For businesses both large and small, sophisticated or fly-by-night, there is one universal task that must be completed on a periodic basis no matter what: payroll. And while it is a time-consuming, tedious task requiring reams of documentation and accurate record-keeping, it can't be avoided. No business can survive without paying employees for their work.
For many small businesses, the amount of work that must be performed just to produce a payroll check for employees each week is too much to take on alone. In these situations, employers will hire a payroll processing service that specializes in the task. These services can not only process your payroll efficiently, but many can also handle the requisite record-keeping and filing of payroll tax returns and documents.
This article lists five often-overlooked payroll services that specialize in servicing small business enterprises. All the services can scale from one employee to thousands, depending on your organization's needs. The pricing can vary considerably, but that should not be your only concern when choosing between them.
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This list does not include the three most prominent payroll processing services—Intuit, ADP, and Paychex. Also, the services are not ranked but listed in alphabetical order.
The Gusto payroll service caters to small businesses who often need to complete payroll processing using mobile devices while away from the office. The base price for payroll processing and tax filing is $39/month + $6/month per employee, which is about average. Other options, like retirement benefit management, are available for an additional cost. Prospective customers can try Gusto for free for one month.
Boasting the simplicity of its interface, OnPay also caters to small businesses with a potentially mobile workforce. The base price for payroll processing and tax filing is $36/month + $4/month per employee, slightly less than Gusto. OnPay also offers additional options, such as retirement benefit management, and you can try the application for free for one month.
3. Patriot Software
The Patriot Software payroll service emphasizes ease of set up and will deploy experts to help you transition from another service. The base price is a reasonable $30/month + $4/month per employee. Patriot Software also offers an employee web portal, so your workers can view previous paychecks and download year-end tax documents. This service offers a free 30-day trial.
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The Paycor service offers a larger array of potential financial services, including integrated bookkeeping bundles and recruiting services. Paycor also emphasizes its support staff and the speed of its application for payroll processing. The one thing the service fails to mention is price. You'll have to ask Paycor for a quote to find out much its service costs.
Sage offers a larger array of potential services, with accounting and financial integration a featured component. The service suggests businesses can pick and choose what services to deploy and pay for, but does not list any dollar amounts. Once again, you will have to contact Sage for a quote to find out how much the service costs.
Choosing a service
There are dozens of features to consider when comparing one payroll service to another and deciding which service is right for your business will require significant research and more than a little time. To help you in that effort, TechRepublic's premium sister site, Tech Pro Research, offers a guide to choosing a payroll service for your business, which lists the crucial features that should drive your decision making. It also offers a comparison tool to help you evaluate the pros and cons of potential services and document your decision-making process.
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What payroll service does your organization use? What do you like/dislike about it? Share your thoughts and opinions with your peers at TechRepublic in the discussion thread below.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.