Small Business Canada

A new survey conducted by the National Payroll Institute indicates that payroll professionalism is top of mind for small businesses, especially as they look to scale.

In a challenging economic environment, attracting and retaining talent is more important than ever. One way to ensure that employees are happy and engaged within an organization is through strong payroll practices; ensuring employees are paid accurately and on time. New research conducted by the National Payroll Institute demonstrates that Canadian small businesses understand this and are prioritizing it – and investing in payroll professionalism as their businesses grow.  

The Commitment to Payroll Excellence

Professional payroll practices are essential for organizational health and longevity. Properly conducted payroll not only ensures the organization stays compliant but ensures employees are paid for the important work they do – minimizing the costs lost to disengagement and turnover. Canadian small businesses understand this. In fact, 99 per cent of small businesses stated that paying their employees accurately and on time was important to them and 96 per cent feel confident they are meeting compliance and legislative requirements through their payroll efforts.

“The dedication shown by Canadian small businesses to not only meet but exceed payroll management standards is remarkable,” said Peter Tzanetakis, President of the National Payroll Institute. “Professional payroll practices can look different for various organizations, depending on their size. For small businesses, this could mean using proven software and online tools, hiring a qualified bookkeeper, or outsourcing payroll to a trusted provider – all of which are great solutions for organizations as they’re starting out. It’s heartening to see that small business leaders not only see the importance of payroll excellence, but are also feeling confident in the practices they have in place.”

The Growing Importance of Professional Designation

While small businesses may not yet have a need for dedicated in-house payroll professionals, the survey does show that their owners and key decision makers recognize the need for professionally designated payroll professionals – especially as they grow. Despite their small size, a third of respondents (33 per cent) indicated that they have a designated payroll professional on-staff, and this number rises to 59 per cent when the size of the business grows to 50-99 employees. Additionally, 73 per cent of those that have a designated payroll professional state that it gives them peace of mind knowing that the employees handling their payroll are professionally trained, holding a Payroll Compliance Professional designation, or a Payroll Leadership Professional designation.

Investing in the Future: Education and Training

Payroll has historically been misunderstood, often believed to be “as easy as pushing a button,” when in reality it’s complex and ever-changing. While aware of the need for it, not all Canadian small businesses know where to turn to for payroll-related information. According to the survey results, almost half (46 per cent) of the respondents said that they would direct employees to government websites for payroll-related information, and nearly one-in-four (24 per cent) said that they rely on or direct employees to search browsers for such information or training. While these sources can be good starting points, there is often a deep well of unrelated content for information-seekers to sift through to find the answers they are looking for.  

“The National Payroll Institute can be a lifeline to small businesses trying to navigate the payroll landscape,” says Tzanetakis. “With a plethora of tools and resources to help Canadian organizations and payroll professionals stay on top on the latest legislation and best practices, small businesses can think of us as their partners in payroll, no matter what stage of growth they’re at. The results of this survey show that Canadian small business owners value payroll professionalism and as an organization, we’re here to help them level-up their payroll practices as their businesses scale.”

Businesses looking to demonstrate their commitment to payroll professionalism can join the registry of payroll-forward organizations by signing the Declaration for Payroll. Upon signing, business leaders will gain access to a suite of tools and resources to help show their commitment publicly.

These are the findings of a survey conducted by the National Payroll Institute from January 29 to February 2, 2024 among a sample of 507 Canadian small businesses with 1 to 99 paid employees. All respondents are business owners or executive managers/decision makers, and are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The survey was conducted in English and French.

The National Payroll Institute champions payroll in Canada as being vital to the health of businesses across Canada by setting THE professional standard of excellence and sharing critical expertise. We provide the knowledge and resources that more than 40,000 payroll professionals need to realize their potential, 1.5 million employers depend on for the annual payment of $1.06 trillion in wages and taxable benefits, and that governments rely on to receive $364 billion in statutory remittances to fund critical programs each year. The Institute’s designations are recognized as the gold standard for expertise and professionalism, and the only such designations for payroll in Canada.

SOURCE National Payroll Institute

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