Discover payroll software, services and more
Payroll is an important part of any business, but it is also one of the most complex operations. By definition, payroll is the tally of all compensations given out by a company—this includes salaries, wages, deductions and bonuses for every employee. It's critical that payroll tallies be accurate at all times, both from an employee perspective and a business perspective.
For employees, the need to have an established pay period and to rely on a regular and timely paycheck is essential. For businesses, accurate payroll is equally important, as payroll numbers are used to calculate net income year over year.
Choosing a Payroll Method
Companies handle payroll in different ways, depending on their size, their pay structure and their preferences. The following are common options for payroll transactions:
- Internal payroll. Some companies believe payroll jobs are best kept in-house, and typically have a payroll professional on staff in the finance or human resources department.
- Payroll services. If a company doesn't feel they have a qualified payroll professional in house (or don't feel that they need one), they may choose to outsource the task to a company that specializes in it.
- Online payroll. Online payroll is another form of payroll service, and it collects information securely over the Internet. The service will then generate paychecks and reports from this information and store them at a central location where the client can access it.
Tips for Internal Payroll
If you've chosen to keep your payroll in-house, make sure you have someone trained and knowledgeable who can handle the process. Some tips for getting started with in-house payroll include:
- Choose a frequency. Employees expect their checks on time, so once you choose your payroll frequency (weekly, bi-weekly, etc.) you've got to stick to it.
- Issue a pay stub. Pay stubs provide employees with a detailed account of their wages and various deductions. While many companies still choose to print their pay stubs, others are switching to electronic copies to save money and paper.
- Invest in payroll software. There are free payroll software programs around, but it may be best to invest in a program with more features. Look for software that has good reporting and customization tools that will allow you to adapt it to your business.
- When in doubt, ask. Many businesses have complicated payroll structures (for example, restaurants and bars, both of which have to deal with tips), so it can be difficult to handle the task on their own. Hiring a payroll consultant may be the way to go, so he or she can train a staff member on proper payroll for your company's individual needs.