As the job market changes, more and more companies are finding that payroll is becoming an extremely challenging task to perform. The mounds of paperwork and huge amounts of data that have to be processed and analyzed often make payroll a complex and thankless task to perform. However, thanks to new payroll software programs, the job of payroll is becoming much easier and more efficient. So, if your company’s payroll is getting out of hand, think about purchasing some payroll software.
What is Payroll Software?
Payroll software encompasses a wide variety of computer applications that can help you organize and process your employees’ salary information. Any kind of computer application that you use to help you with your company’s payroll is defined as payroll software. Payroll software can consist of a simple spreadsheet or it can encompass an entire system of software applications. Software payroll has become extremely popular over the past five years and is now used by a large number of companies, both small and large.
Why Use Payroll Software?
With an increased number of companies using temporary, contract, or short-term workers, payroll has become a much more complicated task. Payroll software eliminates paper work by allowing you to automate most of the payroll process. Payroll software also decreases the amount of time you need to spend performing payroll tasks and increases accuracy and efficiency.
Types of Payroll Software
There are dozens of different types of payroll software that your company can use to help make the payroll process more efficient. Whichever type of software you choose, be sure to pick one that will meet the needs of your organization. Payroll software is generally classified according to three main types:
Off-the-Shelf: Off-the-shelf payroll software is available at any computer or software outlet. This type of software has been pre-designed according to a specific template, and is not customizable. It can be purchased at low cost and easily installed on your computer. It is especially suited for small businesses or home use.
Multi-User Customized Software: Multi-user customized software is usually designed for medium-sized or larger companies. Designed by a software company with your organization’s needs in mind, it usually consists of various applications that can be linked to the different departments in your company. Customized software generally costs much more than off-the-shelf payroll software.
Web-Based: Web-based payroll software consists of applications that can make use of the Internet. This is often used by large companies who need to access online bank accounts. Web-based payroll software makes tasks like taxation and direct deposit much quicker and easier.
Features of Payroll Software
The features of your payroll software system depend upon the type of system you choose and whether or not you wish to have it customized to your workforce. Payroll software systems can accomplish almost any task related to payroll. Here are some of the more common features of a payroll software system:
- Tracking of employee hours
- Calculation and printing of paychecks on a weekly, bimonthly, or monthly schedule
- Direct depositing
- Monitoring of sick and vacation pay
- Monitoring of yearly tax rates
- Monitoring of job pay history
- Completion of applicable tax deductions
- Electronic filing of taxes
- Production of year end reports
Most payroll software packages are compatible with existing accounting software packages or can be specially formatted to work with your accounting programs.
Payroll Software Support
You may be a little intimidated about using a fully computerized payroll system, especially if you aren’t that familiar with these types of computer applications. However, most software companies will provide you with good technical support to help get your payroll software up and running. Software support often includes:
- onsite tutorials
- telephone support
- online support
Costs of Payroll Software
Payroll software tends to range in price, depending upon the type of software you choose and the scope of that software. Off-the-shelf programs are often the least expensive and usually cost around $500. Customized payroll software will be much more expensive, but can be worth the money, particularly if your company is large and you have complex payroll needs. Customized payroll software can be upwards of $20,000.
Choosing Payroll Software
If you decide to implement a payroll software system, be sure to take into account your company’s individual needs. Be sure to consider:
- the size of your organization
- the number of employees you have
- the number of departments you have
These factors will play a key role in determining the type of payroll software system that you choose.