Thinking about outsourcing payroll? Looking for payroll service reviews? Using a small business payroll service is a no-brainer. We discuss payroll outsourcing and highlight some of the best payroll service firms, including our favorite, online payroll service SurePayroll, as well as ADP, Paychex, and Quickbooks Payroll (formerly Paycycle).
Whether you process payroll manually or use a payroll service, the time is right to reevaluate your payroll processes - as the new year approaches, small business payroll outsourcing options are better than ever.
Are you bogged down with tedious, time-consuming administrivia that prevents you from focusing on your core business? Instead of growing your business, are you suffocating under a pile of mind-numbing paperwork?
Join the club. Most small business owners wish they had more time to focus on growing their business. The solution to the problem is to outsource those things that take up your time but don't really help to grow the business. Outsourcing payroll is an easy one. If you're tired of all the headaches associated with payroll, it may be time to take a look at outsourcing payroll.
Processing payroll is a pain. If you process payroll yourself, you've got to keep track of payroll regulations and changes in withholding tables, a time-consuming task. Calculating the actual payroll amounts and deductions is equally tedious - it's very easy to make a mistake.
Then, there's the arduous chore of writing checks and making all the proper quarterly and end-of-year filings for federal, state, and local payroll taxes. It's not uncommon for small businesses to spend two to three hours processing each payroll if they do it manually.
Mistakes are costly. Employee morale dips when you give an employee a check or a W2 with errors - they quickly lose faith in management when that happens. They may forgive but they don't forget.
File late or with an incorrect amount and you'll have to pay a payroll penalty. Every year, four out of ten small businesses pay an average payroll fine of $845 for payroll errors. When you add it all up, that's billions of dollars in payroll fines.
Plus, there are other payroll fines that penalize you if you don't keep good payroll records. California passed a law that imposes a $750 payroll fine on small businesses that aren't able to quickly produce accurate payroll records upon an employee's request. Experts believe that many other states will follow with similar legislation.
When you consider these payroll penalties and the value of your time, processing payroll internally can be a very costly proposition. Even if you're already outsourcing payroll, there may be room for improvement. Payroll services change over time, and there are new payroll services that are worth checking out.
To be sure, if you've already outsourced payroll, it's worthwhile to consider whether you're current payroll service is giving you everything you want. Payroll service offerings today are better than ever, and now is the right time to be thinking about making a switch to a new payroll service.
When Should I Outsource Payroll?
The end of the year is the best time to sign up with a new payroll service. In fact, it's estimated that 60% to 70% of the small businesses that decide to outsource payroll each year do so effective January 1.
That's because you and your new payroll service provider start the new year with a clean slate. There's no payroll history to transfer over to the new payroll service. You can change payroll services after the new year starts, but it requires more paperwork. Now is the time that it is quick and easy to get started with a new payroll service.
What's New in Payroll Outsourcing?
The Internet has greatly improved the process of outsourcing payroll. With SurePayroll's online payroll service, for example, you can enter and view payroll information from anywhere at anytime, as long as you have access to a Web browser.
Once you enter your payroll data, the Web-based payroll service automatically calculates, deducts, pays and files all federal, state and local taxes. Paychecks can be printed on your laser printer or can be routed to your employees' bank accounts via direct deposit. W-2s are automatically prepared at the end of the year.
The key benefit of an online payroll service is enhanced control. Traditionally, payroll services required small business owners to call in payroll at a designated time, even if that meant having to leave an important meeting with a customer or an employee. With an online payroll service, payroll can be processed whenever it's convenient.
Control also comes through the ability to modify payroll information in real time and view your payroll calculations instantly. With traditional "offline" payroll services, the small business owners act through an intermediary - the payroll clerk - who enters the data. When mistakes are made, which frequently happens, the small business owner doesn't know it until the checks arrive.
Finally, control is increased through the availability of reports that let you track and monitor your payroll. Employers have access to online payroll reports in real-time after logging into a secure web site. Similarly, employees can log in and access and print their payroll records, thus alleviating an administrative burden that frequently arises when employees need proof of payment history for loan applications and other purposes.
Beyond increased control, online payroll services let small business owners save time and money. It only takes a few minutes to process payroll online, so time is freed up for more important things, like getting a new customer or spending time with your family.
How do the new payroll services save money? Because the new online payroll services don't have the same cost structure as traditional payroll services, they can charge 30% to 50% less. Moreover, many payroll services guarantee that you won't incur a payroll penalty, which can represent a considerable savings.
Taking Control of Payroll
Outsourcing payroll is a no-brainer. It simply doesn't make sense to waste time, money and resources on a tedious task that is ancillary to your core business.
Getting started with payroll outsourcing is easy enough. You can find the payroll service that's right for you by searching on the Web or by asking your colleagues for a recommendation. In many cases, you can simply enroll online and get started immediately.
Here are a few payroll services that are worth checking out:
- SurePayroll Online Payroll Service - This online payroll service is our favorite. It's amazingly convenient because you can process payroll anytime, anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection. Very affordable.
- ADP Payroll Service - You can't get fired for using ADP, or so the saying goes. They are the biggest payroll service. They've been around for a long time. This payroll service is most appropriate if your business is bigger - say, over 100 employees.
- Paychex Payroll Service - This is another big payroll service, a runner-up to ADP. Good offerings and good service. Again, most appropriate for larger companies.
- Quickbooks Payroll (formerly Paycycle) - This is a good service that reminds you when to process payroll. Unfortunately, it doesn't guarantee that you won't have penalties and you still need to do a fair bit of work yourself.
The bottomline? Making payroll is something that small businesses have to do. Outsourcing payroll or switching to a new payroll service for the new year can alleviate pain and let you focus on what's most important - growing your business with focus and attention.
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