Here’s what you should be watching for in deciding among payroll systems, whether it’s in-house software, outsourced software, or a service.
The most complicated aspect of payroll is calculating the tax deductions. Ensure the payroll processing solution has the necessary tax tables for your local area. Don’t even think of buying and then modifying one that’s designed for another tax jurisdiction. That route is fraught with peril. Buy one that works for you, right out of the box.
Will the payroll system pay your people properly? If you have special requirements, such as hourly rate premiums under certain conditions or additional payments or deductions under special circumstances, check to see that the payroll system can handle it.
Another aspect is report and forms preparation. All payroll solutions will prepare pay checks and a payroll register listing the payments and deductions. Just as important is compliance with government rules and regulations. You should use a solution that creates the necessary year-end tax slips and summary reports.
A direct deposit system that electronically sends net pay to employee bank accounts is a very popular option. If you want it, check to see if it’s available and assess the cost of using it.
Look at the reports available to see if they can satisfy your needs. Does the system have a report writer that allows you to customize your own reports? This can be a valuable tool that provides you with the information you want in a meaningful form.
If you operate in a regulated industry with special compliance issues, ensure both the processing and reporting can meet your requirements.
If the payroll system isn’t part of your integrated accounting system, review the data integration options. Will it be easy or difficult to get the payroll results to mesh with your existing accounting system? You don’t want to spend hours of manual processing of journal entries each pay period to handle what could and should be an automated task.