Are you ready for some football?
Football season is finally here! ‘Tis the season for tailgate BBQs, $11 beers, crazed fans, touchdowns, and referees making ridiculous “holding” calls. Football season reminds us that not only is the summer over, but year-end is also fast approaching! It’s time to dust off your favorite jersey and your payroll year-end process notes from last year. In my many years in payroll, I have always associated preparing for W-2 season with my favorite pastime. Watching a football team continually rise to the challenge of getting beaten up (or beaten down depending on who you are rooting for!) each week to earn a championship title and that elusive ring has always inspired me to plow through any adversity that may be thrown my way. September is a great time to take stock of your team’s playbook for the upcoming payroll year-end season. As the “ head coach” in a payroll department, here are a few rules a good leader should follow:
Identify any key players that may have changed on your team as well as your partner teams (HR, Finance, IT, etc.). Similar to Peyton Manning becoming a Denver Bronco after so many years in Indianapolis, the acquisition or loss of one key player can change your whole game. Be aware of team members and their skill set, and ensure they are assigned tasks that are appropriate for their position.
Review your notes from last year-end. Look for things that went well and what didn’t. Take those steps and processes that were not effective and work with your team to create a new “play” now, not during the December playoffs when it’s too late. And while letting the other team know your strategy is not conducive to winning a football game, it is critical to share your plans and steps with the right teams within your company. Communication is key to ensuring all the steps and processes are completed in a timely and effective manner.
While Peyton Manning may have been born with natural talent, he still commits to practicing each day to improve his game. The same applies in payroll. Practice and test your year-end processes now to highlight improvement areas needed. Start working with your IT support team today before that important game and avoid getting blitzed by technical issues!
While processing payroll and reconciling W-2’s is not actually a game, it can still be fun and played to give you an advantage heading into December and to keep you on track for a successful year-end. They say the best offense is a good defense. This is true in all situations, especially payroll. As you move forward to your tough season ahead and toward your company’s goal of that Super Bowl equivalent of W-2 distribution, be sure to stay alert and focused. And don’t be afraid to be that coach who expects excellence. This is how the game is won.
[Editor’s note: While we love Kris’s enthusiasm, we respect the right of everyone to root for the team of their choice. Especially if they root for the Panthers.]