How to Choose a Payroll Service

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Some of the most important things to consider in determining what payroll system to go with is the size of your current business and the expectation of growth. Professional firms should embrace a full professional service, recommends CPA Practice Advisor. Accordingly, this may include expansive payroll systems or strictly online systems with remote maintenance.

Main Payroll Services

There are different types of payroll services available, with each offering up a wide number of individual provider options:

Off-Site Professional Payroll: These types of services are outsourced to a professional provider. At this point, a fee is charged that is either monthly or a base fee with additional fees added for individual processes. These services are backed up by the professional credentials and authority of the Canadian Payroll Association.

In-House Processing: This type assures you full control and accessibility in all procedures. Many companies have a small team, or a single member, that quantifies payroll options through the in-house system. This is worth considering, given the time you spend navigating federal and state fees. PaySavvy, the Canadian Online Business resource, highlights steep penalties for filing incorrectly, including fees for arbitrarily deducting amounts. Of course, paperless payroll opens the door for security concerns, an aspect that quality payroll software through a professional service will provide. For example, this is standard in the Plus + Free Quickbooks payroll option provided by Intuit.

Certified Public Accountant: If the company is much smaller in scale, a certified public accountant could be a viable option. Not only can CPAs provide payroll services, but may offer detailed compliance information on things like direct deposit, alternative payments, or built-in employee benefits. Smaller business will use this option to outsource their payroll services without embracing a full-service company, as Value Your Money highlights.

Most Important Attributes of Payroll

It’s wise to explore the core attributes that you’ll need. Entrepreneur reports that there are 5 main aspects any reputable payroll service should provide:

  • Pay hourly, salary and contract employees via direct deposit
  • Personal employee reporting options
  • Track paid time off, including vacation and sick days
  • Deduct benefits, including health and insurance benefits
  • Handle earnings including bonuses, reimbursements, commission, tips and garnishments

Furthermore, payroll services should have an intuitive dashboard for full functionality, including options to access payroll from a remote device, such as a tablet or smartphone. Many providers use apps that can be accessed remotely and conveniently. For example, Intuit has an app known as Intuit Online Payroll that will run nearly any type of payroll process on a smartphone.

The Cost of User-Friendly Payroll

Costs will generally be per check or per month. The choice will depend on how many transfers the business will require in a given period. Cost Helper confirms that a typical price is 80 cents to $2.00 per check. Monthly prices span the spectrum from $14.95 to $59, but each contain unique attributes appropriate to the company. These may be bonus reimbursements, vacation tracking embedded into the software, or integration of salary pay alongside hourly.

Small businesses may require a customer service option, where the company can be reached in case of a discrepancy. If businesses have more potential to be liable for a payroll issue when they do it on their own, customer service should be the top priority when paying a professional service firm, recommends Gaebler.

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