How to Build Community in the Workplace

Finding satisfaction in your job is something that everyone strives to achieve. Enjoying where you work is very important in finding this satisfaction, as is enjoying your time spent with the people with whom you work each day.

At QBS we’ve seen a lot of growth over the years, and with growth comes change, which isn’t always easy. But all along, QBS has been intentional about keeping what made it great in the first place – a sense of community. Let’s be honest, when you spend 40-plus hours a week with your coworkers – they pretty much become like another family, a work family.

There are many things that can become barriers to creating community, even the layout of your office building. If people work on different floors, wings, or event buildings, it might be challenging for different departments to intermingle and forge positive relationships. Leading us back to the idea of being intentional. Here are just a few ways you can begin, or continue, to build a sense of community within your organization.

  1. Bring fun into the workplace. It’s easy to do simple, small things both within and outside of the office to add a bit of fun. You can create playful competitions and encourage employees to express individuality by allowing a cubical, desk or office to be tastefully decorated. You can encourage employees to show team spirit for their sports teams on Fridays, dress up for Halloween or enjoy fun themed all-staff celebrations like Cinco de Mayo.
  2. Celebrate whenever possible. Do something special to recognize employees’ birthdays. If someone is getting married or having a baby, throw a shower. And, you can even celebrate your company spirit by hosting a “Spirit Week” (like we do at QBS) where team members participate in games or trivia each day. Not only do these create comradery, they provide employees with the opportunity to participate and support others.
  3. Encourage employee-driving events. While company leadership and management can do a lot to bring fun into the office, when other team members are brought into the planning and execution, it builds on that sense of teamwork. Create a group of employees to lead efforts on potlucks, holiday celebrations, or other ideas they might have which further encourage team members to do something more social at least once a month.

 

Once you’ve empowered your leadership and employees to do some of the items above, a great way to promote these events or important dates is to send out a monthly internal newsletter. It keeps everyone up to date on work anniversaries, new employees, birthdays, and more. It’s also the perfect place to share employee bios to give the sense of community. You just may find out a thing or two about an employee you did not know.

Overall, when there is a community in the workplace, it shines through in our work, our coworkers, our productivity and our leadership. There becomes a sense of openness to new ideas and employees of all levels. Wouldn’t it be great if your co-workers felt like a second family?

Making small steps over time, throughout the work week, can make a significant difference overall for you, your team and your organization.

 

How SMBs are Embracing the Digital Revolution to Stay Competitive

It is no surprise that technology is continuing to revolutionize the way business owners conduct their business and the necessity to remain competitive with technological products and services offered. Unfortunately, small- and mid-sized businesses are trying to keep up with the marketplace. According to a 2020 Technology Report, more than 400 IT professionals describe the challenge stemming from a vastly dispersed workforce, IT upgrades with business growth, cloud migration, and outsourcing as business demands increase.

While remote work and other technology-reliant work is booming and changing the workplace dynamic, many small and mid-sized businesses are facing the obstacle of constant and consistent accessibility. Many IT systems and processes are at the core of the technology revolution at these businesses. While IT professionals at such businesses have or are planning to utilize new digital tools, legacy system compatibility and integration is challenging. The second part of the challenge is finding a new technology that best suits business needs, followed by budget limitations.

With all these hurdles contributing to the over 50% of startups having a less than four-year lifespan, it is vital for SMBs to remain diligent in seeking innovative solutions and investing the time and money to do so. Take a moment to look around at where you can sacrifice a little to contribute to your business’s digital transformation efforts.

Another problem with digital improvements is the migration and implementation of the cloud. Cost and security are the underlying obstacles that make migration and implementation of the cloud so difficult. It is best for business owners and leaders to sit down and determine a strategy for achieving well-defined goals, develop adequate onboarding, obtain sufficient end-user support, and invest in monitoring cloud utilization for better optimization of the budget.[1]

Issues with vendors can cause inefficiency in small- to mid-sized businesses. For example, customized solutions for business needs, coordinating effective IT resources, asset management and licensing, and differing between large and small- to mid-sized business needs are some of the top challenges for small- to mid-sized businesses in dealing with vendors.

