December 16, 2022
Best Payroll Software for Accountants in 2023
The best payroll software for accountants makes it easy to handle payroll for many clients. It should integrate with accounting software, have a dashboard to manage multiple clients, and offer benefits specific to the needs of CPAs. Below are our seven top-recommended payroll software for accountants. : Best overall payroll software for accountants : Best for advertising accountant payroll services : Best human resources (HR), payroll, and information technology (IT) tools to manage remote employees : Best for managing client payroll duties : Best affordable payroll for accountants : Best continuing education perks for accountants : Best customizable client billing tools Best Payroll Software for Accountants Compared All the payroll systems we reviewed provide the essential tools that accountants need to process client payroll, such as salary calculations and deductions, direct deposit payments, and tax administration services. These providers also offer access to employee benefits plans (except Patriot Payroll), new hire onboarding, and employee self-service tools. Below are some of the key features. *Pricing is based on a quote we received. **Access to the providers’ accounting software may require additional fees. Top Payroll for Accounting Quiz QuickBooks Payroll for Accountants: Best Overall Payroll Software for Accountants If you use QuickBooks for your clients, then we highly recommend QuickBooks Payroll for Accountants. It lets you set client permissions, guarantees tax accuracy, and includes 24/7 support—plus, its accounting and payroll modules sync seamlessly with each other. If you sign up for its free QuickBooks Online Accountant solution, you can access your clients’ QuickBooks accounts easily to check their books, edit transactions, and address issues. It even comes with free access to QuickBooks Payroll Elite, which you can use to pay your employees, discount pricing for your clients, a revenue share option, and a partner ProAdvisor program with preferential rates for both you and your customers. Scoring an overall of 4.68 out of 5 in our evaluation, QuickBooks Payroll for Accountants earned high marks (4 and above) in nearly all of our criteria, given its solid accounting and payroll solutions, ease of use, robust reporting, and transparent pricing. Users also appreciate its efficient payroll tools as it helps simplify employee pay processing. However, its limited HR tools prevented it from getting a perfect rating because, unlike Gusto and Paychex, QuickBooks doesn’t have a suite of HR solutions for managing the entire employee lifecycle. Gusto: Best Payroll Software for Accountants Who Want Help Marketing Their Payroll Services is a highly rated and popular payroll service that provides HR support. It offers an accountant partnership program that goes beyond supplying client payroll and includes certification programs and marketing venues for getting more clients. With Gusto Plus, you get a client dashboard and tools to help you serve your customers well. In our evaluation, Gusto earned an overall rating of 4.38 out of 5, with perfect scores in pricing, popularity, and reporting capabilities. It lost some points for fewer HR features than others on our list and for not providing insurance in all 50 states (unavailable in Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming), although it does offer online onboarding. However, users still love its efficient payroll and tax filing services, plus they find its features robust given its price. Rippling for Accountants: Best Payroll Software for Accountants With Clients Looking for Payroll, HR & IT Tools Compared to the other providers in this guide, allows you to provide clients with a wider range of solutions given its modular HR, payroll, benefits, and IT tools. It even has efficient computer devices and apps provisioning and deprovisioning processes plus Rippling can store your unused computers in its warehouse for safekeeping. However, its partner accountant program isn’t as robust as Paychex’s with its continuing professional education (CPE) webinars. Aside from a client dashboard, Rippling only provides discounts for your clients and free payroll, dedicated support, and HR tools for your firm. Scoring an overall of 4.33 out of 5 in our evaluation, Rippling received ratings of 4 and up in all of our criteria, with perfect marks in reporting and popularity. Many users like its intuitive interface and the seamless integration between its products. However, its paid HR advisory services and lack of a dedicated payroll specialist (similar to what Paychex offers to its clients) prevented Rippling from ranking higher on our list. OnPay: Best Payroll Software for Accountants Needing Flexible Permissions to Manage Client Payroll Duties lets you provide clients with payroll, essential HR tools, and benefits options available in all 50 states. Its software has six levels of system permissions (more robust than the other providers in this guide), allowing you to manage client payroll and user access efficiently as well as delegate pay processing tasks, such as payroll approvals, to customers. If you want to streamline HR tasks across multiple business software like accounting, consider Rippling, as it offers customizable workflow triggers that work with its 500-plus partner systems. For its accountant partner program, you get a client dashboard and an incentive scheme that lets you choose between revenue sharing and discounted pricing. What we like best about OnPay for Accountants is that you get free payroll software for your firm without having to meet client limits or add a customer to your client base every year (like QuickBooks Payroll). The platform earned an overall rating of 4.24 out of 5 in our evaluation. It received scores of 4 and above in nearly all of our criteria, given its HR functionalities, reporting capabilities, efficient payroll tools, and affordably priced plan that many users appreciate. It would have ranked higher on our list had it offered an in-house accounting software like QuickBooks and Patriot do. Patriot Payroll for Accountants: Best for Accounting Firms That Want an Affordable Payroll Tool , which is the least expensive option in this guide, lets you handle client payroll efficiently. It also comes with time tracking and basic HR solutions for monitoring staff work hours, creating overtime rules, and managing an online employee database. While these tools are paid add-ons, adding both to Patriot’s payroll platform makes it ideal for your clients who employ mostly hourly workers and want to accurately capture employee attendance. In our evaluation, Patriot Payroll earned 4.07 out of 5, with perfect marks in reporting, pricing, and popularity among users. It also received high scores in accountant-specific and pay processing tools, given its helpful client dashboard, seamless integration with its accounting software, including QuickBooks, and the ease of running payroll with Patriot. It scored the lowest in HR features because it lacks onboarding, state new hire reporting, and benefits options. Paychex for Accountants: Best Payroll Software for Accountants Looking for Continuing Education Perks payroll and HR software for accounting professionals offers technology and partnerships that help you provide excellent service for your clients. It starts with a client dashboard, called AccountantHQ, where you can work with clients to run payroll (through its Paychex Flex solution) or run it yourself. Next, it adds HR tools like onboarding, new hire reporting, background checks, and hiring services. On top of that, it includes access to professional education webinars, compliance support, resources and tools to help improve client relationships, and a dedicated account services team of accountant relationship managers. In our evaluation, Paychex earned an overall of 4.05 out of 5. It scored the lowest in pricing because most of its HR and payroll products require you to call for a quote. It also charges by pay run, making it more expensive for most clients. Nonetheless, it offers a terrific range of payroll and tax filing services, including a dedicated payroll specialist. You can offer clients HR support, given Paychex’s wide selection of online tools—from hiring and employee benefits to learning management and even PEO services. SurePayroll for Accountants: Best Payroll Software for Accountants Who Want Customizable Client Billing Tools is a Paychex company and offers many of the same services, but it’s a simpler and less expensive software. In addition to full-service payroll, tax filings, basic HR tools, and access to benefits options, it offers a partner program for accountants with a platform for managing clients, dedicated support, and wholesale pricing. It also provides white-label branding features that allow you to customize its client portal. For an additional fee, you can use its Revenue Share option to manage client billings. This allows you to set specific markup fees for each client and send them invoices. In our evaluation, SurePayroll received an overall rating of 4 out of 5, earning high marks of 4 and above in pricing, HR tools, payroll functionalities, and reporting. While it offers efficient payroll and accountant tools and has mostly positive feedback on online review sites, it scored the lowest in popularity among users since its average number of reviews on third-party sites is below 500. How We Evaluated the Best Payroll Software for Accountants The first thing we looked for is payroll software with partner programs specific to accountants. The software also needed to provide more than discounted pricing, so we checked for client dashboards and benefits specific for accountants. Then, we compared essential features, such as pay runs, tax filings, and HR tools. Finally, we considered the price for clients and accountants. Click through the tabs below for a more detailed breakdown of our evaluation criteria. Bottom Line Finding payroll software that also offers an accounting solution is critical if you’re offering payroll accounting services. It makes bookkeeping easy and doesn’t require you to input payroll-related data manually into your books since its accounting and payroll tools integrate seamlessly with each other. If you have preferred accounting software, check if it offers payroll and vice versa. Then, consider the needs of your clients and add-on solutions that would be helpful to you and your customers, such as basic HR and benefits options. We find QuickBooks Payroll is the best payroll software for accountants managing small businesses because you can use its integrated payroll and accounting platform to transfer payroll data to the general ledger, saving you time from doing it yourself. It also offers free payroll for your company, a client dashboard, a revenue share option, and discounted rates for you and your clients.
