Article Date: 11/21/2014

Expert Offers Advice for Completing Certified Payroll Reports

By Steve Rizer


For contractors and subcontractors performing construction work on state and federal projects that exceed $2,000 in value, what is the best way for them to create certified payroll reports? Should they use Excel spreadsheets? Should they go full bore and invest in construction-specific software? Are handwritten reports really the most economical way to go? In a webinar that WPL Publishing sponsored earlier this month, Sunburst Software Solutions Inc. President Nancy Smyth shared some interesting observations on this topic.


In delivering her presentation, called “Certified Payroll/Prevailing Wage Reports: A Practical Guide to Compliance,” Smyth informed professionals attending the event that all of these methods, along with the other alternatives of using .pdf forms that are “fillable” and “stand-alone” programs, are costly in one form or another. “Some of them [are costly] more so in terms of money. Others are more so in terms of time.”


Smyth cautioned that “when you use these manual methods, you run a huge risk of data-entry errors, transposition errors. And, let’s face it, if you’ve ever looked at one of those forms, can any of us really write that small and make sure that anybody can read it? I know I can’t. So, they’re all costly in one form or another.”


Smyth also offered some words of caution for professionals thinking about using QuickBooks for completing certified payroll reports. “QuickBooks Pro doesn’t have an ability to generate a certified payroll report even though for years Intuit has promoted a ‘Certified Payroll Box 1 Report.’ Box 1 is nothing more than your employee’s name, address, and social security number. When you move to QuickBooks Premiere and QuickBooks Enterprise and you use it in conjunction with the Enhanced Plus or Assisted Payroll subscription, you could print an alternate substitute WH-347 form, but it’s not accurate. It doesn’t present the data the way the federal form wants it.”


Also during the webinar, Smyth discussed key definitions and requirements related to certified payroll, fringe benefits, statements of compliance, the tracking of employee time and work classifications, and other topics in this area.


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