Lessons Learned from Agri Customers | Blog | PaySauce

Lessons Learned from Agri Customers

by Logan Tyson

Hi guys! Logan here from PaySauce. We thought it might be useful to share some of the lessons we’ve taken from the 500 agri customers we now look after around New Zealand and how PaySauce addresses common issues. Our main goal is to help agri business owners save time and stay compliant. Let’s get into it.

We believe the future of small business computing is more and more mobile. After all, you don’t run a farming business because you love being in an office. Over 90% of staff on our customers’ farms use the PaySauce mobile app to enter their timesheets, which is our best-performing industry by a mile.

The first thing you’ll notice about the way our mobile app works for employees is that it allows timesheets to be recorded for salaried staff. If you think about your average salaried employee in an office, timesheets aren’t a requirement. This is one of the many ways agri payroll is different from your typical small business, and explains why plenty of other payroll solutions don’t get the job done on farm.

For PaySauce users, filling out timesheets is a simple matter of clicking on a bar corresponding to a day and spinning the wheel for start and finish times. For our bigger customers with multiple farms, staff can also allocate time against a different location which automates labour costing. This is a popular feature with many of our corporate farm customers, because it helps assess productivity for different business units and integrates seamlessly with Xero and CashManager Rural on the accounting side. Staff can even leave notes against time entries to explain what they were doing, or why a particular task took longer than usual.

Each entry only takes seconds for staff, and on a dairy farm you’re likely to see three entries per day. This shouldn’t take more than a minute all up per day. Entries can be made from home during meal breaks or at the end of the day. Keeping things simple for staff is critical. If it’s not easy to use, you’re going to get pushback and the whole timesaving aspect will fall over. You don’t necessarily need to fill timesheets out on the spot, which often is a bit more practical when you’re doing physical labour. You also don’t need 3G to enter timesheets as you can do it at home or at the shed on wi-fi.

It’s funny, but we seem to pick up more customers who are tired of chasing timesheets just to keep MBIE happy than those who are struggling with payroll. We get it - there’s probably no less frustrating admin task than tallying up work hours and making sure staff don’t need a top-up. For employees, because timesheets don’t impact what you earn (for most of the year anyway), they’re seen as a bit of a joke. This means managers are often chasing timesheets and end up with a piece of paper with scribbled hours in the same colour pen that show they’ve been dreamed up just to keep the labour inspectors happy.

By going digital, managers using PaySauce can check their staff are actually entering their timesheets daily (and being accurate). This sets a good routine for staff and gets them in the proper habits, as well as producing more reliable numbers.

Another common issue we see is staff asking the boss to dig up copies of old payslips, for example when they need to provide evidence of income for a loan (even though they probably have them somewhere). They can now get those themselves from the PaySauce app without hassling their employer.

The final area for employees are leave requests. This feature isn’t designed to replace staff having a conversation with their employer about taking leave. The main purpose is to keep all of these important records in one place, instead of text messages, emails, post-it notes, or a whiteboard calendar in the shed that you isn’t right next to you on pay day. Leave requests are easy to make - click new leave request, click the type of leave, select the dates, and leave a message for your manager.

On the employer side of things, having a mobile app to run pays gives you a lot more flexibility. Think about trying to run a pay with desktop software when you’re on holiday or when your computer blows up. You’d be stuffed.

In our payroll area here we can see pending, submitted, and calculated. These relate to employee pay cards. If you click on an individual staff member in the pending area, you can see the timesheet they are currently working on. You can make edits if needed and sign off in seconds.

If an employee was to work so many hours that they fell below minimum wage for that fortnight, PaySauce would automatically top them up to the required level.

It’s been surprising to us that dairy farms, along with horticultural growers and contractors, are the most closely monitored businesses in the country when it comes to labour compliance. This minimum wage issue is the number one thing inspectors are looking for - so a bulletproof compliance tool takes that pressure off. This feature is one of the main reasons PaySauce is so popular with our farming customers.

On your average pay run, PaySauce customers just review timesheets, make edits if needed, and hit calculate. If your staff don’t have smartphones, it’s easy to pop those details in for them. We also see a lot of spouses doing the timesheet entry for their partners who might not fancy using an app.

PaySauce will tally up the total pay run, including wages, PAYE, Kiwisaver, student loans, ministry deductions like child support or court fines, and farm deductions like rent and power. When you hit close pay, PaySauce deducts the gross payroll, pays staff, and handles all of the IR filing. That means customers are running entire pays in minutes straight from their phones. Here’s Chris Lewis of Federated Farmers talking about exactly that.

One last comment - for bigger businesses with around four FTEs or more, as of April next year you’ll be required by Inland Revenue to file PAYE within two business days of payment to staff, rather than on the 20th of the following month. Unless you love rushing to file with Inland Revenue every fortnight, this change makes a system like PaySuace almost an essential. If you haven’t heard about Payday Reporting, here’s a quick outline of what you need to know.

Thanks for reading! We love working with our agri customers. They’re appreciative when you help them cut down admin and they aren’t afraid to shoot straight when there’s a problem. All of our upcoming features are designed to make life easier managing your people on farm. Stay tuned.

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Posted on 13 August 2018

Logan Tyson
Head of Growth & Partnerships

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