What are the Top seven Things to Look for in a Payroll Company?
Hiring the right payroll company to handle your business’s payroll needs can be difficult, since there are so many options available to you. While it’s tempting to base your decision on cost alone, you need to be sure that the software the payroll company uses is top-of-the-line, or else you’ll end up with problems down the road that require costly fixes. Here are seven things to look for in any potential payroll company before making your decision.
Make sure you know how easy it is to access and report on your payroll records. The last thing you want is an interface that makes it difficult for you to find information. If it’s too complicated, then they probably aren’t tracking everything they should be, which could put your company at risk. Make sure that there are clear instructions, too. You shouldn’t have any questions about how to access reports when you need them most. It should all be transparent and seamless so that it doesn’t add stress or anxiety when something goes wrong with payroll.
Payroll is time-consuming and complicated. But payroll companies can ease some of your stress by keeping rates affordable. Depending on how many employees you have, small business payroll can be expensive, with costs varying by state and pay frequency. On average, however, most payroll companies charge $10 to $30 per employee each month—and additional fees may apply depending on what services you use. Make sure you know exactly what’s included with each plan before choosing one; these details are generally listed online or can be provided over the phone during your consultation process. You should also have a general understanding of how frequently paychecks are issued—some providers offer weekly options as well as biweekly and monthly ones.
Intuitive User Interface
An intuitive user interface is a must. When it comes to running your payroll, you shouldn’t have to memorize commands or memorize anything at all – if you need training on how to run payroll from your system, it’s not going to help you. Ideally, something as simple as clicking a button should make everything happen – and you shouldn’t be expected to know any special steps beyond that. In short: if you don’t feel like yourself or your employees will easily figure out how to use your software right away, then that needs fixing before going forward with implementation.
Fast Customer Support
If you’re working with your payroll company, you should be able to get in touch with them easily if questions arise or an issue arises. To make sure that’s always possible, look for companies that offer 24/7 customer support—by phone, email, and/or live chat. That way, if something does come up after business hours, you’ll have someone to turn to. It can be stressful if questions start popping up unexpectedly or issues crop up when it’s too late to reach anyone by phone—plus you might end up having to spend time researching your issue yourself when an experienced payroll professional could answer all of your questions quickly instead.
Easy Tax Computations
When you have a large number of employees with varied wages, it’s very important that your payroll provider helps you with monthly tax computations. You might have to do most of these computations manually if your payroll company does not provide them online. Computations such as weekly and monthly Federal Income Tax, FICA Taxes, Federal Unemployment Insurance, Federal COBRA Premiums, Medicare Employer Withholding Tax should be easily accessible by logging into your accounts or through interactive reports. It will save you both time and money so it should be one of the top criteria when selecting an outsourced provider.
If you want employees to be able to get their paychecks right into their bank accounts, look for a payroll company that offers direct deposit. Not only is it fast and convenient, but it saves everyone time; you won’t have employees running back and forth between work and home trying to find ways to get checks cashed or deposited. After all, paper checks can take days or even weeks before they show up in someone’s account. Plus, using direct deposit helps prevent fraud because employees can’t cash fraudulent checks unless they actually have access to an employee’s bank account. As soon as you sign on with a payroll company that offers direct deposit, employees can go right ahead and enroll.
This has become one of my most favorite features with payroll software. More and more, employers are looking to use mobile apps as their primary method of recordkeeping—and if you’re not providing that, then your clients will find someone who does. Now, before you go out and spend thousands of dollars on an app developer (my advice), see if there’s an existing product that can be customized for your use case. Many payroll providers offer free custom development if you sign up as a client, so check with your existing vendor to see what kind of options they can provide. If nothing else, it may point you in the right direction and help justify budgeting some additional funds for R&D.