Just a few years ago, most accountants left payroll to the big service bureaus. Well, times have changed! The number of accountants who offer payroll services directly to their clients is growing every month. Whether you’re already in payroll or considering it for your practice, here are a few simple keys to making it profitable.
1. Choose an Accountant-Centric processing system.
Solutions designed for end-users are usually very different from ones designed for accountants. Don’t settle for a generic payroll system! Systems designed exclusively for accountants offer a host of features not available in other systems, including:
- A powerful management console that gives you an overview of payroll statuses and upcoming due dates for all clients. This type of console lets you easily stay on top of all client payrolls at any time.
- Ability to configure your services for each client. When you can give each client full or limited access to the system, based on their comfort level with payrolls and technology, you control who does the work.
- Not competing with you for your clients! (What a concept!)
2. Automate, automate, automate.
Find a system that takes advantage of the latest technology to make payroll processing less work-intensive for you. Ideally, your system should perform all of these tasks automatically, without you having to remember to do them:
- Complete computation for federal, all states and all localities
- Direct deposits
- E-payment of federal and state taxes and child support
- E-filing of quarterly and yearly tax forms
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3. Be flexible – and make sure your system is, too.
The more different types of client scenarios you and your system can handle, the easier it becomes to attract new clients and grow your payroll practice. Make sure you’re ready to handle:
- Multiple pay schedules
- Multiple checks for an employee per pay period
- Multiple withholding states per employee
- Multiple locations where your staff or your clients can enter payroll data remotely – including away from their offices
- Contractor (1099-MISC) payrolls
- Employee bonuses and commissions in various structures
4. Focus on Total Processing Cost.
When comparing different systems, make sure you look at the Total Processing Cost - not just the sticker price. Besides the cost of your payroll software, the most important consideration is staff time and cost. In-house PC-based systems are very inexpensive, but because of the tremendous amount of work that has to be done manually by your staff, their total cost of processing is often higher than cloud-based solutions that do all these tasks automatically for you. Also watch out for add-on fees for functions like direct deposit, tax deposit, and W-2’s.
5. Market your payroll services aggressively - and smartly.
Don’t assume that your existing clients already know about your payroll services – or that new clients will know to ask for it. Here are four simple marketing tips to start acquiring and retaining payroll clients:
- Focus on what makes you unique. For example, explain how your local presence lets you offer a better range of services, flexibility and client support than the service bureaus.
- Network with local bankers. If you refer customers to them for banking, they can and should return the favor.
- Send a direct mail piece or brochure to all of your clients and leads to announce your payroll service.
- Create a separate Web page on your site for payroll, explaining the services you offer and their benefits to your clients. If you’re already offering payroll, include a testimonial from an existing client.
6. Price for success.
Many accountants have found that the best way to price their payroll offering is an all-inclusive fixed fee per month. This gives you some predictability around payroll revenue and profits, and your clients appreciate not being nickel-and-dimed for additional services or support calls.
Ready to learn more about how innovative payroll solutions can help you make more money in less time? Check out the award-winning Payroll Relief from AccountantsWorld. Click here for details about our special offer - a full year of unlimited payrolls for just $997. Or call 888-999-1366.