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Anna Mastrandrea

Anna Mastrandrea is the team lead of the payroll department at The Staffing Edge. For over 10 years, Anna has been providing the highest level of customer service to our members. Anna is an important part of our back office operations, running payroll for all of our members assignment employees, ensuring all proper payroll deductions have been set up, billing clients, and processing record of employment and filings to Service Canada. Her goal is to make sure all of our members assignment employees are paid properly, and most importantly, on time. Anna’s passion for challenges, learning, and problem solving makes her a great asset for our members, as no one member’s situation is ever the same. When Anna is not on the job, she enjoys spending time with her family, indulging her love for great wines, and playing volleyball.
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Recent Posts

Who Uses a PEO?

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

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Jun 19, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Who Uses a PEOIf you’ve expanded your business in any capacity over the last few years, you’ve likely heard about a professional employer organization, or PEO. More business owners and HR managers are interested in what a PEO can do for them.

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You’re wondering if working with a PEO is the right fit for your business. Do you match the profile of the kind of business that benefits from a PEO partnership?

You might be surprised to learn who uses a PEO.

Small Businesses Benefit Most from PEOs

If you’re planning to expand your business in any capacity, working with a PEO might be an option to consider.

The PEO already has the infrastructure in place to help you expand your workforce from five to 25 and beyond. They provide a robust set of HR solutions smaller businesses just may not have access to.

For example, you may want to provide health benefits for your employees, but you don’t have the capacity to administer the program. Working with a PEO to set up a health savings account could be the answer you’re looking for. The PEO can access better pricing on behalf of their clients, and their expert team are able to administer the program.

Banking, insurance, and other infrastructure are all available to you when you work with a PEO.

Large Businesses Work with PEOs

While small businesses may benefit the most from partnering with a PEO, big businesses are also discovering the advantages of working with a professional employer organization.

PEOs have created infrastructure that’s designed to scale, which means they can administer payroll for 500 employees as easily as they could for a business with just five workers.

Larger businesses often find this helps them realize efficiency within their own operations, especially as they continue to expand. Rather than tying up their HR team with payroll every week, they can partner with the PEO to provide these vital HR services. It also allows them to expand their team to support further growth and new hires.

It may allow for more efficiency in the administration of benefits to their workforce as well.

International Employers Have Much to Gain

Perhaps the biggest benefits from PEO partnerships go to international employers. If you’re thinking about crossing borders, it’s time to consider working with a PEO.

Why do international employers see so many advantages with PEOs? The PEO gives them access to the infrastructure and expertise they need to get started in a new market. The PEO’s team is already well-versed in conducting payroll and ensuring compliance.

They also have the infrastructure needed to employ people, administer benefits like HSAs, and more. If you need access to banking or insurance, the PEO can provide it.

In short, the PEO can help you set up your operations and ensure the people you hire are well taken care of in any market you choose to enter. Having the HR aspects of international expansion handled by the experts allows you to focus on other aspects of the business.

Any Business Can Benefit from a PEO Partnership

Almost any business could benefit from a PEO partnership. While PEOs are particularly helpful for small businesses and expanding international employers, even mid-sized and large employers can realize plenty of advantages when they partner with the right PEO.

Still not sure working with a professional employer organization is the right move for your business? Get in touch with the experts today. We can help you assess your situation and discover just how the right PEO partnership could help your business grow.

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Topics: Professional Employer Organization

6 Simple Steps to Expand Your Business into Canada

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

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May 27, 2019 9:00:00 AM

6_Simple_Steps_to_Expand_Your_Business_into_CanadaIf your company has been growing for some time or growth has started to slow down, you may be looking for new opportunities. One of those could be expanding your business into Canada.

Download "12 Differences to Expect When Expanding into Canada" today!

Why would a company want to expand?

There are many good reasons. Reaching a new market is prime among them. Growing your customer base, improving profits, and even taking on the challenge of a new market may be other reasons to consider.

International expansion can be difficult, though, which might be holding you back. With these six simple steps to expand your business, profits will be booming on both sides of the border in no time.

1. Do Market Research before You Expand Your Business

The first item on your list should be to undertake market research. If you’re planning to expand to Canada, take a look at the existing market for your products or services. Are there many competitors? If so, what do you offer that will help you stand out?

If there aren’t many competitors, ask yourself why. Is this an underserved market or an unrecognized need? Other factors, such as market regulation, could play a role.

