Compliance Alert: Beneficial Ownership Information Report

As of January 1, 2024, small businesses that fall under the definition of a reporting company are required to file a Beneficial Ownership Information Report (BOIR) with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

The BOIR aims to shed light on criminal activities that threaten national security, fair business competition, and our financial system. The reporting system is designed to be simple and minimize burdens on small business owners.

Key Points

The BOIR provides information about the ultimate owners or controllers of companies. It helps track beneficial ownership, which includes details about the entity, its beneficial owners, and, in certain cases, its company applicants.

Companies are required to report this information to the (FinCEN). The reporting process began on January 1, 2024. FinCEN provides guidance on deadlines, exemptions, and how to file

You can file the BOIR using three methods:

  • PDF: Fill out the report manually and submit it.
  • Online: Use the FinCEN’s BOIR E-Filing System to create and submit your report.
  • API: For more advanced users, there’s an API option for filing.

To keep up with updates and alerts related to the Corporate Transparency Act, subscribe to FinCEN updates.

Why Comply?

The BOIR is an essential tool for promoting transparency and accountability in business ownership. Failure to comply can result in penalties, including:

Civil Penalties: Companies that do not submit the required BOIR or provide false information may face civil penalties. These penalties can be substantial and may vary based on the severity of the violation.

Criminal Penalties: In cases of willful non-compliance or deliberate misrepresentation, criminal penalties may apply. These can include fines and even imprisonment.

Business Disruption: Non-compliance can disrupt business operations. Financial institutions may refuse services to companies that fail to provide accurate beneficial ownership information.

Reputational Damage: Public knowledge of non-compliance can harm a company’s reputation. It may affect investor confidence, business relationships, and overall trust.

Legal Action: Authorities can take legal action against non-compliant entities. This may involve investigations, court proceedings, and legal expenses.

It’s important file the BOIR correctly and on time to avoid penalties and fines. Schedule a call to learn more about how we can help support your small business’ compliance needs.

Compliance Alert: 2023 EEO-1 Component 1 Data Collection

What you need to know:

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced on February 26, 2024 that the 2023 EEO-1 Component 1 data collection will open on April 30, 2024. The deadline to file all 2023 EEO-1 reports is June 4, 2024. The EEO-1 help desk will also be available starting April 30, 2024 to answer any questions about the 2023 collection.

Background:

The EEO-1 Component 1 report is a mandatory annual data collection that requires all private sector employers with 100 or more employees, and federal contractors with 50 or more employees meeting certain criteria, to submit workforce demographic data, including data by job category and sex and race or ethnicity, to the EEOC.

The help you need:

All updates about the 2023 EEO-1 Component 1 data collection can be found at www.eeocdata.org/eeo1.

To learn more about how Counter Point can help support your compliance, request a call today!

Avoiding Time Theft Within Your Remote Workforce

Right now, as you’re reading this article, an on-the-clock employee is binge-watching their favorite show. Another is walking their dog. And another is taking a nap.

All employees, even your top performers, are guilty of time theft from time to time.

Time theft, when an employee accepts pay for work and time that they didn’t work, is easy to spot when employees are present on the worksite. Mindless scrolling of social feeds, socializing with coworkers, and taking longer-than-allowed breaks are visible signs a worker has mentally checked out.

However, when it comes to remote workers, it’s not as easy to see, but it’s happening. According to a survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees who worked at home report doing so for 5.4 hours on days they worked vs. 7.9 hours for those who worked at their workplace.

Working Hard vs. Hardly Working

Just because your employees are sitting in front of their laptops, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are working effectively. In fact, taking periodic work breaks throughout the day can boost well-being and performance.

But how much downtime is acceptable? Followers of the 52/17 Rule, work intently for 52 minutes, then take a break for 17 for optimal productivity. This popular hack is proven effective in the workplace.

Studies show that employees who take frequent breaks are more productive than those who don’t. If that’s true, then employees only need to actively work for 5 ½ hours of an 8-hour workday.

