Inside Dental Technology
April 2021
Volume 12, Issue 4

Establishing and Developing Employee Payroll

Considerations for selecting a vendor

Brian Forman

Identifying a comprehensive payroll services company to process your dental laboratory's payroll is one of the most important decisions you will make. Payroll typically represents the largest business expense you will have, and the monthly expense varies based on your headcount and which payroll features you utilize. In today's business world, a majority of companies elect to hire a vendor who will process the payroll and maintain tax records for year-end processing.

The first factor to consider when deciding on a payroll vendor is aligning your resources with your total headcount. Several vendors specialize in serving companies with 250 or fewer exempt and non-exempt employees. The payroll vendor you select should be well versed in all transactional scenarios, which includes bi-weekly, semi-monthly, weekly, or monthly payroll mode. Requesting to see a visual demonstration of a vendor's payroll software platform is a good idea, to see how the software is laid out and how user-friendly it is for both the administrator and employees in a self-service capacity. Most payroll vendors will allow prospective customers to view their software in a testing environment.

Another consideration that is vital for the payroll vetting process is the customer support level. Some payroll vendors, depending on headcount, will assign a dedicated customer support representative who would be your day-to-day resource. This individual would be responsible for processing your payroll and fielding any relevant queries in between payroll periods. Some payroll companies have only an open customer service center with no dedicated representative. When comparing several payroll vendors, if pricing and the software platform both meet your needs, hiring a vendor who will provide a dedicated representative can be advantageous because of the personalized service and the ability to establish a relationship with someone who will be more familiar with your company.

If a laboratory utilizes a physical time clock, that device can be integrated with a payroll vendor. This is a critical part of your time and attendance tracking. All of the clock-in/out punches are imported into the payroll software, and the administrator can view in real time actual punches and make any edits as needed. Most vendors offer their own time clocks as part of the monthly payroll software package.

Several costs must be considered as well in the process of selecting a vendor. The most basic software package will include payroll processing and time and attendance tracking along with tax filing and other recordkeeping functions that maintain compliance with regulations in the states in which you operate. PTO tracking, database accessibility, and full reporting functions are included as well.

The main differences to look for between payroll vendors are the functionality of the site and how quickly information can be accessed without needing to toggle too much between different sections of the platform. It's also a good idea when you are in the testing mode to log in for both the Administrator view and Employee view, as they are different. Payroll software can assign different levels of authority based on position level. The administrator who will manage the payroll in your labatory will generally be assigned full access so they can have the capacity to process the payroll and to assign managers their level of authority for the teams they manage.

Training is an important consideration as well when selecting a vendor. Once you install a new system, managers will require training to successfully navigate the system and manage their staff. They can view their team's attendance, approve PTO requests, and make time adjustments if an employee misses a clock swipe. The administrator would assign credentials to the manager for access.

Your final decision should be based on how comfortable you feel with the software and if other stakeholders in your company draw the same conclusion after testing it. Switching Payroll vendors is not an easy decision, but if you need to establish a new vendor, the beginning of the year is always the best time because all of the previous year's payroll records can be integrated into the first few weeks of the new calendar year and all year-end tax processing, including W-2s and any ACA records, have already been distributed by the end of January.

About the Author

Brian Forman, is a Human Resources Generalist with Atelier 4 in Long Island City, New York

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