When it comes to running your business, there are many key factors that play a huge role in keeping it well-oiled, especially when it comes to expenses. One of the most critical, time-consuming, and important components when it comes to employees is payroll. They want to be paid, and they want to be paid on time. Other than the act of paying out employees, businesses also have to ensure they fully understand and comply with all applicable tax and employment laws. When it comes to the IRS and the state tax agencies, ignorance is no longer bliss—or an excuse. While many businesses opt to perform payroll duties on their own, many don’t have the flexibility in their days to complete a time-consuming and tedious endeavor all on their own, while ensuring they remain compliant in an ever-changing regulatory world.

Depending on the business you are running, and the amount of professionals employed, outsourcing HR functions might be the best option for you and your company, and in some cases, more cost-effective.

If you decide to outsource and are diligently shopping for vendors, here are the top eight questions you should be asking to ensure they are the right fit for your business:

1. What payroll service(s) are provided, and what is the cost?

It’s important for a business owner to make sure they can fulfill the needs and circumstances of their business, while taking into account any budget constraints. The old saying, “you get what you pay for” is important to remember when considering a payroll provider. A typical payroll service company will provide the following services at minimum: calculation payroll, tax administration, electronic and/or printing and delivery of checks, management reports, and W-2 processing.

2. Is your setup process simple, and how long will it take to complete?

Everyone in business knows that time is money. Finding a company that can streamline the process and do so in a timely manner is ideal. The faster your company can get set up and rolling, the faster you can get back to business to start making money.

3. Will all my employees’ W-2s be processed, filed, and distributed through your service?

It’s in your benefit to find a company who offers a service that processes, files, and distributes your employees W-2 documents all together in-house. Most importantly, it will save two of you company’s most valuable resources—time and money.

4. How are payroll taxes/garnishments processed and handled?

There are many bits and pieces that must be accounted for when payroll taxes/garnishments are processed. Tax payments, wage adjustments, bonus payments, salaries, commissions, deductions—the list goes on and on. Making sure you have a strong payroll provider that can handle every aspect with minimal errors and mistakes will save your business a substantial amount of money. Minor oversights (especially in payroll) are not good, and they never run cheap.

5. Will my employees be able to access information easily? Or, do you have an online platform/mobile app my employees can access?

In terms of functionality, most companies have found that equipping their employees with information at their fingertips is very beneficial. In today’s environment, having the capability for an employee to transact/review information via an online platform or a mobile app is critical. It has been known to improve workforce management and engagement.

6. Where is employee data stored, and is it secure?

Any time you are dealing with sensitive data, it’s important to take strict measures to secure it properly—for the safety of your employees and your own liability. No matter how your company’s security is compromised, the fact of the matter is, it only takes one catastrophic event for a company to feel the impact.

7. Do you have a direct deposit and electronic pay card option?

When it comes to paying your employees, direct deposit is a no-brainer. Not only is it convenient, reliable, and simple, it saves time, money, and is safer than issuing paper checks. The probability for miscalculations and lost/stolen checks is significantly decreased.

8. Can you provide me with examples and referrals, in order to check on the accuracy of payrolls?

A company that is able to provide examples and referrals shows they have earned credibility and can be trusted. Customers frequently research social referrals to gain insight of a company, and word of mouth is a strong tool.

When it comes to dealing with one of the largest expenses associated with running your company, asking a provider these top eight questions will help guide and direct you to make the best decision.

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