December 16, 2022
6 Best Payroll Apps in 2023
December 16, 2022
13 Customer Service Training Topics & Ideas for 2023
Customer service training is the coaching and support a customer service representative receives to improve their handling of customer issues and create excellent customer satisfaction and experiences. Regardless of the product or service you offer, going the extra mile in customer service builds trust, loyalty, and customer retention. To bring out your reps’ full potential and provide exceptional customer service, we’ve put together our top customer service training topics and ideas. Customer Service Training Topics 1. Core Competency Skills The first step is to pinpoint and train on the core skills your customer service representatives need. To start, reflect on your personal experiences with customer service teams. Think back to both positive and negative experiences. Ask yourself what made a rep great to deal with or—if things didn’t go according to plan—why it transpired that way. Some of these key customer support skills may include: Developing these key skills will equip your customer service team for a range of challenging customer issues and ensure they’re on top of their game. 2. The Art of Saying No No one enjoys hearing the word no––least of all your customers who want a solution to their issue. It’s only normal for anyone to feel disappointed when they’re told there’s something they can’t have. But of course, you’ll have to decline some of your client's requests. Instead of saying a short no, the key is to offer some solid alternatives and options that may appeal to the customer. When customers have options instead of a hard no, they’re less likely to become irate and will usually accept one of your solutions. 3. Your Product Portfolio The more your staff understands and knows about your products, the more they can help the customer. Instead of bluffing their way through possible solutions or referring to colleagues, reps should have the confidence to provide technical solutions themselves. Provide regular product training sessions where you share new additions or business changes. That way, when a customer complains about a product-related technical issue, your agent can be sure they know the answer and can provide a solution. It’s good to provide them with a constantly updated document on topic details and frequently asked questions. These critical-thinking skills will also come in handy when dealing with customer issues on the spot. 4. Company Branding Alignment These days, most business conversations happen via email, chat, and over calls instead of in person. For that reason, the choice of words, language, punctuation, and emojis is incredibly important. It’s a good idea to draft a company document that outlines your brand voice. Categorize it into sections that include how reps should interact with customers across different communication channels. Depending on how you offer customer service, you should provide brand voice guidelines for phone calls, emails, and live chat. Prepare canned or templated customer service responses to commonly asked questions. Here are some examples of what to include: Tone of voice: Do you want reps to sound upbeat, formal, or informal? Language: Can reps speak colloquially, or do you want them to use formal language only? Should they write in British or American English? Emojis: Do you prefer written communication to be with or without emojis? Punctuation: How correct should punctuation be in written communication? Maintaining a brand voice will ensure reps provide a consistent customer experience. 5. Authenticity Building authentic relationships with customers starts by treating them with kindness and respect. If reps show that they genuinely care about customers and their experience, customers will feel comfortable doing business with you and are more likely to remain loyal. It’s important to train your customer service reps or anyone else who talks to your clients to build meaningful business relationships. Here are a few ways to do this: Understand that customers are individuals: It’s easy to think of customers as just data on a screen, but you need to remind reps that they’re individual people with worries, questions, stress, and hopes. Reps need to remember to listen to customers as people and treat them with respect. Be yourself: Customers can sense inauthenticity from a mile away, and it’s not a good look for reps or businesses. So be yourself, be honest, and admit when there’s not an immediate solution. Use some small talk: During calls, it can be easy to jump right into the issue instead of asking how a person is or how their day is going. Engaging in some small talk, especially if you have a smaller base of customers, will help build rapport. Be careful, though, as some customers may be less willing to engage in small talk than others. Say thank you: People are busy and like to feel that their time is valued. Saying thank you to someone for their patience or help in solving an issue is a great way to show your appreciation. Don’t go through the motions: It’s easy to go into autopilot mode and just say everything on repeat. But no one likes to feel that they’re talking to a robot or a broken record. Take the time to properly engage with what the customer is saying and react accordingly. 6. Customer Complaint Management Being on the front line means being on the receiving end of an irate customer’s frustrations. Without some customer complaint training, the situation can catch any well-meaning customer service representative off guard. It’s easy for reps to panic, get flustered, and lose sight of how they need to respond. It’s crucial to provide training on how to handle customer complaints calmly and professionally. If done effectively, you can turn negative experiences into opportunities to gain loyal customers. Here’s how to best handle customer complaints: Keep your cool: Sometimes customers need to vent, and reps need to be adept at being neutral and letting customers share their frustrations––even if they’re shouting. Simply acknowledge the customers’ feelings by saying things like “I understand.” Soon the customer will see that the person on the other end of the line is calm and professional. This will encourage them to approach things with a calm mindset too. Get a complete picture: Before jumping to a solution, make sure reps have a complete understanding of the issue and all the facts surrounding it. This is the right moment to ask relevant questions to understand what the customer needs. Accept there’s a problem: Defensive reps who pin the problem on the customer will only irritate them further. Instead, reps should acknowledge the problem and reassure customers that they understand the issue. Don’t be afraid to apologize: Mistakes happen to all businesses, and if your business has made a mistake, own up and apologize. Customers appreciate honesty and will have more respect for the business in the long run if it can accept fault. Provide a solution: Once reps understand the full extent of the issue, they should offer solutions to the customer. They need to understand what’s an appropriate solution within company guidelines––offering something the business can’t commit to will generate further problems later on. Customer Service Training Ideas 7. Use a Variety of Training & Development Methods Everyone learns differently, and most people prefer certain training and development methods over others. Plus, providing information in multiple formats helps learners retain it more successfully. As such, you’ll want to appeal to all learning styles. Here are a few ideas for making your training methods accessible to different learner types: Using all or a mix of these methods will appeal to different learning styles. Over time, see how your reps react to each training method—you’ll probably notice some work best for certain individuals. 8. Gamify the Training Process Customer service training might induce some anxiety in your reps. Gamifying your training to make it a little less serious will help them look forward to training sessions. One area in which gamifying might help is in recalling names. Calling customers by their names builds rapport and personalizes the experience. But when dealing with complaints and trying to find solutions, it can be easy for reps to get flustered and quickly forget a customer’s name or, worse, get it wrong or mispronounce it. A quick five-minute group game to boost reps’ ability to remember names correctly could be a fun warmup to the day. By gamifying training, reps will be more engaged and thus more likely to remember key best practices and solutions to customer problems. You’ll avoid the danger of boring or overloading reps with the same information and training techniques. 