2. Consult with the Experts on Legal Matters

The next step in expanding your business to Canada is to make sure you understand the legal framework. Will you need to structure your business as a branch or as a subsidiary? Which offers you the most tax efficiency?

You’ll also want to ask questions about employment law and environmental law. How will you go about hiring employees? What are your options for payroll?

It’s best to consult with the experts on these matters. They can help you understand the steps you’ll need to take, as well as provide insight on how to navigate the Canadian market.

3. Consider Logistics

One of the most important steps you can take as you expand your business into Canada is to give some thought to logistics. How will you get products to your customers? Do you need to purchase real estate or hire employees?

You’ll also need to consider banking logistics. How will you pay the vendors you work with or the employees you hire? This consideration goes beyond policies, but to the infrastructure you'll need.

If you work with a professional employer organization (PEO), you may be able to leverage their infrastructure to solve some of these issues. 

4. Hire Your First Employee

You’ll need to file some paperwork beforehand, but your next step should be to locate the right talent.

Finding the right employees can be difficult enough in your home market, but finding them in an international market could be a struggle.

Ask your PEO for their expert insights on the labour market in Canada. They may be able to tell you about the market and challenges, as well as hiring regulations you’ll want to pay attention to.

5. Adjust Your Marketing Strategy

Think back to the market research you conducted in an earlier step. Canadians have different expectations, so what worked well in the US or even another country might not translate to the Canadian context.

Adjust your marketing accordingly. A campaign that addresses the concerns and needs of your Canadian customers will be much more successful.

6. Monitor Performance

Once you’ve moved across the border and opened your doors to the Canadian market, it’s important to keep tabs on how you’re performing. Are you complying with Canadian laws? Are your people productive? Are your marketing messages resonating with the Canadian populace?

A PEO can help you keep tabs on some of these performance metrics. If you haven’t considered partnering with one yet, you should get in touch with us today. We can help you expand your business with ease.

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Topics: Business Expansion

4 Tips for Choosing Partners before You Expand into Canada

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

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May 15, 2019 9:00:00 AM

4 Tips for Choosing Partners before You Expand into CanadaWhen your business decided to expand into Canada, you knew you had your work cut out for you. You needed to conduct rigorous market research and determine the best business structure for tax efficiency. You needed to think about your workforce and your logistics.

Download "12 Differences to Expect When Expanding into Canada" today!

In many cases, you’ll want to partner with other firms to help your expansion efforts. You may decide to work with a lawyer to ensure you're making the right legal decisions for the business. Partnering with a professional employer organization (PEO) is also a great idea. 

How should you go about choosing your partners? The process should begin before you put the wheels in motion. Here are some tips to get started.

1. Find the Right Legal Advice to Expand into Canada

Before you do anything else, you should partner with a legal partner to consider the legal ins and outs of an expansion to Canada. This might be a lawyer or another legal professional.

This partner can help you assess the current legal climate and make the right decisions for setting up your business. A tax lawyer might be able to inform you about the best way to create tax efficiency. A business lawyer and an employment lawyer can share insights about their fields of expertise.

These partners can help you craft better policies and even structure your business correctly. Without the right legal advice, your expansion may not get off the ground. You could find yourself tied up in red tape.

How do you choose the right legal counsel? A general rule of thumb favours expertise and specialization. Find someone who deals with international businesses entering the Canadian market on a regular basis.

They’re much more likely to have the expertise to make the process quick and easy, even if they do charge a higher per hour rate. With their insights, you’ll be up and running sooner.

2. Choosing a Banking Partner

When you expand into Canada, you’ll need funds to fuel your operations. That means you’ll require the right banking partner to support the financial side of the expansion.

You’ll want to employ the opposite strategy here. Instead of seeking a specialized partner, choose someone with a broad range of expertise.

There are many players in the banking industry, but only some of them will be the right fit. You want a banking partner who can grow with you. If the partner you choose is too niche, they may not be able to support your growth. That could tie you up as you try to unravel the partnership and engage another entity.

Be sure to examine which banking partners best reflect your growth strategy. If their capabilities and values line up, you’ll find a more flexible, supportive partnership ahead.

3. Get On-the-Ground Help with Property

If you need to acquire land or real estate, you should seek out an environmental expert. This specialist will help you understand local rules. They’ll also reduce your risks.

