How do I Choose the Best Online Payroll Software?

A.F. Heath

Choosing the best online payroll software can be a crucial financial decision for any size business. When evaluating a software for your business — large or small — you may want to consider such areas as level of difficulty of the software, payroll functions supported by the software, and software compatibility. Other considerations may include usage fees, customer service, data security and backup.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

Before choosing the best online payroll software, you might first consider the level of difficulty of the software. An easy software interface can minimize the learning curves, which may help to streamline your payroll process and make completing payroll much easier. The interface should also be somewhat intuitive and clear as to what the capabilities of the software are and how to use them. Good online payroll software should offer the basic payroll functions, such as calculating employees earnings, deducting the appropriate withholdings and reporting end-of-year forms for tax season. The software should also support more advanced functions for both small and large businesses with more complex needs. Having a wide range of payroll capabilities in the software can allow your company to grow with the software over time.

Another point to consider when choosing the online payroll software is whether the online system can accept data from any existing accounting software you may have. Online payroll companies commonly offer data importing and exporting features that are built-in to the software. This generally makes it easier and much more efficient to upload your existing accounting data to the online software. If the software system is not compatible, then you might have to input data from scratch, which can be time consuming and quite frustrating.

Usage fees for initial setup and additional fees related to the number of employees in your company may also be an important consideration. Typically, companies will charge a setup fee to open an account for your business online. This setup fee is often in addition to the monthly fees to be paid. Some online payroll companies commonly charge for the number of employees and account payable to be processed. So, a business with more employees and more accounts will typically pay more than a smaller business. Also, some companies might charge extra fees depending on the types of payroll services used such as reporting features.

When it comes to customer service, it should always be quick and responsive. Take into account the kind of customer service offered by the company. Some companies generally will use live chat features or e-mailing to receive your questions or problems in addition to telephone support during business hours. Depending on the needs of your business and the frequency of completing your payroll, you may prefer a company that has phone operators during business hours as well as live chat and e-mailing capabilities.

The way an online payroll company protects its customer data is another important consideration. When storing payroll data on the Internet, there is always the risk of someone hacking into the online website and stealing that information. Find out what measures the online payroll company takes to protect the data and to prevent hacking. In addition to preventing data security breaches, good online payroll software should permit you to backup your online data frequently in case you need to recover it later.

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