Time theft becomes a problem when it impacts productivity. So how do you know when your remote employee is taking advantage of the situation? These are signs to look out for:

  • The employee isn’t responsive to calls and emails
  • The employee is late with assignments or their work is sub-par
  • You been receiving complaints about the employee’s performance from clients and colleagues

Avoiding Time Theft 

Fortunately, there are ways to deter time theft among your remote team. Here’s how.

Encourage accountability

Create an environment of accountability to ward off time theft. Keep your remote employees engaged by building a sense of community, providing ample feedback and recognition, and investing in their development. Demonstrate that out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind.

Establish a policy

All workforces with remote or flexible working models should have a formal work-from-home policy. In addition to legal rights and security protocols, the policy should clearly communicate expectations for employee availability and responsiveness, along with methods used for measuring productivity. The policy should be included in your employee handbook.

Utilize time and labor management software

Integrated time and attendance software makes it difficult for employees to steal time. With Counter Point HCM’s time and labor management solutions, you can track and monitor your employees’ meals, breaks, and overtime, calculate and manage comp time, track employee locations when they clock in and out, monitor errors, and manage other time policies for complete and accurate timecards.

If your company could benefit from time and attendance software, request a call today!

3 Signs You Should Reconsider Your Payroll Solution

Whether you have been with your payroll provider for 10 months or 10 years, if you are not completely satisfied with the service you are receiving, it may be time to move on.

There’s no doubt you’ll feel apprehensive about making a switch. After all, not only will you have to shop around for a new solution, but you’ll also have to transition to a new system.  

Don’t let the fear of conversion prevent you from seeking a better solution. Staying with your current provider and technology simply for the sake of avoiding change will only make things worse over time.

Are your concerns valid? Check out the following 3 indicators that it’s time to make a change:

Your Process is Prone to Errors

Did you know that just two payroll errors will send almost half of your team out looking for a new job?

Getting payroll right is essential to employee morale and your business. If your payroll provider is constantly letting problems slip through the cracks, avoiding them completely, or “fixing” them only to become ongoing issues that don’t fully get resolved, then it’s time to look elsewhere.

You need a fully responsive and professional payroll provider that is eager to help you with your problems and has your best interest in mind.

Your Process is Cumbersome

If you find yourself relying on spreadsheets, or having to piece together information to run payroll, you need to question the processes you have in place.

Many modern platforms offer an all-in-one solution that includes time and labor management. These systems collect, manage, and process your time data, which flows right into payroll for a seamless experience.

There are many benefits to having an integrated timekeeping payroll solution. Not only is payroll processed more quickly with accuracy and ease, but an integrated solution can also help maintain your compliance with employment laws that require documentation of employee time.

You’re Not Sure Who to Call When You Have an Issue

If you find yourself waiting on hold so long with your payroll provider that you start rockin’ out to the hold music, then you might have a customer service issue.

Your payroll provider should promptly address your needs regardless of the issue. Whether it’s urgent or a run-of-the-mill matter, they should handle it with ease and communicate with you throughout the process.

Being transparent and offering a timeline for resolving the problem is crucial. If you don’t know what’s going on, it can cause unnecessary anxiety and frustration.

Don’t waste another minute feeling frustrated, proactively research new solutions. Ask a trusted advisor, friends in the industry, or read reviews online to help guide your decision.

Invite prospective providers in for a demo. Talk to them about your concerns and ask them what they will do differently. Most importantly, hold the new company to your expectations.

Although any change can be unnerving, for the sake of your business, it may be time to make the switch.

Check us out. Discover what Counter Point has to offer by scheduling a meeting today.  

5 Tips for Efficient and Reliable Payroll

Payroll is the lifeblood of any organization. Ensuring employees are compensated accurately and on time fosters trust and morale within the workforce. It also plays a crucial role in maintaining compliance, as accurate payroll processing ensures adherence to tax laws and labor regulations. Payroll is a complex and time-consuming process, but it’s imperative to get it right. 

