6 Key Criteria Of Good Small Business Payroll Software

The efficiency of small companies often rests on the small business payroll software used. Here are six key attributes to look for when evaluating the usefulness of these programs.

#1: User-friendliness:

A good program takes into consideration users who may be trying a program of its kind for the first time. In fact avid users of accounting software still find programs that are easy to use great assets because their jobs are difficult as it is. The purpose of these tools is to help make it easier. So they must be user-friendly, whether they are being used by beginners or pros.

#2: Current Tax Tables and Tax Forms:

Most software has this information, but make sure you’re not buying a previous year’s edition that has outdated tax information. Since tax tables and tax forms may change several times a year, a good small business payroll software should also allow users to update payroll software easily and quickly.

#3: Good customer support:

Any company can offer an instruction manual or post a FAQ to their website. A software that comes backed with help from a live person is extremely useful. Assistance can be in the form of emails, online chats and via the telephones. Some providers will a charge for these added services but it is often worth it.

#4: Ease of paycheck printing:

As a small business owner chances are your time and resources are limited. Also, cost efficiency is a priority so taking time out to stand in bank lines or paying someone to do so is counterproductive. Does the accounting payroll program help you print the paychecks on blank check stock? Or you still need to purchase other check printing software or expensive pre-printed checks? If not, it is highly recommended that a different one be used since these are time and money saving tools that will be needed.

#5: Database back-up and restore features

Software without these features can cost you thousands of dollars if something happens to your computer or your data becomes corrupted. Back-up and restore features will allow you to get back to normal operations with a minimum of fuss. A good program should allow users backup and restore data easily.

#6: Printing tax forms and reports:

No company can successfully grow if an owner has no idea how well or badly it is doing. Company and staff performances are important to the survival of each business so a fast and accurate means of generating these when needed is important. Most small business will need to file forms 941, 940, W2 and W3. No package is complete without it.

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Tips for Streamlining Your Payroll

There aren’t many positions in a company that are as vital as a CEO. Payroll management, however, ranks up there. This position is crucial to your company in many ways and it is important to have this department running at optimal levels.

The perfect payroll management team will have years of experience in the areas of financial accounting, payroll, outsourcing partners, software support in accounting and preliminary work on financial statements. Other services available are things like balance sheet accounting, payroll accounting, personnel management control, business advice in payroll, creating business plans on a budget, audits, billing/invoicing, payments and cash management.

It takes a lot to get an efficient and effective payroll department going. There are some processes, however, that can often be simplified and improved to make the department more efficient. If you are looking for a few ways to streamline your payroll, take a look at these ideas:

1. Try to Update Payroll Records. Basic info is the key but it isn’t everything. Make sure you keep your systems updated to keep everything in order and tell your employees to come to you if there are any changes to their life that you should be aware of.

2. If you need Help, Get it. If there is a chance that you could be wrong about a deduction, find a specialist that will know the answer.

3. Accountants Know Payroll Systems. Banks and CPA’s love to crunch numbers and they love to manage payroll – it is what they do. You can always lighten your workload by using Peachtree or QuickBooks or any other accounting software.

4. Keep Your Deadlines in Mind. Corporations have the same deadlines every year. March 15th is when taxes are due and by Jan.31st, businesses should have all W2′s and any other documentation to their employees.

5. Payroll System Functions Should Be kept up with. Payroll is more that just handing out checks after counting up hours. You have to tally up lost hours, deal with garnishments, work out health care costs and deal with tons of other issues. A time clock can help with hour calculations and can reduce errors, so be sure you look into whether time and attendance software can be working toward your advantage.

6. Always keep a Separate Account for Your Payroll. Your payroll account should have its own account from all other business accounts.

7. If Your Company Grows, Your Payroll System Should Grow. Whether this means adding in additional workers, updating systems, or using new software, grow accordingly to accommodate the new challenge that a bigger business brings.

8. Know the Rules of the Game. This can be a very serious issue because it deals with local, state and federal agencies, but you also need to lead by example. Get your own time cards in on time, just as your employees are required to.

9. Fix Issues Fast. If the time clock breaks get someone in as soon as possible to fix it. Or if your systems crash start talking to payroll or your manager about what to do. Don’t leave problems until the last minute as they will often cause more issues down the line.

10. Hire Appropriately. It’s better to hire someone specifically for payroll than to try to master a system you aren’t comfortable with. This maximizes your time for something else while also ensuring payroll goes out on time.