How do I Choose the Best Online Payroll Service?

Rolando Braza
Rolando Braza
A payroll preparation service can print paychecks.
A payroll preparation service can print paychecks.

Online payroll service means payroll on-demand — anytime and anywhere for as long as you have access to the Internet. The best online payroll service provider should be able to process payroll and other related reports in the shortest possible time within your set schedule or better. Payroll and the reports should be error-free. It should also have the shortest time in making a turnaround to correct mistakes that cannot be avoided. Above all, the online payroll service must be user-friendly.

Beyond the basic considerations, the choice of online payroll service provider typically will be affected by the payroll management needs of your organization. Your organization may only want the payroll system to take care of basic services, such as paycheck computation and the taxes due from each employee, printing and check payout, and preparing management reports. Otherwise, your organization may want to choose to bundle additional services that are payroll-related including withholding tax payments and handling human resource information system concerns. You typically will need to carefully assess your payroll administration needs to find out the add-ons you need aside from the basic service offered by each provider. These add-on features can cost you more unless the provider offers them as part of a standard package.

The best online payroll service should generally have superior customer support. Customer service personnel might even need to be available after regular office hours to answer phoned-in concerns. These personnel typically will need to be able to promptly answer e-mail queries without necessitating follow-up because payroll issues are often urgent and need immediate attention. You may want to call the hotline of the provider that you are considering at different times of the day to check on the availability and responsiveness of the customer service staff.

Conducting a search for the best online payroll service provider could be a critical task and may take much of your time. You could, however, streamline the process of selection by relying on the experience of your peers in other organizations that are both inside and outside the industry where you work. There are also websites organized by human resource management practitioners that have blogs discussing their experiences with the online payroll service they have chosen. Some websites even compare and rate leading providers. A live demonstration using dummy or actual data can also be done to have an actual feel of the payroll service being offered.

Whichever provider you choose, you typically will need to make sure you read the fine prints of the contract and check on the price escalation clause and other terms and conditions of the service. Check the trade reference to validate the provider’s track record. Also, make sure that the provider has sufficient resources to promptly support the requirements of its present clients, including yours.

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    • A payroll preparation service can print paychecks.
      A payroll preparation service can print paychecks.