Online payroll is exceptionally popular with small and medium businesses. Today, I’m going to list 10 of the coolest features of online payroll and show you why those features can help your business save time and money every day.
1) Access payroll wherever you have internet
Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean that you can’t run payroll! If you’re a small business owner, then taking a break from work can be hard. Thanks to today’s payroll services, it’s easy to access payroll wherever you go. With mobile apps available for Android and iOS, you can enjoy full-featured payroll services anywhere you go.
Of course, payroll apps vary widely in terms of quality. Some apps only let employees via their recent paystubs, for example. Other apps let administrative users have full access over payroll – which makes it easy to run payroll wherever you go.
Thanks to the power of cloud computing, all payroll data is synced across all devices. If you change things on your desktop computer, those changes will carry over to your mobile device, tablet, home computer, and wherever else you login to your online payroll service.
2) File auto-completed tax forms electronically
The IRS makes it easy to file your taxes electronically. But online payroll services make it even easier. Online payroll services will remind you when forms are due and then print off those forms for you to complete.
Many online payroll services will even complete those forms for you using the employee information you’ve provided. In that case, all you need to do is review the forms and click ‘Submit’ to file your taxes electronically. That means less time worrying about tax season and more time running your business.
The penalties for late IRS forms can be steep. Thanks to your payroll service’s notifications, you may never miss an IRS form deadline again.
3) Way cheaper than alternative options
Online payroll comes with a bunch of powerful advantages. But you don’t have to pay more for these advantages. In fact, you can save quite a bit of money with online payroll. Online payroll starts as low as $10 per month and ranges upward to $200 per month or more. You’ll need to pay an extra monthly fee for each employee (typically around $2 per month per employee), but other than that, there are few added costs associated with online payroll.
Consider the costs of an accountant or an accounting department. Or, consider the costs of a single employee dedicated to managing payroll. In either case, you’re going to pay thousands of dollars every year. With online payroll, you pay a fraction of that cost while enjoying more convenient service.
4) Enhanced security and encryption
Online payroll programs always use firewalls and strong encryption standards. These two traits protect your data from being hacked, intercepted, or stolen. No security standard is perfect, but online payroll security is the best you’ll find when it comes to payroll systems.
Typical payroll security includes OpenSSL encryption with 128-bit or 256-bit protection. Additionally, some payroll services offer two-factor authentication, which makes the login process significantly more secure.
Firewalls, encryption, and enhanced login protection are required in today’s business world. You can’t risk having employee data or customer data leak. Online payroll makes that protection easy.
Whether you’re accessing your payroll account in Starbucks or on your office network, you can enjoy the highest levels of security.
5) Constant backups
If you use free payroll software on your desktop computer, then you probably don’t back up your data as often as you should. Let’s face it: backing up data is a bit of a pain.
That’s why I appreciate the constant backups offered by today’s online payroll providers. Most online payroll providers regularly back up your data. You don’t have to do anything to back up your data: the backup process starts from the moment you sign up.
If something goes horribly wrong – say, if you delete an employee or remove your business’s entire payroll history – you can easily restore that data. Whether your online payroll service uses the cloud or online servers, total data loss is extremely unlikely.
6) Tax accuracy guarantees
Some of today’s top payroll systems offer tax accuracy guarantees. These guarantees ensure that you will never be assessed a tax penalty while subscribed to the service. This is a huge advantage that ensures complete accuracy with every form you submit to the IRS.
Intuit Online Payroll, for example, guarantees accurate tax returns for all users on the ‘Full Service’ plan – which is the plan where Intuit runs payroll and manages payroll taxes on your behalf.
Intuit doesn’t offer this same guarantee on its two lower-level plans, but there’s a good reason for that. Intuit would be able to offer this guarantee on all plans if human error wasn’t involved. Even if Intuit’s payroll tax calculations are 100% correct, you will receive a tax penalty if you mess up.
In other words, Intuit’s payroll tax calculations are 100% accurate. If you receive a tax penalty, it’s your fault – not Intuit’s.
All things considered, the tax accuracy guarantee is a nice bonus. It provides peace of mind to business owners and protects you from all payroll tax penalties. Messing up payroll tax automatically results in a 5% to 10% penalty against your business. However, you may also be eligible for a further 100% tax penalty which needs to be paid by both the employer and the employee.
Choosing a payroll solution helps you easily avoid all of these penalties.
7) Easy interfaces and shallow learning curves
Most online payroll service providers offer an excellent user interface. The UI is polished, easy-to-use, and features a small learning curve. After just two or three payroll periods, running payroll should be remarkably easy.
You can run payroll yourself or teach an employee to run payroll for your company. The easy UI frees up time for your business and frees you from the clunky payroll systems of ages past.
Of course, not all payroll service providers are made equal: some – particularly Paychex – offer a difficult user interface with a steep learning curve. Read payroll reviews before you choose a provider for your business.
8) Minimal setup process required
If you hire an accountant, you may need to spend days teaching that accountant about your unique systems and processes. With online payroll software, there’s no setup process required: in fact, you don’t even need to download software.
All payroll processing takes place over the internet. After creating your account, you simply add employees, enter hours every payroll period, and run payroll. It’s that easy. You don’t need any special equipment in your office, nor do you need to spend a lot of time familiarizing yourself with the software.
Better yet, most payroll service providers don’t charge activation fees.
9) You can print off your own paychecks
Some payroll services let you print off your own paychecks. Intuit, for example, offers a special paper stock that lets you print off employee paychecks in-office using your standard printer. Some other payroll systems also offer this service, although most encourage you to use direct deposit.
In some cases, a third option is available: you can receive printed paychecks through the mail. This service typically costs extra, which is why many businesses stick with direct deposit.
Whether you want to use direct deposit or you want to print off your own checks in-office, online payroll software offers multiple ways to pay your employees.
No matter which method you choose, your employees will continue to receive paystubs as they normally would. In fact, some payroll providers let employees view paystubs over mobile apps – which simplifies the payroll process even further and can reduce paper consumption in your office.
10) Easily customize employee paychecks
One of the reasons people continue to use traditional payroll methods is the ease of customizing employee paychecks. Sometimes, companies have employees with different salary conditions, wage garnishments, or overtime rates, for example. In other cases, businesses have setup stock purchasing plans or 401(k) deals with employees.
Don’t let these things discourage you from subscribing to online payroll! In fact, online payroll makes customizing paychecks easier. After entering employee hour data, you can customize each paycheck in a number of different ways.
First, the payroll software will deduct all state and federal taxes. Next, the payroll software lets you input voluntary deductions. Potential voluntary deductions include 401(k) plans, stock purchasing agreements, or garnishments.
If you’ve avoided online payroll software because you have unique paycheck needs, then you should stop worrying: payroll services cater to all different types of businesses and industries and can easily be adjusted to meet your unique needs. That’s just one of many cool features of online payroll.
Online payroll services offer more than just 10 cool features. There are plenty of advantages to online payroll systems and we’ve only mentioned a few of them here. Other popular advantages include 24/7 tech support and tax advice as well as the ability for employees to report their own hours. These features – and more – make online payroll the most popular choice for today’s small and medium businesses.