Many of the stresses and fears that SMBs face with innovation and digital transformations is the hindrance of their business. While much research and planning must be done to ensure investments are optimized adequately, it is imperative to SMBs remaining competitive in the marketplace.

Fear no more! QBS is your partner in HR resources and management. We offer 24/7 assistance with any HR questions regarding tools that can improve your business efficiencies. Contact QBS today to see how we can find an affordable, innovative solution for your business needs.

[1] https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191205005283/en/Small-Midmarket-Businesses-Recognize-Importance-Digital-Transformation

 

Common Tax Errors for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses

Doing taxes is typically a task most people dislike. It becomes even more cumbersome for new and/or small business owners, who are oftentimes found managing all aspects of their day-to-day operations. Taxes might not be as daunting to some business owners as others, but attention to such task is imperative to avoiding mistakes that can be costly. Tax errors, including failing to comply with tax laws, violating tax codes, or incorrect or inaccurate forms can lead to penalties.

Here are some of the most common tax errors committed by SMBs and simple solutions to avoid them.

Estimated Taxes

Estimated taxes are generally for business owners who expect to owe $1,000+ upon filing their taxes. If business owners lack the funds through withholding and estimated tax payments, they could be subject to a penalty.

Employment taxes

Business owners are expected to deposit employee withheld taxes and their share of those taxes through electronic fund transfers. It is crucial to ensure accuracy of the forms, means of transferring, and timing of delivery, as any error in those three components can result in penalties.

Filing Late

As with personal taxes, if a business owner files their business tax return late, they are subject to a penalty. Business owners should also familiarize themselves of all tax requirements for their business tax return.

Personal vs. Business

To avoid confusion between valid business expenses from personal expenses and ensuring accuracy of deductions, business owners should file their personal and business tax returns separately. This can assist in preventing audits and errors.

Investing in a reputable tax preparer or tax management company such as QBS can give you the support you need in filing your business taxes. From quarterly state and federal reporting to withholding and unemployment management, QBS offers comprehensive solutions for tax reporting and tax management for businesses of all sizes. We understand how complex taxes can be, so we value your investment and trust in us to assist you in minimizing your liabilities and maximizing your savings. Contact QBS today to jumpstart your tax season with confidence.

 

Unemployment Management 101: What Every Business Owner Needs to Know

Unemployment is never something an employer or an employee enjoys or wishes upon another. However, as a business owner, it is imperative that you have an unemployment management process in place to address any claims and mitigate risk. The biggest mistakes employers make are oftentimes caused by poor recordkeeping and/or lack the staff to attend hearings. As a result, billions of dollars are wasted on inaccurate unemployment benefits.

Mitigating Risks

There are risk management methods that will help prepare employers for unemployment issues that may arise and the proper processes to implement.

  • Keep a record of everything. Incomplete and inaccurate documentation has been a long-standing issue with unemployment management processes. To combat this issue, make sure to document everything. Be sure to keep the data securely stored and easily accessible should you need it.
  • Only terminate when necessary. It is important to familiarize yourself with the legalities of your Code of Conduct and state unemployment laws to ensure your employee terminations do not put you at risk for an unemployment lawsuit. For example, if an employee is terminated for repetitive absenteeism, make sure that company policies are fully communicated to the employee. You should also have records of their absences and the written and verbal warnings distributed to the employee before termination.
  • Familiarize yourself with your state’s unemployment system. Unemployment systems vary by state, so it is critical that you educate yourself and remain diligent in updates to your state’s system.

 

Contesting an Unemployment Claim

There is a general process for contesting an unemployment claim. Here’s what you need to know:

A state agency will notify you of an unemployment claim. You will typically have 7-10 days to provide written contest of the claim. If you miss the deadline, you default for failure to fulfill your burden of proof.

Be as detailed as possible with all accurate and appropriate documentation to support assertions. Have documents and witnesses ready for a hearing to support your defense. If you fail to appear at the hearing, you will likely lose the case.

