Payroll Services Have Changed How CPAs Work
- Many accountants are catching on to the value of payroll services,
and they are increasingly using online payroll service providers
to improve client service, enhance loyalty, and generate additional
revenue year-round. Vendors are recognizing this online trend
as well: As of late 2007, several payroll vendors were offering
their own online payroll services.
3 million small businesses (20 employees or less) in the United
States—almost 60% of small businesses —still use a
manual payroll method. Small businesses have the same tax burden
as large employers, but they don’t have nearly the same
resources to comply with regulations, make tax payments, and meet
business owners would like to turn to their accountant for back-office
services while they focus on growing their businesses. Yet, accountants
have traditionally shunned payroll work. This is changing, however,
and research conducted by PayCycle has revealed that more than
37% of the accountants using the PayCycle online service have
never run client payroll before.
services can be easy, especially when the accountant can assign
varying levels of control, allowing a small business owner to
manage some of the weekly entry work, such as employee hours.
methods are riddled with risk. The opportunity for errors plus
late filing fees or other penalties can plague even the most astute
small business owner. According to the IRS, one out of three businesses
is penalized each year, for an average of approximately $1,500.
Online payroll services can offer e-mail reminders that keep the
small business owner and the accountant on top of weekly payroll
tasks and ensure that tax filing and payment deadlines aren’t
payroll services required accountants to be at their desk. Online
payroll services, however, can be managed anywhere Internet access
worry that a lack of payroll experience, coupled with a lack of
marketing skills, will hamper potential payroll service revenue
or business growth. To help, many online payroll service providers
include customizable marketing tools. These include free “how
to market your payroll services” webinars, marketing tips,
best practices, and other resources to help accountants grow a
profitable payroll practice.
payroll providers enable accountants to have their own firm-branded
website that allows client access. One advantage of online payroll
is the ability to share the payroll tasks with clients. With a
branded site, if the firm chooses to give clients direct access
to its payroll accounts, clients will see the firm’s name
on the product. In addition, some payroll companies offer online
product demonstrations that accountants can place on their websites
to show their clients how the service would help manage payroll
tasks. A good vendor will also help clients promote their payroll
services by providing customizable sales letters and brochures.
These tools save accounting firms time and money on design and
Lubetkin is director of the accounting professional program
at PayCycle (www.paycycle.com).
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