9. Integrate Customer Feedback Into Customer Service Training Customers are the ones interacting with reps on a daily basis. For that reason, their feedback is vital for improving customer service. There are a couple of ways to get the needed feedback from your customers—hold a focus group and conduct surveys. Once you have some honest customer feedback, create an action plan that directly addresses customer concerns. 10. Involve Management & Other Departments Exceptional customer service starts at the top and trickles down through all team members. To help create the most effective customer service agents, look to your supervisors and managers. Their position of authority has the potential to inspire, motivate, and engage your reps so they provide the best customer experience possible. Make hiring and training skilled leaders a priority in your business. Strong leaders know how to create a performance-driven customer experience culture and will help mentor and coach other team members. Customer service isn’t just limited to a single department. Your whole organization needs to understand that customer experience is a priority. For that reason, it’s a good idea to do cross-departmental training and hold regular knowledge-sharing sessions. For example, your reps could share feedback with the product team that they’re receiving lots of complaints about products being out of stock. The product team could then research product alternatives that ship more easily so that customers who want quick delivery have another option. 11. Put Yourself in Your Customer’s Shoes Through Role-playing Listening to feedback from real customers will help your business identify recurring issues that require fixing. You can help employees develop empathy and understand the customer’s viewpoint through different role-playing situations. When team members understand issues from the customers’ perspective, they’ll be more likely to proactively find a suitable solution. 12. Learn From Companies With Exceptional Customer Service Identify businesses known for providing exceptional customer service and see if you can arrange for your reps to learn about their customer service techniques. Ask your reps to create a list of questions for the company and report on their findings. They can then share with the rest of the group their learnings and reflections on what worked well and what could be improved. Learning from industry leaders encourages reps to reflect on their own techniques and how they could develop them. It’s also worth checking out some of the worst customer service examples to ensure you’re not guilty of any of the same mistakes. 13. Never Stop Training Continual training and development is key to maintaining success across your customer service department. Encourage reps to strive to be their best selves by taking initiative in their own growth and development. Provide resources and organize regular training for customer service teams so they’re at the forefront of providing the best possible customer experience. You do this by holding and attending: Webinars Conferences Expert interviews Whole-team training days Talk about how continual learning and development are key for successful growth and sustainable success in customer service. Bottom Line A 2022 customer service trends report shows that 90% of consumers will spend more with companies that personalize the customer service they offer them. Taking the time to consider and implement customer service training ideas will help your reps create this type of environment and reach their full potential. Experiment with the customer service training ideas and topics we’ve covered above and see which resonate the most with your agents. Remember to keep things interesting and don’t be afraid to introduce new ideas to the mix.
December 16, 2022
9 Best Gusto Competitors & Alternatives for 2023
Gusto is an excellent choice for small businesses as it offers reasonably priced plans―starting at $40 plus $6 per employee monthly―and has a wide range of payroll and basic human resources (HR) functions. However, it may not fit every company’s needs and budget. In that case, a top competitor’s product may be the best option. For this guide, we looked at a dozen payroll software and narrowed the list down to nine best Gusto competitors. : Best (overall) for small businesses needing all-in-one HR payroll system : Best for small retailers and restaurants, especially those using Square POS : Best for QuickBooks accounting users and employers wanting fast direct deposit options : Best for tech-heavy companies : Best for scalable payroll solutions : Best for robust tools to delegate payroll tasks and analyze labor costs : Best for startups and small companies that need flexible payroll plans : Best for budget-conscious small businesses and household employers : Best for one-location businesses Top Gusto Competitors Compared All the Gusto alternatives on our list (and Gusto) offer full-service payroll, automatic tax calculations and tax filings, paid time off (PTO) tracking, and a self-service portal where employees can view pay stubs and access their personal information. Below are each software’s standout features. *Monthly fee is based on a quote we received. **Pricing is for the Full Service payroll plan. The provider also offers a low-cost self-service option with do-it-yourself (DIY) payroll tax filings. ***Note that Homebase Payroll is a paid add-on to the Homebase scheduling and time tracking platform, which has a free plan for one-location businesses. Best Gusto Competitors Monthly Pricing Calculator Use our online calculator to compute and compare the estimated monthly and annual fees for Gusto and our top-recommended Gusto alternatives. TriNet Zenefits: Best Gusto Competitor for Small Businesses Looking for an All-in-One HR Payroll Solution At its core, is primarily an HR software with payroll capabilities. Similar to Rippling and Homebase Payroll, it offers its pay processing tools as a paid add-on. It’s ideal for small businesses needing an all-in-one HR payroll software because it has a wide suite of HR solutions—more robust than those of Gusto and the other providers in this guide. It helps you hire, onboard, and pay employees while allowing you to track PTO, plan work schedules, and monitor staff attendance. It even comes with compensation planning tools and custom salary benchmark reports to help you understand how much to pay employees. While its per-employee monthly fees may seem budget-friendly, you may end up having to pay more, especially if you have many employees. This makes TriNet Zenefits one of the most expensive Gusto alternatives on our list―Rippling is another―with estimated annual fees of $1,920 for a business with 10 employees. TriNet Zenefits Features Square Payroll: Best Gusto Competitor for Small Retail Shops and Restaurants is a popular payroll system for small retailers and restaurants, especially those already using Square’s point-of-sale (POS) solution. It handles payroll for both contractors and employees, calculates and files taxes, manages benefits, and has free time tracking—a bonus for those who employ hourly workers. However, its standard four-day direct deposit timeline is slower than Gusto’s and most of the other competitors in this guide. The provider made our list of best Gusto alternatives because it offers unlimited pay runs at no extra charge and imports tips and commissions from Square POS automatically into its payroll module for processing. It also syncs seamlessly with QuickBooks Online and other third-party timecard partners. Plus, unlike the other Gusto competitors we reviewed, Square Payroll has a contractor-only payroll plan that’s cheaper than Gusto’s at $5 per contractor monthly vs $35 plus $6 per contractor monthly. Square Payroll Features QuickBooks Payroll: Best Gusto Competitor for QuickBooks Users is a great payroll software for small business owners already using or planning to use QuickBooks accounting. Data flows seamlessly between the two solutions, making it easy to capture payroll details for your accounting ledgers. QuickBooks Payroll offers online employee onboarding tools, access to employee benefits, and more. However, it doesn’t handle local tax filings automatically unless you upgrade to its higher tiers—a feature that Gusto and the other providers on our list offer in their starter plans. What sets QuickBooks Payroll apart from Gusto and its alternatives is its robust tax penalty protection. This program, which is included in the premium Elite