Here we present five tips to achieve accurate payroll and streamline the process, to help keep your employees happy and your company out of court.

Get Organized 

There are a lot of due dates, tasks, reports, etc. to keep track of when processing payroll. Find a system for organization that works for you. This could be a calendar, weekly or monthly planner, or a simple to-do list.

Having a visual reminder of what is coming up can help you avoid missing a deadline and help you handle all payroll tasks more efficiently. This step is important to avoid penalties, interest charges, and compliance issues.

Simplify Your Policies and Procedures

There are many policies that contribute to payroll—attendance, paid time off, expense reimbursement, and commissions, to name a few. Review your current policies to ensure they are clear and concise. By making an effort to simplify your policies, while complying with all labor laws, you can make the process easier for you and your employees.

Develop documented payroll procedures outlining each step of the process, including data collection, verification, calculation, and distribution of paychecks. Clear procedures help maintain consistency and reduce errors.

Provide Electronic Pay Stubs

Foregoing paper stubs by providing direct deposit with online pay stubs can save your company time and money. Although employers in many states can’t make direct deposit mandatory, the benefits for both employers and employees make it an appealing option.

Aside from convenience, electronic pay stubs minimize errors, ensuring accurate wage calculations and tax withholdings. They are also safer and more secure. Electronic pay stubs are encrypted and stored securely, reducing the risk of theft, loss, or unauthorized access to sensitive payroll information.

Keep Up with Changes

Legislation affecting payroll and taxes is ever-changing, so you need to keep up to date on all relevant laws affecting your organization. The IRS typically releases new information in early December for items in the coming year, such as tax withholding changes, new benefit charts, or deduction amounts and new W forms.

Know what these items are and what deadlines you will have to meet throughout the year.

Utilize Technology

Leveraging payroll software and technology can deliver huge benefits. These solutions can streamline payroll processing, automate repetitive tasks, and reduce manual errors. Choose a reliable provider that aligns with your organization’s needs and offers robust reporting features. Intelligently connected platforms can address other human capital management (HCM) needs like time & labor management, benefits administration, onboarding, talent acquisition and management, and more within a single solution.

If processing payroll is keeping you from focusing on the bigger picture, or if you’re reconsidering your current solution, click here to request a call today!

Predictive Scheduling and the Workplace

Add a shift or lose your job.

Sadly, many workers are faced with this dilemma on a regular basis due to unpredictable scheduling practices.

On-call, just-in-time, or tentative scheduling means that an employee could be called to work a shift, or asked to stay late, without adequate notice. Most commonly used in the retail, food service, restaurant, and hospitality industries, these practices are desirable to many employers, but take a toll on workers who must juggle the demands of their personal life and an erratic work schedule.

A large percentage of the workforce is affected. According to a recent study of nearly 30,000 hourly workers in large U.S. retail and food service chains (known as the “Shift Project”), 63% of respondents received less than two weeks’ notice of their work schedules.

An End to America’s Scheduling Crisis

The Fair Workweek initiative seeks to put an end to these practices and what they have labeled “America’s scheduling crisis.” Across the country, states are adopting predictive scheduling laws, a result of the Fair Workweek movement.

Laws vary by jurisdiction, but generally include:

  • Schedules must be posted before the first scheduled shift (generally 7-14 days)
  • Extra pay must be provided to workers if an employer changes the schedule after it is posted, what is known as “predictability pay”
  • Employees need adequate time off between shifts unless the employee volunteers to work during the rest period
  • Employers must keep scheduling records for a certain time period

The Impact of COVID

The COVID crisis has had an impact on many employment laws, including those related to predictive scheduling. The industries these laws affect are among the hardest hit sectors of the pandemic.

The crisis delayed some laws from becoming enacted, including those in Philadelphia and Chicago. It has also affected the enforcement of these laws. While some contained an exception for threats, natural disasters, and pandemics, others were up for interpretation. 

