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How Startups And Small Business Can Assess Payroll Software

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Did you know startups and small businesses spend at least 16 hours a month on payroll administration?

Whether you’re starting a business or you’re a seasoned small business owner, you’ll be aware of how much time you and your team are spending on payroll management. It’s not only the time spent on the payroll that concerns SMEs but also the errors made with manual systems.

Some reports suggest as much as 32% of small business have, at some stage, made a payroll error, including workers underpaid. The good news is online payroll systems can improve accuracy and reduce the time spent on payroll management.

There is a lot of competition in online accounting and payroll solutions, and it’s easy to be swayed on one system with the brand’s slick marketing and sales process. To put the control in your hands, seek to learn as much as you can about accounting and payroll software before you get locked into the sales process with a provider.

Here’s how you can prepare for a payroll software demo, compare features and also assess the provider too so you can secure a solution that’s right for your business requirement now and in the future.

Core Features

Most payroll systems have a core set of features that are a prerequisite for most businesses and they include:

  • Time management
  • Tax filing and updates
  • Reports, Forms, Payslips
  • Employee updates, leave requests, incentives management

There are many more features included in payroll software, and you will need to assess them too. Ensure the provider is committed to the system’s future development and have a mobile app that’s got great reviews. The mobile app should be available for download in Apple and Google. Let’s take a look at some of the core features of payroll software that will be part of a demo.


Even if your business is currently small and you thus have no hourly employees, odds are you want your business to grow over time. That means there may come a day when you hire employees who are paid by the hour instead of receiving an annual salary.

You need to balance protecting your business’ finances while also ensuring you’re properly compensating employees for their time using a payroll system with timekeeping features.

If you already use a separate timekeeping system, your payroll software should at least be able to integrate with it, so you don’t have to manually transfer timekeeping information from one system to another.

Automatic tax updates

You likely already know it’s useful to work with a payroll system with built-in tax tables. However, you might also know that the tax laws affecting businesses can and do change from year to year.

While you should strive to learn about these changes and their impact on your business when they happen, you should also save yourself time using payroll software with tax tables that automatically update when changes to the applicable tax laws are made. Along with saving you time, such features will also promote legal compliance.

Employee self-service

This is a critical feature that many business owners don’t consider when demoing new payroll software. Essentially, you should implement a payroll system that gives employees some freedom to update their profiles (such as updating bank account information) and retrieving important tax documents independently.

The value of a strong company culture can’t be overstated. Businesses with strong and positive cultures tend to enjoy high employee retention, engagement, and productivity.

Unfortunately, many business owners fail to cultivate a strong culture simply because those directly responsible for making cultural changes and improvements tend to be HR employees. Often, they’re too busy handling administrative tasks and thus can’t focus on company culture.

That doesn’t need to be the case. If you use payroll software with employee self-service features, your HR team will be less burdened by administrative tasks and will instead have more time to develop a culture that drives success.

Mobile solutions

This is another significant feature that’s nevertheless easy to overlook or forget to consider when demoing new payroll software.

Regardless of your industry, if you’re like most business owners today, there may be times when you’re completing business tasks on your mobile device. Some of these tasks may be related to payroll. As such, you need a payroll system with a mobile app that allows you to access and use key features on a smartphone.

Again, this is not an exhaustive list. You also must consider your business’ specific needs when demoing payroll systems. In general, though, no matter what type of business you own, you’ll benefit from choosing a payroll solution with these capabilities.

Are you interested in more articles for your new business? See this one on product/market fit.