If you are running your own company, you probably find it difficult to fit in all the administrative work between winning jobs, closing sales, and completing contracts. Big corporations have specialist departments and the heads of big companies have plenty of time to keep track of productivity because they have staff to take over the burden of administration tasks. A small business owner has to do it all himself, and sometimes the responsibilities can be overwhelming.
Payroll is a particularly important task. If you mess up on payroll, you could lose those key employees and ruin your business. Employing people is a big responsibility. Everyone depends on reliable employers to pay the right amount of wages and pay them on time.
If you are on the go all the time, web-based payroll solutions are your best option. Paper-based methods can be hard to track, and if you are new to running payroll, probably the biggest advantages of web-based payroll systems will be their structure, which will guide you through the task.
Take a look at our list of the advantages of web-based payrolls, and you will soon see these services are vital to supporting your business and your staff.
1. Ease of Use
Just about every small business owner uses the web. You might buy your supplies online or communicate with customers through email. Most small businesses have their own websites. If yours does, you have probably looked through every page of it through a Web browser. If you know how to use a browser and you have had to log in to any site, you already have the skills needed to use an online payroll service.
The advantages of online payroll services could be your’s very quickly, with very little training:
- You can sign up for a service online without having to go into an office or travel to meetings. You don’t have to mail any documents because you just upload them into the system.
- Uploading and downloading documents from online payroll systems is just like attaching a file to an email or getting a file off an incoming mail. So you even have the necessary file management skills already.
Companies that offer online payroll services work hard to ensure their sites are easy to use before they even post them to the web. You shouldn’t worry there might be parts of the work of online payroll you don’t understand. Look for a service that also has support staff you can contact, through messaging, email or phone calls.
Knowing you have someone you can ask for help will ease any concerns you might have about the complexity of using the web for your payroll tasks.
You’re an expert in your field of work, but when you started your own business, you were suddenly expected to know everything about tax, employment law, accounting and safety regulations all in one day. No one can know everything about all of the aspects of running a business. You have to rely on the expertise provided by business support services, otherwise your great business idea will be drowned by the complexities of administration.
If you have never run a business before, you probably won’t know where to look for a payroll expert. You could drive around town and go to various offices, picking up brochures and reading through price lists, but then you wouldn’t get any work done.
If you just read through the telephone book, looking for payroll services, how do you know the person on the other end of the phone knows what they doing? Can you trust them with your payroll data?
Online payroll services are used by thousands of businesses across the country, so you can be sure they know what they are doing. Look at the testimonials on the sites of these services to see what their customers say about them.
It is a lot easier to verify the expertise of online systems than services you might track down through advertisements. The web brings the best expertise in the country to your neighborhood, and because of their trading volume, you won’t have to pay top dollar to benefit from their experience.
If you have just taken on your first employee, you probably won’t know where to start with your payroll obligations. Many small businesses muddle through for years, getting the paperwork wrong and putting up with fines from the authorities and hostility from the workers.
There is no need to keep trying to work out your payroll yourself. Online payroll services will:
- Set you on a routine.
- Take care of all the various stages you have to go through to get your employees paid.
- File the necessary forms.
You will acquire correct working procedures automatically by signing up for an online payroll system. The various screens you have to work through on the website will impose a structure on your payroll tasks and help you establish a routine to iron out any bad practices you may have gotten into.
Every business process requires data input. However, big businesses have realized the input for one process is the output from another.
There are many business processes that actually have the same information requirements. Enterprise automation systems have been developed to centralize data and cut down the amount of time needed for data entry. Online payroll systems employ this philosophy to reduce the amount of time you have to spend entering information. You will see the system automatically populates all the forms and reports you need to present, by using the same data again and again.
The reuse of information that these systems employ save you time you can better spend working for your customers.
Removing duplicate information entry is one method by which online payroll systems reduce errors. The less typing you have to do, the less likely you are to enter something incorrectly. Data entry screens in automated systems have validation programs on each data entry field. Some information doesn’t need to be typed in because they are selected from a drop-down list or represented as check boxes.
The computing industry has a term, called “GIGO.” This stands for “garbage in, garbage out,” and it summarizes the philosophy that you stand a better chance of preventing errors by catching them at the point of entry into the system. Online payroll services ensure that entry screens validate your data before it is saved.
Gathering information and collating it into a meaningful format is a large part of getting your payroll work done. The next step requires you to calculate various percentages for:
- Manual calculations
These are prone to errors. A big advantage of web-based payroll services is that they are run on computers and they can do a much better job of calculating your payroll than you can trying to work with a calculator.
