Guidelines For Choosing A Payroll Service

The function of payroll for any business goes much further than keeping the books. Every year the IRS penalizes numerous businesses for errors and non-compliance with the set regulations. The best way to save yourself the headache, avoid any penalties and save time and money therefore is by getting a professional service to handle your payroll. You can concentrate on making money whilst leaving the payroll function to an external service provider. Additionally, the cost of hiring this service is much lower than the cost of trying to do the job internally. Below are several tips that will help you to choose the best service provider for your business:

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

1. Online research

An online search will help you to get information on different payroll service providers in the market. There are many options to choose from but you need to carry out research so that you can get the company best suited to your specific business needs. Be sure to read reviews and get recommendations from people you can trust if you have any business connections for example have used a similar service themselves.

2. Expert advice

Talk to an accountant, attorney or someone who has experience in the industry so that you can get the information you need to enquire about how to get the best service provider. Getting references from similar businesses in your industry can also help you to make an informed decision. You can find out the various packages available from the different service providers and compare quotes too.

3. Determine your needs

Before you talk to any service provider, you need to determine exactly what you need. If you are unsure about your needs, you might end up with a costly package that has additional services that do not benefit you. Establish your requirements for the year and be wary of a provider who tries to talk you into paying for services above what is necessary and adequate. Make sure that you consider any growth projections or new employees that you plan to hire within the year into your specification too.

4. Your budget

You need to know how much you can afford to pay for the service so that you can get a firm that will offer a package that is within this. Most companies have packages that are tailor made for different clients and you can get something that is affordable. The cost will often be determined by the package you choose and the number of employees you have.

5. The features

Establish the features that you need. Some packages come with extra services such as human resources services so determine how often you want to pay your employees or issue paychecks. You need to ensure that you get a provider who can handle your particular industry and the kinds of employees in your business. This is especially important if you have unique business requirements like union rules or you are in the hospitality industry where tips and other bonuses are included – a service that is familiar with your line of work will offer all the features that you need.

To conclude, before you hire a service, carry out research to ensure that there are no complaints filed against the company. Contact the Better Business Bureau and other bodies to get all the information that you need then give yourself a few options before making a final decision.

About the Author: Lucy is working with a number of expanding businesses that have benefitted from outsourcing their payroll. She suggests going to Ceridian for a quality service.

The Wrong Payroll Solution for Your Small Business Doesn’t Pay

As a small business owner, what holds you up most at work?

If meeting your payroll needs on time has become an issue for you, what do you plan to do about it going into the New Year?

Payroll is one of if not the most important issues a small business owner must deal when employing others. Whether they are full-time, part-time or freelance employees, it is a no-brainer that workers want to get paid and paid on time at that.

payroll management

So, if you are finding payroll to be an issue for your small business, is outsourcing it the right call to make?

When you find the right payroll provider, you can take the time and effort that you or one of your employees were doing to meet payroll and direct it elsewhere. Finding that right provider, however, can take some doing.

Among the things to look for in a payroll provider are:

Dependability – First and foremost, have you ever dealt with your workers not getting their paychecks on time? It can oftentimes lead to reduced effort on the job, not to mention disgruntled employees if it happens too often. By outsourcing your payroll needs to the right payroll service, you lessen the chances of errors happening on your watch for starters. Any well-run payroll service provider can easily cut checks or handle direct deposit, make sure your taxes are properly covered (see below), and handle items such as health insurance and 401k deductions;

Taxes – One of the biggest fears any small business owner has is getting a letter from the IRS, stating that the company’s taxes are off. With the right payroll provider handling your finances, you can make sure that the proper payroll tax deductions were made each pay period, and that W-2’s and 1099s are properly handled. Keep in mind, however, that you as the employer still maintain the final responsibility for the proper deposit and payments of all federal, state and local tax liabilities, not the payroll provider;

Direct deposit – While some employees still prefer a paper check, many workers in today’s fast-paced world like the money to go right into their bank accounts via direct deposit. Not only does this cut down on the paper expense, but it saves you from having to have checks mailed to your office, with the potential of course for being late or misplaced. Many payroll providers are happy to oversee direct deposit for your workers, making it one less thing for you to worry about;

Staying up to speed on changes – It is not uncommon for there to be changes in regulations, withholding rates and forms. As a result, do you really have time as a small business owner to review all of them? A payroll service provider has the time and the knowledge to deal with such changes, meaning your payroll will be handled according to the most recent rules and regulations;

