Shopping for payroll and HR solutions? Don’t skimp on these 7 must-have features.

Monday, October 18, 2021

As a small business owner, we don’t have to tell you that manual processes eat up valuable time for you and your employees. That’s a nugget of truth you already know. Payroll and HR tasks in particular have a well-deserved reputation for being time consuming and complicated. And they’re some of the most important tasks to get right.

If you’re feeling the burn, or have plans to grow, it’s probably time to start looking for a better way. There are plenty of slick companies out there using complicated jargon to promise you “the best HR software.” So how do you know you’re going to get your money’s worth if you commit to a small business payroll and HR tech partner?

Good question. In this blog, we’ll run down 7 core needs a high-quality payroll and HR tech partner should deliver with ease:

  • 1.Find qualified candidates fast

  • 2.Select the best candidate with confidence

  • 3.Onboard new hires from anywhere

  • 4.Take advantage of Work Opportunity Tax Credits (WOTC)

  • 5.Reduce unauthorized overtime, time theft and errors

  • 6.Comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

  • 7.Calculate, deduct and report taxes

1. Find qualified candidates fast

It’s not easy to find good candidates. An applicant tracking system helps you reach a wider audience, making it simple for you and your hiring managers to create job postings and share them with online job boards and social media networks in a few clicks. The rest of the hiring process — reviewing resumes, interview scheduling and eventually extending an offer — should be accessible and editable from one convenient dashboard view.

Think about functionality that simplifies things for the candidates, too.

According to Glassdoor, just over one-third of people looking for jobs do so on their mobile device.

Your tech provider should make it easy for candidates to turn in their applications via a phone or tablet without getting a migraine.

2. Select the best candidate with confidence

A thorough screening process gives you peace of mind about every hire and can help reduce turnover. You want to be sure your new hire has been truthful. But it takes time to conduct a thorough screening in compliance with state and federal law. Time you could save if your technology does it for you.

The right solution should help provide insight into any candidate’s background by searching the following:

  • SSN trace and address history

  • National criminal database

  • Sex offender registry

  • Terrorist watchlist

  • 7-year county criminals

  • School verification

  • Employer verification

  • Professional licensure verification

  • Motor vehicle records

3. Onboard new hires from anywhere

Onboarding a new employee includes things that seem second-nature: pay schedule, time off policy, break room location, etc. It might seem like overkill, but having as much information up front as possible saves new hires time and frustration.

If you want new hires to spend more time learning how to do a good job and less time on these mundane details, look for technology that lets you automate the process.

Using a customizable email template, for instance, you could send all the important documents an employee might need, including the new-hire paperwork required by law (and human resources). Choose a provider that makes receiving, completing and submitting all new-hire documents easy to do from any device so employees don’t have to waste time on their first day getting it done.

4. Take advantage of Work Opportunity Tax Credits (WOTC)

Employers can claim between

$2,400 and $9,600

per eligible employee

WOTC is a Federal tax credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain targeted groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment.

Some business owners don't take advantage of the WOTC program because the process is complicated and the deadline is tight...but by not using it, you could be leaving tens of thousands of dollars on the table. Look for an HR software solution that allows you to add eligibility questions to your application or onboarding process. You also may want to look at partnering with a provider that takes care of the forms and calculates the credits you will earn, so you know what you’ll actually receive.

5. Reduce unauthorized overtime, time theft and errors

Timekeeping theft is a real problem affecting approximately 75% of all US-based businesses

Even businesses with detailed policies and procedures can experience loss through timekeeping errors and theft.

When choosing a partner, look for a time tracking solution that allows employees to clock in through their mobile device using PIN-punch or facial recognition software. This can help stop buddy punching in its tracks and save you from investing in expensive biometric time clocks.

The right employee scheduling software won’t just make time tracking simple and accurate, though. You should get drag-and-drop digital shift scheduling, real-time reporting on labor costs and a convenient employee mobile app that provides your people with their paystubs, current schedule and the ability to request shift swaps. No more writing the work schedule over and over or getting calls from staff asking whether or not they work tonight.

6. Comply with the Affordable Care Act

Accurate timekeeping ensures you’re complying with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). ACA compliance is based on your ACA employer status. It’s the kind of highly detailed work that’s difficult to do on your own...but has painful consequences if done incorrectly.

Organizations that are considered Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) and don’t offer affordable coverage to 95% of their full-time employees and their dependents could face a penalty of $2,700 per full-time employee, not counting the first 30. It’s a headache — and potential cost — you can dodge with technology.

Look for solutions that automatically alert you of employee health coverage eligibility and send you monthly reporting on full-time employees and equivalents so you always know your ALE status. The best payroll and HR solutions should also produce the required forms and even file them on your behalf.

7. Accurately calculate, deduct and report taxes

Employers are responsible for withholding, depositing and reporting employment taxes. That includes federal income tax, Social Security and Medicare taxes, additional Medicare withholdings (0.9% on an employees’ wages and compensation that exceeds a threshold amount based on the employee’s filing status) and Federal Unemployment Tax, just to name a few.

Calculating taxes accurately is one thing. Reporting them accurately is another. The most common forms businesses need to submit are:

  • Form 940, Employer's Annual Federal Unemployment Tax Return

  • Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return

  • Form 944, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return

  • Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax

  • Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements

  • Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns

  • Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage

Yikes. With all of that paperwork, it’s probably not surprising to hear that some of the most common mistakes business owners make are entering inaccurate taxpayer ID numbers, misspelling names and submitting inaccurate amounts due to calculation errors. If there’s any doubt in your mind about handling employment taxes on your own, you should definitely consider a payroll system that lends a hand.

Don’t settle for tech that doesn’t deliver

From side-gigs to livelihoods, the entrepreneurial spirit is the pulse of this nation. Getting back-office tasks done right is important, but it’s not every business owner’s passion. And that’s okay! There are many paths to success. If you’re looking to offload administrative junk so you can get back to what you do love, we hope this list helped you clarify the features and benefits you should expect when you outsource to a payroll and HR partner.

One last note before you go: Your partner shouldn’t expect the relationship to be all or nothing. You’ll find payroll processing companies that sound great until you realize you’re required to sign up for everything all at once and their definition of “customer service” is a call center.

Heartland Payroll+ was built with small businesses in mind, so you buy what you want when you’re ready for it and integrations with software you already know and love are easy.

Did we mention that every client gets a dedicated payroll specialist at no extra charge? That’s how much we believe in a great customer experience.

If you’re interested in learning more, please feel free to check out the details.