Five top tips for choosing a payroll service provider

HR ADVICE: Every successful company must have an effective and reliable payroll system.

Working with a payroll provider should be hassle-free and provide total employee satisfaction beyond simply meeting financial obligations and preventing legal problems. However, switching to a new payroll provider can be difficult and tedious. But with the right information and preparation, the transition can end up being seamless and result in a permanently improved payroll method that keeps staff morale and engagement high.

Consider these five top tips before making that change or starting a new service.

1. Research, research, research

Before arriving at any new solution, this is the most important and first thing to do. Aside from reading resource materials about payroll providers, consult widely with providers and their references. Make sure that customer support is also readily available. The new provider should guarantee assistance during the transition.

2. Know the company’s requirements

Payroll service providers have different offerings. Among the many additional services are on-time salary payment, tax return features, new-hire reporting, tax remittance, customer service modules, and more. The real question is which, if any, of these are needed.

A full-suite service may be expensive than a simpler package, so smaller companies and startups in particular need to ensure they will use everything they pay for. Relatively large or more complex organisations can offen afford to take on all the bells and whistles in the first instance, and may find advantages that they hadn't previously considered.

3. Consider the timing

Although not mandatory, switching payroll services at the end of a calendar year can prevent many hassles, especially for companies with large, multi-jurisdictional workforces. Transitioning mid-year can demand added effort for tax payments and filings. The most important thing is for the salary payments to be timely and that the transition process does not interfere.

4. Inform the staff

When the new payroll service provider becomes active, the news should be communicated to the complete workforce. This change should have minor, if any, impact on most staff, but each payroll provider will have slightly different procedures. Let the employees save previous payroll information by printing or downloading it. Volumes of data are transferred to the new provider, so it is a good idea to double-check for discrepancies in the process.

5. Budgeting is paramount

In any business endeavour, financial matters are on top of the considerations before making any moves. Tabulate the cost for all the prospective payroll providers, together with the pros and cons of each. Narrowing it down will help in decision-making, especially when all the options are good.

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