Make it zen: Payroll tips for a smooth year-end

Year-end is a hectic time for payroll professionals, but it doesn’t have to take over your life. Check out our tips for getting ahead of your year-end to-do list while practicing self-care at the same time.

For 2022 year-end resources please visit our updated Canadian Payroll Resources Guide

Make it zen: Payroll tips for a smooth year-end

Oh, year-end. On one hand, it’s a great time to wrap up your organization’s calendar year and start fresh. On the other hand, it’s an endless list of to-dos and up-to-the-minute adjustments. Hopefully, you have a modern software system on your side to help you with the heavy lifting. Either way, there are always tasks that need your attention. To make sure your year-end isn’t a pain in your rear end, we’ve prepared a list of ways to help you plan and complete all of your important payroll tasks to close out the year and start your new year on the right foot.

With a little bit of planning and a good dose of self-care, you’ll come through like a champ. Here’s how:

Plan ahead

The key to a headache-free year-end is all in the prep you do ahead of time. It’s kind of like painting a room, all that extra time you spend on cleaning and taping at the beginning will save you hours of frustration. To save yourself some time this year, start with a plan. We can help. Check out our year-end checklist for a round-up of all the tasks and timing to get your year-end on track.

Get your facts straight

Now’s the time to tie up any loose ends. To get a good start on year-end, you want to be sure you’re working with the right information. Whether it’s just you, or you’re working with your HR team, take the time now to verify that all employee records are up-to-date. Double-check to see if there have been any departures and make sure your payroll system is accurately updated. Always ensure accurate social insurance numbers are being reported.

Reconcile early

Even if you’re reconciling payroll before each cycle, you’ll still need to do a more thorough reconciliation at the end of the year. This is easier if you’ve been consistent, as the chances of errors drop. But mistakes can slip through the cracks, and you’ll need to find them before creating year-end reports, filing tax documents to the CRA, and sending T4s to your employees—all wages and deductions for the year must be accurate.

Review your processes & reports

Take the time to review your payroll set-up to ensure your employees’ earnings, taxable benefits, and deductions have been programmed accurately.

It’s helpful to have payroll software that can easily pull data for you. With Avanti’s HCM software, you get advanced reporting capabilities with a library of 175+ standard reports and custom reporting at no extra cost, plus automatic scheduling for sending reports. Features like this are super helpful when you need quick access to your data.

Set your employees up for success

If you’re like any other payroll professional, you probably get a lot more requests for information around T4 time. To get ahead of those queries this year, get your team up to speed on your process.

Send out an email letting them know when they can expect their T4 form and where they can find it when it’s ready. If you have members of your workforce working from home, let them know they will receive a T2200 form (now is also the time to get those T2200s ready).

Some of your employees may need more information on how to read their T4s. Be sure to include our employee guide in your email to help them navigate their paperwork. You’ll be surprised how much one email will reduce the number of requests rolling in.

Keep in touch with your community

No one knows payroll better than you and your peeps, so reach out if you need to. It’s nice knowing you have a support group that’s going through year-end with you. And don’t forget to have the contact information for CRA and NPI on hand—they’re great resources to rely on when you get stuck and always happy to help.

And most importantly, give yourself a break

Year-end isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon that’ll keep you on your toes for the next couple of months. That’s why it’s important for you to take breaks and recharge as often as you need. Try some of the following self-care methods to help stay calm, cool, and collected.

Eat well & stay hydrated - This is not the time to throw healthy eating habits out the window. Prep meals ahead of time when you know you have a busy week ahead of you. Keep menus on hand for all your favourite healthy takeout options, and drink plenty of water.  

Get moving - If you’re in need of more energy, take a moment to fit in some physical activity. Visit your local gym, go for a swim, take a nature walk, hit up a yoga class, or stream a workout at home. Any of these activities will help to boost your energy levels, reduce stress, and elevate your mood.

Go offline -Taking on the additional workload of year-end can be tiring. When you’re feeling bogged down during your work day, be sure to give yourself a screen break.

Keep up with sleep - Good sleeping habits are key to staying healthy and productive. To make your sleep as restful as possible try using a meditation or a sleep app, keep your room cool and dark, and diffuse a relaxing essential oil in your room before bed.

Treat yo' self - A great way to stay motivated and take a few breathers during year-end is to give yourself goals and treat yourself when milestones are hit. T4s are ready? Go get a massage. Checklist accomplished? Order in. Email sent to the team? Grab a bath bomb and relax in the tub. Remember, it's not selfish to take care of yourself. It's necessary.

There you have it. You’re all set to rock year-end. You’ve got the tools and the checklists to get prepped and the right mindset to take care of yourself along the way. All you need to do now is stay organized and practice self-care as you go along. We’re rooting for you!

Additional Reading Links

Tackle year-end with confidence

With Avanti you’re always one step ahead of year-end with automatic employee tax exemptions, up-to-date CRA regulations, and our helpful year-end resources and support.

Sign-up for the Avanti Advocate newsletter

The Avanti Advocate is a quarterly newsletter that features a roundup of our top payroll and HR resources and upcoming events.

Related Articles

All Blog Posts