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The Ultimate Guide to Payroll Companies and How to Choose the Best One

April 30, 2019 By Emma Smith - Leave a comment

payroll providerPayroll companies can provide you with the means to simplify workforce management while helping you reduce costs and retain visibility across your entire workforce. Working with the right payroll company can give your business what it needs to ensure compliance with labor laws while helping prevent time theft and other issues that could put your business at risk.

What Are Payroll Companies?

Payroll companies are providers of workforce management solutions designed to make management easier and more efficient. However, you’ll want to make sure that the payroll company you choose is one you can trust with sensitive information and rely on for consistent support.

Payroll companies provide payroll management systems that, if comprehensive, will cover nearly every aspect of payroll and workforce management. With the right payroll company, you will be able to implement a seamless solution that allows for maximized efficiency and minimal headaches.

Certain payroll companies will also offer more than a payroll management solution, providing solutions that cover every element of workforce management, including time and attendance tracking systems that can give you the resources needed to keep employee activity transparent while helping you further reduce labor expenses.

Benefits of Working with Payroll Companies

When working with a payroll company, you’ll see numerous benefits of using an effective payroll system, including:

Saved Time: If your payroll system is effective and efficient, this automation will help you save more time by doing a lot of the work for you. Employee self-service features can also place the responsibilities of employee onboarding and upkeep on employees themselves rather than relying on employers or payroll managers to perform these tasks. In turn, you’ll find that you have more time to spend focusing on other aspects of your business, which can help your company grow.
Saved Money: In addition to saved time, you will also be able to save more money as payroll software systems will typically cost less than hiring a full-time bookkeeper. However, you’ll want to make sure you work with a company that doesn’t overprice their software or services, so comparing the prices of different payroll companies can help you avoid systems that cost more than they’re worth.
Minimized Errors: Payroll companies provide effective payroll software to eliminate the risk of errors, which would otherwise likely be present without an automated system. Payroll isn’t simple, so human error is likely to come into play if a bookkeeper is responsible for managing it. With the right software, you’ll remain comfortable in knowing that your payroll processes will be accurate while avoiding issues with tax compliance or other areas.
Remote Access from Any Location: Cloud-based payroll systems will enable access anytime, anywhere, eliminating the need to be on your business’s premises. If you have concerns about anything, you’ll be able to see all payroll information from the convenience of your phone or laptop with secure and intuitive apps and programs.

What to Look for When Searching for the Best Payroll Company

Now that you know more about what to expect from a good payroll company, there are certain steps to take when searching for that perfect fit for your business.

Make a Checklist of All of Your Payroll Needs

Prior to beginning your search, making a checklist of your payroll software needs is a good way to make sure you know what kind of solution you want. With a solid, well thought-out checklist, you’ll know which questions to ask payroll companies and the type of answers you’ll want in return.

Also, keep an open mind regarding potential options that you may not have considered but may further help your business. A payroll company could have a solution that helps your business in ways you hadn’t even thought of before consulting them.

Understand What Payroll Companies Offer and the Services You Need

When looking for the ideal payroll provider, it’s important to know what services they offer. Once you have a checklist of all of your wants and needs, you can compare them with what the company provides. There are many different types of services you’ll find with payroll systems, including:

  • Real-time calculation - Tells you what employees are doing and the amount of pay they’re receiving for it.
  • Tax filing services - These will include the issuing of W-2 and 1099 tax forms to employees and the withholding of employee taxes, but may also feature quarterly payroll tax report filing and the ability to pay state and federal taxes.
  • Continuous payroll processing - You can automatically run payroll and calculate exactly how much each employee earned for a certain pay period, with the ability to access this information at any time.
  • Flexible pay rules engine - Determines pay for both regular and overtime hours, supporting different scenarios such as order of importance, shift differentials, and others.
  • Direct deposit and paychecks - Payroll companies may print paychecks, but a more innovative company will be able to provide direct deposit services that deposit paychecks directly to employees via their bank accounts, eliminating the issue of paperwork altogether.
  • Alerts - These help let employers know when employees are approaching overtime or eligibility for benefits, along with notifications disclosing certain errors or other issues.
  • 401(k) plan administration - Implement and track your employees’ retirement plans.
  • New hire reports - Because certain states require employers to report new hires, a payroll provider should be able to help you with these reports.
  • Management of adjustments - Manage all bonuses, commissions, reimbursements, and tips, along with other adjustments.
  • PTO tracking - Track paid time off and approve or deny requests.

These are some of the many features that you’ll be able to find with the right payroll company.

Questions to Ask a Payroll Company When Looking for the Best Provider

Now that you have a better understanding of what payroll companies offer, it’s time to consider the different questions you’ll want to ask them when looking for the perfect provider.

What Other HR Services Does the Payroll Company Provide?

Apart from payroll management solutions, a payroll provider may also offer other HR solutions for core HR, time and attendance, employee scheduling, benefits administration, and others. The best systems won’t be a one-size-fits-all type of solution, though, so it’s important to make sure you can cherry-pick services based on your specific needs rather than purchasing a complete package full of features you don’t need.

What Tax Management Services Do You Include?

Of course, taxes are another important consideration when looking for the best payroll provider. Your business could encounter serious penalties if you can’t properly handle taxes, making it necessary for your system to be able to meet your tax requirements.

Ask about whether the payroll provider generates tax forms such as W-2s and 1099s, and see if they will manage compliance for both state and federal taxes. ACA reporting through 1094-C and 1095-C forms may also be necessary.

What Is the Pricing Structure?

Good payroll companies won’t be afraid to disclose every aspect of pricing, and many cloud-based provider will provide monthly subscriptions at a flat rate. You should also ask about any additional fees for certain services or levels. Certain vendors will also utilize a price-per-employee pricing structure.

Is the Service Customizable?

Again, a one-size-fits-all model is not ideal for most businesses because each company has its own specific needs. Ask about customization and see if the provider can tailor solutions to meet your individual requirements.

Is the System User-Friendly?

A comprehensive payroll system can only go so far without user-friendliness and an intuitive design. Make sure the provider’s software is easy to use or you could spend more time navigating and experience frustration when using it than it’s worth. See if they’ll provide a free demo, which can give you a full picture of not only the degree of user-friendliness, but also the overall features of the dashboard and interface.

Is Reliable Customer Support Provided?

Customer support will be crucial when looking for the right provider. Find out if the company is capable of providing the support you need when you need it. If you encounter any challenges or issues, or if you want to upgrade at any point, a payroll company should be able to communicate with you without any hassle.

Work with a Reliable Payroll Company to Meet Your Needs

Taking all of this into account on your search for a payroll provider, you can narrow down the list of potential payroll companies worth contacting.

EPAY Systems is an industry leader human capital management system with a robust payroll management platform to meet the needs of some of the most complex businesses and workforce. They built their systems with complex, hourly workforce needs in mind. To learn more about our payroll management service, contact us for a free demo!

Filed Under: Payroll & Tax