Unemployment management and mitigating risk are at the core of effectively combatting unemployment claims and the costs associated with such issues. One way to regulate unemployment claims and risks is to invest in a system to manage all claims. PEO service providers, like Quality Business Solutions (QBS), offer unemployment management services. QBS assists with claims processing and reviews, hearings representation, and quarterly and annual reports. For an unemployment management solution, please contact QBS for more information.

Source: https://www.adp.com/spark/articles/2018/10/managing-the-risks-of-unemployment-claims.aspx#

 

QBS Family Holiday Recipes 2019

Family traditions are what make the holiday season so special. This year, our QBS Family wanted to share some of our traditions with you. Below you will find some recipes provided by our QBS team members that have become favorites in their home and in our QBS kitchen.

Bacon Wrapped Dates

Peanut Butter Fudge

Chocolate Mint Brownie Bites

Chicken and Dumplings

Peanut Butter Pie

Wishing each and every one of our clients, friends, vendors and team members a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

Top HR Management Solutions

Human resource management has become a complex system of HR techniques, personalities, and skillsets. Because human resources is an inevitably, constantly changing industry, it is imperative that those who wish to be leaders quickly adapt to such changes.

One way to stay ahead of such changes is checking updates in the industry. What’s trending? What has become outdated? Where is the industry likely to shift next? These types of questions will help you remain diligent in your efforts to better serve your clients and gain leadership recognition in the field.

In addressing such questions, you may realize that there are HR tools and systems that will help push you to the top of HR management, such as customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, performance management, and other similar tools.

  • CRM. Customer relationship management software can be thought of as a glamorized Excel sheet. While most small- and medium-sized businesses may be misled in their belief that CRMs are solely for large corporations, they’re useful to SMBs too. Because they organize and analyze data, CRMs allow data-backed insights so businesses can better gauge customer demands. CRMs are adaptable in forecasting future needs.
  • ERP. Enterprise resource planning tools analyze various fields and processes of a business, such as inventory, accounting, and HR management software. It is an all-in-one system that streamlines policies and procedures companywide. ERPs are similar to CRMs but focus more on the operational side of business.
  • Analytics. Whether you’re using a performance management, applicant tracking, or social media software and tools to record and organize information regarding current and prospective employees, utilizing analytics is becoming an integral focus in HR management. Social media is a great resource for the HR industry, especially when it comes to building the company reputation within the local community. This is typically done during the interview and selection process to create algorithms that refine methods to garner positive perceptions of the company.

 

There are many tools and software available for adequate HR management in all size organizations. Professional employer services (PEO) organizations are revolutionizing the human resource industry.

Implementing top trends in HR management, acquiring the skillsets, and evolving with the industry has allowed QBS to flourish. QBS has a competitive, comprehensive suite of HR management resources and experts that are readily available to assist you.

From compensation, FMLA, and benefits, to discipline, termination, and policies, QBS provides an HR Support Center staffed with HR specialists who can provide the information and resources you seek.

 

What’s Trending in Tax Reporting Tools

Tax reporting can be daunting, especially if you have limited knowledge. This can amplify if you are a small business owner and looking for tools and tips for tax reporting best practices. The Internal Revenue Service also offers helpful tools to assist in tax reporting processes.

While you may be hesitant to seek professional advice or services, sometimes doing so can offer better – and cost effective – outcomes for your business goals. Let’s take a look at some of the available and popular tax reporting tools that might be useful in your business processes.

QuickBooks. A majority of businesses use QuickBooks as it is one of the easiest-to-use software available. Accessibility through various devices, integrated and evolving tools that increase efficiency, automated backup service, and specific emphasis on small businesses are all reasons why QuickBooks is a top tax reporting software for small- to medium-sized businesses.

TurboTax. TurboTax is widely known and arguably the best personal tax preparation software to date. However, it is one of the priciest options available. There are many useful features, such as taking pictures of tax-related documents (i.e., W-2s, 1099 forms, etc.), Expense Finder for self-employed individuals, notify you of potential tax-deductible items, and support tools including real-time, real-life tax experts, if you get stuck or have questions.

