Payroll Services

Payroll services & software

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Keeping up with W-2’s, paychecks, taxes, insurance and more can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned payroll professionals. Choosing to outsource instead often multiplies the confusion. Our HCM software management system and INSOURCED team of HR professionals relieve the frustration of payroll processing. Using our platform means you have the ability to easily communicate with other departments and have access to your own team of local Wisconsin business administrators, ready to support you in every way possible.

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Payroll Service Software and Support

This podcast was recorded at Connect & Simplify HQ in Wisconsin. We help hundreds of businesses (nationwide) with their payroll service and organizational needs. For many businesses in the 50-250 employee range, Connect & Simplify is a profitable or more effective alternative to full-time employees dedicating all or some of their time to managing the chaotic and complex problems of payroll service and organization.

Moving Your Organization Off Internal Payroll Software

From the Home Base in Brookfield Wisconsin, welcome to the latest episode of Inside Connect and Simplify™. Roger here, a human capital management consultant with The Benefit Companies. And today Kathy's back again, she's vice president of the Benefit Companies, and we're going to be talking about payroll.

And mostly, you know, your employees don't care about the technology, they're only concerned that they get paid on the correct day, and it's the right amount. But that's not what we're gonna be talking about today. We're gonna be talking about how do you know when it's time to move off of doing it yourself? Or having an account? When's the right time to be doing payroll? And do you want to hand it off to a professional? We're going to talk about some of those things today. So Kathy, thanks for being here again. Appreciate you.

How Some Companies Handle Payroll Support

Absolutely. Thank you for having me.

So we're gonna hit three basic topics, we'll start with you know, you're doing your payroll in-house. And this can be a company that's just starting or has been around for a while, it doesn't matter. When I talk about that we see this all the time, folks are coming to us asking questions because they're doing payroll analysis and is now the time to move you move off of that.

Yeah, definitely. This is such a great topic. And I'm so happy to be talking about this today. Because we do get calls from companies that are trying to decide if now is the right time to outsource their payroll. So I always start the conversation by asking them what are you currently doing? How are you currently handling payroll? A good number of them, as you suggested, whether they're smaller in size, or whether they're more of a startup organization, usually start doing payroll what we call in-house meaning that they're doing it themselves. So what does that look like for companies that do payroll in-house?

They're collecting the timesheets from the employees or gathering the hours, if you will, adding up the hours worked. They're calculating the payroll themselves. They're cutting the checks, whether they're doing it on the computer or they're getting out their company checkbook and their handwriting the payroll check to the employee, and dispersing it. Usually what they have to do is gather all of the calculations behind their payroll and get it over to their accountant who generally will do the quarterly tax filings.

When The Right Time is to Source Payroll Software

So that's kind of the process that we typically see when a company is doing payroll in-house. And I think the short answer to the question, when do you know it's the right time to start looking, is when you have a certain level of complication. And that level of complication can be as simple as we've hired a good number of employees. And it's now getting onerous and very time-consuming for us to be doing this manually. Or it could be that we're now expanding our operations, whatever that may be for the business into other states. One thing I think is really important is we usually do some education when we talk to clients. If you do have employees that live and work in another state, then you do need to be familiar with the rules and the regulations within that state.

Dealing With Organization Complexity in Payroll

As far as how you pay your employees, for example, there are states out there that have state-specific taxes, we see it in the form of maybe a transit tax, or a paid family leave tax. There can be all types of certain regional taxes that can add a level of complexity that you may not see in the state that you started in. We also see local taxes.

This is sort of a new phenomenon that we're seeing spread across the United States, whereby municipalities and local governments are adding taxes into payroll. So if you have an employee that lives in a specific county, within a tax or a municipality, Cook County is a good example, in Chicago Illinois, there's a level of complication there. So you might hire somebody to do sales for you that lives in Cook County, but your business is in Wisconsin, you need to be familiar with the complexity of local taxes. So that's all levels of complication that can make it challenging for a company that is doing it in-house.

