All About Payroll and HR Administration

“Administration” brings chills down the spine of many a busy business owner and manager. It conjures images of mind-numbing forms to complete, data to enter, and deadlines to meet. Payroll and HR administration are all too real, but this “behind the scenes” work is still very important for organizational and legal reasons.

Organizational chaos is often the reason business owners hire outsourced firms such as Aspire HR. It can be less of a challenge with the right people and processes in place.

Administrative Tasks and Roles

Here are the most important administrative tasks and roles:

Payroll Processing

The most important administrative task, as everyone wants to get paid! Fortunately, there are a number of good third-party payroll options to handle this time sensitive and complex task.

Interface with Payroll Processor

Although your payroll provider will handle the calculations and distribution of payroll, you will still need someone working with your company to input data, verify accuracy, and make changes such as adding new employees, adjusting compensation, and terminating employees.

Tracking Vacation/Paid Time Off

Paid time off is second only to payroll in sensitive tasks that must be done accurately. Depending on your system, you may have a time-off accrual system; with the rise of state mandated sick/family leave, you have to keep an accurate record down to the hour. Some companies handle this internally with a simple spreadsheet; others rely on third-party software.

On-boarding Employees

All new employees must be given certain information and complete paperwork during the “on-boarding” period. These may include:

1 – Employment agreement

2 – Form I-9, proof of eligibility to work in the United States (mandatory)

3 – Form W-4, for Federal Income Tax withholding (mandatory)

4 – State withholding tax form

5 – Employee handbook and signed handbook acknowledgement

6 – Federal and state legal notices

7 – Receipt of company property

8 – Information regarding benefit and retirement plans

Other administrative on-boarding processes:

1 – Set up the new employee in the payroll system

2 – Notify your benefits provider of a new enrollment (if applicable)

3 – Coordinate any new employee orientation and training

Performance Management Administration

1 – Documenting all performance and discipline

2 – Annual performance reviews

3 – Recognitions received

4 – Promotions

5 – Disciplinary actions, such as written and oral warnings and performance improvement plans

6 – Tracking business expenses and reimbursements

7 – Handling reasonable accommodation requests and leave of absence requests in writing

8 – Maintaining employee files

9 – Terminating employees, including documentation, exit interviews, payroll, benefits and retirement plans, return of equipment, cell phones, credit cards, computer access, and final pay.

Government and Other Third-Party Compliance

1 – Unemployment

2 – Workers’ Compensation

3 – Audits of payroll, I-9, etc.

4 – Annual Form 5500 (retirement plans)

5 – OSHA required documentation

6 – Department of Labor, EEOC, ADA etc. requests


Payroll and HR administration are not exciting but are critical to the proper functioning of any organization. Done well, it hums quietly and efficiently in the background. Done poorly, it leads to confusion and breakdowns. The difference is good systems and trained people to run the systems.