When looking for proper payroll software, many employers ask a lot of the same questions. So how do you find payroll software that fits your business as best as possible?
Is there a software platform that can apply to your company and its needs? Are there ways to program the software so that it's as hands-off as possible? Where do you find a software option that has the capacity to handle business-related analyses? Can the same department manage the costs of payroll? Or will the payment costs need to be managed across multiple cost centers?
In addition to these questions, you'll want to ensure that the platform you are considering has the ability to generate payroll summaries, track deductions and document contributions while also storing W-2 reports.
The questions that often come to mind are not the only ones you should ask. Here are examples of other questions you should consider before choosing a payroll software option:
Is the payroll software specifically designed for small, medium or large companies? Does its intended purpose align with the size of your business?
Is the software in compliance with requirements for the city, state, province or country your company operates in? Or is the software location-specific beyond the jurisdiction of your business?
Does the software have the capacity to grow with you as your business expands over time? If not, will its limitations cause problems down the line?
The search for a flexible and scalable platform
Is the software in question reasonably priced? Is the software company transparent about its pricing structure and fees? Are there any additional fees that you need to be aware of? What does the contract require of you and your business?
Are your calculated costs based on the number of employees who currently work for you? If not, be mindful of the benefits of calculating your future costs in a way that mirrors your company's projected growth in employed personnel. Is the software vendor available at all times to answer your questions when they arise?
Is the customer service team willing and able to help you set up your new software system? What happens if you run into something confusing about the software? Does it come with a manual or booklet for you to reference when you need it most?
Features to look for in payroll software
Remember that the best software option will do the majority of the heavy lifting for you. To keep operations running smoothly and efficiently, seek out a platform that is cloud based. Since payroll is a key aspect of your business operations, you will need to be able to update your system from anywhere and with any device, which cloud-based platforms allow you to do.
Furthermore, does the platform come with a mobile app? This is another benefit, as it enhances the ability to monitor and manage your software platform from anywhere.
Additionally, software platforms operate via direct deposit, as this can reduce the chances of your company and your employees being the victims of fraud or lost checks. Direct deposit simplifies the payment process and makes everything easier for all parties involved.
Look into the software's compatibility with your company's current HR workflow. Will the software in question make it easy for you to schedule employee hours, track employees while they are on the job, pay attention to payroll and manage all your accounting needs with ease? Make sure the platform can contribute to a smooth workflow, not complicate matters unnecessarily. Try to integrate various platform options with the other tools you already use, and sign up for free trials whenever possible.
In addition to payroll, look at which payment adjustments the software can handle, such as holiday pay, reimbursements for expenses, commissions, bonuses and taxable benefits.
Also, does the software platform take tax compliance into consideration? Does it handle tax deposits on your behalf? Will it e-file tax forms automatically instead of requiring manual action?
Will the platform continue to remain compliant over time? With the right payroll software, updates and downloads will automatically take place soon after they are released, if not immediately.
Ask yourself whether the software platform in question can handle information for every type of employee at your business, including salaried, hourly and contracted workers as well as those that are a mix of the three.
What does the software do in the context of deduction types? Specify the types of deductions you offer to your employees and assign those deductions as they apply to each employee. Make sure the software can track medical benefits, dental coverage, life insurance and retirement savings for each of them. In the process of doing so, will the platform save you time and effort? If not, there might be a better option out there for your business.
Time-saving benefits to look for in a software option
Seek out a software option that makes it easy to onboard and terminate employees. The process of onboarding new employees should be intuitive and simplistic, so the platform should be capable of quickly entering basic employment-related details.
The data should be able to synchronize with your company's other tools, making it easy to input information one time and leave it at that. Additionally, the software platform should come with an app or online portal that allows employees to view their pay stubs, make time off requests and look at their hours for certain pay periods.
Contractor payments should also be managed by the software. It is ideal for platforms to be able to successfully handle 1099 forms and distribute paychecks as well. Off-cycle payroll is another detail the software needs to handle for you. As such, verify that the software has the capacity to pay out bonuses, ensure that advances are carried out, release final payments and make corrections when needed.
Last but not least, being able to set and forget the functions of the software is key. Take advantage of auto-approve features that make it possible for you to set up processes that will run behind the scenes without your involvement.
At the end of the day, there are countless factors that can assist you in your search for the most suitable payroll software for your company. The top three details you shouldn't overlook are time, accuracy and the ability to withdraw any withholdings and deductions on behalf of your employees.
Incredibly strong security features, including password protection, secure storage and limited access control, are must-have tools as well. And while you're at it, don't overlook customer reviews when searching for your company's next payroll software system.