You run a business and wear many different hats, one of which is making sure that those you employ are both productive and satisfied with their jobs.

So, imagine the feeling in the pit of your stomach when you come to realize that the payroll provider you hired to make sure all your workers are properly paid, well, they’ve screwed up more than once.

While some small businesses can get away with doing payroll in-house with a full or part-time qualified individual, larger companies often times will go outside the office to handle their payroll needs.

No matter which side of the payroll fence you find yourself on as a business owner, keep in mind some of these tips when hiring your payroll person or outside team:

In-house hire

* Qualifications – The person you hire to do your payroll obviously needs skills in math and can work his or her way around a computer. Some smaller businesses will typically have the owner’s spouse doing payroll, but that changes over time when the company grows or the spouse leaves and/or takes on new responsibilities. If you can get someone in and train them while you have your current payroll person on staff, all the better;

* Integrity – Given that the person overseeing payroll has access to your financial numbers, make sure they can be trusted with such sensitive information. The last thing you need is someone gossiping around the office about what one or more employees makes. They are also going to have access to your different payment options, including checks and direct deposits, so make sure you don’t hire someone who has had or currently has some “financial issues” going on in their life;

* Personality – Doing payroll by oneself can be one of the more stressful jobs to undertake. You need an individual that can handle stress, is good with deadlines, and above all can deal with different office personalities. Hiring someone who pretty much keeps to themselves, doesn’t do well with stress, and has a past of not making deadlines, has the potential to be a recipe for disaster.

Outsourcing payroll

* Research – First and foremost, make sure you provide yourself with a number of vendors with which to choose from. Avoid making the mistake of taking the first vendor that looks or sounds good, because undoubtedly you will miss out on even better ones. Plan to research each vendor’s background, checking to see the company’s history and financial stability;

* Service – You should never put a price on customer service, especially with something as important as payroll. Look to see if you can get a trial run from each provider you consider doing business with. There inevitably will be issues at some point involving records, payments, and deadlines, so you want a payroll provider that is there for you when it comes to customer service, including beyond the typical work hours;

* Commitment – Even though you are likely not going to get or for that matter want a long-term contact from a provider, you also do not want to be switching payroll companies every year. Continuity is important in order to lessen the chances for mistakes, so try and find a provider that has a long track record of dependable service. Given how important it is to pay your employees on time, mistakes are the last thing you need.

As a business owner, what experiences have you had when it comes to meeting your payroll on time?

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AvatarDave Thomas

With 23 years’ writing experience, Dave Thomas covers business topics for a variety of websites.