An Interview with Account Associate Jessica Powell
Depending on the program, if payroll is overestimated this could result in an inflated insurance cost that may be nonrefundable to the contractor. Overestimating payroll also makes it quite difficult when the Account Associates are performing the Quarterly “payroll verification” report (see more info below). We see this as a possibility that the contractor is under-reporting or reporting the payroll incorrectly. In such instances, we may unnecessarily try to chase down a fictitious subcontractor or seek out a nonexistent change order. These unnecessary duties are a waste of everyone’s time, and are indicative of just how vital estimating payroll correctly is in the beginning of the job. Our team tries to head these problems off in the beginning in an effort to limit such concerns down the road.
What value do you add to your team?
I add value to my team by cultivating relationships with the subcontractors. By the time I complete an enrollment, I have developed a rapport with the representatives at that company. This relationship strengthens our team as we go through each phase of the project payroll collection, COI maintenance and ultimately closeout.
What do you do to help the subcontractors through the enrollment process?
My personal approach is to be understanding. Most of our subcontractors despise having to do paperwork of any kind, so it’s crucial to help where we can. For example, in certain regions, we see “repeat contractors.” Thanks to our large database of historical information, we are able to partially fill out the enrollment forms for these subcontractors. I try to do this whenever possible, so the sub can just go back and fill-in-the-blanks. Whether the sub is a “wrap-up veteran” or a novice in submitting required information, each program is different and will ultimately raise many questions. As such, I do a lot of “phone counseling” where I explain payroll, certificates and enrollment forms step-by- step. Not only do our subs appreciate our efforts to help them, but it obviously expedites the process and makes it less painful or so I would hope.
What problems do you encounter with accurate form submission?
Where to start?! Kidding. I find that the biggest obstacle in obtaining accurate form submission lies solely with the information pertaining to the sub’s actual contract (estimated payroll, start date, etc.) These items are sometimes rough estimates or can be completely off the wall guesses. Trying to filter through the information provided without a contract in hand can prove to be a difficult task. Subs also stress out about the insurance cost calculation, which can seem rather daunting. As a result of this confusion, we receive many partially filled out forms. Partially filled out forms are the nemeses of every Account Associate!
Describe the payroll verification process.
Payroll Verification is executed formally each quarter, but the heart and soul of CR Solutions Payroll Verification is an ongoing, continuous process. We have a specialized report that has been designed, fine-tuned and utilized by our Account Associates. This report breaks down each subcontractor’s payroll by month, sorts by description coding and provides pertinent calculations. In the verification process, we verify hourly rates for accuracy and analyze completion percentages. This process enables us to catch the beginnings of what could result in a major problem i.e. detecting unreported and unenrolled lower tier subcontractors, reporting Labor Rates instead of W2 payroll, or including unnecessary benefits in reports. Of course, as the wrap-up evolves, so does the verification process.