Ask any manager, and they'll tell you that payroll software is the greatest thing to come along since sliced bread (and now that there are bread slicers, payroll software pulls ahead). Seriously though, small business payroll software is a true godsend to any manager or employer who needs to balance the books and process paychecks every month.
Never heard of online payroll services? Here's all you need to know about the top payroll software companies: what it is, how it works, and why any business running in the 21st century needs to get on board this productivity gravy train.
Simply put, payroll software companies offer software that processes payroll for businesses. Both SMBs and major corporations avail themselves of top payroll software as a solution to this time-consuming and frustrating monthly task. What’s more, payroll software helps to avoid stiff fines due to clerical errors, reduces time spent on menial tasks, and ensures compliance where it counts.
The beauty of small business payroll services and software is that it rests on your own system, so you have full control and constant access to the software. While different companies will vary their exact offerings, most top payroll software syncs with a wide range of the applications your business currently uses to record and organize data such as timesheets and filing. With all of the information readily available, the payroll software crunches the numbers and processes payroll quickly, efficiently, and easily.
- Easy to use
- Automated tax filing
- Syncs with many other platforms like QuickBooks and Xero
- No automation for mandated deductions
- No PEO option
Gusto is a user-friendly, multi-tasking payroll platform that handles much more than just employee payments. Gusto syncs with time-tracking and accounting software, streamlines new employee onboarding, time off requests, and other HR tasks, and helps keep you compliant with all the tax and benefits regulations. Save time and hassle with Gusto automated payroll services.
- Hundreds of template forms
- Packages for businesses of different sizes
- General feel is cold and impersonal
- HR resources for small and medium businesses are quite limited
ADP offers a flexible payroll and HR platform for businesses of all sizes, with a full range of features including payroll, HR, benefits, and compliance tools. It’s ideal for large corporations with employees in many states and countries, but small businesses might find that they can’t get the tools they require without paying for a more expensive package than they really need.
- Easy to get started with plenty of setup support
- Fast, intuitive, automated payroll processing
- Very limited HR resources
- No benefits management
QuickBooks is one of the leading providers of accounting software, so it makes sense to integrate that with their powerful payroll services platform. QuickBooks payroll provides powerful payroll tools like state and federal tax compliance, benefits management, automated payroll, and workers compensation so that you can keep track of everything in one place.
Modern payroll software companies offer programs fully loaded with all sorts of features to boost efficiency and maximize your ROI. These apps don’t only handle payroll. You can get software that syncs and manages employee time tracking, including attendance and leave tracking, analytics, and tax compliance. The right payroll software is a one-stop-shop for managing all of your back-end business needs. Here are a few of the most important benefits your business will glean from a software upgrade with a top payroll company.
One of the biggest issues that small and medium businesses have to deal with is cleaning up faux pas made because of human error. These are minuscule mistakes–forgetting a period here, deleting a file there–with potentially catastrophic consequences. In fact, some businesses end up paying tens of thousands of dollars in fines or legal fees because of a tiny mistake made when inputting data. The beauty of a small business payroll service is that it completely alleviates the worry of human error. With software from the top payroll processing companies, your fingers never touch the system; it's all totally automated. In other words, you’ll never have to worry about pricey fines again.
All small businesses have the same problem of losing countless hours every month to payroll processing. By taking over this arduous task, payroll software increases productivity by freeing up your managers to do more important tasks.
Tax filing is a major endeavor for any business. Each year the regulations change, and they're different from state to state and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. If you're not on top of things constantly, you can easily fall behind and be slapped with an enormous fine for not filing your taxes properly. A modern online payroll service alleviates this issue by staying up to date with ALL tax compliance laws and rules, so your business is always covered. Good payroll software also deals with end-of-year tax filing, W2s, and other important tax forms.
Top payroll software promotes transparency, letting your employees see exactly what’s going on with their paychecks at any given time in the month. It provides you with easy and convenient data storage, keeping all of the important information in one easy to access place. And payroll software even boosts data security, making it a win-win for everyone involved.
Payroll software sounds like a great idea, but is that the whole picture? A savvy business owner wants to explore all available options before making an informed decision. In fact, there are a few other options that you can use to take care of your business’ payroll needs. Let’s explore them, so you can be sure that you’re covering all your bases:
The most popular alternative to payroll software is a dedicated payroll service, as in companies that do payroll for you. If you are the type of business owner that likes to have everything handed to you on a silver platter or if you just don’t have the time or resources to do anything else yourself, then outsourcing your payroll service is a good option for you. The largest payroll companies offer the benefit of personalized assistance, an account manager, and white-glove service.
Of course, there are downsides to hiring one of the top payroll companies to do everything for you. For one thing, you'll pay a much higher price for a full-fledged payroll service. And while you are getting a hands-free option, the largest payroll companies don't do much more than the the best payroll software out there today. What's more, companies that do payroll services come with a serious drawback of compromised security. Whenever you share sensitive business data with an outside party, you run the risk of security breaches, hack attacks, and other grave consequences that can dramatically damage your business' integrity. For this reason alone, most businesses prefer to keep things like payroll in-house.
Finally, if you like or need to make changes periodically, payroll software is easier to work with than outsourcing to a top payroll company. Since everything is hosted on your system, you have full and 24/7 access to the application. So, you can add new employees, delete old ones, and update any information you need with ease and within seconds. Outsourced payroll services require you to wait for open business hours, approval from your account manager, and processing through the red tape. That could take days!
The second alternative to a payroll app is the good, old fashioned, do it yourself option. If you’re reading this article, you already know what a pain payroll is. So, this option is probably not too appealing to you. What’s more, doing payroll on your own will usually end up costing you more in human error, wasted time, and squandered resources. At the end of the day, it’s really not worth the hassle.
Now, for the most important question for any smart business owner: how much is the best payroll software going to cost you? There are different pricing models that are available from the various brands, and ultimately, you’ll choose the one that suits your business and budget best. The three most common ones include:
This plan requires you to pay a monthly flat fee for the software (or the SaaS, as in Software as a Service, if you want to get technical). These systems are hosted on the cloud and can be accessed as long as you pay your monthly fee. On top of that, you'll pay a per-employee fee. Let's say you look at a small business payroll service that charges $10/month. If you have 30 employees and you're being charged $4/month per employee, you'll pay $120/month for the employees and $10 for the software itself for a total of $130 per month.
Payroll software companies that waive the per-employee fee (and offer unlimited employee coverage) are usually not as feature-rich as the other options. It's a matter of you getting what you pay for.
If you plan on using the software indefinitely, many of the best payroll software companies will customize your plan to give you a deep discount. Instead of paying monthly, you can pay a one-time or annual fee, and you may be able to discuss various features to exclude or include in your package.
Ready to make the switch from tedium to take charge, from mistakes to machine-based precision, and from snail-pace to supersonic speed? Check out the best payroll software for small businesses and corporations and turbocharge your business' productivity today.