Payroll software can be a powerful tool for smaller businesses. Automating and centralizing the payroll process saves them time - and money.
The proliferation of cloud-based HR software has been a huge boot for smaller companies, new research suggests. Many businesses with as few as 50 employees are embracing tools once available only to Fortune 500 employers.
That's one of the points highlighted by the 19th annual Sierra-Cedar HR Systems Survey, released this week at the HR Technology Conference & Exposition® in Chicago.
According to one source, companies no longer need their own data centers to run specialized software. Lower capital costs and the scalability of cloud-based software gives smaller companies access to "more sophisticated technology," says Stacey Harris, vice president of research and analytics at Sierra-Cedar.
Technology as a Differentiator
The survey concluded that HR technology has become a "major differentiator" for smaller firms that outperform their competition. Those that have adopted HR technology beyond that of their competitors were shown to have reported double the revenue per employee, the survey found.
Adoption of cloud-based HR tech is increasing rapidly among small companies partly, perhaps, because they have not made the same investments in, and are locked in to, older technology as larger firms often are.
The survey found, for example, that 57 percent of firms with fewer than 2,500 employees have a cloud based HR management system, compared to 39 percent of those with 10,000 or more.
Cloud-based technology is gaining favor. 2016 marked the first year where more than half of organizations surveyed are running their payroll software in the cloud, which is up significantly from 2015. One reason may be due to a larger number of small companies included in this year's survey, the report notes.
Digital Transformation and the Cloud
According to a recent article in Computerworld.com, all businesses are being “disrupted” by digital transformation:
The pervasive use of the cloud for computer-based applications has revolutionized the payroll software industry, as well.
It’s easy to spot the big enterprises that are being transformed by technology (who uses a travel agent these days?), but SMBs are wise to consider how their industries may soon be disrupted as well. Who would have predicted 20 years ago that a local restaurant chain could become reliant on services like OpenTable to manage reservations?
And if that chain fails to utilize social media outlets like Yelp and Facebook, it will quickly suffer the consequences in lost business. For a family establishment that just aims to stay afloat, one social-media-savvy server (or an intern) could keep abreast of such tasks. But a growing business needs to approach these opportunities more seriously, perhaps employing a professional social media manager or even a team.
Likewise, a landscaping company may find that a site like Angie’s List crucial for bringing in new business. On the back end they may deploy a cloud-based CRM tool to maintain the client database, GPS tracking to monitor employees and vehicles, and scheduling and payroll software to keep everyone accountable.
When it comes to using payroll software for small business firms, people will debate over using the programs in-house compared to outsourcing the entire process to a third party. According to statistics, most small businesses spend 1–5 hours a month on payroll if done internally while the majority of small businesses who outsource the task spend anywhere from $100–1000 per month on it.
With that being said, there are good reasons to prefer an in-house process for payroll programs:
Instant access. When payroll systems for small businesses are kept within the business itself, data is accessible within a second. Had you made the decision to outsource payroll, you would have a time delay of 1–2 days in order to get the answer you are looking for.
Saves money. Many of the solutions out there are available for a small cost, and there’s even free payroll software for small business owners that are strapped for cash. Plus, if you are dealing with a small number of employees (5 of fewer), you might not really need that much in the way of features that some payroll software programs include.
Security concerns. Many small business owners simply do not feel comfortable handing over sensitive information to a third party, no matter how trustworthy it is. They would rather use online payroll software that they know is completely in their control. The data is for their eyes and nobody else’s.
Payroll is the most complex element of any accounting system. It's also the riskiest.
Companies have to produce checks and direct deposits that are 100 percent accurate, verify that the underlying calculations such as taxes and benefits and other withholding also correct, and submit taxes and filings to the IRS and other taxing agencies on time.
Failure to do so causes businesses to risk fines and other penalties.
Cloud-based payroll applications, however, can help ensure that all of these obligations are met with precision and timeliness.
Tips for Helping you Choose the Best Online Payroll Solution for your Company:
- Only pay for the services you need: Don’t choose a payroll solution that only provides bundled services. Make sure that they also provide “a la carte” services so that you are not forced to pay for services you don’t need.
- Choose a “one-stop shop”: If you do need a variety of services, it’s much easier to choose one vendor or provider than dealing with a different one for each service needed. Having a "one-stop shop" means that one call can provide answers to all your payroll and benefits questions.
- Dedicated support team: Having a dedicated person handling your account will give you peace of mind. You will have a reliable resource to go to for answers and problems who will know the nuances of your business.
Save Time, Save Money, and Lower Your Stress
And while investing in the best available paperless payroll software for your payroll processes is a viable option, another direction you might consider is outsourcing. This can be simply outsourcing one process such as payroll. However, with a full-service provider such as Accuchex, you have additional options for outsourcing as well.
Let Accuchex help you in managing your HR needs, payroll processes, and staying on top of compliance demands. Get your Free Download: Payroll Outsourcing Guide to help you make an informed decision or call Accuchex Payroll Management Services at 877-422-2824.
Choosing the right payroll solution provider for an online payroll service will save you time and money. It will benefit your employees and reduce their impact on the environment. And that is truly a "green" payroll solution.