions shaped by the demands of the construction industry. That includes using our experience at finding highly competitive workers comp rates. Additionally, the access we provide to software like Time2Pay and Time Simplicity is invaluable for the modern builder.
Just as keeping abreast of new building techniques is important, so too is maintaining a smart and accurate payroll system. Working smarter is easy with the aid of an experienced third party like Accuchex. Now is the time to take these valuable steps forward for your construction business. Allow our experience to help guide you towards improved payroll operations; after all, time is money, and we know how to save both.