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The Payroll Puzzle: 6 Pieces of the Perfect Provider

Contributor: Felicia Tjong, Payroll Manager

March 24th, 2023 | 4 min. read

By Tony Calavitta

The Payroll Puzzle: 6 Pieces of the Perfect Provider

Payroll processing is the start-to-finish operation through which employees are paid.

While this might sound simple, payroll is a tough-to-solve puzzle – the steps involved in piecing it together from the start to the finish make it a complicated project.

Without the right tools to operate payroll, it becomes a difficult and time-consuming job.

Utilizing a payroll provider can help you avoid the headache of manual processing – all while saving you valuable time and preventing the risk of error.

But, with over 500 payroll software businesses in the United States, how do you select the provider best suited to your business?

Here at Combined, our payroll specialists understand the challenges that processing payroll poses and want to help you overcome them. We have helped countless businesses get their payroll in order using the most efficient service for them.

In this article, we will explore the best functions and features that payroll providers can offer. By the end of this article, you will have the knowledge to prioritize the pieces of the payroll process you value and assemble your perfect provider.

When shopping for a payroll provider, what should you look for? 6 questions to ask

Payroll processing is not one size fits all. So, when shopping for a payroll provider, evaluate your business needs and target your search toward the features that will meet them.

Start by asking these 6 questions.

1. What should your payroll provider do?

Your payroll provider should streamline your processing.

When processing is not streamlined, there is more room for error.

Payroll processing encompasses a wide array of detailed tasks including:

  • Accurate timekeeping
  • Updated tax deduction calculation
  • Data entry

With the many different tasks involved, there is room for error. And, such errors lead to fines and penalties.

These errors damage the reputation of your business.

They also cause your employees to question your reliability.

In 2021, Intuit reported that 25% of all employees in the US have experienced paycheck errors and that 49% of these employees begin to search for a new job after two paycheck errors.

You can avoid these costly mistakes by outsourcing your payroll to a provider with a centralized database. A provider can eliminate this margin of error by utilizing software that consolidates all payroll tasks.

As a result, you can be confident that your payroll is processed with compliance and your employees can be confident in your business practices.

2. How can using a payroll provider be an asset to your business?

Your payroll provider should be convenient for you and your employees.

Without a convenient payroll system in place, you will waste time and money.

As a business, your qualified and capable employees are valuable – their time and the work they complete with it is key to success and business growth.

Yet, the weight of the tedious and time-consuming payroll process often falls on employees who could better contribute to another area of their department.

By using a convenient payroll provider, you can better allocate where your employees spend their time and enhance the output of your business.

3. Can you ask your payroll provider for help?

Your payroll provider should be ready and willing to extend expert customer support.

Without access to customer support, payroll technology can be difficult to operate.

When searching for a payroll processing provider, it is important to consider the availability of a customer support team or representative.

Payroll, being the complex, software-based service that it is, should require a point-of-contact support representative who is familiar with your specific business and can knowledgeably assist with any questions, concerns, or IT problems.

By having a dedicated representative, your business will develop an effective and individual processing strategy with your payroll provider.

4. Does your payroll provider offer what you need?

Your payroll provider should personalize their services to meet the expectations of your business.

No two businesses are exactly the same. So, why should payroll processing protocol be? It shouldn’t and, with the right payroll provider, it does not have to be.

A personalized payroll program will make sure you receive all available services that can benefit your business.

With advances in payroll processing software, providers can offer an ever-growing list of services including accurate time tracking, direct deposit capability, payroll reporting, payroll integrations, tax filing, and that is just to name a few.

Providers can also tailor your service to your business needs and should account for the size of your business, your desired cost of service, and your necessary payroll features.

Consider a payroll provider to be an extension of your business and expect, through a personalized plan, seamless integration.

5. Is your payroll provider reliable?

Your payroll provider should be reliable and promise a long-term partnership.

Without the promise of longevity, you might have to switch providers repeatedly.

Because finding and integrating a new provider is an involved process, doing it over and over again is a hassle.

When selecting a payroll provider, you should anticipate a long and successful partnership – the expected duration of the relationship should factor into your selection decision.

To evaluate this expectation, you should ask these relevant questions:

  • Can your payroll provider sustain your business growth?
  • Does your payroll provider have a diverse catalog of clientele?
  • Is your payroll provider reputable?

If you answered yes to each of these questions, you have found a reliable, long-term payroll processing provider.

6. Will you and your employees have access to payroll information?

Your payroll provider should offer you easy access to payroll information.

Without it, you will be tasked with organizing and administering this information, as necessary.

Allowing a payroll provider to do this for you can expedite the process.

It is also important for you to establish employee satisfaction and one simple way to do that is to utilize a payroll provider that offers easy-to-use, accessible employee software.

Whether it be immediate access to pay stubs, the ability to self-retrieve tax forms, or mobile documentation and reporting, autonomy in payroll boosts morale.

Choose the right payroll provider for your business

Selecting the right payroll provider can drastically improve your business. But with so many available options, making that choice can seem overwhelming. But it does not have to be.

From this article, you now know which 6 major features to look for when comparing payroll providers.

Whether you value streamlined processing and customer support or a personalized and convenient program, our payroll specialists can help you piece together your perfect provider.

Here at Combined, we have helped a wide variety of businesses find a payroll provider with the features best fit for them.

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Schedule an appointment with a payroll specialist to find the right provider for you.

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If you are not yet ready to speak with a specialist, you may find these resources helpful:


This article is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.