Payroll Services Buyer's Guide - part 2

In this guide

How to find the best payroll service for you

Naturally, the choice of the best payroll service will be based on your particular situation, budget, and needs. Shopping for a payroll service online is a great way to research and compare several payroll services to make sure you find what that will work for you based on your desired features as described above. Once you have a good sense of what specific features and functions you want, you will just need to find some or all of the payroll services that match your needs and begin comparing them by other factors:

Cost - payroll services generally have a base payroll-processing fee (base and per ee charges) and assess additional fees for "extra" services such as direct deposits, new hire reporting, special reports, Employee Self Service, on-line access, quarterly tax reporting, delivery, and W-2s. These fees are either collected as each payroll is processed or at the end of each month.

Payment methods - virtually all service providers collect fees electronically via ACH transfers from your payroll account or any other account of your choice. You have the option of having different accounts for different transfers (fees, taxes, direct deposits, and live checks).

Guarantees - most payroll services will guarantee the accuracy and timeliness of the work they perform (after all, this is what you're paying them for). You might want to find out the details of the guarantee, such as who pays for any penalties and/or late fees should they be levied against your company.

Expertise - this can be difficult to quantify, but can be an important component of any payroll service. For example, if you are a Fortune 500 company looking to outsource your payroll function, you probably want to be sure that the payroll service you work with has experience in that sort of scale.

As you visit and compare payroll services online, pay attention to what part of their service they promote. For example, do they stress their low prices or the quality of their service? The overriding message that they convey through their web sites gives an insight as to how they view themselves and is often an indicator of what type and level of service to expect.

To go a step further in finding the right payroll service for you, it might pay to ask your industry colleagues and peers if they have had any experience- either good or bad- with specific payroll services. Try to find payroll service reviews to find out what other users think about a particular payroll service. In addition, you should find out if any of the payroll services has earned the endorsement or certification of any legitimate, third party entity. Finally, you may consider brand name as a criteria. Generally, the best-known and most successful businesses are those that do a good job, earn repeat business, and earn a good reputation over time.

In conclusion, we hope you have found the information we have put together for you useful. We recognize that this guide was in no way exhaustive, and that there is much more to payroll services than what is included here. We suggest that you use the information in this guide as a starting point in your search for the right payroll service for you.