Offloading Payroll Support

And maybe this is not the norm, maybe this is the exception. But you know, one of the clients I brought on not too long ago, he was the guy who said, I'm starting up a company, I don't want to do any of this stuff. And in fact, I don't even want to learn it. So when it's time for us to go, you guys are going to do it. So I'm assuming you see that once in a while too.

Definitely. I bet that half the amount of time a company will come to us ready to outsource their payroll because it's just gotten to a level of complexity that they know they're not doing things correctly. They worry about the compliance aspect. But then the other half of the time it’s “Hey, I just don't have time to do this. I'm an entrepreneur, I need to focus on growing my business, and what my business does, I don't want to handle the administration of it.”

Dealing With Technicalities in Payroll Software

And you know, that's another thing. Sometimes you can have good intentions as a small business like “Hey we have 10 employees, I can do this myself. Pretty straightforward. Once I get our state unemployment tax rate, I know how to tax the employees.” But then all of a sudden, you might get hit with some garnishments, you might hire some employees that have child support orders, or other types of tax levies, that you need to now garnish their wages and take that money and send it to those authorities. And, again, level of complication and expertise, right? What if you get that wrong, you don't want to get that wrong. So those are the types of things that a company is gonna want to think about.

Accountants Acting as a Payroll Service Organization

Okay, so that’s again a high-level overview of folks doing it in their own house. Another aspect of this we run into a lot is that they have some of their professionals lined up, and one of them might be an accountant and an accountant might be doing that work for them. Now we know accountants are very good at what they do. But their expertise is not payroll. So talk about what you see when you run into that.

Yeah, definitely. So I would say a good amount of time when we start talking to a company and they're not using what we would call a payroll bureau, which is a formal company that manages payroll for many organizations, if they're not doing it themselves, then we see typically that their accountant is doing it. And you're right. Most accountants that I have talked to are not necessarily excited about doing payroll. They do it as a service for their clients, but it's not really the core business that they are in, generally speaking. 

The other thing about accountants is that it's expensive to have your accountant do payroll. Typically, they'll charge you their accountant rates to process payroll and really what you want to be paying them for is their tax expertise. And for him to help with the tax filings. When you have payroll, I think most people think, “Oh, I gotta pay my employees.” This is true and important and you want to issue that paycheck.

Appointing Payroll Software Experts for Complex Tax Filings

But then right after you issue the paychecks, you have to file certain tax filings both with the state and federal government. So here in the state of Wisconsin, for example, you have to file a state unemployment report. You've got your quarterly what we call the 941 and 940 reports that have to go to the federal government. The 940 is your federal income tax withholding of Medicare and Social Security. And the 940 is the federal unemployment tax that you have to pay.

So making sure you comply with those filings and the frequency that your company needs to adhere to for those filings is very important. And then, of course, you have at the end of the year, all of the year-end reports that have to get filed and the W2’s that have to get issued to your employees so that they can, in turn, do their tax returns. So what we typically see is the accountants helping with the quarterlies. In that regard, if they are doing the payroll, they'll do the payroll and the quarterlies. And then, of course, the W2’s, or what we might see as a combination of what we talked about first, which is the small business doing it, the paychecks themselves, and then the accountants doing the quarterly filings and W2’s.

How Accountants Handle Payroll Support

So yes, as you would expect since they're tax experts, you would expect that the quarterly year-end stuff is all gonna be spot on. But maybe, as you mentioned, first of all, they're probably doing it as a courtesy. They're not experts in it. It's still probably a very manual process for them because it's still a manual process for the employer. And maybe there's a greater expense involved with that, too. I mean I know how we price what we do and I know how other companies go about it. I have no idea what accountants charge.

Yeah, definitely. Well, accountants are our tax experts. So they're going to charge more than typically a payroll Bureau is going to charge. So you're right about that. You know, a lot of times accountants and I should say a lot of times fairly frequently we will see accountants use payroll software if they are providing that service for a client. So they may use a payroll platform, but then what they're going to do is wrap their services around that and charge accordingly.

