There’s a phrase that pops up once in a while in the business world: “Pigs don’t know pigs stink.” While simultaneously funny and a little disgusting, the sentiment behind the phrase is incredibly serious and very real.

We don’t know what we don’t know. Each of us has limited knowledge about different subjects, and beyond that, we’re completely unaware of what knowledge is beyond our own. We can’t even ask the right questions, because we don’t know what questions to ask!

For most of life, that’s okay. You don’t need to ask questions about traveling in outer space if you aren’t an astronaut-in-training. You don’t need to fully understand what a surgeon does if you aren’t going to be a surgeon. For most of us, in most areas of life, little or general knowledge is sufficient. And if we learn about something that is completely new to us, we find it to be a neat experience.

But sometimes it can be a big problem to us. Such is the case when it comes to payroll. What if you are paying employees to do work, but you neglect to report properly to the government? You could end up with massive fines on your hands. What if you classify employees incorrectly? What are the laws around paydays, hiring family members, and record-keeping? Not knowing these things well can have a negative affect on your bottom line, and can even be a life-or-death matter for your business.

What can you do about it?

If you’re concerned that you might not know enough about payroll, you have a few options.

Online learning.

There’s more than enough available out there so you can “teach yourself”.  As with most things, it comes down to time or money.  Will you spend the time to learn it yourself, or pay someone else to do it?  For example, the American Payroll Association provide training and courses that will help you improve your knowledge, but that’s likely beyond most small business owners.

To help you get started, download our “6 Payroll Tips” eBook.  Two minutes, and you will know more than you do now.

Hire from within

As many small businesses do, you can either hire someone to take care of your payroll, or simply task it to a team member within your business.  If you choose the right person, they will bring expertise to your business, and take the detail off your hands so you can focus on what’s important in your business and life. That’s pretty straightforward.

But what if your family business is not ready to hire outside?  Or what if you’re just too small to hire another employee, or expand your few employees’ roles?  This might not be the right option for you yet….but you might be surprised. Read about how outsourced payroll saves you more than just time.

Find a good accountant.

You might think, of course we say that….but that’s because we have heard clients tell us this time, and time, and time again.  A good accountant and business advisor helps you make the leap from unaware to confident in payroll. It’s what we do. We educate, we advise, we help business owners be successful. And in the case of payroll, we help business owners avoid penalties by getting it right from the start.  Read more about our payroll services.