Don’t Try This At Home! “I Can Do My Small Business Payroll Myself.”



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As a small business, you have limited resources to get things done and it can be tempting to try and save money by doing things yourself. In the case of processing payroll, this is one of those things that seems simple, but can cause you lots of problems if not handled properly. We’ve seen many small businesses try the do-it-yourself method and pay the price in the form of tax penalties and liens, and the loss of precious time cleaning up a mess or waiting on the phone with the IRS.

In fact, for years, we have advised our clients to outsource payroll, and our opinion hasn’t changed. There are more value-added things for you and your employees to spend time on.

I want to tell you about one payroll solution that we really like for small businesses. There are many out there each with their own pros and cons. For this article, I want to focus on Intuit (the company that makes QuickBooks) which has a payroll service offering that makes good sense for businesses who already use QuickBooks.

They have 3 service level offerings: Basic, Enhanced and Full Service. Click here to see a comparison chart of the 3 offerings.

What They All Offer

All 3 service offerings integrate with QuickBooks, have free direct deposit and check printing, and customer service support is included in the packages for both during the year and year-end support questions. Just note that phone, chat and email support is only included for Mon-Fri 6am -6pm and no weekends. Also, know that for all 3 services, check printing means you print the checks yourself for any employees or contractors who don’t opt for direct deposit. At the time of this writing, they do not offer a check printing, stuffing and mailing service with any of their packages.

Don’t Go Basic

We would not recommend the Basic level service. They don’t do the taxes for you and this a primary reason you would want to use a payroll service. You also can’t pay any 1099 contractors with this service, so scratch that.

Enhanced Service Might Work For You

It’s a step up from doing it yourself, but I still would not recommend it for most small businesses. On the plus side, it adds to the Basic Service the ability to e-file and print W-2’s and includes federal and state tax forms pre-populated for you to complete and file throughout the year.

However, in our opinion, that’s the problem. You have to complete and e-file the forms yourself. If you are not familiar with filing payroll tax forms, this could present a problem. And, if you have an employee who does this for you and they are out sick, on vacation, or leave your company, you could be in a jam. On the positive side, the forms are pre-populated and they have included a handy button to e-file and e-pay your taxes, which does make it a little easier. Even still, if you can afford the Full Service option, it is, as the price and name suggest, the best.

Go Full Service!

This level is going to cost you about an extra $50 per month or $600 for the year, but well worth it. In addition to filing and processing your tax payments for you, they back this up with a guarantee that you will not get any penalties for late or incorrect filing. As long as you submit your information on time and have the funds available in your account to pay the taxes, they will pay any penalties should that occur.

Two additional benefits are that they will do the initial setup for you and will include free year-end tax forms. When you add all this up and consider the peace of mind you can have knowing you won’t be hassled by tax agencies, freeing up you and your employees to do more important things to manage and grow your business, the added cost more than pays for itself!

If you want help or advice setting up a payroll service or want to learn more about Barba CFO, click here to complete our contact form.

Click here to read more about our services to help your business:

Reduce your accounting function costs by 10%–50%

Improve cycle time of monthly financial statements by 20%–50%

Improve analysis and reporting

Eliminate any future CFO turnover

Obtain CFO-level resources at a fraction of the cost

Reduce the risk of fraud and embezzlement

Have a CFO-level resource always available to help you

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