plan, covers all tax penalty fees and interests up to $25,000 per year, regardless of who made the error. Note that most providers may have a similar penalty protection program, but it’s only for tax filing mistakes that they make. QuickBooks Payroll Features Rippling: Best Gusto Competitor for Tech-heavy Businesses Needing HR, IT & Payroll Tools offers a wide range of integrated and modular HR, payroll, and IT products. Its core platform is a workforce management solution, wherein payroll and other modules like benefits, app management, and HR help desk are paid add-ons. It offers an excellent payroll feature set with automatic tax calculations, tax filing services, and year-end tax reporting. It also has online tools to help you handle onboarding and offboarding, time and attendance, document management, and benefits administration. The program also has essential IT solutions for managing business apps and company computers assigned to employees, and it can store units in its warehouse for you. The downside of using Rippling is that you have to pay for each module, so it can get expensive as you get more features. You also have to pay for its HR help desk feature, which lets you call or email HR professionals if you need expert support. Its live chat function has been praised by users though, and the company now shows the customer service wait time live on its site. Rippling Features Paychex: Best Gusto Competitor for Businesses Needing a Scalable Payroll Solution is a full-featured payroll system with different packages to meet the needs of small to large businesses. Its plans and HR products are flexible enough to handle your growing HR requirements, and it even has a PEO option for when you need expert help in handling day-to-day HR and payroll tasks. In addition to paying employees and contractors, it can handle online onboarding, staff benefits, and payroll tax administration. Subscribing to its premium plans even grants you access to a dedicated payroll specialist and check signing and stuffing services. Gusto and most alternatives on this guide have fully transparent pricing. However, Paychex and Rippling don’t list full pricing on their websites. Both show the starter monthly fees, while the rest of their payroll plans and products are custom-priced. Plus, with Paychex, you need to pay additional fees for some of its quarterly and annual payroll tax filings. Note that these are available for free in almost all the other options we reviewed—except for SurePayroll, which charges extra for Ohio or Pennsylvania local tax form submissions, and QuickBooks Payroll, which requires you to upgrade to its higher tiers for local tax filings. Paychex Features OnPay: Best Gusto Competitor for Delegating Payroll Tasks & Analyzing Labor Costs is a good Gusto alternative, especially for small companies (with up to 200 employees) that need an efficient way to view and analyze labor costs. In addition to its premade reports, it has a report designer for creating custom payroll reports. This allows you to set up filters, add/remove 50+ data points, and save report templates. The other providers on our list may have customizable reports, but OnPay’s is more robust. OnPay even has customizable checklists and onboarding workflows, including six levels of system permissions for delegating tasks and controlling HR and payroll access. Aside from providing a modern interface that rivals Gusto’s, OnPay offers unlimited pay runs, manages employee benefits, and files payroll taxes on your behalf. While Gusto and most of the providers in this guide require you to upgrade to higher tiers to get all of their tools, you get full access to all of OnPay’s functionalities for a flat monthly fee of $40 plus $6 per employee. This makes OnPay one of the three most affordably priced Gusto competitors on our list—Patriot Payroll and SurePayroll are the other two—with sample annual fees costing $1,200 for a company with 10 employees. However, its tax penalty guarantee only covers mistakes OnPay representatives make—unlike QuickBooks, which covers any tax errors. Plus, its direct deposits have a longer turnaround than some of its competitors—with either a two- or four-day option depending on OnPay’s risk assessment. OnPay Features Patriot Payroll: Best Gusto Competitor for Startups Looking for Flexible Payroll Plans is a cost-effective small business payroll software that’s perfect for those looking for a budget-friendly solution. It offers reasonably priced full-service payroll plans and a basic DIY option that costs only $17 plus $4 per employee monthly—provided you file your own payroll taxes. All plans come with unlimited pay runs, multiple payroll frequencies, and customizable hours, money, and deduction types. And you can pay your employees through manual checks and direct deposits. However, the turnaround time for direct deposits (four days) is longer than that of Gusto and the other providers we reviewed. Like SurePayroll, Patriot Payroll will handle the payments and filings of all federal, state, and local taxes if you get its full-service plan. Also, it offers a penalty-free guarantee in case of tax filing errors, but only for its representatives’ mistakes. This is unlike QuickBooks Payroll, which covers all mistakes regardless of who made them. While it lets you add custom deduction types, like benefits contributions, into its system, Patriot Payroll doesn’t offer employee benefits options and manage benefits plans for you. Patriot Payroll Features SurePayroll: Best Gusto Competitor for Budget-conscious Small Businesses & Household Employers Similar to Patriot Payroll, offers a full-service payroll package and a self-service option, which lets you handle payroll tax filings yourself. While the latter is great for those with a small team that prefer DIY tax filings, the former has all the essential tools you need to process payroll for both employees and contractors. It comes with payroll tax payments and form submission services, including year-end tax reporting. However, unlike Gusto and the other providers we reviewed, you have to pay extra if you require local tax filings in Ohio or Pennsylvania. Accounting and time tracking software integrations also cost extra, plus the choices are limited compared to Rippling’s 500-plus partner apps. While you get two-day direct deposits with SurePayroll’s full-service option, it doesn’t have Square Payroll’s instant payments and QuickBooks Payroll’s same- and next-day options. SurePayroll Features Homebase Payroll: Best Gusto Competitor for One-location Businesses is a paid add-on to its core HR platform, like Rippling and TriNet Zenefits, but more budget-friendly than these two providers. This is mainly because of Homebase’s Basic plan (for its core system) that allows one-location businesses to use its time tracking, scheduling, hiring, and onboarding tools for free—you just need to pay $39 plus $6 per employee monthly for payroll. With TriNet Zenefits, you have to pay per-employee monthly fees for its core platform ($10 per employee) and payroll module ($6 per employee), which can get pricey if you have a large team. Despite having a feature-rich payroll plan, Homebase’s HR tools aren’t as robust as Gusto’s. It lacks the performance management, employee benefits, and survey tools that Gusto offers. It also doesn’t assign dedicated payroll specialists to its clients as Paychex does. Plus, it only provides two-day direct deposits to qualified companies (its standard processing timeline is four days), unlike most of the Gusto competitors we reviewed that have this as its standard processing timeline. QuickBooks Payroll and Gusto even have same-day options included in their higher tiers. Homebase Payroll Features Are you looking for a wider range of payroll options? Check out our buyer’s guides on the best online payroll services and best payroll software. How We Evaluated the Best Gusto Competitors We considered a dozen top payroll services, looking at how they competed with Gusto. Apart from comparing each software’s pricing, we looked for features and HR tools that are most important to small businesses. Finally, we chose the top nine Gusto competitors to help you decide which payroll software is best for your business. Gusto Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Bottom Line Gusto is an excellent payroll service, but there are several other great options that you can explore depending on your needs. Like Gusto, its competitors automatically run payroll and offer paycheck and direct deposit services, onboarding and employee self-service, tax and benefits calculations, and HR support. They are all competitively priced as well.
