RSM South Africa

Year end escapades - The final payroll run

Christmas Carol? All I heard was Christmas payroll!

Holidays and festivities have an incredible impact on the timing of regular monthly payroll procedures. Timeframes are much tighter with deadlines and payment dates all needing to be scheduled earlier in the month. This could cause turmoil, confusion and inaccuracy if not dealt with correctly.

Let’s look at a few pointers to avoid the unnecessary stress and streamline the process so that you have a plan to deal with the year-end payroll well in advance.


All parties involved in the payroll process need to communicate regularly and have reliable channels for information to reach each party timeously. This is important as the slightest misunderstanding could lead to a series of errors and delays.

Review dates to create a plan of action

One must contrive a proficiently structured schedule which highlights the relevant dates that the payroll must be processed, reviewed and loaded for payment so that salaries can be released on time. You need to consider that the payroll run may need to be processed earlier and that the normal pay date may need to move due to public holidays or the company closing before the end of the year. As many employees will take annual leave during this time of the year, it is also important to ensure that all essential staff with be at the office on the required dates.

Preparing calculations before-hand

Any bonuses to be paid out should be calculated and decided on well in advance. This eliminates the last minute clambers which more frequently than not result in errors. Additionally, any other changes, inclusions or exclusions need to be accounted for, disclosed and settled on before-hand. The normal payment limit that you have with your bank for monthly payroll releases may also be exceed during this time due to the additional earnings which may be paid out. Therefore, it is important to identify what the expected value of the payroll payout will be early in the month so that the bank can be contacted in advance to arrange for any necessary increase in limits required.

Consider payments that need to be made early in the New Year

As employees may take leave over the end of December and the start of January, one needs to also consider the payments which will fall due during the first couple of weeks of the New Year. An example is payroll taxes which can be paid at any time therefore it may be beneficial to pay these before the business closes.  

Placing the right personnel in-charge

Payroll is a particularly detail orientated task. Having a responsible, pedantic and efficient team in place to handle this administration is what every enterprise requires, be it outsourced or in house. This will ensure high levels of accuracy coupled with an assurance that the task will be carried out in an optimal way. The last thing an organization would want to deal with is disgruntled employees who were either paid late, incorrectly or not at all!

That said, we can clearly establish the importance of having a concrete plan in mind to ensure that this process follows through precisely. Hence, having minimum influence on the business.

Should you require any assistance or advice in navigating through this Christmas Payroll Adventure, or would like to find out more about the array of services offered, please contact our dynamic team.

Nazmeera Cassim

Outsourced Accounting and Payroll Administration, Johannesburg

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