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How to choose the right payroll company

Payroll companies are used to help a business track payroll costs, issue cheques and prepare a business for filing taxes. This series of steps provides a framework that can be used to choose the right payroll company for your business.

Basic information

Adding a new payroll service company or switching from a current provider should be done when your business begins a new calendar year. This allows you to adequately record costs and taxes that you will need to pay quarterly or annually. Make sure your new provider understands all the requirements of the business. Go over your payroll records for any mistakes so no problems arise at the end of the year. Set up a trial period, if necessary, to ensure the provider meets your needs.

Research your options

Create a list that has three to four potential service providers that you want to consider for your business. Online searches can help to determine the services that are provided and to learn the nature of each company, whilst the website for each company should have information about their business, including the services they offered and fees they charge. One of the most important considerations is their policies and procedures statement, which you should always ask to see. If they cannot provide one then go elsewhere. Make contact with other small business owners in the area and see if they can recommend a payroll service for your business. You can also ask your accountant for their recommendation. Try to include both small and large payroll companies on your list to get a better idea of what your money buys you service-wise.

Compare service providers

Match the needs of your business with the services that are offered by each provider on your list. Create a chart that includes all of your needs and mark on the chart each need identified as important to you and the business. Make a second chart that includes the plans of each provider and the cost and then compare both your charts to see which provider matches your business needs the closest.

Speak with a representative

Call the contact number for the worthwhile service provider(s) you identify and take to a customer representative of the company. Have a list of questions prepared that you can ask to learn additional information. These questions should include how long the provider takes to re-run payroll cheques if a problem is identified, whether the fees being charged are guaranteed and if a list of references is available. Call and talk to multiple providers if there is more than one that will meet your needs.

Make a decision

Compare the payroll companies that you are considering and decide on the best choice based on all the information that you have collected. If you are new to using a payroll company for your business, a test may be available by using a sample payroll. Companies may also have an introductory period available for a new business. A guarantee may also be offered in lieu of an introductory period.

Outsourcing back-office tasks such as payroll can not only free you up to deal with the day-to-day running of your business but can also save you money. The steps above should help you to find a service provider that offers a reliable and efficient service at a price you can afford.

Georgina Clatworthy is a freelance writer producing informative content about business, finance and marketing. She is a contributory writer for the outsource services team at Deluxe.

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