Choosing a payroll company is similar to most other outsourcing decisions: trust, competence, and reputation will be key factors in your decision. Beyond these basics, here are a few specific things you should look for in a payroll company:
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- Scope: Businesses that have employees or offices across several different states should look at national providers. Bigger companies like ADP, PayChex, and Paycycle have experience serving growing and multi-state businesses.
- Accuracy: Look for a company that offers to pay any penalties or fees that result from calculation errors or late filings. Ask specifically what the requirements are in order to get the fee paid -- remember, your business is still responsible for taxes and other payments, even if the mistake isn't your fault.
- Online Access and User Interface: The way you transmit payroll information can make all the difference in your experience. Have a sales rep take you through a sample transmission, browse around using the provider software program, and even ask for a free trial. The easier the program is to use, the better.
- Customer Service: Will the company provide a representative dedicated to your business, or will you need to call a helpdesk representative you don't know if you have questions? Customer service can be a deal breaker when it comes to payroll services, because figuring out problems on your own can take up too much of your valuable time.
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Businesses in certain industries -- restaurants, for example, where employee wage amounts are very specifically regulated from state to state -- those that are required to offer certain employee benefits, or those without the time or knowledge to process payroll themselves can all benefit tremendously from using a payroll service. Payroll firms vary in terms of cost, service offerings, and the scope of businesses they serve, but if you do your homework, using such a service can be a real help to your business.
Resource Nation provides how-to purchasing guides, tips for selecting business service providers, and a free quote-comparison service that allows business owners to compare price and service offerings in over 100 categories from credit card processing to payroll services.
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