Payroll processing is one of the most important functions in your grocery business—and one of the most challenging. It takes a lot to keep up with ongoing changes, updates to employees' data, manage labor costs, and stay on top of tax updates and compliance. What makes it an even bigger challenge is that payroll processing is usually a delegated task, often in HR, and not a full-time job. The employee handling payroll usually has other responsibilities in the store, and might not have all the software and tools they need for the job.
Everybody in the grocery industry wears a lot of hats, especially in smaller operations, so it may seem natural to keep payroll processing in-house. But there are many compelling reasons to outsource it instead.
Payroll processing carries a lot of risk if you do it incorrectly. But you can eliminate that risk by outsourcing payroll to experts with the right tools and expertise. You’ll also create efficiencies in your business and free up time because you’re not looking things up for employees, which lets you focus on other tasks and other responsibilities.
Thinking about outsourcing your payroll processing? Here are six things you need to know before you do.
1. The wrong vendor can cause more headaches than not outsourcing.
What’s worse than not outsourcing? Choosing the wrong vendor. This includes self-service options. Though they’re popular because they’re inexpensive, you’ll still have the responsibility of making sure that everything is set up correctly, such as earning codes, pretax insurance, and 401k deductions. And it’s up to you to verify everything is right.
The system itself costs less, but you’re still doing all the data entry, and you are responsible for making sure everything is legal. There’s no benefit to outsourcing if you still have a lot of manual functions.
And now, more than ever, you need a partner that will communicate well during a time of need or shifting landscape. With the recent release of the Payroll Protection Program and constantly evolving tax incentives, a hands-on partner is vital in protecting your people and guiding your business.
2. The debate between on-premise software or SaaS.
With on-premise software installed on your network, you’ll spend more time keeping it secure. Without a dedicated IT staff, it’s easy to miss a security update, putting your entire system at risk. Some states have strict rules on what employee data can even be stored or managed on a network, making this option even more risky. And even if everything is secure, you’ll still need to manually update your tax tables every year. That’s why it makes more sense to go with a cloud-based SaaS provider, so security and software updates are managed for you.
3. Give your employees anywhere, anytime access to their information.
Outsourcing holds advantages for employees, as well. They can access their own data and tax forms, which saves them time by not having to call HR and wait on someone to send them something.
We’re all used to accessing our information online instantly, whether it’s banking, mortgage, or credit card statements, and your employees want the same access to their payroll information. If they need to change their address or withholding, or want to look at their paycheck, they don’t want the HR department to process those requests. Providing that access fosters a better relationship with your employees.
4. You don’t need a custom-built payroll app.
Payroll is standardized today, so there’s no need to go to the time and expense of a custom-built app for your store. An experienced payroll company will allow you the flexibility to tailor the software to your industry so you’ll have the benefits of a customized application, without having to create it and maintain it yourself.
5. How can you tell which payroll outsourcing solution is right for you?
There’s no “one-size-fits-all” payroll outsourcing solution. Just because a company is a big name in the industry, doesn’t automatically mean they’ll be a good fit for you. What should you look for? A vendor that knows the grocery business, who will customize the software to fit your situation.
6. Don't create yet another silo by outsourcing to software that won't talk to anything else.
Pick a system that integrates with the rest of your network so everything works together. To determine which one is right for you, examine your processes, then demo options to find one that fits your business. The right partner is not only someone who can process your payroll, but who also understands your business, accounting, and HR.
Get management on board with outsourcing payroll processing
Outsourcing doesn’t just make work easier for the payroll processor, it gives employees better tools and makes their life easier. Management can send a positive message to employees by investing in a solution that makes it easy for them to access their information.
It’s also a more efficient use of your labor spend to let someone else make sure tax tables, deductions, and 401Ks are correct. If you do something incorrectly in house, there’s going to be a cost to that. The risk of trying to manage payroll in-house is far outweighed by the benefit of outsourcing it.
Ultimately, outsourcing reduces risk, saves money for the business, and impacts the bottom line.
TimeForge, an integrated payroll solution
The best way to outsource payroll processing is to take a holistic approach and partner with a company that can integrate into the rest of your system, so it not only processes payroll and tracks hours worked, but also integrates with HR.
TRUNO understands the challenges grocery retailers face, especially with labor. TimeForge is a suite of workforce management tools set up to handle the unique challenges facing grocery retailers. Whether you’re structuring shifts, enforcing payroll laws, or handling employee turnover, you’ll save time and labor costs by being able to integrate, automate, eliminate redundancies, and have data flow seamlessly from one system to another.
TRUNO’s TimeForge lets you outsource your payroll processing, creating efficiencies and improving morale.