Research shows that more than 50% of business owners completely outsource their payroll service and tax reporting services.
Moreover, nearly all businesses outsource at least a portion of their payroll in some capacity. They do so to help manage costs, lower risks, minimize exposure, reduce manual efforts, and ensure access to skilled staffing.
Are you looking to join their ranks? If so, it’s important to partner with the right payroll provider.
Today, we’re sharing how to choose a payroll service that meets your needs, resolves your pain points, and can help move your company forward. Read on to learn the features to consider.
What Does a Payroll Service Do?
In short, payroll is the process that ensures your staff members get paid for the work they do. While you could handle the task yourself or create an in-house team for this purpose, it’s easier and more cost-effective to allow a third-party payroll service to take the reins.
These services exist and operate in the cloud. This means there’s no expensive software to buy or maintain. In addition, when you’re not tied to a non-cloud payroll department, you can manage your payroll from anywhere, at any time.
Types of Services Offered
Online payroll services can be as intricate or simple as your business requires. A few of the most common types provided include:
- Payroll processing
- Filing and paying payroll taxes
- Preparing year-end tax forms
- Managing paid time-off
- Computing wage and overtime payments
- Reporting and calculating payroll deductions
- Processing requests for payment advances
- New hire reporting
- Creating and distributing payroll reports
If this sounds like a ton of work, it is. That’s why it’s smart to let a qualified and experienced payroll service provider complete the laborious effort for you.
How to Find the Right Payroll Service for Your Company
Once you’ve decided that it’s time to invest in a payroll service, you can begin researching the best provider for your team. Yet, it doesn’t take long to realize that there is a wide range of solutions out there.
With so many options at your fingertips, it can be overwhelming and difficult to narrow down the list. Next, let’s review a few key considerations to make as you do your homework.
Core Payroll Processing Features Required
Yes, you want a payroll service provider to handle your payroll processing requirements and take care of your tax obligations. Yet, this only scratches at the surface of what a capable expert can provide.
Does the payroll provider offer your employees a variety of payment options, such as paper checks, direct deposit, or prepaid debit cards? What about varying wage rates? You might also require added services, such as human resources (HR) management or retirement plan administration.
In addition to those, a few important payroll processing services to consider include:
- Garnishment payments
- Paid-time-off management
- Administration of workers’ compensation
- Unemployment insurance management
- Detailed payroll reports
Your company might not need every feature, but you want to make sure that any payroll provider you choose can meet the core needs of your business.
The payroll service platform that your provider uses should be intuitive and user-friendly. If you have to spend hours learning the system just to vaguely understand it, it’s time to look elsewhere.
Overall Costs from Payroll Processing Fees
While using a payroll service can help your team offset internal costs, it can add up if you aren’t careful. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you understand every detail about the provider’s payment structure.
Will you be required to pay on a month-by-month basis without a long-term contract? Or, will you be required to make an annual commitment?
Also, check to see exactly what kinds of services you’re paying for, and whether or not you truly require them.
For instance, while HR capabilities might be a requirement for some companies, you might not need your payroll provider to cover that task. In that case, you don’t need to pay for it unknowingly.
Reputation and Feedback
Did you know that 84% of people trust online reviews from strangers as much as they trust recommendations from friends and family members?
When researching a payroll service, check to see what others are saying about them. What about a Google My Business (GMB) profile or a listing in an online business directory?
If your detective work isn’t leading anywhere, you can always use a tool such as Facebook Recommendations to ask your followers which service they’ve used in the past. While everyone has to start somewhere, it’s best to find a provider with a proven track record who can handle even your toughest issues.
Level of Support from Your Payroll Service Provider
When you have an issue with your payroll service, you should be able to reach your provider quickly.
Ask each prospective payroll company if you’ll have a dedicated support representative assigned to your team, or if you’ll need to call and explain your setup again every time you need help.
Legacy System Integrations
Ideally, your payroll service will integrate seamlessly with the other tools, systems, and processes that you’re already using. This especially applies to any time and assistance systems or accounting software you have in place.
When these programs work together and “speak” to one another, you’ll save time, money, and energy. You’ll also reduce the risk of manual error associated with manually transferring data from one system to the next.
As your payroll data will live in the cloud, you need to know if each service provider has a dedicated plan in place to support critical operations during power outages.
How often does the provider perform maintenance and become unreachable? Have they experienced any power outages in the past? If so, how did they handle them?
The answers to these questions can directly affect the success of your payroll program, so it’s important to ask them.
While most payroll services will handle your tax requirements from start to finish, it never hurts to ask about their level of involvement.
Will they just compile the data for you and let you complete the forms yourself? Or, will they take charge and handle the work themselves? In most cases, a provider will work throughout the year to withhold money from employee paychecks to make sure you have enough to pay local, state, and federal taxes.
In your research, ask each prospective payroll company about the process they follow to keep their tax rates up-to-date. You want a payroll service company that’s always working with the most recent and relevant tax data at all times.
Timeline of Implementation
Another factor to consider is when you’ll begin outsourcing your payroll services. Does it make sense to wait until the beginning of the year, or is it possible to make the switch mid-year?
In most cases, it’s best to roll out this new approach at the beginning of the year. However, you can hire a payroll service provider at any time.
Can you find a payroll service company who already has other clients in your industry? If so, they’ll enter the partnership with a deep understanding of the pain points, challenges, and important issues related to your niche.
This can facilitate easier communication and help ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.
Can Your Payroll Service Provider Grow With You?
You don’t want to remain stagnant. You have big plans to expand your presence and build your bottom line, and you need a payroll provider who can keep pace.
Is the team in question scalable? Can they assign additional resources to your account as required to support you as you grow? At the same time, can they reduce resources when it’s time to cut back and save?
What Security Measures Do They Follow?
It’s no secret that your payroll provider will be working with some of the most sensitive and confidential data in your business. As such, you need to make sure they’re not only trustworthy but tech-savvy.
Look for a provider that places a high priority on information security and integrity. They should be able to clearly explain the proven security measures they have in place to help mitigate the risk of a breach and keep your data secure.
Outsource Your Payroll Service and Get Back to Business
As a business leader, you’ve got plenty on your plate. Juggling payroll service on top of your mission-critical duties can leave you stressed and stretched thin.
This is where a reputable payroll service provider comes in. Are you considering investing in these services for your company? If so, we’d love to help.
We provide online payroll services designed to fit every type and size of business. When you’re ready to get started, fill out this simple, 90-second application to help us understand your current situation and what you need.
Then, we’ll process your application and match you with a variety of personalized payroll solutions. From there, you can analyze your options and work with a dedicated Financial Advisor to make your final decision!