Many family-owned businesses have limited resources to have a full-time payroll administrator on staff, but they recognize the value of professional payroll services. One option family enterprises and other small businesses appreciate is to draw on the services of a payroll contractor, and for Mary Beaton, that makes for a thriving business of her own in the small Nova Scotia community of Five Mile River.
Born and raised in the small town where she now operates her business, Ms. Beaton says she loves the sense of community. It’s a place where everyone knows everyone, and supporting local is the philosophy.
“No matter where you go, you run into someone, and they’re always just willing to help you with whatever you need,” she says. “I love that. I love the Maritimes!”
Ms. Beaton has more than 20 years of experience in payroll, much of it spent working as a payroll employee or payroll manager for organizations, including a retirement home, a media outlet and a hotel. At the same time, she worked towards her payroll designations through the National Payroll Institute, earning her Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) and, shortly after, her Payroll Leadership Professional (PLP) as well.
Being an entrepreneur allows Ms. Beaton to create a flexible work schedule and achieve work-life balance so she can devote valuable time to her family. And she finds it gratifying to provide family businesses, other small companies and non-profits, in the region and beyond, the expertise they are looking for.
“A lot of businesses are struggling to find good people to hire on full time. So there is a lot of opportunity to help organizations to process their payroll or help them implement new systems. I’m really enjoying it.”
There’s so much potential in these payroll systems that most organizations don’t even know about. In most cases, they don’t even have their systems set up in a way that can maximize their value for them, so that’s something I really like helping them out with and implementing for my clients.— Mary Beaton is a Payroll Leadership Professional (PLP)
Ms. Beaton’s business is growing rapidly with a number of big projects on the go for numerous clients, and in the spring of this year, she hired on her first employee to lend support. While Ms. Beaton is happy to help on all fronts, what she’s really passionate about is the analytics.
“I love helping companies understand their workforce. Whether it’s their training, their overtime, their sick time, I love to jump in and ask, ‘how can we bring your costs down?’ There’s so much potential in these payroll systems that most organizations don’t even know about. In most cases, they don’t even have their systems set up in a way that can maximize their value for them, so that’s something I really like helping them out with and implementing for my clients.”
Payroll integral to business success
Small businesses, the majority of which are family owned, often can’t afford a dedicated payroll professional nor do they have the expertise to handle the complexities of the payroll function.
Payroll practices are an essential element of a successful business throughout its entire life cycle – from hiring new employees to closing down operations, and the day-to-day operations in between. It is, after all, the major driver of why employees show up to work each day – to be paid. If neglected, payroll can significantly affect business performance, slowing efficiency and decreasing employee engagement and ultimately impacting the reputation of the business.
There is a growing recognition that payroll is a vital business function and that the people responsible for its execution are highly trained, with a vast array of knowledge. Behind the scenes, these professionals are balancing technology, hundreds of pieces of frequently changing legislation, union contracts and more to ensure people are paid on time, every time.
While treating payroll professionally is important, putting it in practice will look different for each business, depending on its size and resources. It could mean hiring a designated payroll professional – or, for smaller businesses, it could be using a trusted payroll technology solution or outsourcing payroll to a qualified consultant, like Mary Beaton.
In any case, the National Payroll Institute can be a resource for organizations of any size when it comes to payroll. The Institute not only sets and maintains the educational requirements for the PCP and PLP designations – the only payroll designations in Canada – but also has resources like the InfoLine, where members can call and speak to payroll experts in real time to help get clear answers to their questions.
Small business owners can look to the National Payroll Institute as their go-to payroll team, before they have an in-house payroll team. The institute also offers the “Payroll Wellness Checkup for Small and Growing Businesses,” a resource of practical tips and tools to guide organizations with their payroll performance – helping them to do the best possible job for their employees and for the short- and long-term health of their business.
Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.