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 on staff to enter, compute and process payroll and all associated taxes. Many small-business owners take on these responsibilities themselves, dividing their attention.
“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
Thomas Rosander, owner of California Custom Hot Tubs in Sonoma, California, was already using Quickbooks but opted to add its online payroll processing service several years ago. “I decided this would probably be a lot easier than having my bookkeeper do it,” Rosander says, and adds that “the ease of it” is his favorite part since he made the switch.
Rosander highly recommends using an online payroll company to other business owners in the spa industry. He particularly likes the customer service. “If I have any questions or anything,” Rosander explains, “I can just call them.”
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.”
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 — which varies widely from company to company — is a concern for many business owners. Rosander feels the pricing is reasonable for the online payroll services he receives through Intuit Quickbooks. “I’ve not had any problems with the services,” he says. “If I did, I’d be searching elsewhere.”
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.
Making a switch from an in-house to online payroll system might seem daunting if you are just starting to investigate this option. Rosander recommends looking at your existing accounting software and seeing what online options that company provides.
Additionally, spa retailers should be prepared for some paperwork to get the process started,” Cusack says. “Making sure that all the legal documents are up to date helps make the process go a little quicker.”
There are several highly rated online payroll services that might be a fit for spa retailers: Paychex, Benefit Mall, OnPay, Patriot Software, Gusto and Intuit Quickbooks top several “best of” lists online.
Payroll Help 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 employees 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