Going in alone could mean you purchase a building that isn’t up to code or land that isn’t zoned for your use. You might also be responsible for maintaining or remediating a property to environmental standards.

The right help here is invaluable.

4. Partner with the Right PEO

A professional employer organization can help you navigate the details of having a workforce in Canada. Experts at a PEO can assist with payroll, HR, and compliance. They can offer other services too, such as health spending accounts for employees.

The right PEO typically has expertise in helping international businesses as they expand into Canada. They also have a network of other professionals and knowledge they can draw on to make expanding easier than ever. And they'll already have the infrastructure you need to expand. 

Do your research before you begin expanding, and begin building relationships with your Canadian partners as soon as possible. With the right network, it’s easier than ever to expand into Canada.

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Topics: PEO

Should I Hire US Employees or Independent Contractors?

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

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May 1, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Should I Hire US Employees or Independent ContractorsYou know you need talented workers to staff your new US expansion. The question for many international business owners is whether they should hire employees or work with independent contractors.

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There are pros and cons to both options. You’ll need to carefully weigh your options in order to make the right decision for your business. Keep these key factors in mind when you approach this vital assessment.

The Costs of Hiring

The first factor almost any hiring manager or business owner looks at is the cost. You likely weigh the costs of hiring and outsourcing at headquarters as well.

In some ways, hiring an independent contractor looks less expensive on paper. You don’t need to pay taxes for them, and you don’t need to pay them benefits. You don’t need to pay them for vacation days or holidays. You also won’t be responsible for supplying material or a workspace.

The contractor handles all of those costs. If you crunch the numbers, though, the picture becomes a little bit muddier.

Contractors may charge higher per hour rates in order to offset their higher operational costs. They may need to carry their own insurance or pay for equipment, and they’ll often pass those costs along to you.

They might also have control over what materials they purchase, and they might not go with the lowest cost item.

Often, hiring an employee is more affordable.

Quality Control

Another risk of hiring independent contractors is the issue of quality. Some contractors do excellent work and are efficient.

However, you could receive subpar work. The contractor may still charge big bucks for a less-than-quality job. They could also try to cut corners by using less expensive materials.

As an employer, you have more say over the equipment, materials, process, and end result from employees. When you work with contractors, you could be at their mercy.

Control of Schedules and Priorities

When you work with an employee, you can ensure your deadlines are met and your priorities are worked on as you request. You can adjust employees’ schedules to make sure jobs are finished on time or you have enough staff on the floor.

When you work with a contractor, you give up most of this control. Contractors usually have more than one client, and they might not prioritize your project.

That could translate into short-staffing on the floor or missed deadlines for your business.

Keeping Consistency in the Business

As you expand into the US market, you’re hoping to build a brand that Americans identify with. If you work with contractors, this can be harder to do.

One of these issues is that independent contractors might not deliver the consistency you need. They also aren’t as invested in your business’s success, so they may not see delivering great customer service or using the best equipment as a top priority.

By hiring and training your own employees, you can ensure a higher level of consistency. Employees are more likely to be invested in your business, and they may stay with your business longer. This allows you to provide continuity to your customers.

Make Employing People Easier

One reason international employers hesitate to employ true employees is because of concerns around employment law and payroll. They don’t understand the ins and outs of the law, and they might be worried they’ll face fines and penalties. By working with a PEO, you can simplify this situation. The PEO takes over all these tasks and the responsibility and liability of employing workers.

On the other hand, international employers hiring independent contractors often misclassify them, and this misclassification can lead to hefty fines and penalties.

Before you bring on an independent contractor, talk to a PEO. Hiring an employee could be the right choice.

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Topics: Business Expansion

5 Common Mistakes International Companies Make in the US Payroll Process

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

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Apr 15, 2019 9:00:00 AM

5_Common_Mistakes_International_Companies_Make_in_the_US_Payroll_ProcessPayroll becomes more complex when you’re dealing with the payroll rules of another country. International companies may find they struggle with the US payroll process even more than they do with the process at home.

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If you’re planning to expand to the US, here are a few of the most common mistakes to watch out for when you complete payroll.

1. Keeping on Top of Deadlines Is a Challenge in the US Payroll Process

Missed deadlines are probably the most common mistakes in the US payroll process for any business, international or otherwise.

The IRS sets out a schedule of remittances, which is usually based on how often you complete payroll. If you pay your employees every two weeks, you’ll need to make sure you’re remitting the tax withholdings to the IRS within so many days of completion.

