Which is the right payroll for me?

This is coming up as a question to our customer support team frequently so here are a few things to think about when considering the (many) options.

It used to be Commac, Ace or an excel spreadsheet.  All on your desktop, and doing quite a reasonable low cost job of managing your payroll – maybe not the spreadsheet but certainly the other two.

So what should you be thinking about?

How many employees have you got?

Most of the cloud based options are priced on how many employees you have.  The more you have the less cost effective the cloud is.

How much work do you want to do?

Most of the cloud options now offer a full service where you don’t have to do any of the heavy lifting – the service pays your employees, keeps track of your liabilities (holiday pay etc) and files your IRD returns.  This is great as a ‘set and forget’ option.

What other cool bits of software might integrate with your payroll software?  

Most of the cloud based options nowadays integrate to Xero – but there are also many other great options for processing in the field.  So, for example, if you have tradesmen out in the field, what else can you use to connect them to the rest of your software.

Are there any subsidised services out there?

Yes, the government is providing some subsidies for payroll providers.  The IRD has a list so click here for details of where you can get the subsidy.

How much support is provided?

This can be of crucial importance if it’s the day after a tricky public holiday and you’re not sure what to do when Bob who normally works a Saturday, was rostered on and it’s a public holiday then he calls in sick (yes, that happened to me).  Time and a half, day in lieu, sick pay or just go home and call in sick yourself!

How much is your time worth (or that of your payroll clerk)?  

Sometimes it’s worth paying a bit more and releasing valuable time elsewhere.

How much does it cost?

Always a key question. We do not want to make any blanket recommendations as it really does depend (except the spreadsheet, that’s a ‘No’ from us).

However, here’s some cost comparisons – but please do your own analysis as these are shifting sands!

Payroll Costs – August 2015 – as taken from the supplier’s websites

Software Employees = 10 Employees = 20 Cloud Based? Complete Service, including filing returns?
Xero payroll Additional $25 on your Xero business subscription Additional $35 on your Xero business subscription Yes No, you input hours and file returns. Cool app for employees
Crystal Payroll $299 annual licence, then $0 to $1,040 (depending on level of service required) $529 annual licence, then$180 to $2,080 (depending on level of service required) Yes Yes
Ace Payroll $250 for unlimited Nos for software – no ongoing charge $250 for unlimited Nos for software – no ongoing charge No Pay $195 per annum for unlimited phone support.Excellent supportBut you do all your own input & file IRD returns.
ipayroll $1,144 $2,054 Yes Yes
Thank you Payroll(subsidised) 2 Day Processing is free.1 day processing = $260 2 Day Processing is free.1 day processing = $520 Yes Yes
  1. I’ve assumed that you pay weekly.

There are a lot of other options such as Commac & Smart Payroll so first work out some of your answers to the the questions above and don’t forget to price your own time in there (or the cost of your payroll clerk), then go forth and price your requirements.

Essential Payroll Tips from the beany Team

  • Check out the amazing resources at our partner, HR Toolkit, to save you drama in the long run.
  • Make sure everyone has a signed contract before they start work
  • Use a proper updated payroll – your Holiday Pay Act responsibilities are real and most easily managed in appropriate software.
  • Always be reasonable and transparent with your employees – it saves drama in the long run!
  • Before each public holiday, check out the Department of Labour website for your legal responsibilities around time and a half and lieu days.
  • Lastly if you’re in hospitality, the wage bill on a public holiday can be crushing.  You need to consider whether to shut or whether to take it on the chin for the sake of your customers. But do the calculation at least so you know what you’re in for.

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