At times, it may seem like all payroll companies are basically the same: they process payroll. This is why it can be confusing, even overwhelming, to determine which software provider to go with. If you’ve decided it’s time to modernize your back-office and get software to efficiently run and manage your business’ payroll, you may be concerned about the choosing the right payroll system for your business.

Keep in mind that running payroll is more than simply writing cheques. You have to stay up to date with the latest laws and regulations and meet approaching deadlines, not just to pay your employees but to submit payroll tax reporting and remittances to all applicable government agencies. There are a number of factors to consider when looking for the right payroll software for your business. To weed through the myriad payroll services and software out there, you will have to know what to look for to help ensure you find the best solution for your specific needs.

Here are three factors to help you make the right decision.

1. Features

Every business is unique. As your business is different from other businesses, the right payroll software must have the right features to meet the specific needs and preferences of your company. Note that the features you need for your payroll solution will also depend on the skills and available time of the person delegated to manage your payroll.

For example, if you have few skills or little time to devote to payroll, you would do well to consider handing over your payroll to a payroll service bureau or using a payroll company that offers all-inclusive managed payroll service. On the other hand, if you have more time, you may be able to perform some tasks on your own, like handling government remittances – but keep in mind, missing a tax filing deadline or remitting incorrect amounts can result in hefty fines and penalties, which could easily be worth the additional cost of letting the experts take care of this part of the process!

Whether you keep all or just some of the duties in-house, there are a few features you should keep in mind when choosing payroll software for your business:

  • Ability to handle multiple process groups with varying pay periods
  • An automated interface or easy import process to bring in time and labour data so the payroll system can accurately convert hours worked to hours paid
  • Off-cycle payroll processing for bonus or other ‘one-off’ payments
  • Optional tax filing and remittances functionality and services

2. Ease of Use

It is vital that the software you choose for your business is user-friendly. Given the primary purpose of such software is to make your life easier, make sure the application is easy to use and understand. This should include getting started, adequate training programs, and available references such as how-to guides or tutorials.

It is worth noting that payroll can be complicated and typically requires some background knowledge to stay compliant. This is why it’s so important to make sure you’re confident that you can learn how to use the payroll software before you decide to invest in it. Also, be sure to inquire in advance whether the system has the functionality to communicate with any of your other critical third-party applications, like being able to generate exports for your GL or Finance solution.

3. Customer Support

When purchasing payroll software for your business, you should also consider customer service. If you have any queries or questions, your provider’s customer support team should be there for you. Keep in mind that a payroll system that provides strong and reliable support will help you feel more comfortable and at ease running your own payroll.

Note that some payroll systems offer telephone support, online support, or both. And depending on your needs and preference, it would be wise to factor the type of support you will get into your payroll software comparison.