There are other deadlines as well, such as the deadline for sending in information for new hires and the deadline for sending out certain income tax forms.

2. Worker Misclassification Is Common

Worker misclassification has become an important topic in the last ten years or so. The IRS now offers guidelines on how to classify your workers, and they’ll also review cases to determine whether misclassification took place. Some states have introduced their own penalties for misclassifying workers.

Accidental worker misclassification is easier and more common than you might realize. You may think you’ve hired a contractor, but if you have control over all aspects of the job, it’s likely you’ve hired an employee.

Your responsibilities as an employer are different when you work with a contractor. This can affect the US payroll process, so you’ll want to be sure you classify your people correctly.

3. Poor Record-Keeping

Many countries set standards for record-keeping, and they’ll also lay out regulations regarding how long you need to keep those records for. The rules surrounding records in the US payroll process are different from those you encounter at home, so you’ll want to read the fine print.

Poor record-keeping is common in the US, particularly with regard to data entry. You may want to check you’re not only keeping the right records but keeping accurate records as well.

Finally, be sure to verify both state and federal law about how long you need to keep records on hand. Different types of payroll records need to be kept for different amounts of time. The rules may even change depending on the job or the industry you’re in.

4. Paying the Wrong Tax Rates

The US has a graded system of taxes, which means the more an employee earns, the more they pay in tax. These tax brackets are always changing, so you need to be sure you’re using the right taxation rate. If you don’t, you or the employee could end up owing the IRS at the end of the year.

There are other taxes you’ll need to withhold as well, including withholding for Social Security and Medicare.

5. Miscalculating Overtime

Another common error for international businesses is paying overtime incorrectly. Be sure to check the rate, as well as whether there are any exemptions.

The US payroll process can be challenging, which is why it’s never a bad idea to get a helping hand. Get in touch with a professional employer organization (PEO) and make your US payroll easier than ever.

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Topics: Payroll

Expanding into Canada? How to Avoid the Problems Target Faced

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

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Mar 27, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Expanding into Canada How to Avoid the Problems Target FacedExpanding a business can be an exciting opportunity and a monumental challenge for any management team. Even American companies expanding into Canada can face an uphill battle when finding success beyond the 49th parallel.

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One of the most infamous examples in recent memory is Target. The US retail chain thought it saw an opportunity in Canada when fellow retailer HBC closed its discount chain, Zellers. Target moved swiftly, buying up previous Zellers locations. Canadian consumers, who had been lobbying for Target for years, celebrated, and success seemed all but guaranteed.

Even in the first year of Canadian branch operations, however, there were signs of trouble. Within two years, Target announced it was shuttering the doors on its Canadian experiment.

The move left the business community asking, “What went wrong?” As it turns out, Target made a number of missteps when entering Canada. If you’re planning a Canadian expansion, heed these lessons and avoid making the same errors.

Conduct a Thorough Market Analysis

One of the biggest problems Target encountered was that top brass didn’t fully understand the Canadian market before crossing the border. This led to a number of problems, from market strategies to issues with the supply chain.

It’s easy for American businesses to assume they know how to deal with supply chain logistics. After all, the US is a geographic giant with many of the same geographical features and challenges. In Canada, however, issues within supply chains snowball due to smaller population centers. Servicing the same number of stores spread across the same area is even more costly and difficult when the population you’re working with is less than half of an American population.

The other major issue with Target’s market analysis was that it didn’t accurately portray why Canadians loved the brand. In addition to the empty shelves caused by supply chain issues, Target also failed to bring the exclusives it boasted in the US. Management mistakenly thought the excitement expressed by Canadian consumers was for low prices. If that had been the case, Zellers would have survived Walmart’s incursion.

Instead, Target made the error of going toe-to-toe with Walmart by offering low prices. It also tried to compete with other Canadian retailers, such as supermarket giant Loblaw’s, which offers chic, affordable fashion alongside groceries.

Take Smaller Steps

Within its first year, Target’s executives were admitting the retailer had bitten off more than it could chew with its Canadian expansion. This was apparent in the supply chain issues mentioned above.

Target overestimated enthusiasm and misunderstood what Canadians thought its brand offered. This led to overconfidence, and the brand bought up many former Zellers locations in short order, expanding rapidly throughout the country.

Opening fewer locations would have allowed for a more controlled, cautious expansion process. This, in turn, would have allowed Target to experiment on a smaller scale. The supply chain issues could have been resolved before they became widespread problems affecting thousands of Canadian consumers.