Technology Eases Fair Scheduling Requirements

Workforce management technology helps organizations create predictable, balanced schedules. Robust shift and scheduling features, like Counter Point’s Scheduling, will become important as employers need shift tracking functionality to comply with these laws. 

The technology behind this feature helps employers draft and post schedules, receive notifications of change requests, with the ability to approve or reject. Workers are notified of schedule changes, can adjust their availability, pick up or swap shifts.

To learn more about Scheduling, schedule an appointment with a Counter Point HCM Consultant today.

Remote Attendance Policy Dos & Don’ts

Creating an attendance policy is essential for every business. It establishes expectations for working hours, attendance, and paid time off. It’s easier to uphold such a policy when you’re able to see the productivity within the office. But what about when you now have a remote team?

A remote working option can be beneficial to employees as much as employers, as long as there are clear expectations and guidelines. Which is why having a solid attendance policy is key to success. 

Flexible schedules and a greater work-life balance is very appealing. For managers however, it comes with its own set of challenges. Monitoring if schedules are being followed, if remote employees are “showing up” during the workday, and if productivity is high are all crucial assessments for success. 

In this article we address the importance of creating an attendance policy for your remote team. 

Tips For a Time & Attendance Policy for Remote Teams

As flexibility within the workplace continues to increase, your workforce may contain a mix of in-person and hybrid teams. Strict adherence to attendance policies will help enable communication between co-workers, as well as efficient productivity.

Clearly outlining what’s expected of your employees will better equip managers for handling situations when employees fail to adhere to these guidelines.  

Detailing everything related from:

  • Working hours
  • Attendance
  • Paid time off
  • Time tracking

Establish Clear Working Hours and Expectations

Remote employees are said to work 1.4 more days per month than in-person employees.  This can lead to an overworked and burnt-out team. Clear expectations of working hours should be set not just to make sure employees are working enough but to make sure they aren’t overworking themselves either.

A best practice is to mirror the regular in-office work day, which is typically 9am-5pm. If you value work-life balance, there should be an expectation of a set number of hours employees are expected to work. 

Maintain An Attendance Policy

Managers do not have the option to pop into someone’s office and inquire about projects when working with remote teams. It is important to implement an attendance and availability policy. 

You shouldn’t feel like you’re hunting down employees by sending numerous emails and messages, waiting for replies and updates. Make sure everyone knows when to be available and how to communicate. Additionally, employees should be aware of the approval process for taking time off from work. Employees can’t simply use a slow day “working from home” to disappear for the day. 

When working from home, employees should still be entitled to personal and sick days, but an approval process should be in place. The ability to prepare for when an employee will be absent from the day will help others to fill in the gaps. 

Provide Time Tracking Guidelines

All employees should understand how to track their working hours and guidelines should be given for:

  • How employees should track their time
  • When employees should submit their tracked time
  • What to do if employees are working outside of their scheduled working hours
  • Employees should be made aware of any repercussions due to falsified information

Time and labor management technology allows for accurate payroll, ensuring employees are correctly paid for the time they work.

Avoid Workforce Management Problems

Businesses have been using time and attendance policies for years and implementing such guidelines are essential for employee and companywide success. Streamlining these processes, even if they need to be updated, will help remote employees manage their time and productivity. Managers can eliminate any confusion or problems within the workforce by enforcing these policies and ensuring everyone understands the requirements. 

Need Help with Time and Attendance Within Your Business? Request a call today!

How to Build a Productive Remote Team

There are many benefits to having remote teams. Remote workers are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. They are often saving money on commuting, tolls, and lunch. They have more flexibility in their schedule, creating a sense of happiness. Happy employees are believed to increase efficiency and overall company morale. 

It is important however, to keep remote workers focused and productive. Building a productive team can seem difficult at times. Trying to achieve the same goals when everyone is in a different location, can certainly present more challenges. 

