Up To Date With Technology: How To Continue Improving Productivity

Do you feel like your business has not been keeping up to date with the recent industry standards? Keeping yourself well equipped with the latest tech is essential, but what is even more subject to regular change is the kind of software that is used to run businesses around the world. New and improved software with the newest features and quality of life improvements gets pumped out by the truckload for a good reason, it is still a growing market, and everyone wants to be the next best thing. From the perspective of a business owner, you should take full advantage of this, if you have not already, and provide both yourself and your staff with the most up to date software to maximise their efficiency. Not to mention, often make it easier for everyone involved. Let’s have a quick look at some of the more recent software that could easily improve your

Office tools

Even if your business does not have any necessity for everyday office work, chances are you’ve heard of Microsoft Office before, or even use it yourself at home. Just about every establishment uses some sort of text formatting software other than notepad, mostly Microsoft Word, same goes for Excel. As you probably already know, spreadsheets and Excel go hand in hand, and spreadsheets are a common method of storing data in businesses. Be it customer info, upcoming tasks, or stock levels, they have been doing a good job for many a year. In order to provide yourself or your staff with the best tools for the job, keeping up with the Microsoft Office releases is very helpful. With the somewhat recent release of Microsoft 365, you are now able to use online versions of the long-running desktop programs you’ve come to love over the years. Powerpoint, Word, Excel, Publisher and many more, now have their own web-based counterparts making them useable on more or less anything which uses a browser. Definitely something worth upgrading for, if you weren’t too sure about it beforehand.

Communication

If you happen to work in a team of people, or your company comprises of a few groups which work closely together, sometimes e-mails just are not enough to stay in touch and on top of everything. E-mails are slowly starting to show their age as they are still relatively clunky and “rigid” compared to newer instant messenger clients. Many exist, but one which easily stands out and especially for businesses, is Slack. Slack is a wonderful piece of software which manages to create a workflow like no other. Features such custom channels for discussing specific topics, file uploading, app integration, quick and effective search, voice calls as well as text chat. It really is  as great as it sounds, and best of all, you can start using the free package for as long as you like, and as many people as you like, even now. That’s enough gushing about Slack for now, but it is genuinely a great communication tool and definitely deserves your attention if you want to improve your staff’s workflow.

How to Help Your Employees Get the Most Benefit from Payroll Cards

Although most employees still receive their pay via check or direct deposit, a growing number of employers are offering an additional option: A payroll card. Payroll cards work like debit cards, giving employees immediate access to their pay without needing a bank account.

Payroll cards offer some significant advantages to both employers and their workers. In general, payroll cards cost less than other forms of payment, saving companies money. Employees enjoy the quick access to their earnings and the freedom to make purchases, transfer money and withdraw cash as needed without having to maintain a checking account or go through a credit check to get a bank card. With a service like Bank of America CashPay, your employees enjoy a great deal of flexibility in how they manage their money.

However, before you implement a payroll card program, there are some things you need to do to ensure that your employees get the most from the service and that you stay within the boundaries of the law. Even with all of the benefits of a payroll card, there are some guidelines to follow, or else you could face some stiff penalties. With that in mind, here’s how you can help your employees get the most from your payroll card program.

Offer Options

In many states, payroll cards can only be offered as an option to employees and not the only way to be paid. Even if your state doesn’t have such a rule, it’s good practice to continue offering other methods of payment, i.e., traditional paychecks or direct deposit. Some of your employees are likely to have existing relationships with a bank and may resent having to use a different card to transfer their pay to the bank.

It’s also important that you choose a payroll card that has plenty of local ATM locations where employees can access their money, ideally without fees. It doesn’t make sense to select a provider that only has one or two ATMs in the area, forcing employees to go out of their way to get cash or else have to pay big fees.

