IT, Taxes

What Payroll Software Should Your Business Use?

payrollMaintaining payroll systems can require long hours and tedious work. As a business grows and the number of employees increases, tracking things like sick pay, tax deductions, insurance benefits, and maternity pay and wages can become an overwhelming task.

Most companies that have only a few employees choose to do their own payrolls. But when there are 10 to 50 employees, most businesses use payroll software programs to help with the chore. The work of calculations is taken care of along with other tasks, making payroll less of a nightmare.

Rather than opting for software programs many businesses use the services of payroll companies to handle this work for them. By allowing the payroll company to take over all or part of the job of maintaining the payroll system, the business can focus on other things.

Maintaining Control

One of the advantages offered by these companies is the flexibility they provide. Businesses can choose to do their own payroll hours and have the checks printed or direct deposits made into employee accounts. Enhanced programs can even take care of payroll tax forms.

This procedure allows the business to maintain as much control as it likes over its payroll system. At the same time, it provides relief from the most stressful and tedious tasks related to payroll. But the reality is, payroll software programs can essentially offer the same versatility.

Selecting Programs

Payroll software programs are extremely popular options nowadays. The major difference in using a software program versus a payroll company is the software program can potentially become outdated within a short period of time. Many things should be considered when selecting payroll software programs.

Security is always a big issue when dealing with sensitive data. Software programs should be password-protected, and there should be assurance that only specific personnel can access the payroll information.

In some cases, data may be stored in databases handled by a payroll service. In such situations it is important to investigate the company’s disaster recovery plan.

When it comes to control issues, it is important to know if the program is capable of providing reviews and reports of payment histories as needed. In addition, it should be a simple process to make changes to salaries and other data.

Comparison Shopping

Begin the search for a quality program by comparing several different small business payroll programs. Most will offer the same or very similar features. These programs are designed to calculate wages, deduct taxes, direct deposit checks, store data, and some can even print checks.

Shopping around will alert savvy business owners to the fact that payroll software programs are available at various price ranges. It is wise to read reviews about the programs before choosing one. The price is not always reflective of the program's quality; however, it may be wise to choose a program from a reputable brand.

What to Look For

Besides the obvious features already mentioned, the payroll software program should be compatible with any other programs or systems already in use. In addition, the program should be flexible and scalable. That is, it should have the ability to grow with the company. If the business expands to add 100 new employees, the payroll software program should accommodate that.

Ideally the program will be updated as the manufacturer adds new features and innovations. Also, for optimal functioning, the payroll software program should interface with the human resources program.

Proper and accurate payroll and tax processing is an obligation that must be fulfilled by every business. Choosing the right payroll software program should not be taken lightly. The decision will have a huge impact on many aspects of the business. Some of the most important considerations are the budget allowed for the program, the size of the business, and the flexibility of the program.

If you’ve used payroll software programs, please share your experiences. Whether the results were positive or negative, it’s always helpful to hear someone’s personal story or comment.

Published on behalf of Debbie Allen, a writer and an online marketer addressing a variety of small business topics and writing for several blogs and websites.

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