It’s safe to say that payroll software has come a long way since the days of paper and manual calculations. Nowadays, small businesses can choose from various systems, each with its own unique sets of benefits and drawbacks depending on your business’s needs and preferred method of operation.
As you evaluate payroll software solutions, it’s important to keep an eye on the latest trends and innovations in the field. These are just five of the top payroll trends you should be watching out for when making your decision about which payroll system will work best for your company.
Payroll software has evolved far beyond its humble beginnings as a means of simply calculating and distributing paychecks. Today, many systems offer HR tools that you can use on an ongoing basis to keep tabs on employees’ information and performance, facilitate compliance with company policy and government regulations, manage annual leave requests, create employee manuals, provide training resources and handle other employee-related functions. In addition, some systems allow employees to access their personnel records electronically from home or even from their mobile devices. But if you want to go paperless with your processes – which not only reduces costs but is more convenient for employees – be sure that a system offers a high level of functionality before you buy it. This will allow you greater flexibility as your needs change over time.
The ability to customize your time tracking is critical. Employees often have different needs, so if you can’t tailor the software to their specific needs, they may be distracted by it or dislike using it. Make sure that employees can add, remove or reorder screens and reports based on their preferences. If you have a lot of customers who work with independent contractors, you might want these employees’ information—including hours worked and invoices paid—immediately visible when they log in. Consider creating multiple dashboards that each employee can toggle between depending on which department he or she works in.
Online payroll platform
When it comes to selecting payroll software, small businesses have plenty of options. While there are standalone programs you can purchase, companies like UZIO offer all-in-one solutions that combine services like tax preparation with what’s traditionally considered payroll features.
Most of these companies also work directly with service providers who can set up online portals where employees can view their pay stubs, make deductions, review their taxes and manage W-4 information—all without involving you or anyone else from HR. This way, not only does your company save money on labor costs by using an external provider, but no one has to manually input or calculate anything anymore.
Today’s more advanced payroll systems are also putting more tools at your disposal. They offer customer support on-demand, sometimes via live chat or video conferencing. Online portals let you access resources, request assistance, and get help with issues when you need it. Asking questions of a real person can make all the difference in whether you get something right. The support staff will be able to explain how everything works without having all day at their disposal—and they may even be able to resolve minor issues before they become bigger problems down the road.
The future is always uncertain, so it’s important that any new payroll software you select allows you to be nimble. Some cloud-based solutions allow you to change plans or upgrade systems without having to learn complex new procedures. Even if you’re moving from one provider’s platform to another, look for software that offers an easy path forward. Make sure your payroll solution can grow with your company, even when times are tough.