There are many moving parts to payroll. It can be very complicated, from collecting time cards to withholding tax. Consider payroll software to simplify your tasks and give you more time for other jobs. What are the key features of a payroll system? Below is a list of must-have features and benefits for your business.
Features that are essential for a payroll system
Finding the right payroll software for your company can be difficult, especially if it is your first time or if you aren’t familiar with other software platforms. Do you need help with the features that payroll management software should have? These seven features should be on your list.
1. Simple setup
You are aware of the value of time as a business owner. Why would you spend so much time setting up software? Look for payroll software that is easy to set up.
- A simplified payroll setup could be in the form:
- A simple-to-use startup wizard
- Setup a free payroll
- Capabilities for import
Look into the setup options offered by payroll software companies when researching them. Can they set up your payroll account? How easy is it to open an account with them? These questions can be asked, and customer reviews can be viewed to learn more about the setup process.
2. Tax filings and deposits that are accurate
Payroll tax filings and withholdings are one of the biggest headaches of payroll. You can streamline your payroll by looking for software that does all the filings and deposits (aka full-service payroll software).
Software that can handle calculations, collects, files and deposits payroll taxes for you is available.
- Collects, files, and remits federal, state, or local payroll taxes
- Do year-end W-2 or W-3 filings need to be made?
- Can guarantee accurate tax calculations, deposits, filings
- Are automatic tax updates possible?
You can check to find out what is included in the complete service package of the payroll company. They may not charge additional fees for filing year-end returns in some cases.
You can also choose essential payroll software to avoid going the full-service route. Compare features, costs, reports, and other aspects.
3. Direct Deposit
Direct Deposit is the new standard in workplace management. Many businesses no longer need cash or paper checks. Direct Deposit is a preferred method of payment for most employers. Check out your natural deposit options when you’re looking for software.
Many payroll companies offer direct deposit options. Here are some examples of natural deposit options:
- Timing options (e.g. 4-day)
- Additional fees
- Expedited direct deposit options (e.g., 2-day)
- Direct deposit limits
You should also check if there are any direct deposit options available. Ask each provider what their direct deposit fees and costs are.
4. Payroll reports
A robust, accurate and accessible payroll report is another feature you should add to your ultimate wishlist.
It’s not what you want to do. Instead of spending hours gathering information and putting together reports, look for software that can provide a wide range of words you can access in just a few clicks.
You should check to see if your payroll provider offers these reports:
- Payroll details
- Register for Payroll
- Check payment detail
- Payroll tax liabilities
- Forms W-2, W-3
- Form 940
- Form 941
- You should also ensure that you have access to reports if you use a full-service payroll company that handles filings and taxes.
- Collection of taxes
- Tax deposits
- Filing taxes
You can also break down reports by an employee. Find out if you can test the words before making any changes.
5. Integration options
There are many things you need to do in addition to managing payroll. Payroll software must seamlessly integrate with other software and platforms.
These are some of the things you might want to incorporate with:
- Software for accounting
- Software for time and attendance
- Software for HR
- Workers’ compensation
Ask every payroll company what platforms they integrate with and whether there are additional costs. You should also see what other software they offer besides payroll. This will allow you to keep all your software under one login and all your information in one place.
6. Self-service for employees
A portal for employee self-service is another feature that payroll software should have (bonus if free!). Employee self-service (ESS) allows employees to view pay slips and review their benefits.
Employees may be able to view their W-2s at the end of the year, track their time cards and print their payroll information (e.g. year-to-date).
When looking for software, find out if they offer portals, the costs, and their capabilities.
7. Top-notch support
Excellent support is essential when purchasing payroll management software, especially for those new to the industry.
Consider things like the hours of operation, the location of the support team, and how to contact them (email, phone, etc.) when looking into support. Find out if help is free or if you have to pay for it.
Review the customer’s experiences with the support staff to find out. Changing your mind may be a good idea if you find more negative than positive comments about the company’s customer support.
Call them to get an idea of their support level and ask questions about payroll software. You can see how easy it is to reach a representative and their expertise level.