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Tips for streamlining the payroll process for SMEs in Hong Kong

In comparison to other nations, Hong Kong’s payroll is handled differently. However, it does not imply a high level of complexity. An efficient and error-free payroll system is crucial to the smooth operation of any organization. It seems like there are always more things to accomplish than accounting when you’re operating a small company. Small company owners with less than 100 workers may struggle to keep up with their accounting duties.

Most small company owners juggle many tasks at once, including advertising, selling, assisting customers, and more. So accounting is sometimes overlooked by small company owners who aren’t familiar with the benefits of workflow automation. Here is a guide to help you with the steps for the payroll process in Hong Kong and a few tips to streamline them effectively.

Tips for streamlining the payroll process for SMEs in Hong Kong

Payroll Process For SMEs in Hong Kong

The accounting and human resources divisions are responsible for processing payroll. Keeping up with payroll has become more complex, and may outsource or automate your payroll process to make sure it is done on time and correctly. In addition to the fact that each employee’s hours, MPF, remuneration, and deductions may differ, the sheer number of precise legal standards that must be followed when calculating payroll may be overwhelming. So, here is a detailed account of the payroll process in Hong Kong.

What is the payroll process?

It is crucial for businesses to handle payroll because it determines the workers’ total income after all applicable taxes and deductions have been made. Payroll processing for SMEs entail rewarding workers for their efforts. Estimating total salary earnings, deducting amounts withheld for taxes, submitting payroll tax forms, and distributing payments are all part of the process. 

The payroll administrator must carefully prepare each stage of the payroll process to handle payroll effectively. Accounting costs for small and medium-sized enterprises is not a simple task that a single employee can handle. Payroll processing in Hong Kong provides a variety of issues that impact your efficiency and compliance framework. Because of this, punishments for not following the rules have become more common. This is why seeking an expert service provider’s assistance is crucial.

Steps of the payroll process in Hong Kong

The payroll processing for SMEs begins by creating the organization’s compensation policy, which should include leave encashment guidelines and flexible benefits. It is important to explain the various elements of a pay stub, such as base pay, bonus pay and other allowances. The executives then gather further payroll information from the transportation supplier or the restaurant/canteen vendor.

Calculating the gross compensation and subtracting the statutory and non-statutory amounts will help in finally disclosing employee compensation. The last step is to submit returns and make payments to the appropriate authorities for things like PF and TDS. The main components of Net Income are usually the following.

  • Commission Payment – When an employee achieves a goal, such as making a particular number of sales, they get a commission. Depending on the circumstances, the commission might replace or supplement base compensation.
  • Allowance Payment – Workers may be eligible for an allowance from their company to spend on expenses like child care, transportation, life insurance, and medical care. Instead of reimbursing, employers provide allowances to meet routine company expenditures.
  • Overtime Payment – According to Hong Kong Labor law, if the employment contract requires overtime payments for its staff, the company must pay them or receive a penalty. In terms of treatment and default protection, overtime pay is regarded the same as regular earnings.
  • Bonus Payment – Company bonuses may serve as both an incentive and a reward for outstanding work. Bonuses may be given to employees in a variety of forms, such as cash, stock, or stock options. Signing bonuses, referral bonuses, and retention incentives are all examples of the types of incentive bonuses that a firm could provide for its workers.

Tips For Streamlining SMEs payroll process in Hong Kong

Payroll is distinct from accounts payable, yet it may help improve cash flow similarly. The payroll process in Hong Kong is not as complex as it may seem. But certain municipal laws must be followed and carefully documented. So, the following tips for the payroll process for SMEs in Hong Kong will help you deal with them more successfully.

Be Aware of Everything

Companies have less payroll burden since they are not required to withhold workers’ income tax from their salaries and earnings. Nonetheless, businesses still have several responsibilities related to obligatory social security payments. However, recognizing the ins and outs of the payroll process in Hong Kong is crucial for maximizing benefits and avoiding penalties.

Salary Tax

During the monthly payroll process for SMEs, employers are not required to withhold income tax from employee earnings and salaries. Individual income taxes are instead assessed once a year. The employee makes two payments to cover the whole cost. The net remuneration of your employees is subject to salary tax at a rate ranging from 2 to 17%. If an employee is fired, you must notify the IRD via form IR56F in a month. 

