The Value of Online Payroll Services for Small Businesses
Running a small business is not an easy task, especially when it comes to payroll. Each year, many small companies are fined for issues concerning payroll. That’s why many business owners are subscribing to one of the online payroll services available throughout the country.
Keeping track of payroll, as well as other adjacent aspects that might come with it (for example, health care and retirement plans for employees) can be both time- and money-consuming. Filing tax forms and doing all data entry tasks mean wasted time for the average small-business owner, time that could be spent on actually making money to pay taxes. On the other hand, having in-house payroll trained employees can mean costs that a small-size business cannot afford. That’s way online payroll services for small businesses are expanding each year.
Any payroll service plan should do three things: pay employees, pay payroll taxes, and file payroll tax forms on time. Luckily, today, there are many online payroll services for small businesses who would gladly take such burdens off anyone’s shoulders – and they are one click away.
All online payroll services for small businesses will assure that employees and contractors are paid on time and that authorities – local or federal – won’t fine the company. Some will even stipulate that in case the company is fined, they will take responsibility for errors.
Although most online payrolls promise many things, not all of them are created equally. Besides promising to make all the payments required for a company’s well-being, a small-business owner needs to research online payroll services in order to find the best solution for his or her company’s needs.
Who is liable when a mistake occurs? How much, and for what, are they charging? Is the interface user-friendly? Is the solution integrable with the business’s accounting software? These are just some of the question that a buyer might ask. In the end, what every business owner wants when it comes to online payroll services, is that is easy to use and solve his or her problems.
Top 2017 Online Payroll Providers
For 2017 and beyond, three payroll companies stand out in the business of online payroll services – Gusto, Intuit Payroll, and OnPay. Each comes with its own benefits. However, as mentioned before, deciding which one of them would be best for a business depends on the employer’s needs. For example, while Gusto has a user-friendly interface from all of the three, it’s not the most cost-effective. Moreover, people who have reviewed the product say that Gusto is suited for medium-sized companies and for corporations.
On the other hand, OnPay might appear to be better suited as a provider of online payroll services for small businesses. Although it offers great online payroll services, its interface lags behind the other two. Intuit Payroll, while having a user-friendly interface and being suited for small business, isn’t the most cost-effective product on the market either.
Leaving aside our own personal tastes and opinions, we wish to present the three online payroll services in a non-biased way. We will take into account different criteria, such as costs, liability for errors, phone and online assistance, and other aspects.
Every small-business owner needs to pick up the offer that best suits his or her needs. However, the business owner needs to be informed which online payroll services are available and which are the best according to some objective standards.
Before diving into the details of the best online payroll providers, here’s a table where you can view various characteristics being compared.
|Pricing||$39 per month – flat fee then per employee cost||Basic: $25 per month, Advanced: $99 per month; additional costs per employee||$39.95 per month for 10 employees; $1 per month per additional employee|
|Cost Per Employee||$6 per employee||$2 per employee||$1 per employee on 11+ employees|
|Tax Support||Included||$14.99 per month plus $3.99 per 1099 form after 3 forms||Included|
|Tax Guarantee||No||Only on full services||Yes|
|Software Integrations||Integrates with leading online accounting software, including Freshbooks, Xero, and Quickbooks||Integrates with Quickbooks||Integrates with Quickbooks or Xero|
|Sign Up Today||Check It Out||Check It Out||Check It Out|
Formally named ZenPayroll, Gusto offers online payroll services, as well as solutions for health benefits and workers’ comp. It’s probably the fastest growing company within the niche, more and more businesses turn to their services. It comes with many features and has a user-friendly interface. Besides the interface for desktops, it also comes with a mobile interface suited for today’s digitalized world.
Easy to use, it comes with helpful tips for you to introduce new employees and perform different business tasks. Moreover, each employee and contractor has his or her own personalized account. For the employer, this means that transferring data of a newly recruited person can be managed through Gusto’s easy-to-use interface.
