Seminar notes: The Canadian Payroll Association

MRSB Bookkeeper Linda Hicken recently had the opportunity to participate in a web seminar offered by The Canadian Payroll Association on documenting payroll policies and procedures. Here she shares some of the insights gained during the seminar.

Payroll is an essential component of most businesses, and is often the largest expense of a corporation. Your payroll department can consist of an entire team, or just one payroll administrator. Lack of good communication flow to and from the payroll department can cause inefficiency, decreased employee morale and increase the risk of non-compliance with the legislation of various government bodies.

To ensure successful communication, it is beneficial for every company to create their own Policy & Procedures Manual that covers all payroll issues and outlines the procedures involved in carrying out these rules consistently. First, research should be done to identify the needs of the company, the departments involved and who should be part of the team that will write your manual. Writing styles can vary, but it should be in simple language. Some topics to include in your payroll manual:

  • Hiring process
  • Submission of hours
  • Vacation pay policies
  • Bonuses
  • Mandatory deductions


Once your team has compiled the material and written a draft, approval by upper management is vital as this enforces your policies once they are in effect. When your final document is complete, ensure that it is available to all employees, either printed or in digital form. Be prepared to answer questions and review the policy with staff. You may want to have each employee sign a form stating that they have read and understood the manual.

Your payroll policy and procedure manual should be reviewed periodically and updated in the event of changes in your organization or in government legislation.  There is a time commitment involved in producing your manual, and you should consider it an investment. Your company will benefit from the results.  

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Turning employees into ambassadors for your brand

Contributed by Lucy Gotell, Marketing Officer

At the beginning of 2014 we decided to try something new. Our social media efforts were heating up and the MRSB Marketing Committee wanted to find a way to encourage the entire team to get involved. That is, we knew the potential power of having individual staff members talk up our brand online, and we wanted to make sure we provided the support and incentives needed to make this happen.

So, in January we announced our very first Brand Ambassador Contest. The prize categories would be fun and fairly easy to pursue:

The Unbeatable Brand Ambassador would be the person whose social media presence was consistent, included more than one platform (Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook were eligible) and would engage and inform his or her audience. Overall, this person would be revved up about social media and the company, adding value to MRSB's own efforts.

Second prize would go to our Best Resident Tweeter - someone who understands the power of Twitter and knows how to use it to gain positive attention for the business, as well as how to build an engaging persona on the platform.

Our Social Butterfly prize would go to someone whose content was consistently picked up and shared by others. They would have a natural knack for engaging friends and strangers alike, creating buzz around his or her topics of choice.

Sounds fun, right? We thought so, and just this month we awarded not three but FOUR prizes (two staff were equally deserving in the Social Butterfly category) to the excitement of the recipients. First prize was an iPad Mini and went to bookkeeper Linda Hicken, second was a $150 gift card for Futureshop and went to accounting technician Darlene Eldershaw, and the third was a $100 gift card to a popular local restaurant. Business development officer Stacey Evans and accounting technician Bev MacLaren were our third prize winners.

Because our contest went so well, and because we figure there might be others out there who want to know the best way of bolstering social media involvement within their own organization, we've created a handy infographic that provides some quick tips. We hope your efforts are rewarded as well as ours have been.


If you would like more information about this initiative feel free to email MRSB's marketing officer.



2014 staff retreat - in photos

One of our annual highlights at MRSB Group is our staff retreat, which allots a full day of idea sharing, team building and initial planning for next year's business plan. This year was no exception as the team descended on Holland College (in the 'MRSB' room no less!) bright and early last Wednesday. 

The day's professional activities were rounded out with a stellar guest speech by CBC personality Bruce Rainnie and some fantastic prizes. Here are a few of our favourite photos from the 2014 Staff Retreat:

Maggie and Jaclyn share a laugh over breakfast

Bruce was kind enough to bring a few copies of his book as door prizes for staff

After lunch it was time to join our breakout groups and get the brainstorming started!

Each group had some great ideas for what to include in next year's business plan

Darlene was one of four winners in our first-ever MRSB Brand Ambassador Contest, which rewarded staff for spreading the word about MRSB Group via Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

We ended the day with a fun elimination draw for some great prizes, including a trip for two to Montreal! Rob won third prize, then drew the final name...

Val was second prize winner - a night's stay at the Holman Grand Hotel and a gift card to Redwater Rustic Grille - meaning Matt won the trip for two!

It does take some time and effort, but implementing a staff retreat is one of the best ways of engaging your entire team, hearing each staff member's direct feedback and motivating everyone to set personal and professional goals for the coming year. We highly recommend it!

Contact HR Manager Kathryn Mills for best practices in implementing a successful staff retreat