This ensures that the employee is issued a statement of release relieving them from any obligations to the state that might be paid as social contributions or taxation. Annual tax returns must be filed by both the employee and the employer to account for any remuneration received by the employee throughout the tax year. Each year in April, the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) issues the required forms.

Overtime Pay

Except for the security provided by the statutory minimum wage, there are no explicit requirements for overtime labor under Hong Kong law. The law does not mandate that a company compensate workers for overtime labor or provide their time off instead of salary. However, the employer must pay overtime as specified in the employment contract if the employee is obligated to work overtime.

Leave Considerations

Hong Kong’s annual leave is governed by the Employment Ordinance. According to the number of years an employee has worked for the firm, it is required that all Hong Kong companies provide their staff paid time off of at least seven days. Based on the number of years, an employee’s right to annual leave in Hong Kong increases gradually from 7  to 14 days, as indicated below. Additionally, a worker recruited on a consecutive 12-month contract with the possibility of renewal is eligible for paid annual leave.

Mandatory Social Contributions

A minimum of 5% of each employee’s gross monthly salary must be contributed by the employer to a retirement program, with further payments accepted voluntarily. The program must meet the requirements under the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance. Because of this, when an employee changes companies, they must switch to the MPF source that the new employer has specified.

Record All Procedure

Accurate payroll processing for SMEs is a complex activity that calls for strong numerical and analytical abilities. The on-time and proper distribution of wages to all workers is the responsibility of either the owner or the accounting staff. There will be frequent communication with upper-level management to ensure that the company’s payroll policies are well-communicated and understood.

The payroll department needs a simplified system that involves the recording of key payroll data if it is to carry out its duties effectively. You can start by describing in detail how payroll is processed, from initial data entry to final check delivery. It can also be helpful to add information on how to manually execute payroll in the event of a crisis.

Create Calendar

Examining your calendar to identify any gaps or moments when you can benefit from assistance is crucial in the payroll process for SMEs. Payroll calendars are helpful tools for keeping track of pay cycles. Having a set payroll schedule in place might alleviate some anxiety about payment dates. In addition, your payroll department may use this document as a planning and reference tool. It also allows you to determine your pay frequency, watch and keep track of holidays, set reminders and have transparent communication with the employees.

Automate Process

A wide variety of applications exist to facilitate work automation for the payroll processes in Hong Kong. By using payroll software, you may streamline your operations. It will save you much time and effort if you make use of these tools to simplify your accounting procedures. These programs can also calculate taxes, create employee pay stubs, comply with local laws, and offer you updated records for filing year end taxes. Most importantly, remember to invest in the right software to maintain accuracy.

Outsource Payroll Tasks

Previously, outsourcing a firm’s finances and sensitive data was unimaginable. However, most payroll duties are regular and follow norms, making it feasible to transfer responsibility to trusted partners without giving up decision-making power. When a payroll outsourcing company has been chosen, the next step is for both sides to agree on a set of “terms of engagement”. This is when the provider’s obligations and remuneration are determined. Finally, you can share your payroll information with the chosen outsourcing agency. The perks of having your payroll process for SMEs outsourced are cutting costs, receiving professional assistance and having more time to focus on your core objectives.

Be Flexible and Understanding

While automating your accounting process, it’s crucial to be understanding and adaptable. There is a possibility of becoming overwhelmed with the introduction of new automation technologies, and things won’t always go as planned.  On the other hand, if you are flexible and open, you will be able to make the necessary tweaks to your accounting procedure and ensure that it runs as smoothly as possible.

Get Professional Help For Your HK Business Accounting and Bookkeeping!

Accurate bookkeeping and accounting are vital to the success of any business. The payroll process in Hong Kong requires compliance with the regulations of the Inland Revenue Department. This is why having a professional service provider like Startupr by your side, can speed up the process while never compromising on accuracy. Whether you want to prepare your financial statements or track management accounts, our advanced bookkeeping software can be your perfect solution. Have more queries? Connect with us on a call.