Frustrations with Payroll Software Providers

Okay, so we have an idea if you're doing it in the house when you might want to potentially move off of that. And maybe you know, when the accountant’s doing it, we get to a point say “Hey, what then are the experts?” It's expensive and it's time to move off of that. What about if you're with a payroll provider now, and they're just not meeting what you need for service expectations? Or, it can be price or whatever it is? What do you see when we're running into that? Because I know, we run into that as well.

You bet. This is the third category of prospects that I usually talk to when they call us. The third category is that they're usually a national payroll provider, I'll call them the big box national payroll companies. Everybody's heard of these major payroll companies. It can be the pace of the world, the Paycom’s, the Paycor’s, Paylocity’s, or ADP. And typically, what we'll find is with smaller businesses, sometimes there can be frustrations with the service. So generally speaking, those larger national payroll companies are in the payroll business. They know the payroll business, they understand it. You're going to hire them, they're going to do the paychecks, they're going to do the quarterly filings, and they're going to do the year-end W2’s.

Customer Service Struggles with Payroll Support

They'll be able to handle all your garnishments, usually state new hire reporting, which is another function of payroll. But when there are questions or something is not right, you as the small business need to get a hold of them to try to work through a question. Generally, if you're going to put in a request via a ticket or a number, you're either going to have to wait for somebody to get back to you, or you're gonna have to wait on hold to talk to somebody. And typically, the frustration that I hear from small businesses is they just don't have time for that. They can be on hold for a long time, or it could take up to 48 hours for somebody to get back to them. It's never the same person, they have to re-explain the story five times to get the answer. Time is money. And when you're in a small business and you're wearing several different hats, it can be hard on the business when you're chewing up that amount of time.

Our Increased Local Support Over Other Payroll Software Options

So do you want to just take a short second talk about when you said service, and it could be four or five different people who don't know the business? Just give an overview of how we do that slightly differently?

Yeah, so really, I like our solution the best of course, right. We are what I would call a local payroll provider, but we're in the business of doing payrolls. So we do all the things that the big national companies are going to do but we give you that local support. And we understand very well, the tax landscape here in the state of Wisconsin, as well as in all 50 states because we have companies doing payroll in all 50 states. So what's wonderful about our team is that it's made up of individuals who come from the large national payroll bureaus, and local or regional payroll companies. As well as large local businesses that have done payroll themselves. 

Payroll Support Tailored to Your Organization

So the level of expertise is very high with our team. And what's wonderful is when a company comes on board with us, we assign them a specific representative to work with. And that payroll representative gets to know the company and they get to know the employees of the company. The business can email or call that representative at any time, and get consistent answers and help because that's what's important. You know, it doesn't always run smoothly from week to week, you need experts.

By name, we're setting them up with the company. We're figuring out what their expectation is for service, that callback, and that answer. And we have a dedicated person who understands the company. So it smooths out that whole process of getting through the question and getting to the answer exactly what you were talking about. 

Have an Experienced Payroll Support Organization on your Side

Exactly. Nice. Okay, well, so we've kind of touched on three basic areas. And we've seen all of them. People doing their work in-house, having their accountant do it, or having a provider and the provider is just not measuring up. We've seen all those and we've handled all those. We've been doing this for 27 years now.

Yeah. So we've seen most of that. And that's how we approach taking care of folks who want to make a move. Thanks for being here today. We're going to talk about some more things down the road. But today, again, a nice overview of how we take care of these folks and what we've seen anybody out there who's looking to get a feel for what's in the marketplace. We're a great place to start with and talk with at any time. Call Kathy directly. She loves to talk to you and get a quote out to you. No obligation. Again, we're local. We're based in Wisconsin, but we do work nationwide. And we have business in every state. So we know what it's like and what the landscape looks like. 


So thanks again for listening today. We appreciate you and be well. Inside Connect and Simplify™ is sponsored by The Benefit Companies and our trademarked human capital management platform Connect and Simplify™. Connect and Simplify™ integrates payroll, time labor management, human resources, retirement plans, and employee benefits into one single sign-on, cloud-based platform. 

We help you manage your workforce from hire to retirement. From our website, learn about all of our products and services, our educational resources, and our relationship with Kronos. Kronos is our technology partner who gives us best in class, state-of-the-art technology so we can give our clients the best solutions for their company.