What’s the best way to keep on top of your remote teams for optimal performance? Here are some tips to build a productive remote team:

Communicate Often

Having strong communication in place is key for any successful team. There are a variety of project management and communication tools available that will allow you to check in with employees and chat in real time. 

Although there are several platforms like email, phone calls, video calls, and other means of communication, it’s important not to make your employees feel micromanaged. Even more so, you don’t want your employees distracted by constant messaging that they aren’t being productive completing tasks.  

Try simplifying your communication methods by putting a process in place:

  • Urgent communication should be done via a messenger platform
  • Anything that doesn’t need immediate attention should be done via email
  • Video calls and check ins should be scheduled at specific times

This will also help your employees structure their day accordingly. 

Foster Employee Relationships

Although there are many positives to working remotely, employees do miss out on certain in-person interactions they would get within an office environment. There is no meeting around the water cooler to catch up with co-workers. This might be great for time management, but humans need interaction; we need connection. 

Be sure to schedule one-on-one meetings with your employees. Check in with them on a personal level. How are they doing? What was something they did over the weekend? These kinds of personal interactions can be highly motivating for remote teams. Making them feel a part of the team and socially connected with their peers will make them less likely to feel isolated. 

Having scheduled team meetings for employees to be able to check in with one another is also important. Give each employee time to discuss what they are working on, if they are feeling stuck, or just to brainstorm ideas. These are all important ways to build a strong culture even with remote employees. 

Invest In Your Team

Great managers take the time to invest and continually train their employees. Learning is critical for personal and professional growth. As businesses focus on work-life balance, learning management plays an essential role in achieving long-term goals.

Investing in tools to train your remote employees gives them the opportunity to take online courses on their own time without having to complete anything in person. 

Build A Productive Team

Building a productive remote workforce takes strong communication, healthy employee relationships, and a commitment to investing in your team. While a flexible working has its perks, it can be a difficult transition if an employee is not used to it. Isolation and minimal human interaction can leave an employee feeling disconnected from their job. These tips can keep them focused and excited for their day.

What to Consider When Shopping for a Learning Management System

A learning management system (LMS) is a great asset for businesses of any size. In the past, LMS options were only available to enterprise clients and large businesses, but that is no longer the case.

Now even small businesses can access the benefits of learning and training opportunities, which directly impact employees and their abilities to progress and build their skills. If your company is considering an LMS for the first time, it’s helpful to evaluate several aspects of each system you’re comparing to find the right option for your business needs.

As you compare different learning management options, it’s helpful to understand some of the core features and how your organization might use them.

Dashboard

The dashboard is one of the first things you and your learners will see upon logging into the system. It serves as the home page and should be intuitive and user-friendly. Within the LMS, the dashboard should include any messages for learners from the organization, along with courses in which they are currently enrolled, training requirements, and records noting what they have completed. A learner may also need to print or save proof of completion, such as a certificate, so this should be accessible from the dashboard.

Course Catalog

A course catalog is where learners can look at what training opportunities are available to them and learn more about each one. An LMS should include a detailed catalog with all available learning content, where administrators and supervisors can also assign courses to their team members. A single course may include multiple learning elements, such as a PowerPoint presentation, a video, a game, a quiz, and/or a syllabus.

It’s also helpful if the courses can be bundled together into learning paths, which can then be assigned to applicable employees. For example, all customer service representatives may need to take courses focused on customer interaction, support, and communication. Multiple courses could be bundled together into a learning path designed specifically for those members of your organization who interact with customers and provide service.

The LMS you choose needs to be able to support the learning elements you want to offer to your learners. If video-based learning is important to your organization, ensure that you can upload customized video content to the LMS and share it with employees.

State-Mandated Training Requirements

Many states, cities, and municipalities require certain training courses to be provided to employees. For example, both California and New York have required anti-harassment training that must meet the criteria set forth for topics covered.

The LMS you select should support your state-mandated training requirements without having to spend extra time building courses.

Could your organization benefit from having an LMS? Learn about Counter Point HCM’s solution. Request a call today!

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