Learning & Insights
Payroll options for your small business
Whether large or small, all businesses must effectively manage payroll. If a small business doesn't pay its employees on time, or correctly, there could be legal consequences as well as increased employee turnover.
Payroll is more than just making sure your employees get paid on time. It also includes:
- Abiding by current employment, wage and tax laws—from employee withholding to the payment of payroll taxes
- Updating and tracking employee sick time and vacation time
- Adjusting payroll for employee raises (or pay cuts)
- Providing wage garnishments when necessary
The payroll function includes any required compensation-related issues. If you can't perform these services accurately or on time, you should consider outsourcing some or all of it. Most payroll service providers offer two types of payroll processing: full service payroll or in-house payroll services. Let's take a closer look at each type.
Full service payroll provider
The beauty of outsourcing your entire payroll function is that everything is done for you. You don't have to think about a thing. For a monthly fee, you simply forward employee information and other required details to your payroll service provider, and they do the rest. Here are some of the typical services you may get from a full service payroll provider:
- Preparing and filing taxes electronically and providing you with tax notifications (such as 1099 and W-2 forms)
- Providing online and mobile access to employment reports and other information—you and your employees can download directly
- Preparing and cutting paychecks and then mailing or submitting them for direct deposit payment
- Preparing and making tax deposits and payments for your business
- Providing garnishment payment services
- Providing human resource management tools and managing time and labor reports (including new hires)
- Keeping State Unemployment Insurance (SUI) updated and incorporated into your payroll checks and other records
Most payroll service providers will assign a full-time payroll specialist to assist you with any questions you may have.
Your small business may have only a few employees, or it may just be you. In this case, a full service payroll provider may not make much sense. But many small business owners use a portion of the services offered by full service providers to cover the things of greatest importance to them—for a small monthly fee. Here are a few things you may hire a payroll service provider to help you with:
- Keep track of tax payments and forms online so you don't miss any important details or deadlines
- Get quarterly reminders when tax payments are due and electronically submit payroll taxes as well
- Receive signature-ready tax forms to fill out and submit either electronically or by mail
- Pay your employees by direct deposit or create and print your own payroll checks
- Review payroll reports online and then export them to your small business software
Choose the best option for you
Be sure to shop around for the right payroll service provider for your business—not all providers are equal. Focus your search on three top considerations: the services you need, accessibility and cost. Talk to your CPA (or others in your industry who use payroll service providers) for recommendations. Whichever option and provider you choose, outsourcing payroll will allow you to focus on running your business each day—and not payroll.