Where are you based, Traci?
I am based in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, about 5 minutes outside of Louisville. Cosan’s corporate office is in Moorestown, New Jersey. Cosan’s employees are based nationwide– about 39 states right now!
And how long have you been with Cosan?
It’ll be two years in April. Prior to that, I was with their payroll company and was introduced to them in July of 2020. So I’ve been with Cosan in the trenches for quite a while!
How long have you been doing payroll?
Oh, gosh, 20 years! I’ve been in the finance industry since I was about 15 and then went to college and got my associate’s in accounting and finance and business management. I started doing payroll at the law firm a little bit here, a little bit there, and then eventually took over payroll at the law firm. I then went to work for just a payroll company. And now I’m here. I am in finance mostly, but I also dabble in recruiting. I take care of all the benefits on the employee side as far as medical goes and so on.
Payroll is such a gray area between finance and HR because you’re dealing with people’s money, which then in turn deals with people’s emotions, which then, in turn, affects their performance. If it’s somebody who has a general question, you can put your payroll hat on and you’re good to go. But if you’re dealing with somebody who feels like they’ve been wronged with their payroll, it’s going to affect their performance. You have to resolve issues not only from the payroll aspect but from the employer aspect of getting them to do their job effectively and efficiently. So that’s why it’s so enjoyable for so many people because it’s never the same thing. You never deal with the same thing twice.
What is the biggest challenge when it comes to your position?
Time. It’s really hard to manage my time, especially when it’s time to process payroll and I have additional items on top of that. For example, right now we’re going through open enrollment with negotiations for new pricing. I oversee a team we’ve outsourced to take care of all of that. I also meet with the practices, employees, and new hires as they come in.
Any best-kept secrets you’d like to share?
I’m still figuring it out as it relates to time management. I get everything done and I meet my deadlines. I’m never late. I’m usually always early. But with new things being added, I’m always having to revamp my processes and system in the way that I do things.
If I’ve got an employee that’s got a question, those questions can’t always be put off. If I’ve got the president reaching out to me, I can’t tell him I’m busy today. There are a lot of late nights for me– even for a couple of hours to wrap my day up.
This makes sense why people are so hesitant to add another thing to their plate when it comes to benefits!
Immediate is actually so easy. I don’t have to do anything.
Did you think Immediate was going to be easy before you offered it?
I was initially weary of what I would have to do, but it’s literally as simple as making sure my payroll matches my invoice and then running a report.
Were you part of the decision-making process of whether Immediate would be offered or not?
Yes, I was part of the decision-making process. Part of my job is to make sure our employees are taken care of. It will remain part of my job. When there’s a need, I will do what I can to resolve it. ImmediatePay coming in was fabulous.
I reached out to our employees to gauge interest. If an employee called me, I’d ask them about it. I had several employees on my radar who were constantly emailing me and asking if they could get a payroll advance. We don’t do that so that was not an option. Or employees would constantly email me and ask me about their bonus and when it going to be paid out. So I took it upon myself to reach out to those employees. I would ask if we were to offer Immediate, would you use it? Employees are now able to meet financial ends when something happens and that gives them peace of mind.
What was the initial feedback when you talked to people before offering Immediate?
Super excited. When will it start? Can we do this tomorrow? Like, they were very, very excited about it, and very willing to try it!
Let’s back up to the implementation with Immediate. How was that process?
It was actually really smooth. It went really well. And we did the soft transactions with absolutely no problem. The funds came out of our bank with no problem. And since then we were once we were able to go out after that, we were, you know, pretty set. We’ve had a couple of hiccups here or there where something’s glitchy but we fixed that, too. So again, not a huge lift on my side.
So when you are processing payroll every week, what do you do? What do you have to do as it relates to your immediate when?
So I get the invoices on Mondays that I process payroll, so I should get one like Monday next week and then I take that, and then once I’ve got payroll complete and I’m ready to pre-process and review it, I just check the balance. I check what’s being withheld versus what my invoices are on. And then there’s a report that I generate that I match it up to.
What has surprised you most about offering immediate?
Honestly, the usage. I didn’t realize how many employees would utilize it.
Our employees get paid biweekly. So they would take the advance for what they had to pay on their layaway out through ImmediatePay, and they were able to pay it rather than paying that late payment everything and every other week. It worked out for them as well because we got a lot of single moms on our payroll. We’ve got a lot of wives that have disabled husbands, so the income is not what it used to be. And, they’re still adjusting to that. ImmediatePay gives them that break that, you know if the kids got something coming out this week. Well, I don’t get paid this week. Let me just pull it out and I’ll have it tomorrow will be good. And it doesn’t affect them to the point that they’re then starting all over again because they still have a paycheck because they can’t take it all.
What feedback have you gotten from the team about Immediate since you started to offer it?
You know, they love it. The app is pretty easy to use. Employees get their money super quick, which they love. It’s all been great feedback. When I tell new hires about Immediate at orientations they are super excited. We include Immediate in our job descriptions as part of our benefits package.
Do you think that other companies should offer Immediate to their employees?
Yes! You will keep an employee if they have access to their money versus going to have to go do something else like find one of those ‘work today, pay today’ gigs.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to other payroll professionals in your industry?
You’ve got to have thick skin. Keep an open mind. You can’t come to work every day with a crabby attitude. It doesn’t work. If I can put a smile on my team’s face, even if it’s just for 5 minutes, I will do it!