Wave. Wave offers a free tax reporting system that hosts a variety of features. It is easy to setup and use, provides account management, payroll processing, and the ability to connect to bank accounts. Certain features require monthly fees, but are still at affordable rates for small- and medium-sized businesses. This is a great tax reporting solution for businesses on a tight budget.

Xero. This is a great alternative to QuickBooks. It offers affordable plan options and unique features including unlimited users, easy setup for bank and credit card accounts, 24/7 email tech support, and generating key financial statements for review. This program was created specifically for small- and medium-sized businesses, and to aid in global expansions.

Zoho Books. Much like all the options above, Zoho Books offers cost-effective plans with features including multi-user access, bank and credit card account compatibility, online payments, and key financial reporting. The tiers of plans target specific sized businesses. For example, the Standard plan is geared towards businesses with fewer than 500 contacts, whereas the Professional plan is geared towards businesses with greater than 500 contacts.

Tax reporting and management can be complicated and stressful. Don’t let it distract your from more pressing duties. QBS provides tax management and unemployment management services, such as quarterly state and federal reports, tax withholdings, W-2 and W-4 forms, and claims processing and reviews. Contact QBS today and one of our specialists can assist you with any questions you might have.

 

Simplify and Streamline Employee Onboarding with a Web-Based Solution

If your company has a need to employ individuals, it’s almost guaranteed that it has some type of system to onboard any new employees. And no matter if everything is done on paper, by hand or via computer, there are necessary forms to complete and necessary information that every employer must capture in order to change that new hires status from applicant to employee.

At QBS, we offer a fully integrated, web-based onboarding system that streamlines and simplifies the above process for our clients, making it much easier and quicker to get a new employee up and running. While we realize that some employers still utilize hard copies of forms and documents, there are many advantages to adopting a web-based system, such as the one we use at QBS.

First and foremost, it saves time. Employees are able to enter in their personal information into a form that includes everything from an emergency contact, to tax and WOTC forms, to the necessary documents required for that individual’s specific role. For example, if you’re part of a waitstaff, a majority of your forms would be focused on the food service industry dos and don’ts.

By entering in this information one time and online, it can help to avoid errors that might occur due to legibility in handwriting, information transfer from one document to another, or even keying errors that might happen if the same information must be entered or provided multiple times.

In addition to minimizing errors and saving time by entering in personal information up front, once employees are hired, they are able to seamlessly continue the process by logging into a site that will provide the necessary documents they must complete and sign regarding their legal rights to work. Once they complete their portion of these forms, management is able to complete their portion (also online and within the same system), and the employee can officially be added to the company payroll.

There are multiple additional benefits to utilizing a fully integrated, web-based system:

#1: No Unnecessary Trips – Transportation to and from a job site can present a barrier for some people, especially while they are looking for work or transitioning between jobs. The ability to complete onboarding via a web-based system at home on their own time provides for enhanced flexibility. This is especially beneficial as it can take up to an hour to complete the necessary online forms depending on the person and the specific job.

#2: No Lost Paperwork – Though hopefully not a common occurrence, it’s unfortunately possible that in the midst of the workday, an employer may accidentally lose onboarding paperwork that an employee has spent their time completing. If this occurs, the employee must re-do the form. Not only is that a pain for the employee, but it can reflect poorly on the employer, which isn’t the way anyone wants to begin a relationship. Beyond this, in the face of a natural disaster or a fire, physical documents are much more likely to be lost.

#3: Quicker employment – By housing the onboarding process online, it makes it possible that the employee could very well start work the very next day. This is a prime example of the enhanced speed and efficiency of the online process. Paperwork tends to be a bit more cumbersome – both in the time to fill it out and the time to review it. It’s much easier to miss a required “box” of information when filling out a paper form than when you’re doing it online. Additionally, depending on the hiring manager’s workload and organization, it could take longer for him or her to complete their portion of the paperwork. Plus, when using physical forms, oftentimes managers must wait for things to get manually filed and completed.

While it’s true that onboarding can be a tedious task, by applying innovative solutions like we offer at QBS, the burden can be greatly reduced for employer and employee alike.