Tailor for Canadian Sensibilities

A slower expansion also would have allowed Target to tweak its Canadian strategy. One of the problems Target encountered was a failure to translate. Again misreading the market, Target thought Canadians wanted a pure replication of what they found in the US.

This didn’t work. Canadian consumers who were unfamiliar with the brand saw no reason to shop there. Those who were already Target customers in the US complained about higher prices and lack of selection.

In short, Target alienated the people who had advocated for it and failed to appeal to Canadian consumers who were unfamiliar with the brand.

Your strategy must be aligned with the Canadian market. Although Canada and the US share some cultural similarities, a carbon copy of a US company rarely finds a foothold in Canada.

If you keep these factors in mind, you’ll have a better chance at a successful Canadian expansion.

12 Things an American Company Looking to Hire a Worker in Canada Needs to Know

Topics: Business Expansion

How Long Should Employers Keep Employee Records in the US?

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

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Mar 18, 2019 9:00:00 AM

How Long Should Employers Keep Employee Records in the USGood record-keeping is essential for your business. Keeping records is not only wise, but you may be required by law to have employee documents on hand. Because the length of time you need these records is often governed by law, deciding how long to keep them is often a matter of legal compliance.

Download "7 Challenges Companies Face When Expanding into the US" eBook

When you expand to a new market, it’s a good idea to check that your company’s record-keeping policies are in line with the local law.

How long should employers keep employee records in the US? It’s one of the most common questions for employers entering the American market. The answer depends, somewhat, on which records you’re talking about.

How Long Should Employers Keep Employee Records?

The easy answer to this question is you should keep employee records for as long as the law states.

Some employers may opt to store employee records longer than the law-stated minimum. Make sure you’re not violating any laws by doing so. New data laws, similar to the General Data Protection Regulation in the EU, could affect the maximum length of time you can keep records.

Other employers want to get rid of records as soon as possible. If you keep paper files, these could be cluttering up the office. Even digital files take up storage space on your hard drives.

What do US laws say specifically about keeping employee records? For payroll, the minimum length of time is three years. This includes employees who have terminated their employment with you.

Hiring records must be kept for at least a year after you’ve made an offer of employment. If you conduct drug testing during the hiring process or at any other point during employment, you’ll need to maintain records of the test for at least one year.

Other Record-Keeping Periods

How long should employers keep employee records of other events, such as benefits or requests for leave?

You’ll have to hang on to records of benefits and pension plans for twice as long as payroll records. The minimum length of time you need to keep these on file is six years.

If an employee makes a request under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you have to keep the records for three years. You must keep the paper trail even when you deny the request. Always carefully document leaves that are used intermittently.

Form I-9 should be kept for three years after you hire an employee, or up to one year after they terminate their employment with you. Try to keep this form separate from your personnel files.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, you’ll also need to keep collective bargaining agreements and performance appraisals. These must be maintained for two years after an employee resigns.

Other Laws to Be Aware Of

Most record-keeping laws are federal, but individual states can also apply their own regulations. For example, in Texas, you may need to keep wage and tax information records for up to four years.

You’ll want to review your record-keeping obligations under state law.

Other laws may affect record-keeping as well. For example, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires employers to keep all employment records for at least one year after the employee resigns.

If you’re following the rules about payroll and FMLA records, you should be complying with this requirement. You may want to double-check the list of records the EEOC says you need to keep on hand.

Another great example is drug testing. Some drug tests will fall under the usual rules for maintaining personnel records. If the job is related to transportation, however, you need to keep these records for five years to comply with the Department of Transportation’s regulations.

As you can see, there’s no single answer to the question, “How long should employers keep employee records?” It depends on the record, the law, and many other factors. If you’re unsure, you can always ask for help from a professional employer organization (PEO).

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Topics: Business Expansion

The Real Cost of Payroll Errors in the US

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

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Mar 13, 2019 9:00:00 AM

The Real Cost of Payroll Errors in the USThe IRS has estimated that around one-third of employers make a payroll mistake in any given year. The average cost of these mistakes to employers clocks in at nearly $850 per year.

As a global employer, however, you’re wondering exactly how much payroll errors are costing you. The answer depends on the types of payroll mistakes you’re making.

