Automated payroll software can come in many different forms: there are stand-alone packages that only deal with processing your payroll; or it can be part of a bigger office/business management package. Some packages come as software addition/updates that 'bolt on' to your existing package to give you extra features.
The majority of these software packages can be purchased 'off the shelf' or via the internet; some vendors can develop software specific to the size and needs of your company. Alternatively, your payroll can be contracted to a bureau that will process it for you (this often becomes a viable option when your business has reached a certain size – perhaps 25-plus employees – or if your threshold for business administration is very low).
Depending on the size of your business, an automated payroll has several advantages:
- Existing payroll administration can be greatly reduced in terms of time and money
- Tax deductions, National Insurance contributions, sick pay, maternity leave, travel expenses and holiday entitlements etc. can be calculated quickly and effortlessly
- Employee cost figures allow you to compare cost with the amount of revenue generated
- Year-end procedures, such as producing P11, P14 and P60 forms in the UK, are fully automated
As well as documenting all your payroll transactions, packages should enable the printing of staff pay slips.
For most businesses, the cost of staff is its greatest expense, and calculating the weekly or monthly payroll can be one of the most time consuming aspects of administration. It therefore makes sense to streamline this aspect of your business; this is particularly true if your business is expanding and taking on new members of staff.
It might be worthy discussing with your accountant what software he uses as transferring data can made easier if you have the same package. Also, some accountancy packages offer payroll as one feature, along with other accounts software. Buying one full package might be better value than several, so choose carefully.