Skip to main content

«  View All Posts

What to Look for in a Payroll Service as a Small Business 

December 1st, 2023 | 3 min. read

By Kacie Salsbury

My husband and I recently became empty-nesters, and our once lively home, filled with activity and kiddos, now feels a bit too spacious for just the two of us. In considering a new house, our wish is to retain most of the amenities we currently enjoy but in a more manageable size. While we still want space for guests, one extra bedroom seems sufficient compared to our current three. Reducing the square footage of cleaning space is (quite honestly) the ultimate goal. Despite our quest for a smaller home, certain key factors remain unchanged, such as our monthly mortgage cap, the desire for a backyard, and a reasonable commuting distance from work. 

Similarly, when it comes to managing a business with fewer than fifty employees, you might be classified as a small business, but your payroll service needs aren't drastically different from those of larger companies. Here are some essential qualities to include on your "must-have" list when seeking a payroll provider. 

Navigating Tax Complexities as a Small Business 

Payroll inevitably involves navigating through payroll taxes, which can be perplexing for both employees and employers alike. It is crucial to collaborate with a payroll company that can assist you with all aspects of payroll tax requirements. Delegating this expertise to your payroll provider frees up your time to focus on aspects that contribute to your business's growth, rather than staying constantly updated on frequently changing tax laws. For instance, the Employee Retention Credit, introduced by the government in response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, was a vital benefit designed specifically for small businesses. However, determining eligibility and applying the awarded credits required meticulous research and understanding.  

Another common yet confusing scenario involves knowing when and how to apply for new state tax accounts. Your payroll company's services should encompass all aspects of maintaining accurate federal and state payroll taxes. 

Modern Conveniences  

In today’s workplace economy, providing your employees with the conveniences of technology and automation is essential. Services like electronic onboarding and direct deposit are no longer exclusive to large corporations. Enabling your new employees to complete their new hire paperwork online, from a location where they have access to the necessary information or assistance, not only creates a positive first impression of your company but also saves you the trouble of chasing down missing forms or deciphering illegible handwriting. 

While many of us fondly recall the excitement of being handed our first paycheck, modern employees prefer the convenience of skipping the trip to the bank and having their pay directly deposited into their accounts. What's even more appealing is the option to divide their pay among multiple accounts to aid in achieving savings goals. Providing direct deposit services offers your employees the advantage of timely, direct pay and relieves you of the responsibility of managing the receipt and distribution of live checks on each pay date. Therefore, even with a modest number of employees, it's wise to select a payroll company that can seamlessly integrate these now commonplace technological processes. 

Efficient Employee Portals 

Another crucial aspect to consider when choosing a payroll company is the provision for employees to have direct access to their personal information, such as pay stubs and W2s. When applying for a loan or renting an apartment, creditors often require income verification through recent pay stubs. Rather than burdening yourself with the task of printing these documents for your employees, having an employee portal option will save both you and them time and frustration when these items are needed.

Even more advantageous is the ability for your employees to directly update their personal information. Whether they move, get married, or need to adjust their W4 tax designations, an employee portal can streamline many HR responsibilities and remove them from your "To-Do" list. 

Streamlined Payroll Support 

Being a small business owner shouldn't leave you feeling lost in the payroll landscape as a "small fish in a big pond." Ensuring your team gets paid accurately and on time is vital for your business's success. Choose a payroll company that goes beyond just numbers, providing exceptional support. Our dedicated Whirks Client Success Specialists strive to know their clients personally, resolve questions and issues promptly and proactively assist with the needs that arise from successful business growth. 

Despite small businesses having less complexity than larger corporations, they share many similar needs when it comes to outsourcing payroll services. The reassurance that your payroll taxes are handled accurately is just the starting point. Offering online processes for onboarding and employee data access is now a fundamental aspect of any business as digital technology becomes the norm. 

But don't let your small employee count diminish your importance. Curious to know if Whirks is the right fit for your payroll needs? Schedule a call with us to discover if we're the perfect match for your small business. Because, regardless of size, every business deserves reliable support. 

Consider the future – your business may not always be small! Opting for a payroll company with features like Time Keeping, Benefits, and Applicant Hiring now can spare you the hassle of changing platforms as your business grows.

And, for a deeper dive into streamlining your business operations, check out this related article on the advantages of bundling your payroll, HR, and insurance services.