How to Automate the Payroll Process

Managing payroll can be a tedious endeavor, whether you run a small business or a larger company. Between ever-changing tax codes, expenses and (if you have out-of-area workers) navigating other states’ tax codes, there are just too many important aspects to consider.

Fortunately, technology has created a solution. Many businesses have opted to work with automated payroll systems. It is a fast, simple and often cost-effective way to handle a time-consuming process that is essential to all modern businesses.

Here are four great ways for you to get started with your own automation and better optimize your payroll process:

1. Research Payroll Programs

One of the easiest and most widely available options for payroll automation is payroll software. Though formerly more common among larger established businesses, this tool is becoming increasingly popular with even the smallest of businesses. Options are varied; the functionality and features that come with the software will depend upon the payroll software vendor.

The primary goal of payroll software is to track, manage and automatically pay your employees. Even the simplest of today’s options often come packaged with the ability to automatically output required tax documents.

Some of the more sophisticated programs can be configured to integrate with existing systems and may include various modules. Which software you pick depends on your needs; therefore, it is important to research and compare options thoroughly.

2. Take Advantage of Free Trials

Most of the payroll software options on the market today come with free trials. These functional previews allow business owners to debut the system to employees and gauge their effectiveness in the workplace without spending anything. That way you can test out specific features and see if they are right for you before investing in an expensive tool.

3. It Might Be Time to Upgrade

If you already have an existing payroll software, it might be time to update it. This is especially true if you have older on-site software that might have been neglected over the years in favor of more pressing matters. In addition to such resources being outdated on the legal end, their inner workings and implementation may not be as robust as newer versions.

You might benefit from ditching the old system and upgrading to a newer one! Prolific advances in technology mean that many payroll software options now come with the ability to automatically pay into medical insurance, 401(k) accounts and more.

4. Consider Utilizing Spreadsheets

This option may not be for every business, and it may be more complicated to manage than the above choice of using software. If you plan on scaling rapidly, you might want to avoid this. Nonetheless, this method aligns closely with old-school manual bookkeeping, though it has the benefit of being able to automatically calculate things like hours, rates and more.

In the most basic sense, this is automation. You’re no longer figuring things out manually, and this is a perfectly acceptable option for small businesses with few employees. If you’re in a bit of a bind and looking to shave some time off for your HR team, training them to use and maintain a fairly simple spreadsheet might be the best way to go.

Verdict: Automating Payroll Processes Makes a Difference

There is no denying that when you learn how to automate payroll processes, productivity soars. Whatever option you choose, it is important to ensure that it is the right one for you. Do your research, double-check your choices and ask for input from your staff.

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