Now that the kids are back to school, the holidays will be here before you know it. For those charged with managing their organization's year-end activities, the holidays can quickly become a breaking point rather than a break if they haven't taken steps ahead of time.  

Take a holiday from year-end stress by planning ahead

Now that the kids are back to school, the holidays will be here before you know it. For those charged with managing their organization's year-end activities, the holidays can quickly become a breaking point rather than a break if they haven't taken steps ahead of time. 

"With upcoming tax increases and the likely expiration of the payroll tax holiday, it is more important than ever for organizations to get ready and budget early," says Terri Kirby, a Ceridian compliance business analyst. Carla Gracen, CPP, CIPP/US, senior product manager for Ceridian, agrees that staff responsible for critical U.S. year-end activities should plan well to achieve regulatory and annual tax reporting requirements. 

"Companies can ease the burden on their HR staff by turning to a third-party administrator that works with federal and state agencies, industry groups, and cross-functional teams to ensure changes are communicated to them and their product teams," Gracen says. "During the last quarter of the year, many of the regulatory agencies publish new tax rates that are effective Jan. 1. Federal and state requirements are also often modified, requiring HR and payroll systems to release updates."

In addition, there are new health care reform provisions taking effect in 2013 that will affect employers' 2012 year-end preparations. 

Celebrate year-end with 12 key processes

Make 2012 your organization's best year-end ever by creating a project plan that includes these 12 processes:

  1. Be proactive and start now with your year-end planning. Build in plenty of lead time to meet deliverables once you determine critical milestone dates.
  2. Obtain a list of third-party payments. Some examples include sick payments from insurance carriers or relocation expenses from HR for tax reporting.
  3. Assess your current workforce skills to identify gaps and brainstorm ways to fill the gaps to meet your year-end goals. Ceridian has a selection of year-end training opportunities available to help you succeed.
  4. Learn about new compliance requirements to ensure that you can explain the changes to employees. Determine who and what is covered, what is required or prohibited, who enforces them and what impact they have on your organization.
  5. Create a scorecard of business performance metrics related to year-end. Create an employee and stakeholder survey and consolidate the data in the business performance metrics to provide to management. For example, determine the number of W-2s generated year-over-year and analyze how many were returned.
  6. Ensure employees receive proper notice for any upcoming changes to benefit plans. Remember, benefits open enrollment changes may go into effect on Jan. 1, depending on your organization's benefit plan year.
  7. Include arrangements for annual archiving and destruction of records per your documentation retention policies. Ensure storage areas are locked up and applicable documents are destroyed securely by using a document shredding service.
  8. Plan adequate staffing coverage during the holidays. Addressing the tasks in your plan sooner rather than later will allow more time off.
  9. Provide notice to employees with more vacation or sick time balances than they can carry into the next year. Give them plenty of time to "cash in" or schedule vacation so they don't lose any of their benefits.
  10. Inform your managers, peers and employees about what they should expect during year-end. For example, make sure they are notified of the deadline to submit final expense reports, document the year-end form distribution process to give the mailroom time to prepare for increased mail volume, and leverage self-service tools, such as ones that allow employees to view and print their Form W-2s.
  11. Start your 2013 year-end planning in the first quarter of 2013. Generate management reports that run each quarter so that payroll totals are reconciled throughout the year. Make reconciliation an ongoing process.
  12. Relax and attend holiday parties instead of working extra hours at the office. Following a project plan will help ensure year-end success and provide confidence that your goals have been achieved.
For more information:
  • Visit the updated MyCeridian website for online customer support.