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What should you look for in franchise payroll software?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Leveraging payroll services to meet the needs of your franchise business

Franchise businesses have a unique set of needs in that they have multiple locations—sometimes in various states—that employees may work at. Thus, more complex systems are required to manage business operations, especially tasks related to payroll effectively.

Payroll software for franchises offers multi-state flexibility, compliance calculation, tax reporting, employee self-service, and more. As franchise leaders can save time, stay compliant, and manage costs with the best payroll software on the market, business owners can utilize their time to do what they do best—run an efficient and effective business. This article will discuss the features that franchise payroll software employs and the benefits of integrating a franchise payroll software system into your business operations.

What is payroll software for a franchise?

Payroll software is a digital solution that offers full-service payroll support to companies that invest and utilize the payroll platform. Payroll software can calculate mandated taxes for you, administer benefits, and pay employees, streamline onboarding, and automate various payroll tasks so they are completed on a regular, recurrent basis. Payroll platforms are often considered software as a service (SaaS) options for businesses.

Franchise payroll software is a payroll solution designed specifically for franchise businesses. Franchises often maintain a workforce with employees across several sites, locations, or states. As such, payroll features or add-on features can include integrations for human resources tasks and monitoring health insurance and other employee benefits. Franchise payroll software can support effective employee management through time tracking, administering necessary paperwork for new hires or new employees, and maintaining compliance with local taxes and other financial regulations. The goal of franchise payroll software is to run payroll more efficiently and promote the benefits of automated payroll at the franchise business.

What are the benefits of payroll software for franchises?

The benefits of a payroll software system exist for any business. However, the benefits of payroll software for franchises is particularly critical, given the needs of an entity that executes the business model at multiple sites within a variety of markets. The most important benefits to franchises when using a payroll software platform are outlined below.

  • Integrated data from all franchise locations. Payroll software for franchises can generate reports with pertinent data from all franchise locations. This benefit is a significant value add for franchise businesses. Instead of considering each site in isolation, payroll can be completed company-wide with the aggregation of employee information from each franchise location. Employee data is kept on a secure server with encryption and can include bank account information, debit card information, and other data essential for issuing pay stubs or completing tax calculations and tax filings with the IRS.
  • Integrated HR capabilities/Can shift employees from one location to another easily. HR management becomes significantly easier when using a payroll software system that integrates human resources tasks into the add-on features. A payroll system that integrates HR services include benefits administration, workers' compensation data, health benefits information, and paid time off (PTO). When considering adding on HR features with your payroll provider, be sure to review pricing additions software program's base or monthly fee.This allows you to have a real-time understanding of the cost to bring payroll software solutions to your franchise operation.
  • Reduction in human error. Automation with payroll software solutions guarantees the reduction of human error with complex calculations related to wages, taxes, and time off. Small business payroll is traditionally complex when the calculations are left to a small team or a business leader with less experience in accounting. Another integration option that supports a reduction in error is integrating accounting software with your payroll system. This way, financial data is kept together and reconciled in on, easy-to-access location.
  • Taxes are simplified. Franchise businesses have particular payroll needs that take into account the management of employees in various locations. As such, the business is responsible for accurate tax reporting at various levels. Tax filing is more straightforward for franchise businesses with automated tax calculations and processing. The specific benefits of payroll software systems related to taxes are outlined below.
    • Tax tables are in the software. Users of the payroll system can see the tax table information directly in the program. This helps ensure that the proper percentages are being calculated and that the rates match the designation of the specific employee.
    • Deductions are calculated. Deduction calculations can also be completed automatically and tracked directly on an employee's pay stub.
    • Reports for tax filings. Payroll software programs can generate reports that are required for tax filings. This supports the ease of filing federal taxes, state taxes, and local taxes for the areas in which the franchise business operates.
    • Can add in extra withholdings as needed. For franchise businesses with accounting expertise in-house, the payroll software system can be more fully customized for the specific business. So, if a company has additional withholdings that can be classified as a garnishment, this information can be recorded and automatically taken into account on an employee's pay stub.
  • Saves time. The best payroll software for a franchise business is user-friendly. It ensures that small business owners and franchise business owners have every piece of information needed for effective payroll management. Online payroll makes the information easy to access (while also secure) so that business leaders have a real-time perspective on wages, labor taxes, and other metrics that inform the overall organizational budget. With the ease of access, franchise business leaders can save time and focus on other important parts of launching the business.
  • No need to outsource. Instead of paying high rates for expert advice and consultation, payroll software brings the best of expertise and in-house management together. You can focus on the payroll features you want the most for your franchise and keep important employee information in-house.

