Your guide to finding the best payroll software for your small business

Payroll software can run your business and ensure that you and your employees get paid accurately and on time, but with the many different systems out there, it can be difficult to know which one you should choose. To help simplify the process, consider this guide to finding the best payroll software for small business. Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for some time, our experts have rounded up some of the top options on the market today so you can get an idea of what you should be looking for when making your choice.

Step 1. Identify the problems your company is facing

The first step in choosing a solution is knowing what problems you’re trying to solve. In an ideal world, you would solve every problem that comes up as it comes up. But since we don’t live in an ideal world, there will probably be times when issues crop up without warning and wreak havoc on your staff and bottom line. That’s why it’s important to figure out exactly what challenges your company is facing so you can target them and find a solution that works best for you.

Step 2. Examine your options

There are literally hundreds of payroll software out there, so make sure you do some research before narrowing down your choice. This is not a decision you want to take lightly! Check with your accountant or financial advisor to see what they recommend. You can also visit our list of recommended providers.

Once you’ve determined which provider is right for you, it’s time to set up an account and get started with payroll! Remember—your employees can now enjoy all their hard-earned income directly deposited into their bank accounts, regardless of where they live or work!  If your firm outsources its payroll services to an accounting professional, ask them how easy it would be for them to switch over to using another software package.

If outsourcing is part of your strategy but technology isn’t currently one of your top strengths (for example, if you find that most of your time is spent on strategic rather than tactical activities), then implementing employee paystubs might be something worth considering moving forward. Paystubs are simple documents that include information about how much has been paid out in salaries and wages as well as any taxes that have been withheld from each individual paycheck. When you receive these reports at regular intervals, taking care of personal finances becomes easier because people can see exactly how much money they will be receiving in any given period.

Step 3. Choose the right payroll software for you

It can be hard to know what you need when it comes to payroll, but knowing what you want in advance can help you avoid making a bad purchase. Small businesses that are just starting out don’t need all of the bells and whistles that come with an enterprise-level system. Luckily, most services offer starter plans, so you can try before buying—you don’t even have to sign up for anything more than 30 days if you don’t want too.

Be sure to research all of your options before signing any contracts. You should look at user reviews and feature lists side by side on unbiased websites like G2Crowd, SoftwareAdvice or Capterra, which vet new products regularly using expert-written reviews and thousands of users ratings. Once you find something that looks promising, take advantage of free trials or other offers to see if it fits your needs first-hand.

Step 4. Installation and set up

Before purchasing a payroll system, it is crucial that you understand what type of setup or installation you will need. An automated solution requires less time than a traditional system since everything is done through an online program. This will save you hours of training and headache. It can also be less expensive in some cases, especially if other members of your staff are already familiar with how to use other web-based systems at work or home.

If multiple people will be accessing these programs on different devices, check into compatibility issues beforehand so there are no surprises down the road. Software solutions vary widely, but they should generally meet all of your payroll needs. For example, you’ll want a program that includes onboarding (hiring) and offboarding (firing) functions, along with direct deposit and access to electronic tax filing.

If you’re using outsourcing firms or part-time employees, then cloud-based programs are ideal because they won’t require any downloads or updates on your part. And if you plan on expanding beyond 10 employees in the coming years, look for a solution that offers SaaS scalability. Whatever it is you need—whether it’s better employee management tools or smart reporting capabilities—there are plenty of options out there so take some time today to figure out what’s right for you.