6 known ways to evaluate Cloud-Based Payroll Software for SMEs

By greytHR
4 minute read ● April 03, 2017
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6 known ways to evaluate Cloud-Based Payroll Software for SMEs

One of the most significant challenges you may face at your workplace is purchasing software best suited for your business. Buying or replacing payroll software can be one of the most challenging decisions you've got to make. Whether you're the CXO, the HR personnel, or the finance personnel at your organization, you do have a say. You must evaluate multiple payroll software in India before you shortlist your top three choices or finalize the one you're going to buy.

Due to the presence of the legacy method of processing payroll on Excel along with improper planning and time constraints, please don't end up buying a payroll software for small business without an unbiased evaluation.

It would be best to ask the following important questions when evaluating a potential cloud-based payroll software solution provider:

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • How many clients use the software as of today? Who are they?
  • What size businesses does the company serve?
  • Can you get client references?
  • Is unlimited telephone support offered?
  • Is 24x7 self-service support by the website offered?
  • What is the standard policy for providing software updates, upgrades, and enhancements?
  • What is the average response rate of a technical support call?
  • Does the company stay consistently up to date on all statutory compliances?
  • How, when, and where is user training provided?

So go ahead, take time out to evaluate the various payroll software.

Top parameters to evaluate cloud-based payroll software.

  • Domain expertise

Payroll is probably your company's most considerable expense. And it is undoubtedly the most visible business process for your employees. There is no room for error when it comes to providing employees with their payslips. When choosing the best payroll software; selecting a payroll solutions provider with a proven track record in offering an excellent product and responsive support is essential.

  • Integrated HR and payroll information and capabilities

HR (onboarding through exit), payroll, and reimbursements functions have tremendous overlap, and sharing the data ensures that all modules of payroll software are in sync and uses the most recent and accurate data.

There are many benefits to having integrated HR capabilities with your payroll software, including:

  1. No duplicate data entry
  2. Less paperwork
  3. Integrated reporting
  • Payroll automation with Employee Self Service (ESS) portal

Automation of the payroll process, with its calculations and outputs on ESS, disperses routine tasks back to the employees. With Employee Self Service, they can:

  1. View and download their payslips
  2. Apply for leaves and attendance regularizations
  3. Raise trouble tickets for any department via the Help Desk.
  • Is the payroll software for small business on the cloud?

As part of your evaluation, you'll want to choose between on-premise software and cloud-based software. With Web-based HR & payroll software, you purchase a suitable plan based on your requirements to implement, maintain, and support your software using their investment in cloud servers, networks, and IT professionals. In return for what is usually an employee or admin-based subscription fee, you own the data, and they own the payroll software. You have a predictable monthly outlay for your payroll system at a lower price than that of a payroll service provider, and you have control over payroll-related data. The downtime risk is dramatically slashed with hosted providers penalized for non-compliance with their Service Level Agreement (SLA).

  • The Support Team

The most crucial question is the accessibility of technical support. Check the hours of operation for technical support and the method the payroll software company uses for handling support calls.

  • Implementation methodology

In many cases, payroll software companies will gather your requirements, vanish for a few weeks and come back with a few days or weeks remaining for testing and final configuration. But, the best payroll software companies should be able to get an environment ready for implementation and testing much sooner, which gives you more time to experiment and configure.

Apart from all these critical parameters, the best payroll software should have:

  • Automatic payroll and tax calculations based on customizable salary structure and components selected
  • Direct publishing/ mass mailing of letters to the selected employee(s), such as proof of address letter, confirmation letter, increment letter, experience letter, salary certificate, etc.
  • Real-time tracking of each employee's leave and attendance information.
  • HR, payroll, compliances, and CXO business reports for analysis and decision-making
  • Ability to import and export from Excel to automate, streamline and ensure accuracy.
  • User-friendly UI to improve user adoption

Since your priority lies in building your business, you can hardly afford to spend a lot of time and effort on calculating wages, handling tax reports, and other tasks related to payroll accounting. That is why you need to either find cost-effective payroll solutions or make use of some time-saving tips to remove the burden of payroll processing from your shoulders so that you can focus on growth!

Here are the top 5 payroll time-savers that can help:

  • Use software

Starting from calculating the salary for all employees, including statutory deductions, issuing stop payment orders, or handling loan deductions, loss of pay, revisions, pro-rata salary, etc., you can do all these and more with the right payroll software. Also, opting for payroll software designed to perform different computations would be a prudent choice. This way, upgrades for new laws would be automatically provided to you, and you would no longer need to worry about compliance.

  • Outsource payroll

If you do not want to set up an automated solution, you can outsource the payroll process to a processor/consultant. The consultant would process it accurately, quickly, and, most importantly, painlessly. However, to lighten your workload, you need to entrust your payroll to a consultant with a reputable track record, high customer ratings, and a strong customer service department.

  • Pay via direct bank deposits:

Many small businesses lose a lot of money, time, and effort in organizing paychecks in envelopes and handling paper resources and printing devices for the same. You can get rid of these by paying your employees via direct deposit to a bank account. That will not only help you save precious time, effort, and money but also ensure a quicker pay for your employees, while meeting compliance requirements.

  • Employee information system:

It is mandatory to keep records of employees, compensation details, leave of absence, days worked/absent, etc., to compute each employee's salary and various statutory filings and audit purposes. Rather than manually collecting information from paper files/registers/muster rolls/spreadsheets and again spending time to review, you can set up an automated program, which would get the job done speedily and won't be prone to manual errors. Since time is precious, you should spend your working hours running and growing your business, and not sorting out payroll the old-fashioned way.

Remember that a payroll software is more than just a database used to store payroll calculations. So, use the tips above to speed up the process of calculating salaries and wages, making payments on time, and ensuring that your payroll is completed on time and in compliance with the local laws.

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