As a small business owner, one of your most important tasks is ensuring that payroll is handled correctly. Employees expect their paychecks on time and taxes need to be accurate. Payroll taxes change frequently, such as the Red Tape Reduction by the Canadian Revenue Agency to help small businesses reduce their taxes, which can make payroll difficult. But while handling payroll is essential, it shouldn’t take up a large portion of your time and effort. It should be a system that is smooth and uncomplicated.
To achieve this, you need to determine whether it is best to handle your payroll needs yourself or outsource it to a payroll service provider. Each business is different and can depend on the number of employees and complexity of your payroll. Following these guidelines can help you make that decision.
Determine Your Needs
Create a list of what you need and want from a payroll service or software. A basic list would include basic tax and salary calculations for each employee, printing and delivery of checks or direct deposits into bank accounts, and the ability to track and create reports on payroll. However, your business may have additional needs, so it is important to find an option that fits them all.
The payroll service you select should offer the tools you need without overloading you with those you don’t. Buying the least expensive measure to save money may have you lacking the tools you need. However, purchasing the most expensive may have you paying for tools and services you don’t need. The software or services should offer you flexible options.
It is important that your payroll system or service stays on top of things, from changes in tax laws to changes in your business. For in-house systems, you should make sure that updates are available to ensure that you have the latest information. Whether you're using QuickBooks or another online service, your payroll software provider should allow you to make quick, easy updates. If using an outsourced service, it should ensure that your payroll is accurate and up-to-date on any changes.
Is Support Offered?
Whether you select to use software in-house or go with an outside service, the support is important. If you have questions, need help or have issues, you need to know who will be there to help you.
If you have selected to run your own software, is there support staff to help you set up and run it? Does the service offer additional support for its products? If it is an outside service, does it offer help during the times you need support and is there enough support staff to respond to your requests in a reasonable time? What problems can the service solve?
Ask for Recommendations
Word of mouth and hands-on experience are worth their weight in gold. Talk to other business owners and see what service they use and how satisfied they are with the company. Take the extra step of asking a payroll service provider for references and then check them out! One of the best ways to know what to expect is to talk to those who have already tried a service.