Download "7 Challenges Companies Face When Expanding into the US" eBook

This guide will go over some of the most common errors payroll administrators make. It will also examine just how much these errors could be costing you.

Failure to Pay Is Among the Most Common Payroll Mistakes

The IRS hands out millions of payroll penalties in any given year. The bulk of those penalties are assessed as “failure to pay.”

Failure to pay means you didn’t pay all or part of the payroll taxes you owed as an employer. You may have remitted your income tax withholdings, but you forgot to submit Social Security and Medicare taxes.

The IRS assesses penalties for unpaid payroll taxes, to the tune of 100 percent of the unpaid tax plus interest. The longer the money is unpaid, the higher the interest rate will be.

You may also be penalized if you fail to file Form 941, which relates to your income tax and FICA remittances.

Each W-2 Form Can Cost You

Another common mistake employers often make is forgetting to send Form W-2 to each employee at the end of January for the previous tax year.

This mistake can add up in a large company. The IRS penalizes you $50 for each form you fail to send. If you have 10 employees, that could result in a fine of $500.

You Misclassified Workers

The IRS and various state governments have been trying to crack down on employee misclassification. This situation commonly arises when an employer assesses a worker as a 1099 contractor.

If the IRS determines this worker is actually an employee, you’ll be responsible for paying all of the tax you should have withheld. If the dispute drags on, this can mean paying back-tax for multiple years, which could cost you thousands of dollars.

The Toll of Payroll Mistakes on Your Employees

One of the more “hidden” costs of payroll mistakes is the toll it takes on your staff. If payroll is constantly being administered incorrectly, employees may need to deal with overages and shortages in their pay on a regular basis.

This creates a situation where the employee may lose trust in you and possibly decide to leave the company.

When this happens, you will need to account for the costs of turnover and hiring. While it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons for turnover, the way you handle payroll could be a factor.

If you need to hire employees to replace those who leave, you should consider how much of this additional cost is directly related to payroll errors. Would you need to hire if your payroll was handled more efficiently?

The Labor Costs of Correcting Errors

Unlike hiring and employee turnover, the costs of correcting your payroll mistakes are easy to attribute. When you add them up, you’ll realize each error is costing you more than the penalty you paid to the IRS.

If you need to call someone in to work overtime to get all of your Form W-2s prepared and mailed, those costs must be added to what you’re paying the IRS in penalties. Suddenly, your costs may have jumped from $500 to $1,000.

Get a Helping Hand with Payroll

Once you’re able to consider all the factors involved in payroll penalties, it’s easy to see just how much payroll mistakes are actually costing your global business.

The best way to avoid these costs is to work with an expert team. If you need a hand, get in touch with a professional employer organization in the US to explore your options for better payroll.

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Topics: Payroll

Expanding into Canada? 5 Considerations You Might Not Have Thought of Yet

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

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Mar 4, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Expanding_into_Canada__5_Considerations_You_Might_Not_Have_Thought_Of_YetFor many US businesses, expanding into the Canadian market seems like a lucrative opportunity. This is especially true for American companies. Canada shares many cultural similarities with the US, and the geography is often similar. American business owners may feel they’re well-equipped to enter the Canadian market, and they perceive a demand for their products and services.

12 Things an American Company Looking to Pay a Worker In Canada Needs to Know

If a Canadian expansion is on your radar, there are many things you’ll need to consider carefully.


1. You’ll Need a Plan for Employee Severance

In the United States, employers and employees operate on the assumption of “at will” employment. This means that either employer or employee can choose to end the employment relationship at any time, without prior notice.

An employee who arrives to work today could be told not to return tomorrow, and this wouldn’t pose a problem.

In Canada, it’s a different story. Employees must be given proper notice of termination. This is often at least two weeks prior to the end date. For employees who have served for many years, the notice period may be longer.

If you don’t have time to give proper notice, such as in the case of mass layoffs, then you may need to pay severance instead. This will consist of paying the employees for the notice period. If an employee was entitled to two weeks’ notice and you only gave them one, then you’ll need to pay them a week of severance.


2. Sales Tax

You’ve likely thought a bit about taxation, but probably only within the context of how your business will be taxed. You may not have thought much about sales tax.

You’ll want to be sure you know the regulations for collecting tax in the province in which you operate. Federal sales tax of five percent applies throughout the country. Alberta doesn’t have a provincial sales tax, but Ontario applies eight percent. Quebec’s provincial sales tax is even higher.