December 13, 2022
4 Ways to Print Payroll Checks Online for Free
Finding ways to print payroll checks online for free is a good option if you have employees who prefer checks over direct deposits. All you need is a printer, check stock, and magnetic ink, and you can usually print within minutes. However, free services are generally limited—some only allow one check per day. In addition, they do not generally allow you to pay your employees in different ways, like direct deposit or pay cards. If you need payroll software that allows you to print more than a few paychecks per day, try . You can print an unlimited number of payroll checks whenever you need to at no extra cost, plus pay employees using direct deposit. The service also lets you put your payroll on autopilot and files your taxes so you avoid penalties and late fees. Sign up for a free 30-day trial today. Option 1. Use Free Payroll Software Payroll4Free is an online payroll software you can use at no cost if you’re paying no more than 25 workers. It allows you to print checks and process payroll, which includes payroll tax calculations, several tax forms, vacation tracking, and more. You can also give employees the option of receiving their paycheck through direct deposit if you use your bank to set it up. Follow these simple steps to print checks online using free payroll software, Payroll4Free: eSmart Paycheck eSmart Paycheck is an online payroll software that can handle very basic payroll needs like calculating payroll and taxes, printing tax forms, and printing paychecks. In addition to the free plan, it has paid plans that allow customizations and save payroll data. Follow these simple steps to print checks online using free payroll software, eSmart Paycheck Option 2. Use a Mobile App If you don’t have a computer or laptop, printing from a mobile app is a good option. helps Android users write and print checks at home directly from the app. All you need is a US bank account, a phone, printer, personal-sized blank check stock, and magnetic ink. After printing the check, you can sign it and give it to your employees to endorse and cash. You can also keep a digital copy on your smartphone or tablet. One concern you might have is security since printing from the app requires entering your bank account numbers. The application states that your bank information will never be uploaded to the cloud or stored in a server or any other place. Follow these simple steps to use to print a check from the Check Writer mobile app: Option 3. Use Free Online Check Printing Services A free online check printing service is useful if you need to print a small number of checks without having payroll software. will allow you to create checks instantly for free with no download or installation. Limitations are that you’re only allowed to print one check per day and have one payer profile, bank account, and mailing address on the account. Follow these simple steps to use Print Check Online’s free online check printing service: is another free check printing service that you can use from anywhere. All you need is blank check stock and a home printer. If your bank supports optical check scanning, which requires a special magnetic ink character recognition (MICR), print a sample check first and let your bank confirm they will not have problems recognizing it. Follow these simple steps to print payroll checks using CheckRobot: Option 4: Use a Free Trial With Online Payroll Provider You can find plenty of payroll providers that will offer a limited free trial, so you can print payroll checks easily, but to continue doing so, you’ll have to sign up and pay after your trial is over. Some will require you to enter payment information, such as a debit card, before activating your trial, but others will allow you to start using the system without it. Gusto is a great example of a payroll provider that offers a 30-day free trial for all new customers interested in its product. Follow these simple steps to print checks online Gusto: Other Considerations When Printing Payroll Checks for Free As we’ve covered, to print payroll checks online free you can try a check printing website or payroll software depending on whether you also need help processing payroll. If you choose payroll software, your check printing process will be longer because you must run payroll first. To learn more about what it takes to do payroll from start to finish, check out our how to do payroll guide. Generally, it’s best to have multiple ways to pay your employees to help limit the number of checks you need to print. However, when you are preparing to print payroll checks, you must keep the following in mind: Printer & Magnetic Ink You can use any printer to print as long as you also use magnetic ink or toner. If you don’t, your bank can opt not to process the payroll checks or charge you an additional fee. The bank’s check readers are designed to detect checks printed in magnetic ink. If you print in regular ink, it may not recognize your routing and account numbers, which means the bank teller will have to manually process. Printer Settings Your printer settings will need to be checked per the application’s instructions to ensure your check information is aligned properly when printed. Some software services will allow you to perform a test print before printing the actual check. If that option is available, we recommend it. Check Stock You’ll also need payroll check stock to print your checks. If the service you use recommends a particular check stock, it’s a good idea to use it so you don’t have compatibility issues. Services that aren’t payroll-specific, like check printing mobile apps, will print checks as personal checks. This means the check stock you use must be personal check stock, which doesn’t have a paycheck stub listing earnings, deductions, and taxes. Depending on your state’s pay stub regulations, you may need to provide this information to employees. Once you understand what you’ll need, you can download a free pay stub template and manually enter the information or use a payroll software like Gusto. Bottom Line Printing checks online for free is convenient but limited. Most services allow you to print a certain number of checks daily or free for a limited period. Some allow you to print free indefinitely but for a limited number of employees. And if you’re not using payroll software, you’ll have to create your own pay stub. will save you time by automatically calculating all periodic and year-to-date totals for earnings, deductions, and net pay, so you don’t have to. It provides a pay stub for each employee, and you can reprint your checks and pay stubs at any time. Sign up for a free trial today.
