PEO 101: Streamline Payroll Accounting to Simplify Business Operations.

May 14, 2024

Rely on Syndeo’s experts for meticulous employee tax filing and processing.

Operating a business demands considerable time for financial management and accounting. Time dedicated to bookkeeping, record-keeping, and administrative tasks detracts from the focus you could otherwise devote to exploring new business opportunities, innovating new products, or enhancing services. 

The burden of accounting tasks mounts as you expand your business and your workforce grows. If you are a busy business owner needing more hours in your day, consider partnering with a PEO like Syndeo to help you manage your payroll tax filings and select accounting functions related to payroll. 

In this fifth installment of our PEO 101: The Busy Business Owner’s Guide to HR series, we will review some PEO basics, discuss how the partnership works through co-employment, and how PEO accreditation can assure clients of our high standards. We will also look at some ways partnering with Syndeo can make your payroll accounting easier when it comes to the tax portion of processing payroll. 

If you haven’t already, take a moment to read our first four articles in this series: Human Resources Guide, Payroll Partners, Benefits Mastery, and Taking No Risks

What is a PEO? 

If you are new to our series, a professional employment organization (PEO) is a full-service human resources organization that uses a model called co-employment to help business owners and human resource professionals complete the non-income generating tasks that accompany being in business. In Syndeo’s case, our full-service means white-glove, tailored services rooted in modern HR practices done by real humans. 

What is co-employment? Who becomes the employer of record?

Co-employment is a business relationship where a PEO like Syndeo becomes the administrative arm of your organization, organizing and maintaining employee records, contracts, payroll, benefits, and training. 

Through co-employment, Syndeo becomes the custodian of record or employer of record for your business, and your employees are filed under Syndeo’s federal employment number for tax purposes. This contract allows Syndeo to file all the necessary documentation for payroll processing quickly and easily. 

We view co-employment as a partnership where your business retains control and authority in business decisions. Our team functions as a trusty supplement to your accounting department, keeping all your administrative payroll and benefits plates spinning.

How can we ensure that our services are white-glove? Since our inception, Syndeo has placed building trust with our clients as our number one core value, achieved through honesty and transparency. We have maintained this commitment over the past 20 years by acquiring industry-recognized accreditations, such as CPEO-compliant status and ESAC (Employer Services Assurance Corporation) standards.

What is a CPEO?

A CPEO is a certified professional employment organization as defined by the Internal Revenue System (IRS). The primary differentiator between a PEO and a CPEO is higher accountability. 

That’s not to say that PEOs are not accountable to the IRS; they are. But as a CPEO, Syndeo freely submits to stricter standards as outlined by the IRS, including quarterly audits conducted by a third party. These audits provide regular comparisons of Syndeo’s client account accruals to payments to ensure accuracy and compliance.

What is ESAC accreditation?

ESAC accreditation ensures ethical conduct, professional competency, and financial and operational reliability for PEOs. This oversight can assure clients, employees, and insurers of the resilience and stability of our enterprise. 

The ESAC accreditation involves reviewing and reconciling accrual payments with bank records, conducting audits of 401K and benefit payments, and managing medical accruals and workers’ compensation reconciliation. By voluntarily applying for these stringent accreditations, Syndeo displays its commitment to transparency and ethical practice as the foundation of trust for clients as our business relationship develops. 

Syndeo’s Key Accounting Services

By assuming the meticulous role of your payroll accounting partner, Syndeo provides precise employee record-keeping for your general ledger, tax filing and processing, benefit reconciliation, and workers’ compensation audits that enable you to concentrate on your business. These essential services provided by our accounting department ensure that your employees are well-supported while freeing up your time to allocate to strategic planning and key decision-making for business growth. 

1. Tax Filing and Processing 

Filing and processing payroll taxes are routine tasks every business owner must complete. There are numerous hurdles to accomplishing these time-consuming tasks, including applying for business tax registration and accounts for new businesses or new locations, calculating and collecting the taxes for each employee and remitting them to the IRS, and dealing with tax returns and reports. That doesn't even include staying abreast of new changes in the tax code! 

Syndeo handles all of the tax filing and processing administration related to payroll on behalf of our clients. In addition to applying for all necessary tax accounts, we file 940 and 941 forms, withholdings, and unemployment taxes for each pay period, as well as filing annual W-2 forms. Having Syndeo as your payroll partner truly simplifies the hours of accounting work on your end, allowing you to focus on the parts of the business you are best at. 

Because Syndeo assumes the position of custodian of record when you come on board as a PEO client, adding new employees or opening a new branch of your business in a different state is highly simplified. We have already established tax accounts in 38 different states. For states that we do not have accounts in, as your PEO, we figure out what tax accounts need to be applied for in each new state and file them on your behalf. It saves our clients hours of research and headaches in the nitty-gritty of the business expansion. 

