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A Guide to HR Payroll Software


Reliable, user-friendly HR payroll software is essential to any business.  It allows you to keep track of wages, salaries, and concordant taxes and benefits, so that you know exactly what you owe and what you can expect to owe down the line.  Let’s look at the advantages of the right program, and what you should watch out for when you’re selecting the best software for your needs.

Benefits

Proper bookkeeping is invaluable, and payroll software helps minimize errors that could lead to accounting headaches down the line.  It also assures that you can keep a clear picture of what’s going out and when, allowing you to plan effectively for the future.  Keeping a record of your staff’s benefits and tax schedule makes your annual filing much simpler, and ensures transparency for your employees.

Pitfalls

No one wants to make a mistake in payroll, and having software that functions reliably and transparently is crucial.  Payroll programs that are too complicated for your needs can lead to confusion and ultimately error, and programs that are too simple can leave out information that can be important in keeping precise financial records.  So make sure to choose the right tool for your needs and be sure to familiarize yourself with it before you start using it.  Keeping a system in place can assure that you don’t waste too much time and get down all the data you need.

Selecting the Right Software

Most small business payroll programs are priced in the range of $200, but they can vary in quality and function.  QuickBooks is an industry leader for this category, but Microsoft Office Accounting and Peachtree offer similar services.  It’s a good investment if you have three or fewer employees and would prefer to do the accounting yourself instead of outsourcing to a payroll company.  At this level the functions are limited, but reliable and easy to use.  You can track employee vacation and sick time, apply W-2, 1099, and 401(k) forms, and have access to applicable tax tables.

Not as user-friendly – but far more robust – are such accounting suites as Cougar Mountain and NetSuite, which provide sophisticated accounting products in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP).  They’re priced in the range of $1500.  Payroll features include electronic transfers and paycheck printing, as well as precise employee records.  This kind of program is most useful if you have a dedicated accounting department, or a CPA on staff.

Conclusion

If you’re a business owner who would prefer not to outsource your payroll needs, the software can provide a reliable and worry-free way of assuring that your employees are paid in a timely fashion, and that you know what to expect come tax season.  Be sure to stay on top of it and to systematize the process to ensure that no mistakes are made, because no one wants to run into a salary problem.  When choosing a program, make sure it’s one that’s right for your needs, and don’t make things more (or less!) complicated than they have to be.

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