Outsourcing payroll is a long-standing tactic for enabling business owners to ensure their people get paid on time while reducing errors. But what makes a good, modern payroll service provider in the digital age? And, for that matter, has your provider kept up with the times?
First, the basics: the service should relieve employers of the payroll burden
This burden covers aspects of payroll from start to finish. That means that – in addition to payroll administration, direct deposits, paycheck distribution, wage garnishments, etc. – they’ll also:
• Track time off (both paid time off and Family and Medical Leave Act time);
• Withhold and file payroll taxes as appropriate;
• Offer ancillary services such as preparation of EEO-1 reports and handling unemployment and related claims support;
• And so on: if it’s payroll-related or a service that complements payroll, they’ll likely handle it.
Second, they’ll offer web-based payroll.
However, this means more than just a clunky website with an insecure login. A technology-savvy payroll provider will make sure their cloud-based service offers several key features:
• Employer self-service. Employers should be able to log in and immediately be treated to an informative dashboard that shows them critical payroll data at a glimpse, with access to wage and labor reports.
• Employee self-service. Employees should also be able to view related information important to them, including pay dates, remaining paid time off, tax documents, etc.
• Mobile access. Business owners shouldn’t be divorced from the information needed to make key decisions just because they’re not at the office. Secure anywhere, anytime access from smart devices ensure payroll information is always available.
Third, they’ll integrate with existing software and vendors.
“Integration” is a pretty big deal. With so many cloud- and software-based solutions available to businesses today, payroll needs to play nicely with others. At the very least, it should work with accounting programs, time and attendance solutions, and any other HR platforms you use. Bonus points if the payroll platform can also support other related activities, like benefits or workers’ comp.
Fourth, they’ll have the up-to-date answers you need in an ever-changing environment.
Payroll is subject to intense compliance scrutiny, and requirements – everything from FLSA provisions to minimum wage, from tax issues to privacy protocols – can change in a heartbeat. That means employers will never stop having questions, and modern payroll providers should be able to address today’s issues. “Online payroll processing doesn’t exempt employers from the need of still having somebody from an HR perspective, and a compliance perspective, to keep them organized and in line if they’re going to grow as an organization,” says Mark Zimmerman, Chief Information Officer at CoAdvantage.
Need more information on modern payroll processing? CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with integrated solutions for payroll, compliance, benefits, and HR administration. To learn more about our ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.