Be Aware of Fees

Some payroll cards come with fees, which may be nominal but can quickly add up. Employees shouldn’t have to pay to access their money, but in some cases, card issuers charge fees for making more than one ATM withdrawal, making purchases online or getting cash back from a purchase. Other cards may charge fees for getting a paper statement, checking balances, declined purchases and withdrawing from out-of-network ATMs.

The problem with fees is that in some cases, they substantially reduce the amount of pay that an employee receives, effectively reducing their hourly wages. Employees have successfully filed claims against employers for this reduction, so the Fair Labor Standards Act requires that employers ensure that employees have free access to their full pay at least once every pay period. In addition, some states have laws relating to fees, including a requirement that employees have a certain number of fee-free transactions per month, so before you choose a payroll card provider, evaluate the fees charged and when.  Also, be certain that you disclose all fees to your employees when they sign up for the card. Most cards do charge some type of fees, but the more you can limit the costs to your employees, the more enthusiastic they will be about the program— and the less likely it is that you will land in hot water.

Provide Education

When you offer payroll cards to your employees, it’s a good practice to provide education for them on how to best use the cards and keep them safe. Because payroll cards are debit cards, like any other bank-issued cards, they are at risk of being stolen, so employees should know how to secure their card and use it safely. Offer information and training sessions on best practices in card security and inform your employees about how they can prevent their pay from being stolen. Some topics you might cover include creating PINs, shopping online safely and how to get cash safely.

Payroll cards are appealing to both employers and employees for many reasons, but they need to be handled appropriately, or they could prove costly to everyone. By giving your employees to tools they need to use them to their full benefit, everyone will be more satisfied.

Hidden Surprises: Business Expenses That You Forgot to Plan For

If you’ve ever purchased a car or a house and was shocked at the number of hidden fees, then you’ll understand what it feels like to be told you forgot something critically important when planning your business. To help you avoid those pitfalls and prepare your business’s wallet, here are some of the most commonly forgotten expenses that you should always plan for.

Office Costs

The cost of rent and the location are usually the first things on your mind when you need to look for an office, but what about furnishing it? Getting your office online, equipping it with the relevant equipment, buying nice chairs and even stocking up on tea and coffee are all essential to a new office, but for some reason, many business owners forget these important expenses.

Don’t be caught off guard when you realise that you haven’t bought a single computer for your employees to work on, or you neglected to buy them chairs and force them to sit on cardboard boxes or, even worse, on the floor. Consider these costs before you look for an office to rent out because it could affect your budget and choice of locations.

Production and Manufacturing

A production line is usually something that business owners dream of having. They often have to resort to outsourcing their manufacturing duties to a third party business, but that doesn’t mean every business should outsource production. If your product sells in high volumes then it’s a good idea to invest in a production line from the very beginning.

You need to worry about the costs of a factory, the equipment, staff members to man the tools, and also the costs involved in transporting goods around the world. Don’t neglect the importance of creating your own product unless you want to pay expensive fees to a manufacturing business. You need to consider everything from renovation costs to specialised equipment such as powder coating booths, which you can read online at ReliantFinishingSystems.com/powder-coating-equipment/ for more information.

Legal Fees and Teams

Hiring a lawyer for your business is incredibly important. Not only can they get you out of false claims and sticky situations with lawsuits and frustrated employees or customers, but they can also help you plan for future products and how to deal with potential trademark infringements that could kill your business.

Hiring a lawyer isn’t cheap and dealing with all the legal fees involved in setting up a court case can be daunting. It’s a good idea to get in touch with a variety of lawyers and attorneys because they all specialise in different fields, and it’s necessary to have a good mix of people to cover all your bases.

Outsourcing

No business wants to hire an employee for a job that only needs to be done every month. It’s not worth the effort or cost of interviewing and adding someone to your payroll, but it’s still important to keep in mind the amount of money you have to spend on outsourcing or freelancers. The costs of hiring individuals to work for you can be extremely expensive, and they can easily start to cost more than hiring an employee if you hire their services on a regular basis.