Running any type of business, especially a small business, comes with many responsibilities and challenges. Making sure that the product is satisfactory to the consumer, as well as making sure that everything goes well behind the scenes is difficult to do alone as the owner. This is where the use of a payroll company can be a lifeline for these businesses.

Brent Ponstingle, director of sales at Ahola HR Solutions in Brecksville, and Dan Ungar, owner of Mar-Lou Shoes in Lyndhurst, said payroll companies can help businesses in a number of ways.

Ponstingle, who works for a payroll company, said most people tend to use a payroll company to handle things like paying their federal, state, or local taxes. Payroll companies will help ensure they are in compliance and don’t miss out on payments. They can also help with the application process of potential employees.

“We know the IRS doesn’t necessarily forgive when you miss payments,” Ponstingle said. “So one role is to provide tools for companies to help simplify their process. Things like parking meters that integrate with payroll software, things like electronic candidate tracking. So when you post a job posting on a job board, a potential employee can see it, click on it, enter their information, and apply through the system. And then all of their information is already entered into the company’s payroll system.

A company’s payroll system can also be referred to as HRIS systems or human resource information systems. Information for future employees will already be there.

“So after going through the interview process, a company decides they want to offer them an offer, they extend it and distribute it through the system, and then from there, they can integrate it electronically”, Ponstingle said. “So they’re no longer big paper manuals to go through and sign. Your I-9s, your W-4s, whatever kind of welcome package, it’s all done electronically now and stored in a cloud-based system, instead of having tons of filing cabinets full of paper.

As a small business owner who does payroll every two weeks, Ungar said these payroll services save him a lot of time.

“Since everything is done electronically or by email, I don’t have to worry about determining taxes,” Ungar said. “I don’t have a payroll tax to calculate because everything is done by the payroll companies. When you pay more than 17 people, it’s a huge time saver.

Ungar added that there is an automated feature of their benefits, such as the retirement savings program and matching fund deposits. The same goes for health insurance, reimbursement of premiums and contributions to health savings accounts of their employees.

“As the old saying goes, time is money,” Ungar said. “In fact, it saves time and stress. Payroll manually, which we used to do. I remember growing up watching my dad write checks, as writing checks is just one aspect. The time and energy spent calculating all the payroll taxes is really almost inordinate. It’s just a huge time. And doing that for 16-17 people every two weeks, it’s crazy.

As someone who grew up in a small family business that his father started, Ponstingle said he knew people in small businesses wore a lot of hats and filled many different roles.

“If you’re running a business that has 5, 10, 15 employees, there’s a good chance you don’t have dedicated people with a dedicated process,” Ponstingle said. “So the owner may, while trying to run the business, also be responsible for doing the payroll every week or every two weeks. So our job is just to help make that easier. You want the people who run businesses, especially family businesses, to spend more time running their business and less time dealing with the more mundane features of the business.


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