How online payroll companies can benefit pool companies
Every employer knows the importance of making sure your payroll is running smoothly and efficiently. Many business owners maintain payroll in-house with payroll software, but a growing number of businesses are turning to online payroll companies.
When using in-house payroll software, a company must have a
bookkeeper enter, compute and process payroll and all associated taxes. Many
small-business owners take on these responsibilities themselves, dividing their
“By outsourcing the administrative tasks, business owners are able to focus on what they do best, which is running and growing their business,” says Taylor Cusack, a small-business consultant in Austin, Texas, who works for Paychex, a nationwide online payroll service company based in Rochester, New York.
According to Melissa Wallace, Austin, Texas, district manager for Benefit Mall, some reasons employers choose to outsource payroll include:
Online payroll services take on the liability for accuracy with payroll tax calculations, payments and filings
Features such as direct deposit, pay cards and detailed reporting
Payroll data security
Greater focus on running the business
“Hiring in-house [payroll] can be tricky,” says Luke Norris, president of Luke Pool Service in Cumming, Georgia. “Does the person have the right experience? If a mistake is made, it can be costly with the fees and penalties the government charges.” That’s why Norris chooses to use an online payroll service, which he’s done for several years. “If my payroll provider makes a mistake it’s on them to make it right and pay the fees.”
While business owners retain more control over payroll by keeping it in-house, they also retain more liability when it comes to correctly filing all related tax payments and documents. “[The small-business owners] I work with see value in shifting liability to a third party for things like payroll, HR and even time keeping,” Cusack says. “Businesses in all industries could benefit from outsourcing things like payroll and HR. A payroll company’s job is to make sure companies stay compliant and help streamline their business processes.”
Norris switched from his previous online provider to Gusto in the
last year. While Gusto costs more, Norris says it’s more tech-savvy and
provides a paid customer service option he utilizes. “We like it because they do the taxes and
they are there to help us with onboarding employees,” he says. “If there is an issue they handle it all
Wallace focuses on making sure things work smoothly. “I connect business owners to
solutions that streamline their back office — the nonrevenue producing business
processes — while shielding them from the risk of noncompliance challenges
related to state and federal agencies,” she says.
When switching to a new method of handling payroll, cost is a concern for business owners. Ron Melbourne, owner and general manager of Membrane Concepts in New Bedford, Massachusetts, switched to Quickbooks online service when his previous provider kept raising prices. “I’ve been using the basic self-service payroll from QuickBooks for about 10 years now and have found it to be the easiest and least expensive service to use, especially if you’re already using QuickBooks to manage the rest of your business,” he says.
Most companies offer a starting package with minimum costs and
features, then increase their offerings from there based on the needs of the
business owner. “There is no
‘one size fits all’ when it comes to payroll,” Cusack says.
Time is something to consider as well. “The self-service plan from QuickBooks is
more time consuming to run than the full-service plan they offer and also
requires you to fill out your own quarterly payroll tax forms, which not
everyone will be comfortable doing,” Melbourne says. “It gives you all the data you need; it
just requires you to run the reports yourself. But I think it is a good plan
for a small company like us.”
Making a switch from an in-house to online payroll system might
seem daunting if you are just starting to investigate this option. “My suggestion for anyone wanting
to use a self-service program is to discuss it over with your accountant before
plunging in,” Melbourne says. “You
really need to understand what you’re going to be responsible for to the IRS
and be comfortable doing it yourself. It’s also helpful to have an accountant’s
help [at the beginning of the year] to complete the required W2s, 1099s, etc.,
so they are all sent out correctly.”
Additionally, pool companies should be prepared for some paperwork to get the process started, Cusack says. “Making sure all legal documents are up to date helps the process go quicker.” There are several highly rated online payroll services that might be a fit for pool companies: Paychex, Benefit Mall, OnPay, Patriot Software, Gusto and Intuit Quickbooks top several “best of” lists online.
PAYCHEX paychex.com Size of businesses served: 1–50 employees, more upon request Packages offered: All services are individualized per company Pricing: Structured per account Setup done for you: Available upon request Support available: Phone, online and direct representative contact Automated payroll taxes included: Yes Add-on services available: Yes
BENEFIT MALL benefitmall.com Size of businesses served: 1–5,000 employees Packages offered: All services are individualized per company Pricing: Structured per account Setup done for you: Yes Support available: Phone, online chat, email, direct representative contact Automated payroll taxes included: Yes Add-on services available: Yes
PATRIOT patriotsoftware.com Size of businesses served: 1–100 employees Packages offered: Basic or Full Service Pricing:Basic service $10/month + $4/month/employee Full service $30/month + $4/month/employee Setup done for you: Yes Support available: By phone and online chat Automated payroll taxes included: With Full Service Package Add-on services available: Yes
GUSTO gusto.com Size of businesses served: 1–100 employees Packages offered: Core, Complete or Concierge Pricing:Core $39/month +$6/month/employee Complete $39/month +$12/month/employee Concierge $149/month +$12/month/employee Setup done for you: No, help is available for businesses with 10+ employees Support available: By phone and online chat Automated payroll taxes included: Yes, with all plans Add-on services available: Yes
INTUIT QUICKBOOKS payroll.intuit.com Size of businesses served: 1–150 employees Packages offered: Basic, Enhanced or Full Service Pricing:Basic $30/month +$4/month/employee Enhanced $45/month +$4/month/employee Full Service $109/month +$4/month/employee Setup done for you: With Full Service package Support available: By phone and online chat Automated payroll taxes included: With Full Service package Add-on services available: Yes
ONPAY payrollcenter.com Size of businesses served: 1–100 employee Packages offered: One comprehensive service package only Pricing: Base fee $36/month + $4/month/employee Setup done for you: Yes Support available: By phone and online chat Automated payroll taxes included: Yes Add-on services available: Yes