Doing payroll manually is a tedious task. It is often repetitive and complicated, making it more prone to human error. Also, if you aren’t exact with your file management, you can spend more time looking for documents and data instead of getting work done.
If you’re getting tired of doing your payroll the old-fashioned way, make the switch to an automated online accounting service. Changing over to a cloud-based payroll solution can minimize mistakes and reduce costs, giving you the opportunity to focus on building up your business.
Identify Your Needs
To find the online payroll service that offers everything you need for your business, you first need to identify your payroll requirements. At the minimum, a service provider should be able to:
- Pay all employees (hourly, salary and contract) by direct deposit
- Track paid time off accrual and use (including sick days and vacation)
- Calculate and track taxes and contributions to health insurance, individual retirement account and health savings accounts
This automation means less human error, which can make a huge difference. According to Bloomberg Business, the IRS issued 6.8 million penalties resulting in $4.5 billion related to employee taxes alone in 2013-2014, so if you see a company that doesn’t offer these basic automated services, look elsewhere. And according to the SurePayroll blog, the IRS is cracking down on expense reports, so if you expense things often, you may wish to get a service that offers some type of expense management.
Most online payroll providers charge a subscription-based monthly fee, which can be anywhere from $10 to $200 a month, depending on how extensive a service you go with. On top of the subscription, you can also expect to dish out a few dollars a month per employee. Many providers offer free trials for a month or two, which is a great opportunity to try out the service before making a financial commitment.
Test Their Customer Service
When it comes to payroll, you should expect nothing less than live support via email, chat and phone with real people, as well as an extensive online FAQ and a library of tutorials. Before you sign up, try to get in contact with someone who has done business with the vendor you’re looking at and get their take on how responsive the customer service is. You can also do a Google search to look for reviews.
At the same time, keep in mind that if you’re frequently calling the help line, the service may not be the right fit for you. A great online payroll system should be intuitive and easy to use, and after the initial week or two of getting set up, you shouldn’t need to contact the help desk very often.
Make Sure You Can Integrate
Once you think you’ve found the best payroll service for your business, make sure the new service is compatible with your existing accounting system. Most of the well-established online payroll services can connect to small-business accounting software systems, making the adoption of new cloud software much easier. But ask to make sure.