The practice of calculating payroll by hand and manually cutting checks is on the decline among small and mid-size companies, thanks to the advent of Web-based platforms that can help streamline otherwise labor-intensive tasks. Today, more and more small businesses are looking for outsourced service providers who can take over payroll administration and free up internal resources to focus on core functions. Most payroll service providers tout the same benefits of their online platform, but there is more to payroll administration than a user-friendly Web portal. Finding the right fit for your business takes a little legwork and savvy interviewing skills. Here are five questions to ask prospective vendors to pick the best match for your company’s needs:
1. What Happens After I Buy?
Once you sign up with an outsourced vendor, you want to make sure that your in-house administrators receive the necessary training to manage employee data and generate reports through your user dashboard. Too many service providers simply provide login information and leave clients to fend for themselves in figuring out the new system rather than offer ongoing support. Make sure you understand the support you will receive. What is their availability? What is the level of expertise for the support given?
2. What Qualifies the Provider as a Payroll Expert?
The rapid growth of Web-based technology has given rise to start-ups in the payroll and employee benefits industry. Although these newcomers say they can optimize efficiency with their streamlined, user-friendly online platforms, their experience and expertise is in technology rather than in payroll processing. Ask probing questions to dig beneath the surface of the sales pitch. Will they be able to deliver personalized service and critical compliance support? Do they provide the same kinds of educational tools that are offered by well-established payroll providers?
3. How Do You Protect My Employees’ Sensitive Information?
Your payroll database includes your employees’ most sensitive data, such as bank accounts and social security numbers. It’s imperative to select a service provider that employs rigorous data security measures, such as encrypting data during transmission and two-factor authentication to ensure that user logins and passwords are kept safe from hackers. Ask for a detailed breakdown of the vendor’s cybersecurity measures, and research best practices online to know whether they are upholding high standards to protect your data.
4. How Do You Ensure My Business Maintains Compliance?
A reputable, full-service vendor should be able to file accuracy-guaranteed payroll taxes and assume the financial liability for any fines or penalties in the event of a missed deadline or filing error. In addition, the payroll provider should have in-house compliance experts, who stay on top of legislative changes and are available to answer questions or offer recommendations to ensure the business meets all regulatory requirements. Make sure you understand who is accountable for inaccuracies, so you don’t end up eating the penalties if your payroll provider makes a mistake.
5. Why Should I Choose Your Company?
When it comes to payroll solutions, one size does not fit all. Some outsourced vendors may be able to handle your basic payroll administration needs, but will the company be able to offer additional services as your business grows? For example, if you open a second office in another state, you will need to ensure that the provider is knowledgeable about the income and unemployment tax regulations for that area. Now is the time to ask those forward-looking questions. What other services do they offer? How often will they review your account to provide proactive recommendations? You want to find a vendor that not only can pay your employees and file your taxes on schedule, but also can customize its services to meet your changing needs over time.
By knowing how to properly vet a service provider, you can guard against getting locked into an agreement that is the wrong fit for your business, and find a solution that will put your company on the fast-track to success. BenefitMall has the experience and expertise in payroll processing, HR and employee benefits administration to help your business grow, both today and for years to come.
To learn more about how BenefitMall can help your small business, feel free to give us a call at 844-499-2600.