Not all payroll companies are equal. Some have high levels of service, while others have lower levels. Some have designated payroll experts for each account, some have customer service representatives standing by. Some use an extensive security network to protect client information while others use varying levels of security depending on price. The key to picking a small business payroll services provider is knowing what to look for and what questions to ask. We’ve put together a guide to help you understand the facets of a small business payroll service company so that you feel confident outsourcing your payroll or keeping it in-house.
What are small business payroll services?
Online payroll companies operate in what we’ve all come to call “the cloud”. As opposed to storing information on a device that can only be accessed when you’re in the vicinity of that device, the cloud-based system allows businesses to manage payroll anywhere. For you, the business owner, that means you and your employees can also log in and access your payroll accounts anywhere, anytime.
- As your business grows, you’ll likely need to pay a variety of people in different ways: full-time, part-time, contract employees, and freelance workers. A payroll service company can handle all of these for you.
- Payroll companies can automatically calculate how much employees should be paid each pay period. These systems take into account shift differentials, overtime, holiday pay and taxes, as well as Social Security and benefit deductions.
- Your service provider can work with your employees and their banks to set up direct deposit if desired. If not, they can mail checks to employees or prepare them for you and you can mail/distribute them.
- Taxes can be a doozy. But, a payroll service can take the guess work out of it because they file and pay payroll taxes for you. They can withhold employee taxes, file quarterly payroll tax reports and pay tax withholdings to the proper state and federal agencies. Not to mention that they issue employee W-2 and 1099 forms at the end of the year.
- Hired a new employee? Great, an online payroll service provider can report new hires to the government on your behalf.
- Many businesses use a variety of payroll-related programs like accounting software, time and attendance systems and human resources software. Small business payroll services can integrate with these, making the payroll process easy and efficient.
- Managing vacations and paid-time-off are essential to any business, but can be a headache. Payroll services can quickly keep track of how many vacation and sick hours employees have earned and how much they’ve used. Additionally, these numbers can be easily accessed by employer and employee using the cloud-based system.
Questions to ask before hiring a payroll service company.
When trying to decide if you should hire a payroll company and if so, who, these questions can give you more information about the company with whom you are working.
- What small business payroll services and features do you offer? The payroll provider you choose should offer all the services your business needs from payroll processing and the handling of all tax obligations, to direct deposit, multiple wage rates, garnishment payments, paid-time-off management and detailed payroll reports.
- Can I see an example of the web system that I would use as a client? You’ll want the payroll service to be simple – not too complex to understand. Look for a clean and easy-to-use interface that allows you to quickly find what you need and run your payroll in a matter of minutes – not hours.
- What is the length of the contract and how do I exit? The intent of hiring a payroll company is that it will save you time and effort doing payroll so that you can focus on growing your business and keeping customers happy. If you’re not getting the quality of service for which you have paid, then it’s good to know how to get out of a contract, if there is one. Not all companies have contracts, so be sure to ask.
- How long have you been in business? Payroll is an essential part of your business, so we would recommend going with a proven provider. Look for testimonials from companies that are using their payroll service and/or ask about their portfolio.
- Can you integrate with my business systems? Are you using an accounting software? A time management software for clocking in and out? If you are, have the names ready and ask if the payroll company can integrate with your specific systems.
- What kind of support is available and when? Do they offer one representative who serves as your go-to contact? Or, do you have to call the main number and speak with someone who isn’t familiar with your business and how it operates?
- What other services do you offer? As your business grows, you may find it beneficial to find a payroll provider that offers a variety of additional services. These can include benefits and retirement plan administration, worker’s compensation, human resource help, end of the tax preparation, tax compliance advising, and accounting services.
If your payroll company offers these small business payroll services then you can slowly pile more onto their plates, and less onto yours. Many of these administration tasks are what keep the business going, but not necessarily growing. That’s why we at PayTech make sure to handle your payroll, HR, and accounting with precision. We know that you didn’t start your business because you wanted to spend all hours of the night calculating payroll, but we did. Let us help you do the boring stuff so you can focus on what your love best!