Man writing a payment cheque at the table with calculator and glasses

Paying your employees on time can be a headache for small business owners looking to do the task themselves. It sounds simple, but when you factor in taxes, fees, and other regulations, it quickly becomes one of the biggest minefields associated with running a business. Fortunately, by following the tips below, you should be able to streamline your payroll processes with minimal effort on your end.

Direct Deposit

As the name implies, direct deposit is a system which enables you to send employee payments directly to their bank accounts without having to worry about costly paper checks or errors in your books. Most banks and online accounting programs support direct deposit out of the box. In many cases it’s included as part of the service packages or it’s offered for a nominal fee.

Easy to Use Payroll Software

Many business owners make the mistake of assuming payroll software is costly and difficult to use. While many tools have a subscription fee, many payroll software options pay for themselves by enabling professionals like yourself to focus on running your company. Additionally, when you have hourly workers or need to track paid-time off, payroll software enables you to automate scheduling, accurately check employee time, and have all essential information viewable within a central dashboard.

Outsource Your Payroll

Payroll is a fairly complex topic which is constantly evolving and difficult for many to understand.  Some of the reasons employers choose to process payroll themselves is because they feel it’s more cost effective, a way to protect against wage theft, or they want to maintain complete control to handle last minute changes. Although these are all valid concerns, when you consider the lost time and potential penalties for errors, outsourcing payroll becomes a much more attractive option.

When you’re looking for payroll processing companies, remember that you’ll routinely be communicating with their representatives. When you’re looking for a payroll service provider you’ll want to choose a company which is known for providing exceptional customer service. You should request references from current clients and also ensure the customer service teams can answer questions to your satisfaction.

File Taxes Electronically

With payroll and other taxes, you’re obligated to meet deadlines and ensure you’re in compliance with laws on the books. By filing your taxes online, you won’t have to worry about postage costs, lost mail, or long lines at the post office. Most online filing services provide users with near-instant confirmation of your information being received. Some states even require businesses to file their taxes online, another reason your business should switch to paperless payroll workflows.

Consolidate Pay Schedules

When companies have hourly and salaried employees, they often maintain different pay schedules. For example, salaried employees might be paid monthly while hourly employees are paid weekly or bi-weekly. While it sounds fine in practice, juggling different schedules leaves plenty of room for error. If you’re not using a software, you can at least use an employee schedule template to help maintain your employees schedule as efficiently as possible. By paying all your employees on a set schedule, you’ll cut payroll costs, improve employee satisfaction, and have the peace of mind that you’re compliant with all relevant regulations.

Conclusion: A Dynamic Process

As a small business owner, you need to ensure you’re always able to keep pace with change. Even if you have a bookkeeper, payroll company, or accountant, it’s essential to at least have a basic handle on what’s going on. The best way to stay on top of these trends is to develop a trusted team of advisors and perform routine checks to ensure you have the right systems in place. While it might seem daunting at first, it gets easier once you’ve streamlined your payroll workflow.

Charles Costa is a writer and marketing analyst for Fit Small Business and other publications. He focuses on helping companies grow, one word at a time. His areas of expertise include software, hardware, biotech, finance and general technology. You can learn more about him at CharlesCosta.net.

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