It’s a rough job, but someone has to do it. That’s often the feeling when it comes to handling all of the paperwork and following state and federal guidelines for handling payroll.
Payroll management is one of the biggest expense lines for retailers. A small retail business with only a few employees may be manageable with a manual system. This requires only someone with good math skills to learn the basic payroll needs, tax rates, and handle the job. However, for greater efficiency, many small businesses are relying on payroll software programs, such as QuickBooks Standard Payroll from Intuit or VersaCheck Payroll by G7 Productivity Systems.
When looking for the right software, look for a user-friendly program that fits your computer system and makes it easy to pay employees through direct deposit or by printable checks. Leading software programs will automatically update tax rates, calculate your federal and state tax liabilities, make tax deposits and filings for you, and fill out your tax forms.
Filing systems that integrate with your other computer software programs should be rather easy to find, because most manufacturers are aware of the various other programs on the market for business needs. It’s important that you find a payroll software program that can handle the size of your business. Some can handle 100 employees, while others will work for 500. Quality, helpful customer support is vital, because anomalies are common in payroll.
Depending on the number of employees and the complexity of your payroll needs, such as having many employees at different pay rates or on different pay scales, you may opt for an external payroll service such as ADP or Paychex. To find such a company, you can look on the Web, ask other local business owners for recommendations, or even open up the Yellow Pages.
Read The Benefits of Using a Payroll Service for more information on what these companies offer.
When looking for the right payroll service, you’ll want to review the costs and the services provided. Your objective is to take the payroll responsibilities out of your hands and put them in those of an expert. While a good payroll service should handle your payroll smoothly on a consistent basis, you will have new employees joining your business, while others will be leaving. Find out how smoothly such transitions will be handled, because newcomers don’t like having to wait a month for their first paycheck because they aren’t “in the system yet.” For this, you will need to talk with a representative who will discuss your specific needs and explain the process that they follow. Communication is important, because there are always changes in the payroll structure of a business.
While you research payroll systems, read Top 10 Payroll Mistakes for good advice about what not to do.
The bottom line when it comes to payroll is that it needs to be handled promptly, accurately, and with as little wasted time as possible. Whether a software program or an outside source can make the process most time-efficient will be a decision you will make based on how much time you have to devote to payroll. Consider the time factor, the learning curve (regarding changing laws and tax rates), as well as the potential cost savings from an outside service before making a decision. Also, make sure to check references and find a payroll service that has had few complaints about its services.