Truths about Payroll Accounting Software Your Accountant Won’t Tell You
What will payroll accounting software really cost you?
Payroll accounting software can help you balance your books, but there are a few drawbacks. Sometimes it’s better to hire out your accounting to someone else and instead focus your own energy on ways you can make money. Consider the following secrets your accountant may not tell you about software programs:
Software programs can be more costly in the long-run.
Many businesses switch from paper reporting to accounting software in an attempt to save time and money, but even the best programs have a tendency to nickel and dime their clients. The purchase price is rarely your only expense. For instance, you may have to upgrade to get features you find essential, such as tracking hourly wages in the field or running advanced reports.
Additional expenses include:
- Yearly license renewal
- Upgrading to new versions of the software to avoid losing your data
- Upgrading your computer components to handle software demands
- Training and installation consultation with each new version
User skill controls quality.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the person using your payroll accounting software can have a serious impact on how much time—and hassle—it saves your business. Someone who isn’t skilled at typing or isn’t used to using a computer program will introduce more errors than an experienced data or HR worker. When introduced into payroll, these errors can create delays in pay and mistakes in the payment of payroll taxes, so it’s important to put the right person in charge, as well as employ methods for checking for errors.
Running reports can be frustrating.
One way to check for errors is by running a number of reports at the end of the day which help you to ensure all of your totals add up. Unfortunately, most software programs are either too simplistic to manage reports well or take a tremendous amount of training to get right.
Your accountant may deal with a program regularly, and probably had professional training to figure out how to best make it work. How much training will you be able to invest in getting to know your software? Will this be available when it comes to learning how to use new versions and upgraded features down the road?
Software programs can leave your data vulnerable.
One mid-sized publisher ran into an alarming security problem when they switched their software. An employee was being harassed by a stalker, and the perpetrator was able to access their network, keeping updated on the employee’s schedule and contact information. The business’ rural campus wound up suffering loss of production due to lockdowns when the stalker was sighted on-grounds, and they went to a major expense to block their network security breaches. Unfortunately, the oversight placed all of their employees at physical and financial risk.
It’s essential that any program you use is paired with an ultra-secure network. Do you have an IT staff on-site? Do you know what protections are in place to keep people—including competitors—from using your payroll software to hack into your network? This can take a big investment, making the move to a PEO service all the more affordable.
For businesses with the skills, equipment and ability to invest in training and set up, payroll software can greatly improve efficiency. For those without those resources, software often introduces new headaches. Talk to the experts about your responsibilities before investing in any new systems.