Timing – With the New Year right around the corner, going with a payroll provider in 2013 could make it easier for both you and your workers. You start a new year off with a new service, you are up to speed on any new rules that oftentimes commence at the start of a new calendar year, and you can start saving money over the long haul by outsourcing your payroll needs;

Referrals – Last but not least, how will you go about finding the right payroll provider? Online searches and referrals are two good roads to travel. Make sure that each provider you look at is properly licensed and bonded, has a track record of proven customer service, does not come up under searches for numerous customer complaints with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and most importantly, go over their fees. It is not uncommon for providers to charge per payroll check, along with a base account expense. With potential add-on costs, know what you will be financially responsible for before agreeing to any contract. Also, check to see if the provider has a security system in place so that no employees end up having personal data such as salaries and Social Security numbers compromised.

If you have been thinking about switching to a payroll provider, it could pay off in more ways than one for your small business.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers small business topics for various websites, including why companies should consider payroll outsourcing.

For Small Business Owners: The Benefits of Outsourcing Payroll Services

Owning a small business is like walking a tight rope holding a cash register in one hand and a profits and losses ledger in the next. You’re constantly attempting to manage your multiple roles while remaining steady on a thin, tightly-stretched chunk of nylon. As a small business guru, you might be looking for any way to lighten the load, without putting a tremendous strain on your limited resources. This is where outsourcing your payroll services comes into play, and before you assume this expense isn’t necessary for your handful of employees, there are several benefits to this service. Here are a handful of reasons why turning to a professional payroll services provider is a wise investment.

Save Some Precious Time

Many companies hire an in-house payroll specialist or book keeper, while other intrepid owners take on this Herculean task themselves. If you’re a hands-on owner that has been keeping the books in order for years, imagine all of the family picnics, trips to the beach or snow fights you’ve missed in the name of tracking your costs and doing payroll. When you hire an outside company to handle your payroll, it frees up time to actually enjoy your life and interact with customers.

The Tax Man Cometh

Tax laws are constantly evolving, and without outside help or a degree in finance, it can be impossible for a small business owner to keep up. It’s estimated that the average business owner pays the IRS $845 in penalties simply because they aren’t aware of the latest tax laws concerning payroll. A reputable payroll services company provides a tax guarantee, which gives a peace of mind that greatly outweighs any added expense.

Reduce Your Long-Term Costs

The initial cost of hiring an outside payroll services company, including consultations and software improvements, is going to cost you a fair amount. Overtime, however, the money you’ll save on potential tax penalties, hiring an in-house bookkeeper or throwing your hands in the air to have your books balanced by a tax professional is well worth the start-up.

Keeping up with Technology

Last year, you installed the latest, user friendly payroll software available at your local big box department store. It set you back a pretty penny, but when you were able to keep accurate payroll records, including tax liabilities, it was well worth the added expense. Fast forward one year, and after recent tax changes, your expensive, out of date payroll software can potentially cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in IRS penalties. The majority of payroll service companies implement the most up to date software, meaning you won’t be in trouble once tax time inevitably rolls around.

Employees Come and Go…

You’ve employed the same bookkeeper for years who knows your payroll system in and out. Unfortunately, he just handed you his two weeks’ notice. As you scramble to find his replacement, you realize his “system” is complicated and, realistically, it would take weeks for a new bookkeeper to get up to speed. A payroll service company isn’t your employee, and won’t walk into the office, throw down his ledger and move to Barbados on a whim.

Track Your Payroll Costs

With everything going on in your small business, it can difficult to keep track of every facet of the operation. Eliminate one major headache by outsourcing your payroll needs. You’ll know exactly—to the dollar—how much is spent keeping payroll straight each month, instead of discovering how much you overpaid at the end of the year.

A Brighter Future

You’ve spent 80 hours a week, plus weekends, growing your small business since day 1. The fruits of your labor are finally beginning to ripen, meaning you can expand and take on more employees. This is an exciting prospect, but also means your payroll just became a lot more complicated. Instead of hiring an additional bookkeeper and hoping for the best, put your worries to rest by outsourcing your payroll needs. As your business expands, you’ll require a team of professionals with the tools and knowledge to handle this exorbitant workload.

Outsourcing your payroll eliminates the burden many small business owners find too cumbersome to handle. If you’re still unsure about the return on your investment, ask a fellow business owner who has benefited from hiring an outside payroll services company; chances are he or she will tell you to make the change.

About the Author: Janice Harrison is a guest blogger and small business owner. For the first two years of owning her company, Janice completed payroll herself; however, as the business grew in size, she found it logical to outsource the task to professionals and advises all business owners to consider doing so.