Payroll is a complex process involving filing government-mandated forms, paying taxes and, most importantly, making sure your hard-working employees get their rightful wages. With so many details to consider, accuracy and attention to detail are essential to preventing mistakes and mishaps.

Below are just a few of the biggest payroll blunders your business should take pains to avoid:

1. Setting up and Maintaining Payroll Incorrectly: To avoid government penalties and fees, ensure that the setup of your payroll system is fully compliant with all requirements. In addition to double-checking all wage calculations, don’t forget to register your business with Revenue. All records should be meticulously kept—make sure your employees’ names match their PPS numbers before submitting their forms.

2. Missing Deadlines, Submitting Late Payments, and Not Running Payroll on Time: Revenue have specific guidelines about when to report and pay payroll taxes, and failing to meet deadlines can result in penalties and interest charges.  Find out whether these payments should be made monthly and what forms are required to ensure that funds are available when payday rolls around. You run the risk of losing employees’ trust—or losing their service altogether—if their cheques aren’t available when they expect them.

3. Not Saving Payroll Records and Not Recording Paper Cheques: Whenever you pay an employee with a manual cheque, such as for a bonus or a pay advance, be sure to save a copy. Failing to do so will leave your book unbalanced and your tax deposits in disorder. All forms and important records, such as time sheets, cancelled cheques, and payslips, should be kept for at least seven years in case they are ever needed during an audit.

4. Miscalculating or Mishandling Pay: This includes anything from overtime pay to personal employee payments. If an employee accrues overtime pay, there are specific guidelines that should be followed, and any miscalculation can be costly to your business. If an employee owes money due to garnishing, levies, or child support, it’s the responsibility of whoever handles payroll to make these payments are sent to the appropriate recipient.

5. Not Having Enough Backup: There should be more than one person who is aware and capable of handling payroll functions. If the primary payroll person is out of the office, there should be additional employees who can handle disbursements, forms, and employee questions. In addition, you should have a manual payroll system to fall back on if the computerized payroll system goes down.