One of my clients' biggest concerns is finding the right payroll services company. And since we provide bookkeeping and controller services, they often ask us for recommendations.
There's a simple reason that this issue is so important to employers: because it's important to their employees. If your employees aren't getting paid on time, or if there are frequent issues with their withholding, bonuses, commissions or paid time off, you've got big problems.
Fortunately, there are plenty of capable, trustworthy, employee-friendly providers out there. Here's what to look for to ensure you get the payroll services you need to keep your employees happy.
Accuracy, Timeliness and Accessibility
In an earlier blog, I covered most of the basic things you should look for when selecting a payroll services provider, such as affordability, scalability and security.
And while all of those attributes certainly matter, it's important not to lose sight of the single most important feature you should demand of your payroll provider: accuracy. Not only do errors create extra churn for you, but they're also frustrating to your loyal employees.
Having worked with a variety of clients' payroll services companies, I can tell you how important it is to have a provider that can provide accurate and timely data. After all, we use their data in our monthly closing process. I also appreciate working with a company that makes it easy for me to ask them questions.
With tax laws that vary from state to state and are also subject to change at the federal level, it's vital to choose a payroll services provider that keeps abreast of every update and revision. In addition, some types of businesses are allowed to make deductions for work-related expenses such as uniforms or tools; compliance is just as critical here.
Your payroll services provider must be able to account for everything you're required to withhold — but not a penny more.
Employee Access to HR Data
This is one of the most helpful of recent innovations in online technology — especially for companies that don't have a large HR department.
Thanks to the cloud, many payroll providers can now allow your employees to directly access personal information such as their remaining number of vacation days. This has become a true differentiator, so be sure your provider offers this service. It not only pleases your employees, but also helps you because you don't have to field these questions yourself. What about state-specific laws regarding employees and HR? Does your payroll services provider candidate stay up-to-the-minute on new legislation that affects small business? Can they help you track sick time or paid time off (PTO) accrual? Make sure the payroll services provider you choose does.
Your Bonus! (Personal Payroll Messages)
Some payroll companies now provide extra services for your employees (which is also an extra service for you), such as personalized messages. From wishing an employee a happy anniversary to offering congratulations on bonuses, payroll companies can help you make your employees feel special.
This might seem like a small detail, but any attempt at personalization can go a long way toward helping with your employee retention efforts. Some payroll service providers automatically notify you when it is an employee's work anniversary or birthday.
A Logical Deduction
Choosing a payroll services provider is an important decision. Give it the proper amount of thought today, and you may never have to think about it again. Better yet, your employees will never have to think about it at all. That's a win for everybody.