How to Choose a Payroll Provider: 10 Considerations

Once you’ve made the decision to outsource payroll to take advantage of the benefits like greater accuracy and efficiencies, it’s important to make sure you find the right partner. Since every payroll provider is unique and offers different services, you’ll want to narrow down what’s most important to your business then compare your options to identify the best fit.

Complete Payroll Solutions has been providing outsourced payroll services to companies throughout the Northeast for over 15 years. While we have over 8,000 clients, we know we’re not the right choice for every company. But we also know the factors companies should consider to make sure they select the best vendor for their particular needs.

In this article, we’ll help you in your evaluation by covering the top considerations you should take into account when selecting a payroll service, including:

  • Stability
  • Reputation
  • Location
  • Available features
  • Cost
  • Ease of implementation
  • Ongoing support
  • System integration
  • Scalability
  • Security

After reading this, you’ll be better prepared to do your due diligence and research to set your company up for a successful relationship.

10 Factors to Consider When Selecting a Payroll Provider

There are lots of payroll providers to choose from. In such a crowded space, it can be hard to know which vendor to choose. Here are 10 tips to help you choose.

1. Stability

While no one wants to think of their pay deposits disappearing, in the extremely unlikely event that a payroll company goes out of business, it can happen. To help you evaluate the stability of a vendor, you’ll want to find out how long the company has been in business. A proven provider with a tried and tested operating history can help give you peace of mind as you transfer your payroll to a third party. It’s also a good idea to ask for their current SOC report, if they have one, which is an objective, third-party evaluation of a provider’s systems and process.

2. Reputation

To make sure your vendor delivers on what it promises, it’s a good idea to look for a company with a good reputation. As you come up with a list of potential partners, look for reliable, objective reviews on industry news sites or in technology publications like PCMag. It’s also wise to read feedback left by actual users in forums or review sites such as Capterra. To truly understand how it will be to work with a vendor, see if they’ll give you client references you can speak to so you can hear firsthand how the company is to do business with.

3. Location

When you start searching for a payroll vendor, the names of some big, national firms are sure to come up. While you may feel more comfortable working with a large company, you may worry the relationship could be too impersonal and decide one of the biggest payroll providers is not best for your business. Instead, you may want to look for a local vendor that offers more personalized support in case you need it. Be sure to target your search appropriately to avoid having too many options to consider.

4. Available features

If you have more than just basic payroll needs, you’ll want to investigate what other features the payroll provider offers to meet your requirements. For example, you may want mobile access if you’ll frequently be uploading your payroll on the go. Or, depending on your situation, you may want a vendor that also provides expertise to aid in compliance or provide HR assistance or health insurance.

5. Cost

While outsourced payroll pricing depends on a number of factors, you can generally expect to pay about $150-$200 per employee per year. However, each vendor will have slightly different fees and include different services in their base price, for example, tax filing or other ancillary services. In order to make accurate comparisons between companies, you’ll want to understand exactly the total price you’ll be paying so be sure to get a firm quote when you’re investigating your options.

6. Ease of implementation

No matter which payroll provider you choose, getting up and running should be pretty quick. In fact, for a simple payroll, it should take less than a week. Generally, all that’s required is that you sign some documents, provide banking information and details on how you’re on file with the IRS and state tax agencies, and share your employees’ Form W-4 details and direct deposit information. Even though you shouldn’t need to do much on your end, be sure to ask the vendor to walk you through their process and timing so you know what to expect.

7. Ongoing support

Every payroll provider offers customer service, but just how and when they provide it can vary so you’ll want to ask each vendor about their offerings. Support can range from more do-it-yourself (DIY) online resources like how-to videos and searchable knowledge bases to live chats or phone support. Even with live service, however, there may be variations between vendors. For example, some vendors offer phone support through a call center while others provide you a dedicated specialist you can call directly any time you have questions or concerns. Think about what you need and find a vendor whose service approach fits your requirements.

8. System integration

If you’re using existing software systems to run your business like time and attendance or accounting platforms, or even just Excel, you may want to look for a payroll vendor whose system integrates seamlessly. That way, you can be confident your data will flow between the systems to optimize your efficiencies. While most payroll solutions today are plug-and-play, confirm that the systems will pair and how the vendor will handle the transition to make sure things run smoothly with your payroll.

9. Scalability

Depending on your business’ goals, you may find that you have simpler payroll needs now but will require added support as you grow. If you anticipate future expansion such as having employees in multiple states or wanting to offer health insurance to your workers, you’ll want to look for a payroll provider that has the ability to handle these complexities and scale with you to meet your objectives as your business evolves.

10.  Security

With some headline-making security breaches in recent years, including a tax and salary data breach at ADP, you may worry about placing sensitive employee data in someone else’s hands. While this fear is natural, it’s also important to understand that security incidents are very rare. However, you should talk to all potential vendors about what policies and procedures they have in place to protect your data.

How to Choose the Right Payroll Provider

As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when selecting a payroll provider to make sure you have a successful partnership. As a next step, it’s a good idea to narrow your list to two or three potential vendors and compare them in these 10 areas. As you evaluate your choices, Complete Payroll Solutions may be a good fit for you.

We are an ideal choice if you’re looking for:

  • Seamless integration with your other business systems
  • Paperless payroll options that make pay more instantaneous
  • Data security with 24/7 monitoring
  • A stable vendor
  • A team of local payroll specialists
  • Solutions beyond payroll such as outsourced HR and employee benefits

If you think Complete Payroll Solutions is the right choice, take a look at our most popular payroll packages and see which one is the best fit for your business. Still have more to consider? See how we compare against our competitors to help you make a choice that suits your business’ needs.


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