December 13, 2022
2023 TimeCamp Review: Pricing, Features & Alternatives
TimeCamp is a time and attendance tracker that also serves as a lightweight project management software. Available via web browser, mobile app, and desktop program, it provides users’ productivity insights and, depending on the plan, has invoicing, billing, and reporting features. It comes with free and paid subscriptions, which start at $7 per month, per user. TimeCamp received an overall score of 4 out of 5 in our evaluation of the best time trackers. It got notably perfect scores for pricing and reporting and also received high marks for billable hours and job costing features because of its strong invoicing, productivity, and payment tools. However, TimeCamp lost points because of some limited time tracking features and a smaller number of reviews on popular websites. TimeCamp Overview What We Recommend TimeCamp For TimeCamp monitors time spent on tasks, which are classified as productive or idle. It also helps project managers monitor their project profitability using its billing and invoicing features. In short, TimeCamp is best for: Individuals who primarily want to track and manage productivity: TimeCamp offers its basic features, including productivity insights and unlimited tasks and projects, at no cost. This, plus its strong productivity and reporting tools, helped TimeCamp earn a spot in our guide to the best time tracking software. Freelancers and contractors looking for a lightweight project management tool: The automated time tracking feature allows users to set up keywords for their clients or projects. Once TimeCamp detects them in their activities, it assigns this time automatically to the right client or project. The desktop and web-based apps can then run silently in the background. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with remote and/or in-office employees: TimeCamp helps track what employees are working on, whether on-site or remote. The software’s GPS tracker, though still in the beta version, allows organizations to manage their team member’s localization. TimeCamp also has a leave management feature. Those looking for a time tracker that integrates with other popular apps: TimeCamp not only helps users track their hours easily but also allows integration with other software such as Trello, Microsoft Teams, and Slack, for a smoother work process. When TimeCamp Would Not Be a Good Fit Organizations looking for a simple time tracker that’s easy to set up: Although TimeCamp is intuitive and simple to use for individuals, businesses with new users may find it complex to set up. Training new users could take time. Businesses that constantly hire new employees may find their productivity reduced with training. Instead, consider using Hubstaff, which comes with a user-friendly interface and controls. Individuals looking for free invoicing: Although users can use the time-tracking tool for free, they must get the paid plan to obtain additional features, such as invoicing. A better option is Harvest, where its free plan comes with an invoicing option and expense reports. TimeCamp Top Alternatives TimeCamp got a perfect mark for pricing because of its offerings of a free plan and flexible and multiple paid plans plus transparent fees on its website. All of TimeCamp’s plans, including the free option, come with unlimited users and projects. TimeCamp also offers an Enterprise plan that has everything in Pro, plus a self-hosted server, private cloud implementations, and personalized training. Check TimeCamp’s pricing on the table below. *Annual plans are available at a discount. TimeCamp allows users to monitor which tasks take up the most time and develop ways to use their time more effectively. However, it only got 3.25 out of 5 for this criterion because it does not send clock-in and overtime alerts to administrators or limit early clock-ins or prevent overtime. It also doesn’t have geofencing and geotracking and has limited clock-in options. TimeCamp currently works on Windows, macOS, and Ubuntu. You can track time through your web browser and TimeCamp’s mobile and desktop apps—right after you create a project. If you are a project manager, then you can designate a project to team members. As an individual, you can work on several projects and track time spent on those separately. If you need to take a break, then pause or stop the timer. You may also use keywords in its automated time-tracking feature. TimeTracker can capture and record time spent on different tasks with the set keywords automatically. You can switch between automatic and manual modes any time. If you make mistakes in tracking time manually, TimeCamp has features to correct errors. For example, tracking time but forgetting to assign time to the proper project. You can adjust this manually to reflect the correct project or task. If you forgot to track your time when you started working, you can add or remove time manually. TimeCamp’s time tracking function does not end in keeping logs for projects—you can also track overtime. The platform is also equipped with leave management features to help users monitor sick, vacation, and holiday leaves. For this criteria, TimeCamp received a high score as it has almost everything we’re looking for, including the ability to allocate hours by job code, compare estimated to actual hours, and project management tools. If not for the extra costs of generating invoices to customers, TimeCamp would have gotten a perfect score. Productivity and Project Tracking Teams can monitor their time on specific tasks and ensure that they’re designating the proper time needed. This feature will help project managers understand which tasks take up more time and which ones to reduce. With TimeCamp, it’s possible to measure a member’s idle and productive hours. You may also enable its computer screenshots feature to verify productivity. TimeCamp also has a Private Time feature, which when turned on, stops the time tracking and monitoring. Team managers can view how much time is used but not what apps and URLs were opened. However, I found that Private Time is not as easily accessible on the web app compared to the desktop version. Invoice Management This feature is available only in the Pro plan. You can specify your hourly rate for specific projects and integrate your PayPal account into the system. Time Camp will then generate the total cost over time, so it’s easy to see how much to bill the client. You can integrate accounting tools like Xero and QuickBooks and export invoices from TimeCamp to your preferred software. You can then send the invoice to your clients as a PDF file or a link. Reporting is a strong area for TimeCamp because it can produce customizable reports using its collected data for tasks or projects. You can generate reports for each team member. In these reports, expect to see an overview of each team member’s productivity, how they’re spending their time, and how each task progresses. Reports can be generated by project or team member over time. When you go to the Reports tab and select a specific task or project, it will show a graph of the number of hours used for the project. The report will also show an estimate of the billable hours allocated to the project. TimeCamp also allows you to review detailed activity reports for every individual, such as detailed logs. Click to start, pause, or stop timer Knowledge base Can integrate with about 90 apps Straightforward once learned Live chat support TimeCamp only received 3.38 out of 5 for this criterion because it comes with a slight learning curve. I have found that TimeCamp’s host of features beyond time tracking can be overwhelming. It’s a good thing that they provide email and live chat support for questions or troubles using its apps. I like their live chat feature, which connects users to real support agents and not chatbots. They also have a knowledge base on their website for technical questions on using TimeCamp. TimeCamp is simple to use once you learn its many features. You can use it like a stopwatch where you start, pause, or stop time for a specific project. Setting up a new project is also straightforward and can be done quickly on both the web and desktop apps. After setting up an account, you can immediately use the time tracker for your projects. For businesses, they first need to invite the employees to make their TimeCamp logins. Project managers can then designate them to projects and prompt them to track their time using the software. I think that TimeCamp is most efficient when combined with other productivity software. Using its integration feature is especially helpful if you need to monitor billable hours, track ongoing tasks, and check project progress. TimeCamp only got 3 out 5 for popularity because of its lower number of user reviews on popular websites including Capterra and G2. We gave highest points for providers with at least 1,000 ratings. However, users rated the software highly with only a few complaints about the app glitching. Many individuals who left TimeCamp reviews praised its effective time tracking capability. Freelancers find the free version an excellent tool to monitor their productivity and determine how much time they have spent working on a task. Team leaders like the reporting feature and the simple way of generating a weekly timesheet, which they can swiftly share with their co-workers. The most common complaints with TimeCamp include its mobile app, which can be sluggish and less intuitive than its web-based app. Mac users also complain about the desktop app malfunctioning. TimeCamp has received the following scores on the following sites: G2: 4.6/5.0 from nearly 200 reviews Capterra: 4.7/5.0 from more than 550 reviews Bottom Line is a time-tracking tool that freelancers and project managers find useful. The free plan allows individuals to track their time effectively, making it a cost-effective solution to monitor their productivity on various projects or tasks. Businesses can also monitor their employees’ attendance, leave, and overtime. Users can also opt for paid plans to take advantage of their billing and invoicing features. It provides a 14-day free trial without the need for a credit card, so you can check if it’s the right tool for your business.
