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Benefits , Claim , Contractors

Streamlining Payroll and Workers’ Comp: Essential Tips for Small Business Owners

If you own a small business, you likely wear many different hats when it comes to running your company. From being the creative brains behind the operation to handling the day-to-day administrative tasks—-it’s easy to have your hands full as a small business owner.


When things feel overwhelming inside your business, what can you do to alleviate some of the stress? Streamlining payroll and workers’ compensation can help you save time and energy for the areas of your business that need your attention most. Let’s take a look at 5 essential tips for small business owners when it comes to payroll and workers’ comp.

1. Classify Your Employees Correctly

In order to help ensure both payroll and workers’ compensation run smoothly, it’s important to properly classify your workers. Are they considered employees, or are they independent contractors? This will play a big role in terms of tax withholdings and payments, as well as potential benefits. Their classification will determine whether or not they’re entitled to receive paid time off or a 401(k).


If your employees are classified incorrectly initially, you could be faced with fines, penalties, and even potential lawsuits if benefits are unpaid. If there’s any question about the classification of your workers, it’s a good idea to reach out to an HR expert for clarification.

2. Create a Schedule for Payroll

In many cases, workers’ compensation insurance requires long-term contracts. While this works well for many people, contracted workers, seasonal employees, or anyone who works on a project-to-project basis may benefit from other options. Short-term coverage is temporary, so no contracts are required, and you’re able to get the coverage you need for the amount of time you need it.

Professional employer organizations typically offer pay-as-you-go programs for workers’ comp. This means you can choose exactly how long you’d like the insurance to be in place—whether it’s just a few days or several months. Pay-as-you-go programs are incredibly flexible in terms of coverage and duration, and they’re tailored to meet your needs.

Additionally, you can deactivate and reactivate your short-term workers’ compensation insurance at any time, so you won’t have to go through the application process all over again after your coverage has been on hold. You can simply put the same coverage you previously had back into effect when you need it.

Temporary workers’ compensation also offers the same level of coverage companies can get with long-term insurance. You can rest assured knowing you and your employees will be taken care of if anything happens on the job.

3. Automate Payroll

If you’re a small business owner, automating where you can is a great idea. Using a payroll automation system can help you simplify the process of paying your employees. Automating payroll can help ensure your employees are paid accurately and on time.

You won’t need to worry about any of the calculations yourself, eliminating the possibility of errors. Payroll automation can ultimately help you save time and money in the long run.

4. Maintain Accurate Written Records

Keeping your records is crucial for several reasons—one of which is that the IRS requires it. Though the minimum amount of time to keep your payroll tax records is four years according to the IRS, it’s good practice to keep them a couple years past that to be safe.


Pay increases and timecards should be kept for a few years as well, which can be beneficial if there’s ever a discrepancy between your business and a former employee in terms of pay.


Maintaining accurate written records in a well-organized system is important for streamlining your payroll and workers’ compensation. An accurate system means fewer questions, less confusion, and a more simplified process in the future.

5. Consider Working With a PEO

If this all feels like a lot for one person to maintain, consider working with a professional employer organization (PEO) to help your company get individualized support. PEOs will take care of all employment tax filings, process annual W-2 forms, and manage administrative tasks. They’ll also ensure compliance with regulations, help mitigate risks, and enforce workplace safety.


Streamlining workers’ compensation and payroll services is crucial for ensuring efficiency within your small business. With limited manpower, however, it can be difficult to manage it all on your own. Working with a PEO can help alleviate some of the stress that comes with owning a small business and ultimately help create more space for you to focus on strategy and business growth.

A Final Note

If you’re a small business owner, keep these five essential tips in mind to help streamline your payroll and workers’ compensation. Properly classifying your workers, creating a schedule for payroll, automating payroll, maintaining accurate records for each employee, and considering a partnership with a PEO can have a big impact on how smoothly your business operates.