If you’re interested in upgrading your onboarding process, give us a call. We’d love to walk you through how this and our many other services can benefit your business and your bottom line.

 

The “Bright Side” of Workplace Interruptions

With the ever-increasing rate of technological advances, enhanced connectivity and endless supply of content available at our fingertips, it can sometimes be difficult to keep pace with the world around you – both while we are at home and during our time at the office. As a result, time becomes precious because we all feel like we don’t have enough of it.

So, when you’re at work, it’s critically important that you can accomplish the tasks at hand. In order to do this, people use all kinds of techniques – making lists, setting aside time blocks, turning off email notifications for periods of time, listening to music, etc. – all to limit interruptions and get to a state of “flow.”

But, equally important to enhancing productivity, is the need to step away from the paperwork, computer screens and smart phones (dinging with new emails) to stretch, take a mental break and interact with your coworkers.

Easier said than done, right? Maybe so, but we all need to “reconnect” with the world outside of work and take the opportunity to breathe, clear our heads and even relieve some stress. Truthfully, when most people hear the word “interruption” – like we mentioned above – their minds immediately think of something negative, like a rude patron cutting into a conversation or even the news disrupting your favorite TV show so the local meteorologist can share information about a bad storm that’s in your area. Well…

NEWSFLASH: Interruptions can be a negative thing, but they can also be beneficial, especially in the workplace.

In today’s global world, everyone has cell phones and other inter-connected electronic devices, so the threat of too many interruptions throughout the day (at the heart of the negative connotation) is absolutely a reality. Here’s where you can incorporate some of the techniques we mentioned above like turning off notifications on your devices or placing them in a bag or drawer, only looking at them at specified times or after predetermined intervals.

An article from The Conversation classifies interruptions into two categories: time-worthy and well-timed.

  • Time-worthy interruptions are “deemed high priority, relevant to other ongoing projects and clearly within the scope of employees’ jobs.”
  • Well-timed interruptions are “those that arise when employees are not deeply absorbed in another task or need a break from their current task.”

 

Essentially, whether someone reacts positively to an interruption is frequently based on three factors: 1. the time at which it happens, 2. the subject matter, and 3. the person who is doing the interrupting.

Every workplace is different when it comes to interruptions, but the key is to manage them wisely and find a way to use them to your advantage. So, the next time you’re interrupted at work, ask yourself whether it’s time-worthy or well-timed. Who knows, this interruption might be exactly what you need to refresh and recharge before tackling the next thing on your to do list!

 

Meet Beth Allman – Payroll Administrator

How long have you worked at QBS and what is your role? I’ve worked at QBS since May of this year (2019) as a Payroll Administrator. In my role, I serve a wide variety of clients from a construction company with one employee to a staffing agency with thousands. Our clients are as unique as the individuals that work for them.

What’s your favorite part of your job? I really love making my clients happy,  especially when they have special, unusual or even difficult requests. It’s fun to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions. The relationships that I have formed with my clients in the short time I have been here are phenomenal, making each client feel as if they are the most important client of QBS is essential, if my clients are happy at the end of the day, my job has been successful.

What is one of the biggest challenges you face in your role? The ever-changing rules and updates to different laws concerning payroll and taxes are definitely a challenge, but it’s also a big part of what keeps this role exciting and is exactly why what we do is so important to our clients.

QBS continues to grow and change. What do you think drives that growth? While change is always a part of growth, our focus and goals remain consistent. Also, quality leadership and a family atmosphere are a big part of the “glue” that helps keep our culture steady and makes QBS a great place to work. I truly love working here!

What’s one interesting fact about you that we may not know? In August my husband and I celebrated our 25th Anniversary. We just returned from a Cruise to the Virgin Islands!

Anything else you’d like to share? (Family, Hobbies, etc.?)  I love to travel and be adventurous. I went parasailing two years ago in Belize, snorkeling is a favorite activity, and one day I would love to hang glide and parachute from a plane! And when I am not at work or traveling, I enjoy spending time with my granddaughters Rylee (3) and Malia (11 Months) — I am the typical GiGi … they are my pride and joy.