Companies on Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands continue to deal with payroll issues related to problems associated with employees not receiving their pay. The businesses were clients of Information & Data Systems or IDS.

According to reports the Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth Ports Authority  transferred $300 000 to IDS but the payments were never remitted to the intended parties. Guam companies include Pacific Islands Club Guam Fish Eye Marine Park and the Marriot Guam Resort and Spa. NMI companies also affected by the situation include Saipan Nikko Hotel Pacific Islands Club Saipan and the Saipan World Resort. The amount in total not received by Guam and NMI companies and government agencies is reportedly in the millions.

Businesses are searching for other options from human resource management and payroll consulting companies such as Sanford Technology Group Premier Business Solutions and Pacific Human Resource Services.

Premiere Business Solutions also helps companies with human resource and payroll management however the business at no point handles the client’s cash.

“We are bringing technology to the client. Because of the availability of bandwidth in the region we are able to have companies take control of payroll human resources time and attendance and accounting through technology ” Jesse Toves general manager of Premiere Business Solutions told the Journal. “We do not impound a company’s money. In the old way that’s how it was done. What we do is allow clients to make journal entries.”

Toves markets the Sage brand of software. Sage also produces the Peachtree accounting software.

“To be quite honest I was out providing brochures and meeting with companies to keep our name out there and then recently I started getting inquiries. I thought I was doing pretty good until I learned about the IDS story three days after it broke ” Toves said.

“Because we don’t handle the company’s money they don’t have to worry but I did ask Sage and they are a multi-million-dollar international company … and they are bonded ” he said. According to Toves “I think it’s up to the Department of Revenue and Taxation and the legislature to decide if companies should have to be bonded for that type of industry.”

James Patrick Lavine president of Lavine BMC Technologies LLC; began a working relationship with Toves four years ago. Lavine was quick to note that the BMC in the company name is a CPA firm.  Lavine distributes Sage products to Guam the Northern Mariana Islands the Marshall Islands Palau the Caribbean the U.S. and British Virgin Islands Alaska and Hawaii. Lavine started in the industry about 13 years ago when he partnered with MIP [Micro Information Products] which was later acquired by Sage.

“I deal with government agencies and non-profits. On Guam it’s the Guam Housing Corp. Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority Guam Visitors Bureau the Northern Marianas College ” Lavine said.

The private sector may be interested in Sage products such as the Sage Abra human resources and Sage payroll services he said.

“These products are going to provide controls in the system and it’s continuing to be enhanced. However the best of systems can be compromised through collusion but that’s with all systems. You need to find the right company and partners.” 

Following the IDS incident Lavine suggests businesses should do the due diligence when finding the right vendor or partner.           

According to Lavine “It’s prudent to find out if the company you are interested in is bonded or has malpractice insurance. Know that Sage software company works only with its authorized dealers. Call the developer of the software and see what they say. If the vendor you are dealing with is an authorized vendor. If you want to work with Sage you have to take a recertification every year.” Lavine said Sage vendors who are not certified within a certain period are ineligible to work with the company.

He said in the state of Texas a vendor must go through the certified vendor program where it is necessary to be bonded and have insurance.

“With government jobs I have to have all those things. It protects the client and protects me also.” When asked whether Guam’s leaders should implement such practices he said “I want them to … so they can feel comfortable and cut out these guys that don’t want to pay to play in the game.”

Pacific Human Resources Services Inc is a company with almost 10 years of human resource management and consulting experience.

“We are a full-service HR facility. We provide temporary temp to permanent and permanent staffing for many industries and sectors including hospitality contracting. We deal with a lot of clients ” Charity A. Villena marketing representative for Pacific Human Resources said.

Villena said the company provides services that would “match the right candidate with the right work environment.”

Just as employers and companies should look for the best and most qualified candidates Villena said it is important for businesses to do the same due diligence in seeking out a human resources and or payroll partner.

“Look for well established companies. If the company is based off-island see if there are any complaints with the Better Business Bureau. Are they a fly-by-night company or have they been around for awhile ” Villena said. “Look at the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigations] Web site. Check the police department to see if there are any warrants of arrests out for people involved in the company. Check the company’s references — look at their referral list … on and off island ” she said.

Villena told the Journal companies should do more research beyond the Internet. “Don’t just look at a Web site. Anyone can build a Web site ” she said.

Businesses should also continue to visit their payroll and human resource management partners. Villena said “They should do site visits — go to their offices.”

According to Villena because the company provides employers with employees Pacific Human Resources understands payroll and human resource issues. Zita D. Pangelinan president and chief executive officer of Pacific Human Resources founded Pacific Human Resources nine years ago. MBJ