As an employer, managing payroll is one of the most important – and challenging – tasks you will face. For most mid-sized employers the process used to be simple: hire a payroll service to handle all of the calculations, tax filings, and payments for you. But even that is becoming more complicated with the growing number of states requiring electronic filing – most employers find it’s difficult enough to keep up with just federal reporting requirements, let alone state ones.
Enter technology. Being able to access everything you need via a computer or mobile device is extremely useful for any business, but when you need to manage payroll it’s absolutely essential.
1. Types Of Technology
There are two main types of technology that can help streamline your payroll process: web-based systems and mobile apps. While there are pros and cons to each, the best fit for most small businesses is a web-based system because it’s typically less expensive than a yearly subscription fee and easier to update year over year. It’s also easier to use than some of the older mobile apps, which may require a learning curve of their own.
When using a web-based system or a mobile app it’s important to ensure that all of your employees have access to the same system. That means making updates and changes on a regular basis. It’s also a good idea to keep track of each version of software you use along the way, just in case you need to revert back at some point in the future.
It’s also important that they can use the technology with the devices they already have. If your employees can use the technology on their computer, smartphone, or tablet, they’ll be able to check their hours and punch in from anywhere. In addition, you can receive notifications on your device when timecards are approved. It helps make both of your jobs easier.
2. Features To Look For In Web-Based Systems
The main purpose of a payroll system is to manage the data and process behind your company’s payroll cycle, but depending on what you use it for other features can come in pretty handy. Some common features include automatic tax filing and customized reports.
Of course, a payslip generator is necessary, since it allows you to manage the data behind paychecks. A pay stub creator is a great way to make your payroll system even more efficient and some providers will even let you print them out for employees to fill in offline. Another feature that can be useful is integration with existing accounts payable and general ledger systems – this could save you hours every month by allowing invoices and payments to be imported into payroll automatically.
Finally, if your company has multiple locations make sure the provider offers multi-site functionality, otherwise each location may need its own subscription.
As mentioned above, there are several reasons why a web-based system is the best choice for most small businesses.
First of all, it’s easier to keep up with changes year over year. It doesn’t matter if your company has one location or five. As long as you have an Internet connection you can run payroll from anywhere. The software is updated regularly, so you won’t have to worry about your system becoming outdated or out of compliance with state and federal laws. Updating your system is as simple as logging in and clicking a button.
Second, a web-based system usually costs less than a mobile app. Most providers charge a monthly fee for their services that can be as low as $15 per user, or just a few cents per day. It doesn’t matter if you’re adding a new location, switching banks, or even changing accountants – all of those changes can be handled through the web-based system’s dashboard. And since it’s accessible anywhere, you can handle any of those changes on your own time – it doesn’t have to be done all at once.
4. Legal Considerations
Besides the technological considerations, there are some legal factors to keep in mind when looking for a payroll system.
One is whether or not the software is compliant with federal and/or state law. Since there are many regulations that govern how payroll must be handled, it’s important that the system you use is completely legal and up to date. Your company may even need certain state and federal tax IDs in order to use a particular system.
Another consideration is whether or not the system calculates items correctly, such as deductions and overtime. Some web-based systems offer standard deduction and overtime calculations, but customizable options may be available as well.
Of course, you’ll also want to make sure the system is easy to use and learn if necessary. Employees should only need a few hours of training before they’re able to handle common tasks on their own.
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5. Considerations For Mobile Apps
The main appeal of a mobile app is its portability. You have payroll information in your pocket all day, so you can always access it whenever or wherever you need to. However, that also means you’ll be responsible for keeping the data updated and managing transactions outside of the system’s dashboard.
Another challenge with mobile apps is that they’re not always accessible. You’ll want to make sure any app you consider has offline functionality at the very least. The system should be simple enough for employees to learn on their own, especially if you expect them to handle tasks like entering pay for time off. If your employees are stuck trying to figure out how to do the most basic things, then they’ll almost certainly call IT or HR instead of learning it themselves. That can lead to higher support costs and more stress on the team.
Technology has made it possible to manage payroll more quickly and efficiently than ever before. Web-based systems are typically cheaper than mobile apps, provide greater functionality, and offer more support for legal compliance. That’s why these remain the preferred option for most businesses of all sizes – you simply can’t beat the benefits they provide. The internet revolution has changed the way companies operate, so whether you’re starting your payroll system from scratch or switching providers it’s important to recognize all of the new options available.