You’ll need to collect and remit sales tax to the CRA as appropriate. If you don’t, it could result in penalties.


3. Income Taxes

Another tax issue you must contemplate before you expand into Canada is income tax. As a foreign company with sales in Canada, you’ll likely need to file income taxes.

It’s important to do this properly and on time, so as to avoid penalties. The penalties for not filing income tax can be significant. The CRA may decide to audit your records.

It’s important to understand the various tax treaties in Canada, and how your business structure affects what you’ll need to remit. Tax varies as the structure of the business changes, so you’ll need to explore the best option for your business.


4. The Treatment of LLCs

A limited liability corporation (LLC) is a common business structure for American companies. In Canada, LLCs are treated the same as any other corporation for taxation purposes.

This limits your ability to create a “flow-through entity,” which allows your income to be taxed in one country but not the other. This could create a situation where you face double taxation, so be sure to review your business structure options.


5. The Need for Counsel

When you decide to expand your business into Canada, the best thing you can do is get expert advice. Whether you’re trying to determine what business structure is best for you, or you want to know more about the regulations for employment, seeking advice is prudent.

One great option to consider is to get in touch with a professional employer organization (PEO) that operates on both sides of the border to ease the expansion process.

What US Companies Need to Know about Paying Employees in Canada

Topics: Business Expansion

Why You Can Put Your PEO Fears to Rest

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea

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Feb 4, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Why_You_Can_Put_Your_PEO_Fears_to_RestIf you’ve decided to take your business international, you’ve likely heard some discussions about working with a professional employer organization. While you might be considering a PEO to help you avoid common challenges, ensure compliance, or take HR administration off your plate, other business owners and managers may have told you about their own experiences.

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Perhaps you have questions of your own as well. You may be worried that working with a PEO means you’ll lose control of your business, or you might be concerned about the PEO suddenly altering your terms.

It’s natural for a business owner to worry about these sorts of things. When you work with a PEO, however, you can rest assured your investment in the relationship is safe.


A PEO Will Not Take Over Your Business

One of the most common misconceptions about professional employer organizations is that they’ll take over your business or reduce your control over it. You’ll no longer have a say in who you hire, how much you pay, or anything else.

This isn’t true. A PEO acts on your behalf, providing you with expert help for payroll and other HR tasks. While they may act as the employer on record for your workers, they’re ultimately following your policies and orders. They’ll advise you on changes you need to make to remain compliant, but the decisions are left to you.

You are still ultimately in control.


Do Your Research

Many business owners worry the PEO they partner with will go out of business. While this can be a valid concern, you should do your research beforehand. What’s the business’s record like? A newer company is more likely to go under than one that’s been successfully operating for over a decade.

You might also question whether the PEO partnership is a good investment. This can require a little bit more research, but the answer is often yes. If you run a small to mid-sized business, you may find a PEO is a great option to keep operations running smoothly.

Of course, this hinges on what you want out of the relationship. You’ll want to ask whether the PEO has experience in your industry and what their area of expertise is. If you want someone to handle payroll and the PEO you’re considering has an army of tax lawyers and benefits administrators, you might want to consider another company.

You should also ask questions about fees and pricing structures. Some PEOs do have hidden fees. Ask for an unbundled quote and read the fine print. Discover exactly what you’re paying for before you sign on the dotted line.


Most PEOs File Taxes on Time

Another reason you may want to engage a PEO is to ensure your payroll taxes are being filed on time and correctly. A common concern is that the company won’t prioritize your taxes, especially if your account is small.

It’s prudent to check the PEO’s reputation. You can do so by looking at online reviews. Most PEOs that have been in business for some time can be counted on to file taxes on time.

You may also want to check your contract for protections. What happens if they don’t file taxes on time? Your contract should give you options.


PEOs Are Professionals

Occasionally, you may make a misstep and partner with the wrong company. Most PEOs, however, are reliable and can be trusted. In most cases, you won’t need to worry about a PEO suddenly going under, altering the terms of your agreement, or unexpectedly ceasing communications.

That’s because PEOs are staffed by professionals. When you partner with them, you enter into a professional relationship between two businesses. Service agreements and contracts must be honoured.

If you do your research, read the fine print, and act professionally, chances are you’ll find a winner. Working with a PEO can ease your operations, so don’t let fear hold you back.

What US Companies Need to Know about Paying Employees in Canada

Topics: Professional Employer Organization

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