A recent survey found that one in 10 small businesses spend 10 hours per month on payroll taxes alone. That’s three full work weeks a year spent just on one small aspect of payroll.
Whether you are a small business or a large organization, the right payroll service can unburden you from having payroll tasks done in-house.
Not all payroll providers offer the same level of service. Read on for a list of specific things you should look for from a payroll provider before you sign on the dotted line.
Ease of Use
One of the most important features to look for in payroll software is ease of use. The interface should be user-friendly and intuitive. You want a system that lets you add employees and run payroll in just a few minutes.
Many payroll companies have video demonstrations of their programs. Or they might offer you a free trial. Make sure you are happy with the everyday use of the program before you commit.
Cost and Contacts
The first thing most companies want to know is how much? Some payroll companies charge a flat rate plus an extra amount per check or per payroll.
Make sure you carefully read the fine print. There could be hidden fees that are rolled into your services without you knowing about them beforehand. For example, will the company charge you for adding a new employee?
Of course, the cost of a payroll service is important. But don’t forget to look at whether you need to sign a contract.
Many offer a monthly service without any contracts. Yet other payroll companies will need a signed one-year contract.
Consider whether you pay monthly or by pay period. How often you run payroll can impact your cash flow.
You should never choose a business partner that has anything less than a stellar reputation. Look for payroll companies that have a proven track record.
This will give you peace of mind. And your chances of a long and happy relationship are higher when you choose an established, reputable provider.
Ask each payroll service you are considering for references from similar accounts. Contact these references and ask about the response time, professionalism and client service of each provider.
Look for payroll software that can integrate into the programs you already use. When your payroll software integrates with your time and attendance and other software, everything flows much more smoothly.
Level of Support
Look for a full-service payroll company that is going to be there when you need help. Find out if you will be assigned a dedicated support agent who will be the go-to person that you contact when you need support.
It likely won’t be the top dog you’ve been dealing with as you consider this payroll company. Ask to speak to the person who will be handling your account. You want to ensure that your agent is experienced and is someone you feel comfortable working with.
You will be dealing with this rep quite often so it’s important that it is a person who is willing to answer your questions and encourages you to ask them.
Before you sign up with a company, call their client service line. Does it just ring and ring or are you able to get a hold of someone?
Find out about their hours and the type of support and client service you can expect. See if there are other options besides calling to receive help or answers. Perhaps they can respond sooner to emails?
Look for a payroll provider that will provide you with a secure site where employees can view their payroll history. Employees want to be able to log in and see their pay stubs, vacation time accrued and taken and tax forms.
A password protected site lets your employees have access to the information they need. Then employees won’t need to ask you payroll questions quite so often.
Even the world’s best payroll companies make mistakes sometimes. The important question is whether the company will take ownership of the mistake and rectify the situation.
You want to know how quickly new checks will arrive if a mistake does happen.
Before you sign with any payroll company, make sure they are liable for tax mistakes. The penalties for tax mistakes can be costly. You don’t want to be on the line for these.
Many payroll companies offer a range of extra services such as benefits and retirement plan administration or human resources. There could also be customized reports and pre-tax deductions for insurance and so on.
You should ask about added services to see if they could benefit your organization. Bundling services will likely get you a discount and could streamline your processes.
Also, some companies design software that is uniquely made for your specific needs.
If you have employees in different states you must make sure the company has national coverage capabilities.
Final Thoughts on Choosing a Payroll Service
There you have it! A list of the factors you should consider before choosing a payroll service for your organization.
The good news is the more time you spend researching payroll companies, the more you’ll learn about payroll service. And this will serve you well because you will be better equipped to find the right fit for your needs.
At Signature Bank, we’re always available for our clients. Contact us if you have a question, comment or would like to schedule an appointment to talk with our payroll services partner.