Expansion through Franchising: One Syndeo Client Story

One Syndeo client was expanding rapidly through franchising their company. Because they were already a PEO client, this expansion was easily facilitated whenever new franchisees joined. The new franchisees could skip the tax application process as Syndeo already had all of the information in place for the franchisor. 

After quickly onboarding each franchise, Syndeo was able to save them extensive efforts in researching tax application requirements and compliance for their new location. Additionally, we had already developed all the employee onboarding materials and employee handbooks each franchise needed to hit the ground running. Talk about buying into a winning set-up!

2. Support for Client-reporting States 

Some states are client-reporting states for unemployment purposes, meaning that they require the PEO client to file returns under their individual client tax accounts. Syndeo prepares and provides the necessary paperwork for businesses in these states to establish accounts, then handles all processing of returns for our clients.

In addition, more and more states are adding tax regulations for newly required state programs that have never been regulated before. Specific requirements for paid family medical leave, for example, in certain states (Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey, to name a few) have tax considerations that business owners need to be aware of. If you as a business owner decide to offer these programs to your employees, Syndeo can help you understand the tax implications so you can remain compliant. 

3. General Ledger Mirroring

If you are using accounting software to keep track of profits and losses, you may be familiar with the headache of trying to also track your payroll expenses. Oftentimes, accounting software is unable to record payroll expenses such as FICA, FUTA, SUTA, employer-paid benefit portions, payroll administration fees, or 401K employer match. 

Our human resources information system (HRIS) can map your general ledger file and adapt our system to fit your payroll expenses into it. For example, if you use Sage for your business accounting, you can submit a template for our HRIS to integrate. By mirroring your ledger, generating customized payroll expense reports takes only minutes and can be easily uploaded directly back into Sage. It’s a convenient and seamless process. Think of all the time you will save not having to hand-key this data into your accounting software! 

Tailored Solutions to Size Up Profitability: Another Syndeo Client Story

We had a client who required a detailed breakdown of expenses for their general ledger spanning three distinct yet interconnected categories: department, division, and location. Each category had multiple subcategories needing to be accurately represented on the ledger and involved various allocations for each employee. Despite the complexity, Syndeo successfully configured our system to accommodate their requirements, reliably capturing these breakdowns in their general ledger. We then created a customized upload file for their accounting software that streamlined their processes. Being able to readily see each allocation empowered our client to assess profitability and potential efficiencies across their business operations. Although it involved some trial and error to find what worked, we ultimately exceeded their expectations, alleviating a significant challenge for them.

4. Benefit Reconciliation to Payroll

Another time-consuming task is ensuring your company is being billed correctly for insurance premiums. Without meticulous oversight, when a new hire is added to your workforce or an employee is terminated, changes to insurance premiums may be missed or unintentionally overlooked. 

Our accounting team regularly reconciles the insurance expectations set in our HRIS to ensure what is accruing and what your business is paying matches the invoices. We check and double-check to prevent any variances. 

Some carriers will issue a credit if a variance is discovered within a 30-60-day window, so staying on top of the reconciliation process is crucial. In other instances, our experience has taught us when to challenge the carrier regarding inconsistencies and ensure they are held responsible for their obligations. Regardless, having Syndeo on your side means accessing hard-earned expertise that we use to advocate on your behalf. Syndeo’s precise attention to detail here means one more thing that as a busy business owner you don’t have to track. 

5. Workers’ Compensation Audits

While our Risk Management Department leads the efforts in dealing with workers’ compensation claims, the Accounting Department works closely with them on the required annual audits. These audits generally require copies of tax returns and reports that detail all payrolls processed for the coverage period. The Accounting Department organizes and pulls those returns and reports to ensure accurate assessment and documentation.

These audits are essential for verifying the premiums paid, confirming that the financial aspects align with the documentation provided, and identifying any discrepancies that may require further investigation. By carefully reviewing tax returns and reports, the Accounting Department helps to validate the accuracy of the premiums paid and safeguard the financial interests of your company.

When you can’t do it all yourself, find yourself a premier partner. 

It can be tempting to feel that as a business owner, the success or failure of your business rests solely on you. Don’t fall for it! Don’t be discouraged by the demanding nature of business operations; instead get a partner who can take on the mundane accounting tasks that eat up your one finite resource: time. 

When you outsource your payroll accounting to Syndeo, we put our expertise and experience to work for you and your employees, effectively saving you invaluable time. Expand your business and your personnel with peace of mind, knowing that you have a team supporting you and doing the legwork so you can continue to steer your company into its vibrant future. 

Let’s find out how we can help you master your payroll accounting challenges by calling us at (866) 579-6336.

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