Where to Begin When Looking for a Payroll Service Provider

Doing your own payroll, even if it’s for just one employee, usually comes with a lot of work and headaches. This is why payroll service providers have come up with ways to help make the life of payroll managers much easier. Because there are a lot of rules, laws, calculations, and other things to know, using online payroll processing services to run payroll makes more sense, since they do most of the work for you. But how do you know which payroll service is the best option for your company?

The Different Types of Payroll Services

There are many different ways of running payroll. Let’s explore three common options..

  1. In-House

  2. Certified Public Accountant

  3. Cloud-Based Payroll Software

In-House: Because it sounds less expensive and “easier”, some small businesses opt to process their payroll in-house. What they fail to realize is that this is the most complicated and time consuming option. Instead of spending hours and hours manually processing their payroll, they could be spending their time completing other important tasks. Businesses who go for this option must hire a person who is educated and up-to-date on employee laws, salary rules, tax compliance, and so on. Whereas if they decide to go with either of the other options, they don’t necessarily have to know all these rules and laws because their Certified Public Accountant or payroll service provider will know them already.

CPA: Another way to run payroll is by using a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). CPAs are licensed to deliver accounting, tax, and financial help to businesses on a paid basis. In this case, a CPA runs payroll for a company and prepares any other reports they should need. CPAs also review all the financial information for the company and make sure that they are staying compliant. If a company decides to go with this option, it is important that they research and make sure the CPA is trusted and experienced. Why? Simply because they will be handling very important and sensitive information not only about the employees, but also the company.

Cloud-Based Payroll Software: This is by far the most recommended option, and because of this, our main focus will be on online payroll services. There are many cloud-based payroll providers out there, so doing your research is important in order to make the best decision possible. Watching demos of the software is a good way to get a tour of the platform, and see how user-friendly it may be. Another good idea is to compare quotes right off the bat to make sure the pricing is within your budget. Opting for using a cloud-based payroll software is probably the best thing a company can do because you will have a team of experts at your disposal. Going with a good payroll service provider will protect you from any penalties from the IRS and will ultimately save you the stress, time, and money of having to manually run payroll.

What Should I Look For in a Cloud-Based Payroll Service Provider?

Unfortunately, there isn't a one-size-fits-all payroll service, so you’ll have to look at a number of factors before deciding what software is right for your business. However, there are some basic features that every online payroll provider should offer:

  1. Good Technology: If you are considering using an online payroll service, make sure they work on a cloud system. This will allow you to access all your payroll information anytime and anywhere. It will also allow you to access said information from any device such as a desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. A cloud-based payroll software will also increase your employees’ productivity, accessibility, and more. To learn about the many benefits of using a cloud-based payroll software read here.

  2. Employee Self Service (ESS): This is a feature that should come with every payroll service. ESS can make life much easier for human resources managers as well as employees. It allows employees to have access to personal information regarding pay history, deductions, hours worked, benefits, and time off requests. They can also automatically request changes and review information instead of having to contact their HR department. As for HR managers, ESS frees up time for the HR department. It allows managers to use group scheduling and improves communication. HR processes get done faster.

  3. Good Customer Service: When looking for a payroll service provider, keep in mind that the bigger the provider is, the more clients they are likely to have. These clients, just like you, will have questions and problems that need to be addressed. You need to make sure that you are able to get the answers you need, exactly when you need them. There are multiple forms of communication now, and everyone prefers something different, it just depends on your personality. Some prefer calling to speak with someone directly, while others prefer emailing or even reaching out through social media. A very common way of communicating with a provider is using live chat. It is quick and easy, and you don’t have to try to communicate with an automated system. Instead, you are able to chat with a real person, most of the time. To ensure there is no miscommunication of information, screen sharing allows each party to know exactly what is going on. This allows companies to thoroughly address any issues in a timely manner. Whatever method you prefer, your provider should offer multiple channels to best support you.


    At Dominion, we average a 25 second response time on our live chat and a two-minute maximum hold for phone calls, so help is never far away. For those who run Michigan payroll processing, Dominion is based in Grand Rapids and has a satellite office in the Detroit area, so we can have a representative in your office in a few hours max. What’s more, every client has an assigned account manager that is aware of everything that goes on with their client and always willing to help!

I’m Ready to Make a Switch, Now What?

Congratulations! This is a big step for your company. Now that you know the different types of payroll services and what to look for in each, you need to narrow down your options and go from there. Before making a decision, be sure you’ve had all your questions answered. Go online and read the software reviews, watch demos, be sure that you have done all the research possible, and follow these 4 Steps to shopping for Quality Payroll Software. If you are wondering when is the best time to start working with a payroll service provider, now is the time. Of course, switching at the end of a quarter or the beginning of the year is best. Good thing 2019 is around the corner and you are reading this now! Usually, any provider will accommodate to your timeline, so it is a good idea to ask them for advice.

Dominion Systems is an all-in-one payroll and HR platform that works with any sized business. Request a quote or watch a demo below to see if Dominion could be the right choice for your business!