December 12, 2022
How to Hire a Bookkeeper: Considerations + Free Job Template
When finding a bookkeeper for your small business, you need someone who is trustworthy and able to keep your company’s financial details confidential. A worker in this role must have extreme attention to detail; otherwise, your company’s financial picture may be skewed, leading to poor business decisions, inaccurate tax filings, and government fines. You can opt to hire a full-time bookkeeper, but many small businesses start by using a contractor until they grow into needing an employee on staff. To save time, use our free bookkeeper job description template, which you can tweak according to your business needs. And continue reading for other considerations when you are looking for a bookkeeper. If you’re interested in hiring a contract bookkeeper, consider Bench, a virtual accounting service provider. offers bookkeeping and tax support for businesses and self-employed individuals. When you sign up, you’ll be paired with a dedicated bookkeeper who acts as your in-house accounting team. Bench offers affordable plans for any business budget to help you keep your books clean and accurate. Sign up to try it today. Necessary Qualifications While bookkeepers have no licensing requirements like a CPA, voluntary organizations can certify applicants. You want a bookkeeper who is up to date on relevant laws and maintains a certain skill level. If an applicant has been certified by a bookkeeping organization like the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB) or the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB), you should have confidence they have the skills and knowledge necessary to do the job. Your specific job qualifications may vary, but—at a minimum—you need a bookkeeper proficient in: Excel or Google Sheets Bookkeeping software Debits and credits Invoicing Balance sheets Payroll Deferral transactions Journal entries Benefits calculations Customer relations Specifics of Job Board Posts To find a bookkeeper, you need to go where candidates are—job boards. I recommend posting to at least three different job boards so you get a good mix of applicants. To specifically seek freelance bookkeepers, check out our top picks for online bookkeeping services. You can also use a website that’s specifically for hiring freelancers. Expand your search to additional job board sites if you want to hire an employee for the role. You want to make sure you get your job posting in front of as many qualified applicants as possible. You can also actively search for candidates. Using your job board of choice, you can scan for bookkeepers in your area with the experience you seek. Interview Questions to Ask When interviewing applicants, you need to know that candidates have the right skills for the job. Open-ended questions and icebreakers are great ways to start a conversation with an applicant. But you have to determine the applicant’s skill level and proficiency with bookkeeping tasks. Once you get a better sense of the applicant, move to more specific and detailed questions. Below are some questions I like to ask when interviewing for financial positions: What types of financial reports have you regularly created, and how was the data used? What’s the biggest financial blunder you’ve experienced? This might be something you discovered and had to bring to your manager’s attention. How do you handle customers who are angry about an invoice or bill? Under what circumstances would you post an adjusting entry? How would you know if someone posted an adjusting journal entry to accounts receivable and how would you correct it? What do you do if a bank reconciliation is off by a small amount? Colleagues may ask you questions about the company’s finances. How do you handle those discussions while keeping company information confidential? Background Check Process Many companies have a background check policy to run a criminal background check on all new hires. While some states prohibit you from asking about prior criminal convictions during the interview process, you can still run a background screen on employees once you give them a formal job offer. But a bookkeeper isn’t just an ordinary employee. They have access to your company financials, credit cards, and bank accounts. Performing a background check on a bookkeeper you wish to hire can provide you with helpful information about their past, including issues with two of the most important traits of a competent bookkeeper: trustworthiness and financial security. The background check performed on an employee must be related to the duties of the job. For a receptionist, for example, you could run a simple seven-year criminal background check. For a truck driver, you could include a driver’s license check. However, for a bookkeeper, I recommend you include a financial background check. Bookkeeper Pay Rates You’ll need to decide ahead of time how much you want to pay your bookkeeper; including this information in your job ad can help you attract more quality applicants—and it may be legally required. The amount you choose will vary based on your company’s location, the experience you’re requiring, whether they’re contractors or employees, and the industry in which your company operates. The annual salary of a full-time bookkeeper, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), averaged about $45,000 in 2021. According to BLS data, bookkeeper salaries range from as low as about $29,000 to over $60,000. Although these are fairly wide ranges, they can be narrowed down based on your industry, the experience of the bookkeeper, the nuances of your business, and your company location. Bottom Line Above all, you must trust your bookkeeper. So whatever you do, don’t rush the recruiting and hiring process. Having a bookkeeper that matches your needs will eliminate the stress and anxiety of doing this work yourself or having someone else do it who may not have the skills necessary. By providing accurate and up-to-date financial information to help steer your business, a dependable bookkeeper should make your life easier and less stressful. If you’d prefer to take some of the stress out of the hiring process, consider partnering with . They ensure their team is fully trained and has the skills necessary to be your in-house virtual bookkeeper. Try them today.
