Essential Purchases for a Small Business : Payroll Systems

Most recently, I worked for a small business whose owner purchased the company a little over a decade ago.  During his first few weeks evaluating the existing procedures in place he was shocked at their lackluster payroll system.  Even for the time, the time clock and payroll system were severely antiquated.  It was so bad that the last person to clock out at the end of the evening would often punch everyone else out unbeknownst to the previous owner.  Enter biometric time clocks and payroll software to back it up. 

Obviously this is an extreme case in which employees were defrauding the owner but it goes to show how truly important the right payroll system is for a small business.  Does every small business need a fancy biometric scanner or expensive payroll software?  Of course not.  That being said, business owners need to look at their payroll system to better serve not only their company but their employees as well.  At bare minimum, your payroll system should 1. Track employee hours 2. Calculate applicable taxes 3.  Calculate salary payouts.  These three are rather obvious, but what other benefits can payroll systems offer your business?

Professionalism and Morale:  

At some point in your working life, you have likely been employed somewhere where all your hours were recorded through a timesheet.  You turned the sheet in to your manager and you were paid on payday.  Sometimes you forgot to make a copy and think you might have been underpaid.  Your manager didn’t keep a copy of your sheet or maybe it’s sitting in a gigantic filing cabinet that makes it difficult to locate.  Maybe you wanted a record of your hours to use for a loan application or as experience towards a certificate or education.  A lackluster system will cause unnecessary headaches for your employees and can even deter some from wishing to remain with your company.  A strong payroll system will improve your employees morale and display to others that your business is legitimate and has their stuff together.

Developing Budgets:  

When you create your budget for the next year, nothing is more helpful than knowing exactly what you spent the previous year on hourly wages, overtime, payroll taxes and paid time off.  Factor in your anticipated revenue growth and you can fairly easily develop an accurate budget for your payroll.

Create Shift Schedules:

Yes, some payroll software can even create your employees schedule for you and allow them to view it remotely.  What can become a time consuming task for any small business owner can easily be handled by the right payroll software.  You can adjust employee information to account for availability, input time off requests and allow employees to view all of this from an internet login.  Pretty slick……

With all of that said, how do you do it?  There are numerous payroll software companies out there that can easily be found on the internet; be sure to do your research and request a trial to ensure it’s right for your business.  A cheaper option can be found in the form of a Microsoft Excel template ( or, if you are savvy enough, you can even create your own.  Regardless of the way you choose to address it, you need to ensure you have a functioning payroll system to better serve your business’ needs.

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