- Marketing agencies have unique needs when it comes to payroll services, especially if they’re a smaller business.
- Finding the right payroll service can save your marketing agency time, money, and stress, especially when it comes to taxes.
- Learn more about the best payroll services for marketing agencies in this article from Nav’s experts.
What Is a Payroll Service?
A payroll service is a company that can help another business with their payroll. They can range from full-service payroll companies that handle every aspect of payroll to providers that help a business manage their payroll in-house through payroll software or customer service. The most important aspect of a payroll service provider is that it allows you to pay employees. But there’s a lot more to payroll than that.
The most basic payroll service will provide basic payroll solutions, such as time tracking and paying employees, including printing paychecks and handling direct deposit. The service will need to account for payroll data like different tax withholdings and wage garnishments. Paid time off (PTO), overtime, and workers’ compensation all need to be included in the calculations as well.
Many businesses use a payroll service to help manage legal compliance with state, local, and federal labor laws and tax regulations. A payroll service can help a business with tax reporting and payroll tax filing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They will usually also provide W-2s and other tax forms for employees.
A more robust payroll service can help with human resources (HR) aspects of payroll, such as scheduling, time off requests, and benefits administration. They may also offer hiring, onboarding, and retention services. Many payroll providers offer employee self-service portals where employees can manage their personal information, including paystubs, tax forms, and benefits information.
How Payroll Services for Small Businesses Differ From the Needs of Larger Businesses
Small businesses have different business needs for payroll management than large businesses. Most of this is due to size and resources, especially when it comes to financial and human resources departments. Small business owners tend to wear many hats in their companies, and may be the only person to process payroll. They also may not have anyone available to manage HR features like employee benefits and health insurance administration.
This means that small businesses will want payroll features that help them streamline their payroll processes. The more intuitive the service or payroll software, the better. Having good, available customer support and HR support can also help small businesses immensely.
Automation is important for small businesses to save them time and headaches. Automated payroll services can make all the difference for small businesses, especially when it comes to payroll taxes and staying up on local labor laws.
Data entry is often a stumbling block for small business payroll, so a mobile app with employee portals where employees can enter their information safely can save a lot of time. Cloud-based, online payroll services can help small businesses who are on the go to run payroll wherever they need to, and allow employees to enter time and scheduling requests on their own.
Pricing is another aspect of a payroll solution that small businesses have to consider. Finding a payroll solution that fits in your budget while also providing the tools you need can be a balancing act for any small business. The top payroll service providers will have several pricing plans to fit any business’s budget, from startups to growing businesses.
The Unique Payroll Needs of Marketing Agencies
Marketing agencies have specific payroll needs that many other types of businesses don’t have.
Because marketing agencies tend to bill clients different amounts for different types of work and hours, paying employees can be a bit more complicated than other businesses with salaried or hourly employees. The payroll system will need to be able to track time per project, so that clients can be billed for the labor that marketing designers, content creators, and paid advertising specialists have put in.
Paying independent contractors
Many small marketing agencies work with independent contractors for marketing services like graphic design, web design, search engine optimization (SEO) content, and other services. Independent contractors are paid differently from full-time salaried or hourly employees and will require a 1099 form instead of a W-2 at the start of the new year to report their own taxes. Again, their time may need to be billed to separate accounts. They may also be paid through an invoice system rather than time tracking. Finally, you may pay contractors different rates for different types of projects (and bill clients differently for each of them, too) — and your payroll software will need to be able to accommodate this.
Sometimes the independent contractors that small marketing agencies hire work in other countries, particularly software developers and website developers. The payroll service will need to be able to handle tax reporting for workers overseas, as well as integrate with international banks to handle direct deposit and currency exchanges. Online payroll software can be particularly useful for distributed or remote teams.
How to Choose a Payroll Service
The best payroll software for a small marketing agency will offer a number of solutions for your business needs. Consider these features when you pick a payroll service for your marketing agency:
Ease of use — As a small marketing agency owner or manager, your payroll software should be intuitive so you don’t have to spend a lot of time figuring out how to use it. Many payroll service providers offer payroll at the touch of a few buttons, as well as dashboards to help you understand its effect on your business. It’s also important that any self-service portals be user friendly for your employees so they can keep their employee information up to date and take that data entry management off your plate.
Reporting — The best payroll software solutions for marketing agencies will allow you to run payroll reports to help you understand where your labor costs are going.
Compliance management — You’ll want a payroll service that keeps track of labor laws and tax compliance so you don’t have to do research every year. Many services will calculate local taxes and other updates automatically, saving you time and headaches.
Software integrations — The best payroll service will integrate with your other business software, especially bookkeeping and accounting software like QuickBooks Online, so that you can understand how payroll affects your bottom line. You should also be able to use the information to budget for labor costs, which can also help you create better quotes for clients going forward. Many payroll services integrate with other business software you may already have, like HR software, scheduling software, or project management tools for time tracking.
Add-ons — Look for a payroll solution that solves your business problems any additional services or tools that you may need, like HR tools, new hire reporting, health benefits administration and other benefits management, or full-service payroll administration. Tax filing and reporting are also important aspects of payroll services.
Pricing — It’s important to know just how much you can afford for payroll services. Many services charge a base fee for a core plan that will allow you to run payroll, track time, pay your employees, and file taxes. You can find a payroll plan that charges a base price or monthly fee that suits your needs and allows you to have unlimited payroll runs and same-day processing.
Best Payroll Services for Small Marketing Agencies
Online Payroll by Intuit QuickBooks
The best payroll service for your marketing agency will fit your unique needs and allow you to pay employees, run tax calculations, and file taxes easily and securely. Check out Nav’s payroll services resources to compare solutions and find the right payroll software for your small business. You can also use Nav to find the best financing for your small business.