Before you go and look for the best payroll service for a small business, it is prudent to know what features to look for that will make the service truly responsive to the bookkeeping and accounting needs of the office. Each business venture is different therefore the accounting system needs are different as well. As you know very well, there are good products and bad products, so you have to understand what makes a payroll service great. You have to choose the right solution, so here are a few things to look out for.
As you search for the best payroll processing companies, you’ll notice that there are payroll services for small business that show their various package costs within their website. The traditional offer is a base monthly rate and additional fee per employee. The rate of the additional fees depends on the types of added services you require, so you have to be careful. Other payroll service providers are not transparent. Instead they want you to tell them what you need and they will send you a free quote.
One of the features that make having a payroll service for small business better is that you do not have to pay the payroll tax, which is guaranteed by the service provider. Check if this feature is offered. If you have to do the payroll uploading and submission, it’s a red flag telling you that in all probability, there is no guarantee on payroll taxes.
Immediate access to customer service
In the same way that you value customer service in your small business, you have to consider the provider’s customer service. The best payroll service for small business provides its customers with several easy ways to reach them, either by live chat within their website, by email or by phone, and in some cases, their sites on social media networks. It does not stop there. The customer service should be helpful and courteous and provide you with satisfactory answers or refer you to the right person to attend to your needs.
Conformity to industry requirements
Some industry sectors have very specific payroll requirements. If you are in one such industry, make sure to check that the extra steps required for payroll processing can be efficiently handled by the payroll service provider you’re favoring.
The required features from the best payroll processing companies vary, depending on the number of staff you have and the complexities of your payroll system. The basic services you need include computation of your employees’ pay, filing of tax forms and paying payroll taxes. If you require other services, be prepared for the extra fees that will be charged. Payroll processing companies charge for every extra feature you add outside of the basic services.
The payroll service, whether it is an online payroll service, a desktop application or a program that you can use with other mobile electronic gadgets, should be easy to understand and use. If there is going to be a steep learning curve, you might want to look for another provider.
These are some of the basic things you need to look out for when searching for the best payroll service companies. Now let’s take a look at some of the best payroll processing companies including the best online services and the best way to do bookkeeping for a small business.
What are the best payroll processing companies for small businesses?
Reviewers voted Intuit Payroll as the best online service for a small business’s payroll system. The service offers various payroll service plans that conform to your needs. The monthly fee is very affordable and the charge per employee is minimal. The Basic package offers an initial flat rate for the first six months, with a rate increase afterwards. An annual contract provides you with a lower effective monthly rate. The package allows you to print pay checks instantly for your W-2 staff, as well as direct deposit and live technical support but no tax services.
The Enhanced package has a higher fee for the first six month and the same fee per employee as the Basic package. Likewise the base fee will increase on the seventh month onwards and a lower effective cost when you sign up for an annual service. The Enhanced package includes the calculation of all state and federal payroll taxes plus the basic services. The customer is responsible for tax payments. It automatically fills up all the federal and selected state payroll tax forms, option to pay them electronically, print employees’ W-2 forms and receive tax reminders via email.
The full service package is still under $80 for the first six month plus a per employee fee. The base fee increases to less than $100 on the seventh month but the full service package does not offer a discount even if you sign up for an annual service. It handles payroll, all the local, state and federal tax forms and guarantees timely and correct tax payments. A company representative sets up the system for you and enter all information and employee data. The full service package also processes and prints the W-2 forms of all employees at the end of the year.
What makes Intuit the best payroll service for a small business is that it allows for unlimited payroll runs without any additional charge. Extra expense that you may incur is if you have employees working in out-of-state branches. The service charges a monthly fee for each state.
For an S Corp or Sole Proprietor, the best online service for a small business is Gusto. The online service prepares all payroll and payroll taxes for W-2 employees and 1099 staff. It allows direct deposit, provides detailed payroll records, the reporting of new hires and an autopilot tool. As of this writing, the base rate is $39 per month plus an additional $6 per employee. You are allowed to run as many payrolls every month. It takes care of all tax obligations (local, federal and state) and prepares and sends employees’ 1099 or W-2 forms at the end of the year without additional charges. Gusto has the capability to add personal notes on the pay slips of your employees, deduct contributions to charitable institutions from the pay checks if employees allowed it and even generates reminders for work anniversaries and employee birthdays for the officer in charge.
If you’re still a very small business with a maximum of 10 employees, the best way to do payroll is to subscribe to OnPay. Its monthly fee is very affordable and you can pay your employees by checks that are prepared automatically or by direct deposit. It allows unlimited payroll runs, which is great if your staff are on different pay cycles. It is a user-friendly online system that can also handle paid time off, for a flat monthly rate of $39.95 plus $1 per additional staff per month.
The robust online system also handles all small business tax responsibilities aside from payroll, for both W-2 and 1099 staff.
What are the best ways to do bookkeeping for small business?
Your timely payroll payments depend largely on how sound your company’s finances are. This in turn depends on how closely you manage your finances, which is where bookkeeping comes in. Bookkeeping is the core of all the accounting functions of a business, including payroll processing. This is the most important division any business owner should invest the time to create. A business owner can either set it up or opt to hire a bookkeeping service. For the best ways to do bookkeeping for small business, here are some tips.
- Keep a ledger of the current balance of your financial accounts – cash on hand, checking and ancillary accounts.
- Faithfully record all payments, including payee, date, category, check number and memo.
- Carefully record all money received by the business except investment funds and loans, which should be included in a separate ledger. Indicate all the details of the incoming money like what you have for payments.
- Have a separate record of all Accounts Payable (AP) and the schedule of payments.
- Keep another record for all your Accounts Receivables (AR), especially if you process client invoices and receive payments later. Be very careful that you do not input the amount when the check payment is received. You only include that when the check is cleared and money is already in your account.
- Another of the best ways to do bookkeeping for small business is to reconcile your bank statements and your ledgers to ensure that all transactions tally. It’s great if you have a bookkeeping software that can automate some of the processes to eliminate errors.
Payroll and bookkeeping services usually offer free trials for a maximum of one month. Many also offer free quotes, making it easier to compare service features and costs. Read reviews of payroll and bookkeeping services and find the one that best fit your needs. See also what the service provider offers as your company grows bigger.