Paper Trails

How do I choose a payroll provider?

Did you know that over 50% of small businesses say that there is room for improvement in their payroll processes? This statistic highlights the importance of selecting the right payroll provider.  This decision can greatly impact your company’s operational efficiency and legal compliance. For small to medium-sized business owners and HR managers contemplating a switch or exploring their payroll options, the question “how to choose a payroll provider” may come up. However, equipped with the right information, making an informed choice becomes an easy part of your business journey.

In this article, we provide you 7 essential considerations to help you choose a payroll provider that best fits your business needs. From compliance and security to technology integration and customer support, we’ve got you covered. At Paper Trails, we believe in providing business owners with knowledge across all aspects of their business journey.  Part of this journey includes selecting a payroll provider. Let’s get into what you need to know to make an informed, confident choice.

Considerations for choosing a payroll provider

As you begin the process of choosing a payroll provider for you business, there are some important factors to consider.  Whether you are a new business outsourcing payroll for the first time, or thinking of switching to a different payroll vendor, these factors remain the same.  Seven important things to consider are:

  • Understand your business needs
  • Compliance measures
  • Technology and integration
  • Customer support and service quality
  • Cost and value for money
  • Provider’s experience and reputation
  • Scalability and flexibility

Let’s take a look at each of these factors.

graphic on what to consider when choosing a payroll provider

Understand your business needs

What are your specific payroll requirements? Before looking at your payroll provider options, take a moment to understand the unique payroll needs of your business. Consider the number of employees you have, the frequency of your payroll periods, and any specific payroll features you might need, such as handling different types of employee benefits or varying payroll tax requirements. Knowing what you need will help you filter through your payroll options more effectively.  Some providers may be able to handle the size of your business, or your time management needs, more efficiently than others.

Compliance measures

How does the provider handle compliance? Payroll and human resources processes involve strict regulatory compliance. A reliable payroll provider must be able to ensure labor compliance with current laws and ever-changing regulations.  Look at the resources and education that vendors offer in terms of the laws that your business needs to adhere to based on your company size and location.  Your payroll provider should be your partner when it comes to compliance, keeping you informed of your responsibilities.

Technology and integration

Is the payroll system technologically adept and integrable with your current systems? In today’s digital age, choosing a payroll provider with advanced technology and seamless integration capabilities with your existing HR and accounting software is crucial. Integration with items like time tracking, scheduling, benefits, onboarding and more can streamline your processes, reduce potential errors, and save you valuable time.

Customer support and service quality

What level of customer support and service does the provider offer? Here is another big item to consider.  Exceptional customer service is vital, especially when dealing with something as critical as payroll.  Any provider can pay your employees accurately.  It is important to look for providers that offer comprehensive support through various channels and are responsive to your queries and concerns.

Cost and value for money

Does the provider offer clear, competitive pricing? Understand the cost structure of potential payroll providers, including any hidden fees or additional charges for year-end reporting, amendments, or added services. Opting for a provider that offers transparent pricing ensures you get value for your investment.  Many providers have similar pricing, so consider what you are receiving for your money.  What do they provide in terms of resources? How about their customer service?  Is their technology up-to-date and easy to use?

Provider’s experience and reputation

What is the provider’s track record? The experience and reputation of a payroll provider are crucial. It’s important to look into their track record, read customer reviews, and check for any professional certifications they hold. A well-regarded provider typically delivers dependable and high-quality service.

Scalability and flexibility

Can the provider grow with your business? Your payroll needs may evolve as your business grows. Choose a payroll provider that offers scalability and flexibility to accommodate future business changes, whether it’s expanding your team or adapting to new payroll regulations.  Think about what type of integrated services they offer and what your business may need in the future.  For example, if your business will pass the 50 employee threshold in the future, you will be required to participate in ACA reporting.  Does the payroll provider assist in that process?  Forward thinking is important in choosing a long-term payroll partner.


Choosing the right payroll provider is a significant decision that impacts your entire business operation. By considering these 7 key factors, you’re well on your way to selecting a provider that not only meets your current needs but also supports your business’s growth. At Paper Trails, we’re committed to guiding you through this process with the information and resources you need to make the best choice for your business. Remember, the right payroll provider is not just a service vendor; they’re a partner in your business’s journey towards efficiency, compliance, and success.  Contact our team here for help with your payroll process.