Nothing makes an employee happier than getting paid, but the actual payroll process can be a quite a nuisance for small business owners. Despite the headache, payroll has to get done or you won’t have any employees.
If your business is small enough, you may be tempted to calculate payroll on your own, but in the long run this probably is not the best or safest idea. According to HRWorld.com, payroll is one of the most commonly outsourced functions in a small business, partly because it is so crucial to avoid accuracy mistakes. The process can also be time-consuming. It’s better to hand this task over to someone else and concentrate on more important things when getting your business going.
Most business owners turn to their accountants for help, but many opt to work with third-party services that specialize in handling payroll. Another option is to get assistance from payroll software used in-house or over the Internet.
Before picking a service, it’s a good idea to make sure that the company has passed the IRS Assurance Testing System and/or Business Acceptance Testing (BATS) requirements for software developers, reporting agents and transmitters of electronic business returns to the IRS. A full list of companies that fit these requirements can be found by clicking here.
Below are six services that are IRS-approved and specifically geared toward small businesses:
- SurePayroll (https://www.surepayroll.com/) ― SurePayroll is an online payroll service that integrates with popular desktop accounting software products. The service costs about $45 per month, which is a bit pricier than average. However, at payroll tax time, SurePayroll will file your returns for you. If any questions come up, the company will even represent you before the IRS. They also promise that you will be able to “process payroll in less than three minutes with free direct deposit” and save up to 50% on your payroll expenses.
- Intuit Inc. (www.payroll.com or www.intuit.com ) ― We’ve all heard of QuickBooks and Turbo Tax, both of which were brought to you by Intuit Inc. For your payroll needs, the company offers QuickBooks Do-It-Yourself Payroll or QuickBooks Assisted Payroll. QuickBooks Assisted Payroll allows you to manage your own payroll, but avoid the headache and hassle of paying government tax liabilities and dealing with forms. PC Magazine gave QuickBooks Premier Edition the Editor’s Choice Award in 2010 for the best small business software.
- Paychex (www.paychex.com) ― Paychex caters to both large and small companies and offers other services such as tax, 401K, insurance and employee benefits, HR administration and compliance, and time and labor solutions. Also available is Paychex Premier Human Resources, a comprehensive, human-resource outsourcing solution for any size business. Paychex also claims to service over half a million companies in the U.S., which isn’t too shabby a number.
- PayCycle (www.PayCycle.com) ― PayCycle works with QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online Edition as well as Microsoft Money, allowing you to only have to enter data once, with a cost of $24.99 per month. The company says it will “walk you step-by-step through the entire payroll process from paychecks to W-2s, with just a few clicks.” The service includes email reminders for paydays and tax deadlines, instant paycheck calculations, free direct deposit, completed tax forms, electronic federal tax deposits, and live customer support with payroll experts. You can try the service free for 30 days by visiting the company’s website, giving you time to decide if it’s the right service for your needs.
- Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP) (www.adp.com) ― While ADP is known more for working with larger markets, the company has begun to enter the small-business world with EasyPay payroll service. Optional payroll services include direct deposit for employees; filing, depositing and reporting of payroll taxes; and even signing and stuffing of payroll envelopes.
- CompuPay (www.CompuPay.com) ― XpressPayroll is the small-business service of CompuPay, an online payroll solution that used to be known for catering to midrange and large markets. XpressPay is designed for businesses with just one to five employees, and it was recently named a “Top 100 Product” for accountants by Accounting Today magazine for the third year in a row. The service includes online payroll processing 24 hours a day; full-service tax filing, compliance and payment for one state; direct deposit for all employees; employee access to online, pay-stub detail and W-2s; and help from customer service professionals when needed.
These are just six out of many payroll options available to you as a small-business owner, but all are IRS-approved and many have been given accolades in business magazines or were noted by HRWorld.com as being in the top ten for small business payroll solutions. Take a careful look at what each offers and for how much, and then make the right decision for your own business.