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How Accountants Can Offer Payroll Services

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Anne Perisho

If you’re a CPA, bookkeeper or financial advisor, you know that a new year can bring a host of new opportunities to your business.

How accountants can offer payroll services.

The end of a year – or the start of a new one – can be a great time to reflect on what has made your business successful and start making strategic plans for the coming year. It could also be a prime opportunity to expand your current offerings or encourage your clients to consider new services, as they’ll be reviewing their own financial plans and business operations.

One of these services you can offer up to clients is payroll. Below you’ll learn more about this service offering, how it can help your clients, and the best way to get your clients on board.

Why Payroll?

Payroll is a ‘sticky’ product offering that many small business owners are looking for assistance with. Its complexities are often overlooked, and many employers find themselves struggling to manage deadlines and keep track of tax laws and legislations year-to-year. According to our survey, 42% of small business owners are using a DIY method for payroll. Additionally, another 32% reported making a mistake on payroll, with the most common mistake being they underpaid an employee. Based on this information, it’s easy to see that small business owners need some help with payroll and taxes. Payroll mistakes can be expensive and time-consuming to fix, and if small business owners are frequently messing up paychecks, there will be unhappy employees.

Finding the Right Payroll Solution

Now that we’ve covered why payroll is a good addition to your service offerings, it’s time to figure out what that looks like. You can certainly offer payroll in-house, but it is often considered a ‘high-risk, low-reward’ service. This is mainly because it can eat up a lot of your time and takes away from activities that may produce a higher return. Your clients will thank you for taking a load off their plate, but your employees may not.

Another option is to partner with an online payroll service. Online payroll providers offer simple, secure, and convenient payroll processing for busy small business owners, allowing them – and you – to focus on revenue-generating business operations. Payroll can be processed in just a few steps, and online payroll providers offer an extra layer of security when it comes to payroll tax compliance.

Some online payroll providers have accountant or reseller programs, allowing accountants, CPAs, bookkeepers, or other partners to utilize their platforms to offer payroll to their clients at little to no expense to the partner. When considering which service to partner with, you’ll want to make a list of features and capabilities you’ll want from a provider. A few examples of questions you might want to consider are:

  • Do you want to be able to run your client’s payroll for them, or just have access to their payroll history and reports for tax purposes?
  • Do you need to use the providers’ name and logo, or would you prefer to be able to white-label the experience so your customers only see your company name and branding?
  • How does billing work? Can the service bill your clients directly, or do you have to manage that process?
  • Will you have support to help you enroll clients, or the option for your clients to enroll themselves?

Getting the answers to these questions will give you direction on which service is the best fit for your firm.

Where (and When) to Start?

While it’s easier than it used to be to set up a payroll account, generally speaking, the end of a quarter or the beginning of a new year are ideal, as there is less (or no) historical data to account for when transferring or opening accounts. Therefore, if you’re considering offering payroll, this is the most convenient time to do it, both for your clients and for yourself. A payroll provider can assist you with onboarding clients, and, if you’re not a payroll expert, answer any questions that may come up during the process.  

You can certainly set up client payroll accounts during other times of the year, you just may have to transfer more information into the new payroll account to ensure your client’s annual tax filings and employee information is correct and accounted for.

Bottom Line

The end of a year is a great time to consider your business offerings and identify areas of opportunity that would benefit both your business and your clients. Adding a simple service like payroll could increase client satisfaction and round out your portfolio, helping you to offer a more comprehensive accounting package that is more focused on long-term client success. With the help of online payroll providers, it’s never been easier or smarter to offer payroll services, and with a new year just around the corner, the time is right to get a jump start on this new venture. 

To learn more about how offering payroll can help your firm, check out our white paper How Offering Payroll Services Can Strengthen Small Business Client Relationships (and Your Profitability)

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This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. SurePayroll is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, SurePayroll. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant. If you require legal or accounting advice or need other professional assistance, you should always consult your licensed attorney, accountant or other tax professional to discuss your particular facts, circumstances and business needs.