Going digital is a must for eco-friendly businesses. It’s the best way to cut down on unnecessary paper waste. Everything from invoices to purchase orders can be processed digitally.

The same approach applies to your payroll protocol. However, many businesses, even eco-friendly ones, still follow traditional payroll methods. These conventional practices waste a considerable amount of paper.

It’s time for your payroll to go green. This change starts with the right eco-friendly payroll service. Follow this step-by-step guide to find the right payroll company for your needs.

1. Clarify Your Payroll Goals

Goal-setting is critical to your business. Every facet of your company needs goals, from sales to operations. Why would payroll be any different?

Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Why do you want to outsource payroll?
  • What are the benefits of outsourcing vs. in-house payroll?
  • How many employees do you have?
  • Are you trying to save more money on payroll?
  • Are you currently expanding and scaling your business?
  • Where do you see your company five years from now?
  • Are you generating enough revenue to pay for payroll services?

Payroll services are a type of business investment. If you’re not generating enough revenue to cover the costs of outsourcing, consider inexpensive payroll solutions for small businesses.

You could also apply for SBA loans to cover the costs of payroll outsourcing. This is an important point to consider if you’re trying to grow and scale quickly.

Once you’ve set clear goals for payroll, move on to the next step.

2. Narrow Down the Payroll Services You Need

There are a lot of paperless payroll services out there. As a growing business, you need to save every dollar you can. It’s critical to understand what you need (and don’t need) for a successful payroll system.

Small businesses don’t have the same needs as mid-size businesses, large companies, or multinational corporations. Your next step is to narrow down the most necessary paperless payroll services. That’s why setting payroll goals beforehand is so essential.

You already know that paperless payroll is a must. Here are several payroll company services to consider:

  • Payroll tax filing services
  • New employee reporting
  • Automatic wage garnishments
  • Payroll onboarding services
  • Time-off requests, sick time, and vacation time
  • Time-off accruals
  • Timeclock management
  • Benefits management (eligibility and enrollment)

As you can see, many payroll services cross over into HR services. There are payroll-only plans for businesses that don’t need HR services. However, if you’re scaling quickly, you should strongly consider both.

Once you’ve picked out the service you need, move onto the budget-planning stage.

3. Plan Your Payroll Budget

It’s time to call your accountant. Your next step is to plan a budget for payroll. Remember, you have to cover payroll taxes, the cost of payroll software, daily wages, vacation time, sick time, and any worker comp time.

Many paperless payroll companies bundle their services into tiered plans. This model makes it easier to budget for payroll. Typically, payroll SaaS plans are month-to-month with flat fees.

However, it’s important to remember that payroll companies may tack on additional processing fees for W2 forms, 1099 tax forms, and employee healthcare.

Furthermore, your state may require additional payroll fees, as well. Make sure to research your state payroll requirements beforehand.

Consider these questions as you plan your payroll budget:

  • Are you planning to hire more employees next quarter?
  • What is your starting hourly wage?
  • Are you distributing employee bonuses this quarter?
  • What are your payroll needs for each department?
  • What is your annual revenue?
  • What are your quarterly revenue goals?

If you have complicated payroll concerns, it’s best to consult with a professional business accountant. You should also invest in budgeting software to help.

Small, boutique businesses may be able to get away with using a simple budgeting spreadsheet. However, if you’re trying to scale fast, budgeting software can go a long way and prevent you from making accidental payroll mistakes.

Payroll mistakes are some of the worst mistakes a new business can make. These mistakes could lead to substantial legal fines down the road.

4. Coordinate with Your HR and IT Departments

Communication is essential for uninterrupted workflow. Don’t purchase and implement a new payroll solution without coordinating with other departments first. Your HR and IT department should be the first to know.

What are the needs and concerns of your IT and HR departments? Were the past issues with payroll software resolved? These are critical questions to consider before moving forward.

Your HR and IT departments will be the ones most involved with payroll processing and implementation. It’s important to get their feedback before making a final decision. Otherwise, you’re creating a recipe for disaster.

Nothing infuriates employees (and vendors) more than late payments. Your IT department needs time to prepare the network for implementation. The HR department also needs sufficient time to integrate the new payroll software.

5. Gather Referrals from Fellow Business Owners

Now that you have all those little details out of the way, it’s time to choose a payroll service for your eco-friendly business.

Start by gathering referrals from trusted sources. Are you a member of your city’s Chamber of Commerce? You may find some excellent references there.

Which payroll companies do your fellow business owners use? Which companies do they avoid at all costs? Which services did they find unnecessary?

You and your fellow business owners are in this together. Don’t hesitate to reach out and get their opinions. An excellent referral goes a long way.

If you know an HR company owner, they may have a partnership with a payroll company already. This route could lead to a great payroll service (and a deal!)

6. Visit an HR or Payroll Industry Expo

Before you hit up those online reviews, visit an annual HR industry expo first. You could also attend a payroll industry convention. This idea is an excellent way to learn about the latest payroll solutions.

An expo is your opportunity to experience the best payroll solutions at once. Talk directly to payroll service providers and physically use the products. Discover if payroll software is user-friendly firsthand.

Ideally, you want a payroll solution that everyone can use. Each department has its own payroll needs, so you want a solution that works across the board. Your new solution must also be compatible with your current business technology.

Bring your HR and IT directors to payroll industry expos so they can get a feel for the products.

7. Read Online Reviews and Testimonials

Choosing the right paperless payroll service is such an important decision. You can get a lot of great leads from referrals and expos, but you should still read online reviews before making a final decision.

A simple search for payroll consumer reviews will yield several results. Start with top consumer sites and payroll review sites. Consumer Affairs, Fool, PCmag, and Capterra reviews are good places to start.

When reading reviews, look for issues with tech support, product bugs, and customer service. If something goes wrong, you need a product that’s up and running again in no time. That’s why exceptional customer support is such an important factor.

8. Do a Price Comparison

You’re almost ready to choose a new payroll service for your eco-business. The next step is to perform a price comparison of all your choice. It’s a good thing you create a payroll budget!

Remember to consider the future goals of your business, as well as your current revenue.

It may be worth it to invest in more services if you expect your business to grow substantially. Payroll services model their pricing structures differently for small businesses, mid-size companies, and enterprises.

Hopefully, your top choices also offer free trials to new customers. Free trials are an excellent way to test out the pros and cons of each payroll service. Make the most of these free offers!

9. Implement Your New Payroll System

The mark of a good payroll solution is easy implementation. That’s why involving your IT department is so crucial.

Make sure your payroll solution is compatible with your company’s computers, network, and mobile devices. Since more businesses are considering remote work, try cloud solutions that allow for easy payroll processing from home. You’ll also need a security plan for payroll.

Get all department managers on the same page. Managers and HR personnel should be fully trained before implementing the payroll solution company-wide. Take extra precautions with passwords and permissions since security is so critical for payroll.

Discover an Eco-Friendly Payroll Service

Eco-friendly practices should extend to every aspect of your company. Set a good example by adopting a paperless payroll solution. Follow these steps to discover the right payroll service for your goals.

Going green is more than paperless payroll. Make your entire company go green with the latest eco-friendly tips and trends for business owners.