December 12, 2022
How to Switch Payroll Providers in 6 Steps
Learning how to switch payroll providers may seem like a daunting and overwhelming task, but with some research and preparation, you can make this a seamless process. Start by evaluating your needs, compare services and where they fit in your budget, and make sure your chosen payroll provider can handle a switchover and give you the ongoing support you need. If you're ready to make the switch, don't hesitate—just follow our steps below. Step 1: Evaluate Your Current Payroll Provider The first thing you’ll want to do is evaluate your current provider. Why are you dissatisfied with it? What do you hope to achieve with a new provider? Some other questions you should ask include: What are your favorite features and why? What are some of the features you want or need but don’t currently have? Does your current provider fall above or below your budget? How much are you willing to spend for the right solution? What are some of the biggest pain points you’ve experienced? Once you have answered these questions, you’ll be able to create a list of must-haves. Add any features you’d like your new provider to have and decide which items are deal-breakers. This will aid in the decision-making process and help you choose the best payroll service for your business. Understanding exactly what you need to effectively manage and process payroll is crucial throughout this process. Step 2: Compare Your Current Provider to Other Payroll Companies The features and services that different payroll providers offer may vary. While all will offer similar payroll functions, some may provide more support options or additional tax services. Knowing what your business needs most will help you narrow down your list. Click the headers below for a few things that you should consider: Step 3: Choose a New Payroll Service & Decide When to Switch Once you’ve finished comparing different payroll companies, you’ll need to decide which payroll provider is best for your business. If you’re still having a difficult time picking the right one, then check out our guide to choosing a payroll service. After finalizing your decision, you’ll want to take time to get all the information transferred and checked, get your employees up to speed, and make sure data is correct and integrations in place before officially moving over. While you may want to jump right in, it’s important to make the transition as smooth as possible for your team and your employees. When Is the Best Time to Switch to a New Payroll Provider? If you can swing it, switching payroll providers at the end of the calendar year-or your company's fiscal year-is the best option as it makes for a clean transition for your books. Switching payroll providers involves transferring a lot of historical and employee information. With the advent of cloud technology, this is much easier, so if you are moving from a cloud-based system to another cloud-based system, you can switch at any time. However, in general, the best times to change are at the end of the year or the end of the quarter. By changing at the end of the year, you make it easy for the new payroll provider to track taxes and other government paperwork for the new year. Plan for your first paycheck of the year to come from the new provider, even if it includes work done in December. The next easiest transition time is the end of the quarter, with the first payroll by the new provider being run at the beginning of the new quarter. Both of these options help avoid confusion and issues with filing and paying taxes. Regardless of when you switch, factor in a sufficient amount of time to get everything in place so that you don’t miss a payroll run. How Much Lead-time Should You Give Before Switching to a New Payroll Provider? This is something you should discuss with your new provider before setting a switch date. It will depend on how much work you do, which will speed things up, versus having them handle everything. It may be faster and easier for you to provide the information they need, the size of your company, and tax details. Providers like Gusto, which typically cater to smaller businesses, can have you paying your workers in just a few days. Services like ADP, which serve a range of small to large businesses, may require a bit more time depending on the payroll product you choose, possibly even a few weeks or months. How Much Notice Should You Give Your Current Payroll Provider? You’ll need to work with your current payroll provider to get the information you need transferred and deal with any legal or software issues resulting from the transfer. In general, 30 days’ notice is sufficient, although your new provider can give you a more accurate estimate. However, check the details of any existing contracts you have with your current payroll provider. Be sure you are not incurring fees for ending your service early. How Do You Tell Your Current Provider You’re Switching Payroll Services? It can be uncomfortable telling a provider that you are switching, especially if you’ve had a long-term relationship. However, resist the temptation to tell them you no longer need payroll. Your rep may assume you are closing your business and contact the IRS to close accounts. A better course of action is to be honest about why you’re leaving. No payroll company is perfect, and they depend on customer feedback to know what they need to improve. Step 4: Arrange Setup With Your New Payroll Service Some payroll services will help you set up the system or do it for you. If they do, ask if or how much they charge. Assigning an employee to serve as the point person keeps the information flow consistent and ensures you don’t have to be involved in every detail yourself. Access System Through the Cloud or Download It may be possible to give your new provider the required permissions to access your data through the cloud—this makes transferring easier. However, if you need to download, check with them about the format and organization that makes it easiest for uploading into their own software. Send Documents & Other Payroll Information Your new provider will let you know exactly what information is needed to get started. You may be able to authorize your old payroll service to send the information directly to your new one. These are the most common items needed: Federal Tax Info: EIN and other basic business information, like legal business names Tax Forms: Past returns, payroll tax deposit dates/amounts, tax account numbers Payroll Registration Information: For federal, state, and local tax authorities Bank Account Information: A voided check for your payroll or tax account Current Employee List and Information: Names, Social Security numbers, addresses, earnings, withholdings, deductions, garnishments, etc. Payroll Information: Pay stubs, payroll journal for staff, and any historical information needed to pay taxes if you are not starting at the beginning of the calendar year Terminated Employee Information: You need to keep this information by law for a certain number of years, even if your old service gives former employees lifetime access to their files. Third-party Authorizations: Any additional authorizations needed for the new provider to pay taxes or make transfers on your behalf, including Form 8655s, state/local authorizations, etc. Prep Other Software to Sync With New System Transferring information is not the only task involved in changing payroll providers. Make a complete list of your integrated software and apps. If there are any tasks covered by your new software, you may want to transfer the information and cancel those accounts. For the rest, work with your new provider for integrations to make sure that when you switch over, you have a smooth flow of information between programs. Give Clear Instructions Regarding Year-end Tax Filing Make it clear to your providers who will be supplying the W-2s for the year. If you don’t clarify, they may both file, which means you’ll have to file amended W-2s and may face an audit. Also, new providers will not issue W-2s for payments not issued in their system if the payroll information wasn’t loaded during a transition. Confusion around year-end filings can cause a huge headache if not managed properly. Step 5: Notify Employees About New Payroll Service Even if changing a payroll software is essentially transparent to employees, it’s best to take that extra step and send a new payroll system announcement. If nothing else, they should expect mailings or communications from the new provider. And if your company utilizes PEO services, your employees will have a new employer, something you should let them know in advance. Depending on the differences, you may want to inform or even train your people on the following: New employee interface/mobile app Pay card program pros and cons New employee accounts New benefits sign-ups This is also a good time for them to review and make any changes in their information, such as withholdings. Employees should get some form of written notice or email, but also consider announcements via chat, posters, or video conference. Some payroll services offer employee training live or through recordings. Step 6: Officially Cut Ties With Your Old Payroll Provider Once you have made all the proper transfers and alerted your employees, you can cut ties with your old provider. Send them a written notice by mail or email. If you’ve not already done so, be sure to: Ask whether you and/or your employees will have lifetime access to their accounts. Request copies of records like pay registers, employee documents, tax filings, and receipts. Check whether you still have any pending transactions and if they need to be canceled or go through. Ensure that you are no longer being charged for the service. Ensure you’ve canceled all authorizations your previous provider was given. Bottom Line There are many reasons to change payroll companies, and with cloud technology and batch transfers, it’s easier than ever. However, it’s still an investment of time and effort that deserves thorough consideration to avoid having to switch again, at least in the short term. Understanding why you want to change your provider and what you expect from the new one will help you select a service that can satisfy your requirements now and in the future. Having a sound plan will make the transition easier and prevent errors that could get costly.