Payroll management is a crucial aspect of business functions. It is also so elaborate that it involves a lot more than calculating the salaries of staff. As a result of this, it is usually a daunting task, especially for small companies with a lot of other duties to handle.
While some organisations prefer to manage their payroll manually (i.e. In-house) via conventional bookkeeping and Excel Spreadsheets, many other business owners have discovered that giving this particular task to a professional body will save time and money.
For small companies, particularly, having a payroll specialist is great for the business. But, often they lack necessary resources, time and funds to have a payroll specialist on board to manage it manually. However, now small businesses can choose a firm to handle their payroll.
Therefore, no matter your organisation size, it is best practice to know when and how to outsource payroll.
A simpler answer to when to start outsourcing your payroll would be – the minute your first employee starts working, and guess who your first employee is? You! Payroll management is incredibly tedious and difficult. There is a whole lot to it than ensuring everyone in the organisation gets their salary at a stipulated time. It also has so much to do with dealing with the government compliances, paying the taxes at different levels – federal, state, and local; and the early filing of important documents.
But right before you jump and act on a simpler answer to the question, it is necessary to understand why, and if outsourcing payroll is the right step to take for your business. So, let us have a look at the pros and cons of outsourcing payrolls.
Time-saving: Time is a resource that is invaluable for all business owners and their businesses. Twenty-four hours is usually not enough to get everything fixed in the running of a business. If there is ever a chance to outsource a task that can save time for other crucial and time-bound tasks, then why not go for it?
The hard truth is, no matter how many employees are in an organisation, payroll demands time and absolute attention to the details. Payroll invariably demands that you pay and keep track of payments made and remunerations, recruit payment and benefits, and federal, state, and local government regulation charges. All these things are not just time-consuming but stressful in itself. For small businesses with staff, the workload can be very exhausting.
For these reasons, outsourcing payroll activities seems to be the best option. It saves time, reduces workload, ensures no irregularities, and also eradicates the errors that may occur as a consequence of having multiple functions to handle.
Money-saving: Most people are not aware of how manually processing your payroll is more expensive than outsourcing it to a payroll service. If you do the math, you will see that the cost of calculating payroll at every instance, the distribution of payslip, maintaining the payroll software, and the cost of upgrade far exceeds the cost of outsourcing to a payroll provider and when you consider the fact that whoever is handling your payroll will not ask for benefits normally accrued to regular staff. It makes total sense that no other spending will be made as long as an external payroll provider handles it. In perspective, the cost of running the business is reduced.
Perfect for preparing payroll taxes and returns to government agencies: There have been instances where a wrong filing of tax remittance costs the business to receive fines from the authorities. There is nothing like handling tax documents by a professional. Mistakes are bound to happen if done by someone who is not skilled or has too many other tasks to handle.
According to Paychex (a payroll service firm), about 54% of business owners who manually carry out their payroll agree that accurate tax filing and payment is an important reason for outsourcing payroll to a payroll service provider. Because tax filing may be a quarterly exercise, it becomes important to outsource the payroll duties to a skilled and professional person or body.
Avoidance of payroll mistakes: According to the Internal Revenue Service in the United States, it quoted in 2016 that about 1.8 million tax returns were audited for businesses. They discovered that about 978,564 of those businesses were handed civil penalties. These civil penalties were given based on errors made in filing tax returns. Even if we assume the errors were discovered before the tax returns were filed, the countless hours of working and reprocessing employee paychecks can be exhausting.
Having a professional handle this task is of great importance. Civil penalties usually result in fines that could have been avoided if the duty of payroll processing were outsourced to competent personnel.
Not all packages offered by Payroll companies are needed: Some payroll companies that handle payroll duties include some features in their package and expect businesses to subscribe to it. These features increase payroll outsourcing costs and may not be beneficial for the business in the long run.
Not all payroll companies are great: Everyone is prone to making mistakes. Companies that handle payrolls are not excluded from making mistakes. Simple human error can occur when a particular payroll company does not fully understand the operational nitty-gritty of staff payment in an organisation. Undoing errors can be costly and thereby negate any advantage of outsourcing the payroll duties might have had.
Business owners are still responsible for all consequences: If a business owner decides to manage his payroll duties, any defaulting or wrong filing of tax will have the consequences fall back on the owner and his business. Correspondingly, suppose the payroll activities are outsourced, the consequences will still affect the owner and his business if anything goes wrong. However, the government is obligated to prosecute the payroll company if any issue arises, but it still does not mean that the business will not be affected.
Therefore, after going through the pros and cons of outsourcing payroll, the bulk of the decision lies in the business owner’s hands. After going through the pros and cons, if a company decides to outsource payroll, the perfect time should be immediate.
Now let’s take a look at how to outsource payroll.
Because Payroll management is very important, careful steps should be taken before outsourcing it to third-party management. Apart from that, your objectives and goals should be well stated before opting for a particular choice. This section of the article is aimed at guiding you on how to outsource your payroll.
Having a clear direction on how your business should be run is important for its success. Before taking the grand step of outsourcing your payroll, you should be clear on what you want to achieve and what you want the payroll provider to do. If they end up doing more, that’s a plus, but it should never be less than what you want to achieve by outsourcing the payroll. Once the objectives are clear, the next step is to be deliberate on obtaining the right information on the Payroll companies and providers available.
There is nothing like too much information. In this case, it is expedient that you are armed with enough information about the payroll provider and how their services align with your payroll objectives.
Your business’s size should also influence the choice of payroll provider you opt for because there are different payroll service providers. They have their systems tailored out to fit different clients. There are payroll providers that will suit small businesses and the ones that are geared towards managing the big enterprise businesses.
Whatever scale of business you run; you have a payroll provider that will be perfect for your company’s payroll objectives.
After doing extensive research on the different payroll providers, you should make a connection with the one you eventually settle with. Your payroll is an integral part of your business, and it should be handled with care.
Make inquiries, ask questions to find out if their plans align with your objectives. Another thing is to check for their client base reviews; if you decide to do business with them regularly, it’s best to be sure that they are the best partner for your firm. The comfort in knowing your company’s payroll is being managed by a trustworthy, reliable and efficient payroll service provider is priceless.