6. Compliance with Regulations
Federal and state legislation and regulations on payroll taxes change all the time. You may have bought a guide on how to fill in your payroll forms, but that guide may well have been already out of date by the time you left the bookstore.
The people who run online payroll services keep their ears to the ground about changing rules and update their websites accordingly. Sometimes even the forms you have to submit to the tax authorities can change, and those changes will appear on the payroll service website immediately.
Remember, payroll is a secondary function to you, but it is all these online services focus on. They make sure their service provides you with full legal compliance. If they didn’t, they could be sued by all their customers.
You might be thinking your situation is different.
It’s all well and good for people sitting in an office all day working on their computers, but when you have to chase after suppliers and get out to the work site, it isn’t always possible to get back to the office and sit at your desk.
Welcome to “the cloud.” Cloud-based services don’t require you to install software on your computer. All of the programs are held on the payroll service’s computer, and you can access them anytime, anywhere. You don’t even need your own computer to run your payroll, because you can do all the necessary work on your smartphone.
You don’t need to write down work hours on scraps of paper because you can enter that information directly into the payroll service’s website on your phone.
Don’t be tempted to use your phone while you drive, but if you use public transport or travel as a passenger, you can do all of your payroll work anywhere, such as:
- On your way to and from the work site
- On your way to a meeting with the customer
- During your child’s soccer practice
- While waiting for the coffee maker to start in the morning
Small businesses have many different configurations and follow very different working practices. However, the payroll cloud benefits all types of businesses and now enables highly mobile entrepreneurs to attend to all the tasks desk-based business owners perform.
8. Self-Service Capabilities
There are even more cloud-based payroll services advantages that can benefit your employees. Workers often stress their information may have been recorded incorrectly. If you are always preoccupied with getting the contract completed, you may not always have time to listen to your workers’ grievances about your absent-mindedness.
Self-service functions of cloud-based payroll services allow you to set up accounts to enable your employees to access their payroll information. They can:
- Submit timesheets directly to the system themselves, so you don’t have to.
- Check that you have entered all their information correctly.
- See how much they are going to get paid and when they will be paid.
- Download tax data so they can file their own tax returns or supply the required information for any tax audit.
Workers no longer have to pester you to check on the computer or print out reports for them, because they can do it themselves on cloud-based systems.
9. Time Saving
The self-service functions of online payroll services remove the need for you to spend time on entering employee data or fielding questions from workers about their payments. You don’t have to spend hours filling in forms or running off to the post office because all that work is done for you by the payroll service.
Methodical procedures, reuse of information, automation and computerized calculations all point to one big benefit — time saving. When you don’t have to hunt around for files or enter timesheets, you have a whole lot of time freed up to concentrate on winning new customers and making money.
The reporting functions of automated payroll systems are tools that are often overlooked. This is because you probably don’t realize how your business can benefit from analysis reports, because you have never had access to such information with a manual payroll system.
You could sit with a spreadsheet and copy in all your annual workforce expenses and then try to work out how to improve performance. However, most online payroll services produce these reports automatically. Some even give you graphs to illustrate your business’s employment trends.
Statutory reporting, tax forms and reconciliation reports are automatically produced by web-based payroll systems, and online versions can deliver those documents electronically. If you use a cloud-based payroll service, you have all the information you need wherever you are, if you suddenly get put on the spot by your accountant or the tax man.
It is easy to investigate online payroll services from your computer or smartphone. For example, take a look at the small business payroll services offered by BCM Payroll Services. If your business requires you to travel a lot, or if you usually work on client sites, you should definitely prioritize cloud-based payroll services.
Cost-cutting is the key to any business success, so you should pay particular attention to the features of each service and pick the best price available for the services your business needs. However, as a word of caution, be wary of free payroll services on the web.
Downloadable free payroll software and free online payroll systems sound like gifts. But bear in mind that the companies offering those solutions are not able to invest money in their systems. You won’t get secure connections, which jeopardize your data security, and out-of-date software will lead you to file inaccurate tax returns.
Getting a service that is backed by fully qualified, U.S.-based experts is vital to ensuring you fully comply with the latest laws. Reputable services are worth paying for if they offer guarantees. A cheap service with no customer support will be no use to you if you suddenly face criminal charges for unintended fraud caused by incorrect payroll tax filings.
Make a window in your busy schedule to have a look at an online payroll service. Once you subscribe to a payroll service, your business administration tasks will get easier, will be quicker to complete, and you’ll be able to fulfill your obligations to your employees.
Your workers deserve your support, and paying them the correct amount should be your top priority. Remember to choose a reputable, value-for-money online payroll system, such as BCM Payroll Services.