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Any favorites for a Payroll Company?

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walter biscardi
Any favorites for a Payroll Company?
on Jul 24, 2010 at 3:45:03 pm

When we roll into 2011, we'll be switching over to a payroll service for the company. Any suggestions out there? Right now we're leaning towards our CPA as we've been with that company for years and they do offer the service.

Costco also offers a payroll service that ties right into QuickBooks Pro.

Any thoughts out there?

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" featuring Sigourney Weaver coming soon.

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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Any favorites for a Payroll Company?
on Jul 24, 2010 at 6:46:26 pm

We use our bookkeeper, who is in regular communication with our CPA. We also have quarterly meetings with our CPA to assess where things are, what the year is going to look like forecasted out to the end, so we can move money from the profit column to the expense column and not carry the tax burden we would if we didn't do it.

That's part of our strategy.

Best,

Ron Lindeboom


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Todd Terry
Re: Any favorites for a Payroll Company?
on Jul 24, 2010 at 10:56:10 pm

In your case Walter, I think I'd lean toward just using my own CPA for that service, if they are reasonably competitive about it.

In our first few years we did exactly that, let our CPA handle all of that voodoo. They actually charged us very little for it, since they were already handling all our tax stuff, etc. I just liked keeping all the financial biz with one company, and our personal CPA knows all the ins and outs of our business and seemed like the right person to handle it.

Incidentally, we no longer use our CPA for payroll services. In a move a bit backwards from yours, we took out-of-house payroll and moved it to in-house a few years ago. We only have a few employees and the payroll was actually so easy that my general manager just took over doing it himself... rather than bothering our CPA with it since he was practically charging nothing to do it.

I'd definitely give your existing CPA the first crack at it... or at least get some numbers from him or her.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Steve Martin
Re: Any favorites for a Payroll Company?
on Jul 25, 2010 at 2:22:19 am

Walter,

We have been using a PEO (professional employer organization) for about 18 years now. Some call it staff leasing. In effect, all the employees (including me) work for the PEO.

Unlike a payroll company or doing the payroll in house, a PEO is the employer of record with the feds and are completely responsible for withholding, reporting, etc... The other benefit is that they can offer group rates on health care insurance for me and my people along with workers comp and state/federal unemployment insurance. We're able to offer big company benefits even though we're pretty small.

The other nice thing is that they can offer guidance on standard HR practices and help in case you find yourself in a sticky HR type situation. Thanks goodness I haven't had that happen too often!

So the admin hassle factor is really low for me - I can just run my business.

They charge an admin fee (typically less than 2%) of payroll on top of all the other benefits, taxes and mandatory insurances. For a small company like mine (8 employees), it's a pretty good deal since it would cost me much more to do all of that it in-house.

It takes me about 5 minutes to do payroll and it shows up in QuickBooks as a single line-item expense. No withholding and/or reporting to the feds.

We've been with a national company called Gevity (recently acquired by TriNet) for the past 3 years and are currently in the process of shopping the service as we do every few years.

I hope this helps,
Steve

Production is fun - but lets not forget: Nobody ever died on the video table!


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walter biscardi
Re: Any favorites for a Payroll Company?
on Jul 25, 2010 at 12:53:11 pm

Hey Steve, thanks for that and we actually had a PEO reach out to us this week which started the whole discussion. But their rates are too high and would force us to raise our rates. I am looking to avoid that for the time being. Our CPA is much more reasonable and like Todd, we are a small shop so it's possible we might be able to bring everything in house at some point.

But thanks for the input!

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" featuring Sigourney Weaver coming soon.

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Steve Martin
Re: Any favorites for a Payroll Company?
on Jul 25, 2010 at 4:23:30 pm

Hi Walter,

Out of curiosity, was it the PEO that "cold called" you or did you reach out to them first?

Often times a good sales person will reach out to a company "in the news" and you made some news this week with the ground breaking of your new building.

This might be an example of the type of "go-getter" salesperson I am contemplating (last week's thread). Granted, this guy isn't going to get your business (this time) but perhaps he got you thinking about it?

I'm still investigating what I'm learning from others on that topic. In addition to the terrific replies I got here on the COW, I've gotten some really good insights privately from others in the business with regard to what works and what doesn't work. I hope to be posting a follow up soon.

All my best,
Steve

Production is fun - but lets not forget: Nobody ever died on the video table!


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walter biscardi
Re: Any favorites for a Payroll Company?
on Jul 27, 2010 at 1:18:28 pm

[Steve Martin] "Out of curiosity, was it the PEO that "cold called" you or did you reach out to them first?

Often times a good sales person will reach out to a company "in the news" and you made some news this week with the ground breaking of your new building."


Yep, they called me as a direct result of a press release from the Gwinnett County Chamber (that's the county we operate in here in Georgia.)


[Steve Martin] "This might be an example of the type of "go-getter" salesperson I am contemplating (last week's thread). Granted, this guy isn't going to get your business (this time) but perhaps he got you thinking about it?"

In my case it was an upper level person who contacted me via email and then had another associate meet with me.


[Steve Martin] "I'm still investigating what I'm learning from others on that topic. In addition to the terrific replies I got here on the COW, I've gotten some really good insights privately from others in the business with regard to what works and what doesn't work. I hope to be posting a follow up soon."

Look forward to that! I've never had any luck with any sort of sales representation. The company has sold itself for quite some time and the wide variety of freelancers and producers we work with has spread quite the word of mouth around this area.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" featuring Sigourney Weaver coming soon.

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Neil Hurwitz
Re: Any favorites for a Payroll Company?
on Jul 27, 2010 at 3:43:02 pm

Walter,
Here's the skinny on Payroll Companies.
I would absolutely use one.
The headaches of keeping track of all the various forms,
dates,filing deadlines is just not worth it.
Penalties for missed deadlines are extreme and they change
depending on gross payroll (sometimes on a week to week Basis)
If your payroll changes week to week because of overtime
you can really hurt yourself here.
Also note that lots of Taxing authorities cue off of unemployment
insurance forms, so if you screw up one of these it can trigger
every other taxing authority to look up your butt.
That said their are things you can do to minimize the expense
associated with payroll companies
Go to a 24 payroll check a year policy
ie: Payroll is on the 1st & 15th of every month,
with a one payroll period lag for overtime. If this is not feasable
then go to an every other week schedule.(26checks a year per employee) you will get creamed if you use a once a week schedule.
This will allow you to anticipate your cash requirements
and since most payroll services charge by the check and report
you will minimize this expense.
Request the ability to submit payroll info on-line and not call it in
This is cheaper and almost universal now.
Make sure they will send you the exact Journal entry for your
accounting software, every payroll period.
Most payroll companies have special services for smaller businesses
ask about these and then NEGOIATE .
Ask about doing a free conversion from your records to theirs
(sometimes this is conveniently forgotten in discussions and will cause you great greif if they only give you reports from their start date)
Make sure they send you copies of all tax deposits
Make sure they are bonded & check references of other loacal
customers.
Verify their customer call service center is in the US

Neil Hurwitz


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