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Software to make Payroll a breeze

Updated: 3 days ago

Welcome to this article's edition on the Software to make Payroll a breeze

In case you missed last week’s edition CFO Tech Stack: Invoicing, you can read that right here.

Today, we’ll discuss payroll software, and our top picks to allow you to get your employees onboarded and paid with ease.

Let’s begin!

POEs, Payroll, and HRIS's - Software to make Payroll a breeze
POEs, Payroll, and HRIS's illustration - Software to make Payroll a breeze

Recall that there are 2 types of payroll providers: a PEO, and a Non PEO.

A PEO (which stands for Professional Employer Organization) in essence takes over as the employer for all of your employees, allowing them to sign a power of attorney for any state tax notices & filings, and to negotiate better rates for health insurance and other benefits.

PEOs remove a lot of the headaches with managing payroll, but they also come with a more expensive price tag.

Another term you may hear is a Human Resource Information System or HRIS for short.

HRIS platforms are more geared towards managing a wide variety of HR functions beyond just payroll such as:

- Time tracking

- Performance management

- Regulatory compliance

A company may opt to have 2 solutions: 1 payroll platform, and 1 HRIS. This is especially relevant as the company scales and introduces multiple payroll platforms for managing payroll across several jurisdictions.

A HRIS will allow you to consolidate this information into one source of truth, and may or may not offer payroll processing capabilities.

Conversely, payroll platforms may offer many features similar to what you would find in an HRIS - it all depends on the platform and the scope of HR support that you are looking for.

Now that we’ve gotten past some definitions, let’s talk about what to look for in a payroll provider.

What to look for in a payroll solution - Software to make Payroll a breeze
What to look for in a payroll solution illustration - Software to make Payroll a breeze

Recall from our earlier series on structuring your finance & accounting function how sensitive a payroll function can be.

When set up incorrectly, employees are not onboarded properly, paychecks are not processed correctly, and you leave yourself vulnerable to disgruntled employees.

At a minimum, a payroll solution should allow you to:

- Onboard employees & contractors

This involves not only collecting their information around their pay & address, but also collecting relevant information should as their emergency contact details, their identification, and other items that you’ll want to have on hand for each hire.

Ideally, this platform allows you to invite the employee to get onboarded directly, rather than requiring you to handle all the work on your own.

- Process payments

This one may be obvious but recall that many HRIS platforms don’t offer payment processing.

Additionally, payments should not be extended just to employees. You’ll also want to understand whether your solution can facilitate international payments, payments to contractors, and autopay (this can save you from missed paychecks which can be really chaotic to deal with).

- Support

This is a notorious area that oftentimes causes people to abandon a payroll solution and switch to another. I haven’t found one payroll solution notoriously bad, and find that even the best ones have their moments & poor customer experiences.

At the same time, understanding who your point of contact is, and how often you can reach their support desk should be a big consideration in choosing the ideal solution.

- Easy-to-use platform

Payroll platforms had a really bad reputation in terms of the level of ease in using their platform. Many platforms have since emerged that make it very seamless to handle what you need to do, but there still lie struggles & challenges in many of them that you will want to be mindful of before you sign up.

- Fees

What good would a software recommendation be if it didn’t discuss the importance of keeping costs low? Understand the nature of the fees you will pay - most payroll solutions charge per user, and PEOs are typically more expensive than non-PEOs.

- Additional features

Most payroll solutions these days allow you to cover a wide range of HR solutions, such as:

- Time tracking

- Expense reimbursements

- Health benefits

- 401k

- Employment verification

and much more.

Our picks for the payroll solutions - Software to make Payroll a breeze

Now that we’ve gone through the things to look for in a payroll solution, let’s discuss our top picks.

Tied for #1 - JustWorks & Rippling

Our picks for the payroll solutions, JustWorks and Rippling - Software to make Payroll a breeze

JustWorks & Rippling are 2 of the most common platforms that we use with our clients, and both offer options for both PEO and non-PEO.

We’ve found their platforms to be modern, easy to use, and affordable.

#2: Gusto

Our picks for the payroll solutions, Gusto - Software to make Payroll a breeze

Gusto is another great option, as it is both modern and affordable. Keep in mind that at the time of this writing, Gusto is not a PEO, so if your needs are more robust, you may be better off with JustWorks or Rippling.

Payroll platforms are designed to do 2 things:

  1. Keep you in compliance

  2. Make your life easier

Choose the right platform, and you’ll sleep better at night - choose the wrong one, and you’ll be left with a huge headache! It’s also worth mentioning that migrating to a new payroll provider can be a long and tedious process, so if you are thinking about getting set up with a new platform, be prepared for a large amount of work!

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