Questions to Ask When Choosing an Online Payroll Provider

Posted by Bernard Schoeman on 09 February 2018.



Bernard Schoeman

CA(SA), Post Graduate Diploma Accounting, BCom

The Tax Shop Head Office

More about Bernard Schoeman

Bernard studied BCom majoring in information systems and accounting at the University of Cape Town and qualified as a Chartered Accountant (SA) in 1997 after completing of his articles with Deloitte & Touche. Bernard has extensive international and local experience having worked for nearly three years with financial institutions in the UK (London) and having audited numerous companies listed on the JSE in South Africa. He is a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Share this article
The problems experienced in old-fashioned payroll systems are well documented.  Locating employment contracts, making manual errors and reporting inadequacies are but a few to mention.  So, given that we are now living in the digital age, how should you decide on the right online payroll provider?  Here are the questions you need to ask:
What specific services are provided?
As a minimum, your payroll solution should offer the following:
  • Access from any device.
  • Full compliance with SARS legislation.
  • The ability to add any payroll components permitted by SARS.
  • Frequencies which cater for hourly, monthly, weekly and bi-monthly employees.
  • Leave schemes to keep track of employee leave.
  • Organisational structuring to report by employee groups and/or cost centres.
  • The ability to upload employee data in bulk from a spreadsheet.
  • The functionality to pay employees directly from the employer’s bank account.
  • Full reporting to generate payslips and to produce reports for management and other institutions e.g. Department of Labour.
More advanced systems allow the online storage of employment contracts, timesheet facilities and individual employee login (for accessing payslips, IRP5s, etc).
What is the cost of the payroll system?
Most online payroll providers charge a base monthly fee and a small fee on top of this for each employee.
How to get set-up and ongoing support?
The payroll system you select should allow for easy set-up and should provide ongoing backup and support.  It is especially important to check out the support functionality offered as this can be a deal-breaker.  A good provider will offer telephonic, email and web-based support.
How secure is the service?
Payroll data is very confidential by nature and your choice of service provider should offer strong security to safeguard that data cannot be hacked and also to ensure that data is regularly backed up. Nowadays it is common to expect extra layers of security such as two-tier authentication when logging in.
What about integration with other applications?
Your payroll solution should preferably integrate seamlessly with your accounting system.  At a minimum it should have a simple export function to import data easily back into the accounting system.
How scalable is the service?
This is a real concern for smaller applications which may not always cater for companies which become large in size.  The solution you select should offer the ability to easily add new users and to cater for large volumes of transactions.
At The Tax Shop, we have researched most of the applications available today and will confidently point you in the right direction.