Selecting The Right Payroll Provider
As a business owner, there are a ton of things that you may be handling on your own. From product development and audience testing to marketing and customer service, running a business is a tall order. Luckily, some things can be easily outsourced, so long as you find the right provider to meet your needs. Using a payroll service can save you a lot of time, money and stress. Here’s what you need to look for when choosing the perfect payroll service.
Make a List of Your Must-Haves
It’s difficult to choose a payroll service if you don’t know what you need from them. Figure out your top must-haves and can’t-haves first. What are your company’s needs? Which costly features are unnecessary? Also, remain flexible. You may not know about certain options that are out there that would truly help your business processes. Here are a few different types of services payroll providers offer:
- Continuous, automatic processing. The service will calculate how much the employee has earned and automatically process their check. The data can be accessed by the business owner at any time.
- Real-time data. Figure out exactly how much an employee is getting for the work they’re doing in-the-moment.
- Direct deposit. Instead of having the payroll service print hard copy paychecks, they can deposit them directly into each employee’s bank account.
Knowing what you and your employees need will help you determine the best provider to choose.
In addition to all of the things your payroll service can do, some providers also offer extra or add-on HR services. You may not realize how much help you need with HR until you know what aspects you can hand off to someone else. For example, some payroll providers also help with time and attendance tracking, scheduling and administering benefits. Now is a good time to determine other aspects of your business that may be better outsourced.
Consider Payroll Taxes
Taxes are a huge part of running a business. If you don’t have the correct taxes taken out of paychecks, you could get into a lot of trouble. Before settling on a payroll provider, make sure that they handle taxes the right way. Ask if they will generate the required tax forms for your employees as well as any contractors you may hire. Ask how they comply with both federal and state taxes. To make sure you’re having all your needs met, make a list of all of the tax services you require.
You may think that turning to Google is a good start, but simply searching for “payroll service” will send back thousands of results – good luck wading through all of them! There are simply too many options out there to try to narrow them down after casting such a wide net. Instead, start with the people you know. Ask your business owner pals for recommendations. The payroll providers they like are just as important as the ones they don’t – knowing who not to choose is part of the process. Don’t have any friends in business? Talk to local business owners who are in similar fields.
Ask About Their Price Structure
Most payroll providers have a base subscription fee that you’ll need to pay no matter how small your operation is. Then, as you scale up and need more features from the provider, you may need to pay more and more along the way. This may be a good option for companies that are going to scale over time but that will remain small for now. However, if you have a lot of people that you have on payroll, you may want a pricing structure that keeps costs low despite your demand. Also, find out if they offer a free trial. This is a great way to find out if the features are right for you without having to spend anything at first.
Explore Stats and Analytics
Even though you’re going to be handing over the responsibility to your payroll provider, you’ll still want to stay on top of the data on a regular basis. Find out what type of insights the provider offers. There should be a dashboard that you can check for employee data. You should be able to run reports and see data in real-time. The richer the data, the more insight you’ll have into your business.
Test Their Customer Service
The hope is that your payroll service will run smoothly forever, but there is going to be a time when you need help from customer service. You may even need immediate help if there’s a problem you need to sort out right away. When this happens, you’ll want to know that you’ve chosen a payroll provider that offers stellar, quick customer service. During the free trial period, test out customer service by calling in with a few different types of issues. Find out if they’re available around-the-clock or only during business hours. Note how many different ways you can contact support – do they only offer a phone number, of do they also offer live chat and email support?
Plan for the Worst
You’re not going to be able to try out each and every problem on customer service, so it’s a good idea to find out now what will happen if they make a mistake. Will you be liable if the payroll service messes up? When they do make a mistake, how quickly are they able to fix it? Will you be charged anything for their mistakes? It’s unrealistic to think you can hire a payroll provider that’s completely perfect 100% of the time. When they do mess up, you’ll want to know that they can handle it swiftly and professionally.
Avoid payroll errors – and getting into trouble with the IRS – by leaving your payroll to the pros. Payroll errors are all too common, but they can easily be prevented by letting a professional company take over.