Gusto charges, monthly, $39 base price and an extra $6 for each employee and contractor. Although not expensive, it should be noted that Gusto has been continually increasing its prices. From $25 base price two years ago to $29 one year ago, the company now charges $39. The price per employee has been increasing, also. If Gusto charged $4 for the first ten employees and $2 for what went beyond that number, now they are charging $6, regardless of the number of employees a company might have.
Concerning taxes, all of them can be filed automatically, both state and federal ones. If there is a problem with taxes, and it’s their fault, not yours, they will take responsibility and try to correct it. However, the downside is that Gusto doesn’t guarantee for its tax service.
Their staff is friendly and offers support to clients throughout the working days, from 6 A.M. to 6 P.M., by phone and e-mail. Unfortunately, no support can be offered during weekends.
It is worth noting that even though Gusto is not part of the Better Business Bureau, they have had only four complaints issued against them. This clearly busts their credibility, and tell something about their seriousness when it comes to clients.
Like the other two, Intuit is a cloud-based payroll website, so there’s no need to install any new software. It has a user-friendly interface, and it comes with a wizard who will assist the customer throughout the setup process. Intuit Payroll also has a mobile app for iOS and Android devices that can be both accessible by employers and employees. Besides being easy-to-use, it is easily integrated with most accounting software available today. However, it works best with QuickBooks. From all the account software available, this one is recommended with Intuit.
Unlike Gusto, Intuit offers a variety of online payroll plans for businesses. A basic service plan costs $20 in the first six months. After that, the price fee increases to $25. Intuit charges an extra $2 for each employee. The enhanced service plan, $29.5, offers different tax services. The client can automatically fill in all the federal and most state payroll tax forms. It is also possible to pay these taxes electronically. For the full service plan, a client must pay $79 in the first six months, after that the prices jumps to $99. With the full plan, a small-business owner will be able to receive all services concerning federal and state tax forms.
When it comes to payment, the process is quick and simple. After the setup had been configured, the user must select the type of pay run: regular, bonus or commission checks, or fringe adjustment. The payroll preview will appear after clicking the Create Paychecks button. The paycheck will be authorized after the user presses the approval button. The downside is that only after 3 business days, after the payroll had been submitted, will the employer receive his or her payment.
Concerning customer services, they are receptive and patient to hear problems. Besides offering support by phone and email, they have a live chat. Like Gusto, they can only be reached Monday to Friday, between 6 A.M and 6 P.M.
OnPay gives free support, practices low prices, and offers unlimited payrolls. Their online payroll services are idyllic for small businesses; however, their product ranks lowest when it comes to interface. They managed to improve the interface, but unfortunately, it still lags behind those of their competitors. Having a mobile app doesn’t even come into discussion. Moreover, OnPay lacks a wizard to guide users throughout the different processes that any user of an online payroll service needs to go through. This is definitely time-consuming although they offer assistance and will perform the initial data entry.
When it comes to pricing, they have a fair offer – $39.5 for a company with ten employees. For more than ten employees, the business owner will have to pay $1 extra for every new person brought into the firm. The downside is that a monthly direct-deposit fee of $8 needs to be paid.
Concerning taxes, OnPay handles all payroll tax responsibilities. They guarantee that all tax filings will be paid accurately and on time. If there are any problems concerning payment and taxes, the small-business owner will not be liable in case a mistake occurs.
The customer service staff is friendly and will help with anything concerning online payroll services. Besides offering to perform data entry and to configure the payroll, they are the only company that offers support on weekends. From Monday to Friday, OnPay offers customer service between 9 A.M and 8 P.M (ET). Also, between 9 A.M and 8 P.M during weekend, the company offers emergency services for their clients.
The Smart Hack
There are many online payroll services today. Ever since the working force has migrated from the real world into the realm of the virtual one, so did the companies that offer payroll solutions. As we have seen, each company comes with its pros and cons. What matters is that you find the one that fits your needs and possibilities. Online payroll services for small businesses exist, some with better offers than other.
Gusto offers the best overall service for the price. If you can afford it then OnPay offers some additional features that might be worth it to you. We do not recommend Intuit Payroll unless you rely heavily on QuickBooks for your accounting. While you can’t go wrong with any of the 3 services, there is a best one for your business depending on your situation.