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10 must-know tips for selecting a payroll software solution

Phil Meyer

1. Size does matter: Choose a payroll and/or HR package that suits the size and needs of your organisation. Do not waste money on a solution designed to accommodate 400 employees with all the bells and whistles if you have 25 employees on your payroll and the main objective is to ensure all deductions and calculations are in line with the six major payroll and HR acts.

2. Avoid human error: Let the software do it for you: There have been many changes in employer tax submissions in recent years. For example, PAYE reconciliation submissions by employers are now required twice a year and in future, submissions could be submitted quarterly and eventually monthly. Employers who have automated payroll software systems will find this process simple to execute. Remember that inaccurate returns will be rejected by SARS and can delay when you issue IRP5 certificates to your employees -- not a good position for any company to find itself in.

3. Telephonic and e-mail support: Select a software solution that offers telephonic and e-mail support within a national support infrastructure.

4. Start with a payroll solution. Then add HR: Consider payroll the building block from which to implement a cost-effective HR software solution. Some payroll software companies have developed HR-specific software that seamlessly integrates with their payroll offering to provide rapid, easy access to all employee information and reports.

5. Ease of use: Follow the KISS principle when you decide to purchase payroll and/or HR software solutions. Go for the easiest solution you can: Simplicity works.

6. East-West-Home-Best: Choose a payroll solution developed in South Africa, which caters for SA tax tables and easily incorporates budget speech changes.

7. Integration with your accounting software: Ensure the payroll software caters for seamless integration with your accounting software to avoid unnecessary data recapture.

8. Does the payroll vendor offer additional specialised modules? Opt for a payroll vendor that offers additional specialised modules that can cater for the growth of your company and additional payroll needs. These optional modules provide your company with solutions specific to your payroll processes and industry. These modules could include business intelligence reporting, industrial council compliance, employee self service and a risk & payroll management solution, to name a few.

9. Look at the payment plans: In tough economic times, it is important to find out what payment plans the payroll vendor offers, for example a monthly payment plan instead of an annual payment plan. This will assist with cash flow.

10. Desktop vs. cloud solutions: These days many start-up and smaller companies are opting for an online payroll solution. This is a cost-effective (pay-as-you-use) option and ensures hassle-free installation. Companies can rest assured that they will always process their payroll on the latest version (software-as-a-service) and do not have to worry about installing CD software versions when legislative changes are made.

Phil's strengths lie in development and the support of operational systems in both financial services and payroll industries.

Phil currently looks after the team implementing Connected Services into various products in the Sage AAMEA region. He is also looking after the full product range of Sage Pastel Payroll & HR and is constantly developing these for both online and desktop environments using agile development methodology.