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Choosing a payroll service: A guide for business leaders

Originally Published:
Jul 2018

For small businesses, hiring a service to handle all of the necessary payroll calculation, processing, and documentation saves valuable time and resources better spent on running the business. This guide explains the features you should look for in a payroll service and provides a framework you can use when comparing potential services.

From the guide:

Regardless of what industry, business, or profession you are in, if your organization has employees, it must pay them, which means it must likewise have a payroll system. But a payroll system is much more than merely calculating net pay. Businesses must also track employee addresses, identification numbers, exemptions, federal, state, and local taxes, dependents, medical benefits, retirement benefits, cafeteria plans, unemployment insurance, direct deposit accounts, and a plethora of reports and forms.

Before the information age, large companies had to employ huge specialized accounting departments just to manage their payroll. With the arrival of computer technology, they could pass some of that overhead cost on to information technology and computerized systems—although the computerized technology still required a significant investment in personnel and resources.

With the widespread adoption of cloud technology, businesses both large and small can now get the benefits of a huge payroll department without actually having to hire and manage one. Vendors that specialize in payroll services provide all the necessary expertise, documentation, and processing so you and your organization can concentrate on its own business, products, and services.

Making the right choice
Choosing the best payroll service vendor for your business requires a significant amount of research. But before you can do that, you must examine what exact payroll services your business needs and what features it expects to receive from a given service. While price is certainly a major consideration, there are many other characteristics, measurements, and features to contemplate, which may prove more important than just the cost of a service. This guide examines the various characteristics decision-makers should consider when choosing a service for their organization.

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