Let’s Talk Payroll
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I was recently asked to be a member of the Trumbull Business College Advisory Committee. This is new for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The other members were faculty and staff along with a variety of business community owners or employees like me. The school’s director provided some statistics regarding enrollment and retention. The career services department reported their placement statistics. Then they provided their current curriculum for each of their business programs: Associates degrees in Business and Office Administration, Business Administration, Administrative Assisting with a Major in Human Resources, Administrative Assisting with a Major in Legal Studies, and Accounting. They also offer a diploma in Accounting.
They handed out lists of the required courses and the number of clock hours and credit hours needed to complete each program. The head of each department discussed some of the courses and why they felt they were necessary. All were pretty standard for today’s working world. I had an eye opening moment though, when the head of accounting noted that there were two required payroll classes. One using a software program, and one prepared MANUALLY. I nearly had a Tom-Cruise-jump-on-the-couch moment!! They were being taught how to look each person’s federal and state withholding up on the government provided tables. They were being taught how to calculate social security and medicare. They were being taught how to prepare a federal withholding, social security and medicare with matching social security and medicare tax deposit. Instead of just clicking some buttons on the computer, these kids were actually learning WHY these procedures were being done. They were being taught the fundamentals of payroll. I was thrilled!!
When I began working, one of the first duties I was given and forced to learn on my own, was payroll. It seems odd to me today, and I’m sure to many others, but there was very little (if any) training at my place of business. They were VERY old school. You were thrown into the deep end of the pool and you were forced to sink or swim. Luckily, I learned to swim. I quickly learned the process of payroll and all that it entailed. And I liked it. A lot.
I made mistakes, but as the years passed, they were rare, as they are today. A year ago our server managed to get a virus and we discovered that our back-up failed. Fortunately, I had make a back up about a week earlier using a different type of media, so we only lost about a week’s worth of data which was easy to recreate. While we were waiting for a server though, I had to do three weeks worth of payroll manually. Having done it with a software program since 1997, it took me a bit to collect all the necessary material such as the tax tables and a method of recording everything, but I did it. If I hadn’t had that training in the first place though, it would have been completely foreign to me and I doubt I could have done it.
I’m glad these kids are learning it from the ground up. It’s old school, but I think it makes a difference.
It saves them from the sink or swim.
This is the system we used for both payroll and accounts receivable and payable.