What features should you look for in payroll software for franchises?

When looking for payroll software for your franchise, it is essential to know what payroll needs you have and how the software best aligns to meet those identified needs. Many payroll providers and payroll software companies offer features that enable them to stand out in the marketplace. The features that bring the most opportunities for optimization at a franchise business are outlined and discussed in this section below.

  • Guaranteed accuracy. Partnering with a payroll software solution that guarantees accuracy is pivotal. Seeking a solution that guarantees correct completion of calculations for employees of all types (full-time, part-time, contract employees, etc.) helps mitigate the liability that franchises face with multiple business operation locations. Moreover, guaranteed accuracy helps with payroll tasks, especially any accounting and invoicing that may also occur within the software system.
  • Good reputation and reviews. When finding the right full-service payroll solution, consider speaking with other franchise businesses that have implemented these technological innovations at their company. Understanding the benefits from their perspective (as well as the limitations) can help as you make the best payroll decision for your franchise.
  • Automatic tax filing features. As mentioned above, the ability to file taxes is a major incentive to bring a payroll software company into your business operations. Automatic tax filing features help ensure that the franchise business maintains and meets compliance standards. You will want to make sure the feature allows for payroll tax filings at all levels and jurisdictions (local, state, and federal) as well as automatic end-of-year tax-form filing (W-2s and 1099s) and new-hire form completion.
  • Employee portal options. With the ability for employee self-service on payroll platforms, employees can use a mobile app to access their specific employee information, including health benefits, paystubs, and information regarding workers' compensation. The accessibility of this information on a self-service portal builds a culture of transparency at your franchise. Consider also exploring customer support options should an employee need additional help when utilizing their employee portal.
  • Paycheck options. The more options for providing wages to employees, the better. Providing options for your employees with direct deposit or paper checks will support them in feeling autonomous about how they are paid and what works best for them.
  • Employee benefit options. Consider looking out for a system that successfully integrates with benefits options for employees, including health, dental, and vision. Some payroll platforms that offer integration with HR software enable employees to access data from their mobile device and select the benefits plan of their choice. Moreover, additional HR support may be useful when considering these payroll options for your franchise.
  • Manage PTO directly in the system. As a business leader for a franchise business, it is important to have access to real-time data about your employee's availability and schedule. Finding a system that reports on the employee's schedule, hours worked, and time off can help you better plan for what your business locations will need with the workforce on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
  • Secure infrastructure. Data security is of the utmost importance when choosing a payroll system for your franchise. Payroll software programs for franchises use secure servers and offer data encryption for increased security. When researching the best payroll option for your franchise, make sure you learn about the security measures the payroll platform provides so that you can have peace of mind about the security of your sensitive data, including pertinent employee information.
  • Easy to learn and navigate. Intuitive features and functions within the payroll software is important for adoption by all team members. The more straightforward and easy to use your software is, the more likely your team of employees will implement it within their regular workflows. Some payroll systems offer training modules to provide extra guidance to employees who may need additional support in learning how to use the many features of the payroll technology.

Are you ready to take your payroll systems to the next level at your franchise? Are you ready to implement a comprehensive, full-service payroll software at your various points of business operation? Are you ready to leverage technology and payroll software to meet the demands of your growing business model?

Heartland is here to help. Heartland helps nearly 1,000,000 entrepreneurs make and move money, manage employees and engage customers with human-centered technology solutions that allow them to rise above the daily grind and lead their businesses into a brighter future. Learn more at heartland.us