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Top 5 Features to Look for in a Payroll Service as a Large Business

October 6th, 2023 | 4 min. read

By Mark Gresham

Imagine you're the captain of a massive ship and you come upon some treacherous waters. Your crew, a group of skilled individuals, are relying on your expertise to keep the ship on course. Thankfully, you’ve invested in some of the best equipment and systems for your ship, so you know with your expertise, the ship’s strong frame will hold.  

In the world of business, managing a large workforce (defined as having 250 or more employees) is akin to captaining that ship, and the payroll service you choose is one of those robust systems your ship needs to navigate the tough waters. It must seamlessly steer you through the complex and ever-changing waves of payroll, making sure your crew (or employees) are compensated accurately and on time while keeping you in compliance with regulatory currents. This article will outline the top five features you should look for when evaluating payroll services, ensuring your voyage through workforce management is as smooth as possible. 

Integration Capabilities   

When you have 250 employees or more, there are many systems and applications that you need to utilize for employees. These include: 

  • Onboarding 
  • Payroll 
  • Timekeeping 
  • Benefit administration 
  • Performance management 
  • Learning management 
  • HRIS technology 

And that’s just to manage people! When you add in your sales CRM, customer service software, accounting tools, and finance technology, your list of applications to help you manage your business becomes quite extensive.

 For a company of this size, the best practice is to implement a Human Capital Management  (HCM) software that will handle most everything for the employee life cycle. This helps to reduce the number of HR-related technologies you use for your employees. Additionally, it’s important to consider if there are integration and APIs for other systems like your financial and ERP systems. This integration ensures you get real-time data, improving efficiency and eliminating manual data entry which reduces the risk of errors. Having accurate data is crucial for larger companies, especially when dealing with complex regulatory requirements. A fully integrated system can help you stay compliant with comprehensive reporting and detailed data.  

On the employee side, a fully integrated system simplifies their payroll service experience. McKinsey research has shown that organizations in which HR facilitates a positive employee experience are 1.3 times more likely to report organizational outperformance. With a fully integrated system, employees can access their HR and financial information, benefits, and other relevant data with a single login rather than being forced to navigate multiple systems. This convenience and transparency enhance the employee experience, leading to higher satisfaction and engagement rates.  

In addition to improving your employee’s user experience through human capital management tools, you can also create manager and supervisor roles and access which will provide the analytics each department needs to approve PTO for their hires, manage their performance, and make salary/pay adjustments easier. When large employers take time to create proper permissions throughout their organization, they can reduce the headaches and inefficiencies that their HR teams will experience on payday.  

Customer Service  

Regardless of your company’s size, the team’s expertise, or the sophistication of the system in use, errors and mistakes are inevitable. These errors, even seemingly minor ones like a missed time punch, take on a whole new significance when they affect employees’ earnings and livelihood. This is precisely why customer service should be a top priority when evaluating different payroll vendors. A responsive and efficient customer service team can be your lifeline, saving you precious time, money, and potentially helping you retain valuable talent.  

While it’s crucial for an HCM provider to promptly address issues retroactively, it’s equally important to gauge their proactive approach in anticipating potential problems. As larger companies undergo various internal changes and growth spurts, their needs evolve from their initial implementation. Strong communication between the provider and the organization becomes pivotal. It allows the vendor to offer invaluable guidance and ensures a smoother internal transition from different systems.   

Data and Privacy   

It’s no secret that payroll vendors handle highly sensitive and confidential information concerning their employees and the organization itself. When considering a potential partner, it becomes imperative to prioritize security as a concern. A trustworthy payroll provider must demonstrate a steadfast commitment to stringent security standards and full compliance with data protection regulations. Proactiveness is key in their security approach, involving continual reassessment of internal protocols, the presence of well-defined incident response plans, comprehensive employee training awareness programs, rigorous access controls, and other measures. The gravity of an internal data breach can’t be overstated; it can be detrimental to one’s organization and should be at the forefront of your considerations when evaluating a partnership. To gain insight into how Whirks addresses these concerns, please explore the robust security measures followed by our trusted tool, iSolved, here.  


As an organization experiences growth and expansion, it becomes increasingly crucial to have a payroll solution that seamlessly adapts to the evolving demands of your workforce, like adding new EINs, locations, jobs, and departments. Scalability in this context extends beyond just accommodating more employees; it encompasses user management and access controls, promoting a dynamic and responsive payroll process. A key facet of scalability is the implementation of role-based access rights within your HCM system. Rather than sacrificing security, this practice enhances security by granting access to only those who require it. This approach not only mitigates security risks but streamlines usability, making the payroll service more efficient for everyone involved.  

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The Price Tag  

Now the question that everyone wants to know is, what’s this payroll service going to cost me? As you evaluate different payroll providers, it’s fundamental to recognize that vendors employ a multitude of pricing structures with different strategies and offerings. Each vendor has their own set of fees, penalties, and policies regarding annual increases. These terms and conditions can differ significantly, emphasizing the importance of scrutinizing them closely to comprehend their impact on your overall expenses.  

  • PEPM: the PEPM (per employee per month) model ties your financial commitment directly to the number of employees on your payroll. It offers more predictability and precision, however, there are multiple variations of fees, services, and terms.  
  • PER-PROCESS: In contrast, other providers opt for a per-process pricing structure. this approach, you’re charged only on the specific payroll needs and services you require. This offers flexibility, especially for organizations with varying payroll needs. Yet, the price tags on these services can fluctuate, necessitating careful consideration to determine cost-effectiveness.    

Pricing isn’t just a matter of dollars and cents; it’s a pivotal consideration that affects your organization's financial health. Gaining a comprehensive understanding of how a vendor prices their services is an integral part of understanding what your annual expenditures will be. Understanding the true cost of payroll services empowers you to make informed decisions that resonate with your organization's financial objectives. To gain additional insights into the diverse pricing models available, click here.  

Weigh ALL your Options for Payroll Services

In the realm of large businesses, where the stakes are high and the demands are relentless, selecting the appropriate payroll service can greatly impact your journey – it's the difference between a smooth voyage and navigating rough seas. It’s crucial to consider all these attributes when making your decision: 

  • integration capabilities  
  • responsive customer service 
  • data security 
  • scalability 
  • transparent cost structures 

If you're still researching your options, check our our article on the Top 5 Payroll Providers for Large Employers. Or if you’re ready to look more into what Whirks has to offer, check out our pricing or schedule a call today.