Currently, there are roughly 6 million small businesses in the US that have paid employees. If you run one of these businesses, then you’re probably aware of the challenges that come with managing payroll.
Even for the most experienced and meticulous entrepreneurs, payroll can be a headache. It’s no wonder that the IRS has in the past charged a third of all employers for payroll mistakes, with the penalties amounting to billions of dollars collectively.
The best way to avoid costly payroll errors is to hire a payroll professional. The right payroll specialist can help handle all tasks associated with wage processing competently. They can save your company time and money and spare your brand the bad publicity that comes with payroll blunders.
But with about 5,700 establishments in the US that offer payroll services, how can you choose the right one for your company? Keep reading to learn more.
Understand Your Specific Needs
Identifying your specific payroll needs is the first and most important step when looking to hire a payroll agency. Go through your last payroll audit carefully to unearth your main challenges. Make a list of these challenges, and compare them to the services that the payroll provider you’re considering offers.
Ideally, you want to work with a payroll firm whose services meet your company’s needs.
Consider your future payroll needs as well, especially if you’re a growing business. The right payroll provider will have the ability to scale their services to your business needs. You want to avoid the hassle of having to go through the process of looking for a new payroll company in a year or two.
Consider Their Qualifications
Given how sensitive payroll is, you want to make sure that you’re outsourcing the service from a highly qualified provider. Verify whether they hold the necessary qualifications from the Institute for Payroll and Pensions.
The state also requires that accountants who handle payroll processing be licensed. Thus, the first mark of a qualified provider is one who is licensed to operate in your state.
Find out how long the provider payroll company has been in business. The idea here is to gauge the company’s stability. A payroll provider who’s been around for a considerable amount of time is a better bet than one who opened shop two weeks ago.
Enquire About Specialization
Find out the degree to which your prospective payroll provider specializes in payroll. The best payroll professionals, such as Ignite HCM, dedicate their time to payroll instead of offering payroll as simply an optional feature beyond their primary focus.
Find out whether the payroll firm specializes in your industry. The top payroll providers typically cater to a specific industry and specialize in businesses of a certain size. Getting a provider who has a background in serving businesses just like yours is essential as they’ll be prepared to tackle the challenges facing your specific kind of business confidently.
Consider Customer Service
When working with a payroll provider, you want to have the best experience possible. You want a service provider you can communicate with without difficulties. If you can’t reach your payroll provider when you need them the most, then you’re in for a frustrating partnership.
Consider the level of service personalization as well. A top payroll service professional will go out of their way to customize their services to suit your needs. They’re genuinely interested in your business and challenges, going above and beyond to offer a solution that is most satisfactory to you.
Enquire the nature of their customer support. Does the payroll agency guarantee that there’ll always be someone to answer your questions and resolve your issues when needed?
The best way to know the kind of customer service a payroll firm offers is to see what others say about them. Read online reviews about the payroll firm to learn whether previous clients seem satisfied with the company. If others say good things about the payroll firm, it’s very likely that you’ll be happy with their customer service.
Find Out What Features Their Software Offers
The best payroll service providers invest in cutting-edge technology to better serve their clients. Find out what payroll software your potential payroll provider has and whether it’s fully capable of meeting your needs.
What are the basic features of the software? What additional features are available? For instance, does the software allow employees to access relevant information online?
Enquire About Security
The payroll professional you hire will have access to lots of confidential information. That includes your employees’ social security numbers, salary details, tax information, and so on. It’s essential that such information is kept safe and secure.
Enquire how the company typically protects its clients’ sensitive data. What are their encryption standards, authentication steps, and SSL certificates? How do they screen their employees to ensure their clients’ data never ends up in the wrong hands?
Find out how the payroll company protects its clients’ data that’s stored in their servers from natural disasters and theft.
Ask About Their Prices
What services are included in the price that your potential payroll provider quotes? Which services are additional? This information helps you know exactly what you’re paying for and whether you’re being charged for services that you hardly use or don’t even need.
Furthermore, knowing the exact prices of a payroll provider helps you perform a price comparison with other providers to avoid being overcharged.
Hire the Right Payroll Professional for You
Every business owner wants payroll to be a painless part of their business. Hiring the right payroll professional can help make sure that it happens. To find such a professional, you need to determine your specific needs and hire someone with the right qualities to meet them.
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