In the past 5+ years, we’ve seen many businesses shift to wanting automated, cloud-based payroll solutions versus handling it internally or hiring an accountant for payroll alone. Why?
Let’s be honest – time is money. While it may be cheaper to run payroll internally, the hours that go into that every week can be tedious – and if you aren’t an expert in payroll taxes, you don’t want to risk messing up your filing. And, if you can’t find a cost-effective accountant to outsource, payroll is just one of many operational functions moving online and being simplified. Further, new online payroll services package up many offerings to make your life even easier.
Here are some questions to ask to find the best payroll service for you:
Are they known for the basics? Some payroll services offer the bare bones – they run payroll & direct deposit/paychecks, they handle payroll tax services (pay state & federal withholdings and distribute appropriate end-of-year forms to employees), handle all new hire logistics, and file all reports that the government needs for you, as well.
Do they integrate with your accounting software? You want to simplify and optimize all the work you’re doing on your end so make sure the payroll service you are paying for can easily integrate with other accounting services and software.
Does it also handle benefits? Some payroll services will go the extra mile and take care of benefits as well. You can pick one solution to handle it all, including healthcare, travel, and any other employee benefit you can think of. You can also find solutions that integrate and monitor employee savings retirement funds, such as 401ks or IRAs.
How much does it cost? Typically, online services have a flat monthly fee but will add on extra costs based on number of employees or extra functionality such as tax filings, or benefits.
How easy is it to use? You want the solution to simplify your life and save hours in your week. If the ramp up time to understand the solution or platform is very high, it might not be worth the investment. Make sure you take a quick demo to understand whether you are savvy enough to handle the solution on your own.
Do they have accessible customer service? The platform might be easy to use, but you’ll always run into challenges and have questions. Make sure you have someone to go to at the solution provider when that time comes, and further, that their customer service hours fit your schedule.
Will your employees like it? Ask your team what they prefer. Most online providers now offer payroll correspondence via email and mobile, and online accounts where employees can log in to see pay stubs.
Will it reduce or increase error? Some services will guarantee a reduction in manual error. Others might not be so promising, so make sure you do some research heading into it.
Is it secure? All the major payroll providers should understand the importance of secure connections to maintain the integrity of your data. Check to make sure they follow industry protocols.
Can you grow with this solution? This might not be your biggest concern, but it’s great if the solution can handle various levels and stages of business.
Is it well-known and trusted? Do research online and ask your community for referrals on payroll providers. Do they work with similar size businesses? Do they understand your industry and legal requirements? Are they in good standing with the IRS?
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