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Monday, 09 November 2020 09:46

Payroll system specifically developed for orchards

Written by  Imran Raza, founder of Agrismart
Using a fit-for-purpose payroll and timesheet system will not only save lots of time, but also help maximise orchard gate returns. Using a fit-for-purpose payroll and timesheet system will not only save lots of time, but also help maximise orchard gate returns.

Historically payroll software was written for commercial businesses where everything was relatively stock standard.

Orchard owners’ needs were not considered. The impact of seasonal and variable work patterns were not catered for.

The Holidays Act 2004 was not understood properly, and payroll providers simply turned a blind eye to it as it was all too hard.

It is no wonder that there is currently an estimated $2.3bn in outstanding Holiday Pay arising from inaccurate calculations.

Orchard owners, until recently, have had no choice regarding a fit-for-purpose timesheet and payroll software. Many have had to adapt the available software as best they could to meet their needs.

However, this has cost orchard owners lots of wasted time in administration of wages, and in some cases, significant sums of money – arising from having to make lump sum payments for historical underpayments and penalties.

Payroll software needs to be fit-for-purpose.

The whole payroll process should be transparent, with everything automated as much as possible and it is all done in the one system.

A horticulture business should be able to use its payroll system as follows:

• Primarily for paying the correct amounts to their employees

• Accounting to the IRD

• Able to have records available for internal and external audits

• Have the necessary reports and financial analysis to comply with both legal and internal managerial requirements

• Maximise their orchard gate profitability by having all the necessary payment options available

Securing labour for the orchard at the right times has always been challenging. With Covid-19 currently hampering the ability to source overseas employees, growers are now having to compete even more for that much smaller pool of labour. 

One of the levers that growers can pull to secure this labour is to have a mechanism in their payroll system. This will enable them to seamlessly change pay rates and methods of payments to maximise harvest returns.

An orchard payroll system should have the following features: 

• Cloud-based system, so you can access it from anywhere

• Built-in timesheets that will work offline and allow you to capture time in bulk. • Ability to change the hourly rate on the fly daily

• Ability to pay on a piece rate, with the unit rate already assigned to your timesheet codes – so calculations are automated with your timesheet entries

• Flexibility to change the piece rates on the fly

• Paying on piece rates triggers issues with paid breaks and minimum hourly rates. 

• Built-in bonus payments feature is also a must, as it enables you to set predetermined criteria to trigger a bonus amount based on the number of hours worked and the units tended to

• Using a fit-for-purpose payroll and timesheet system is guaranteed to not only save lots of time, but will also help with maximising orchard gate returns.

• Imran Raza is the founder of Agrismart – a Hamilton-based company specialising in developing computer software for horticultural and agricultural enterprises.

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