Desperate for a Startup Payroll System? Here’s What to Look For

Financing. Choosing a business structure. Hiring employees. Getting licenses and permits. As you cross these tasks off your business startup checklist, you might begin to lose a little momentum. And then you see—towards the bottom of your list—Set up a payroll system…

…Sigh. At this point, you’re tired. You just want something that works … and is easy to learn and use. You want a reliable startup payroll system, like software. 

But if you’ve never used software before, you might not be sure what you’re looking for. Read on to learn what startup-friendly software features to keep an eye out for. 

6 Features to look for in a startup payroll system 

Starting a business takes time, energy, and passion. Running payroll? Sure, it can take time and energy (especially if you’re running payroll by hand). Not to mention, you probably don’t have the same passion for running payroll as you do running your business. 

That’s why you may want to know about the best payroll software for startups. Something where you can get in, get out, and get on with your day. 

So, here are six features you may want out of your startup payroll system. 

six features of startup-friendly payroll: setup, easy navigation, tax filings, support, trial, and no contract

1. Setup

When you first sign up for software, you need to set it up. That means entering any necessary payroll history, your Employer Identification Number (EIN), employee information, etc. 

You might not want to do all of that. After all, you’re doing a million other things to start or grow your business. That’s where payroll systems with free setup come into play. 

If you’re looking for startup payroll services, chances are you fall into one of the following categories:

  1. You’ve never used payroll software before
  2. OK, you’ve used payroll software, but not for very long
  3. Maybe you’re a payroll software pro, but that doesn’t mean you want to set it up

Regardless of which group you fall in, keep an eye out for a system that offers free (and easy) setup.

2. UX that makes sense

OK, OK, so maybe this isn’t so much a “feature,” as an overall software experience. But because it’s pretty key to usability, it made the cut.

UX, or user experience, describes the overall experience you have while using a system, like payroll software. 

Software with “good UX” means you can easily navigate through it and accomplish your tasks (without a frustration headache). Software with “poor UX” means it’s clunky and difficult to figure out. Think of the whole It’s not you, it’s me speech and throw it out the window. If you can’t figure something out, chances are it’s not you—it’s the UX. Startup systems with good UX should make things easy for everyone. 

So when you’re shopping for that special payroll software for startups, keep an eye out for an easy-to-use system with a low learning curve. 

No clutter. No bloated features your business doesn’t need. Just a clean layout and the features you need to get the job done. 

3. Tax filings

And now we move into the realm of full-service payroll with the tax filing feature. Startup and veteran entrepreneurs alike might opt for a payroll system that handles tax filings. That way, you don’t have to spend time filing employer tax forms with government agencies and remitting payments. 

The payroll provider does it all on your behalf.

If you’re looking for a startup payroll system that handles tax filings, consider full-service payroll. Here’s a look at what you won’t have to do if you opt for a payroll software with tax filing services:

  • File tax forms (e.g., Forms 940, 941 or 944, and W-2)
  • Deposit federal, state, and local taxes

4. Support

Do you think you’ll have questions about payroll or about how to do something in the software? More than likely, yes. 

And when you do, you want a system with a great network of support to help get you the answers you need. 

Look for a startup-friendly system with free support delivered over multiple channels, such as:

  • Phone
  • Chat
  • Email
  • Help articles

5. Trial

In business, you know it’s best to try before you buy. You want to know what you’re signing up for, after all. 

This is especially true for startups and busy business owners. So, look for a startup payroll system that offers a free trial. That way, you can get a feel for the software and the company’s customer service before you start spending money. 

6. Month-to-month pricing

If you’re new to the payroll software game, you don’t know what you’re looking for. Sure, reading about what to look for and comparing your options can help. 

In some cases, you won’t know what you want until you actually get into the software and see what it’s like on a regular basis. And maybe after a month or two (especially if you didn’t get a free trial), you want out.

But wait … you’re stuck in a year-long contract.

You can avoid this kind of situation by looking for startup payroll services with month-to-month, no-obligation pricing. 

Looking for something with all these features at an affordable price? Sign up for a free trial of Patriot’s Full Service Payroll today! 

This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.

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