5 Hacks to Make Payroll More Efficient for Clients

Maria Tanski-Phillips
Posted by Maria Tanski-Phillips on Sep 17, 2021 10:55:13 AM

Over half of accounting firms, 53% to be exact, offer payroll services to clients. And as time goes on, that number continues to grow. If you’re part of the half that already offers this service, you know how important payroll is to your clients. Especially, accurate and on-time payroll. To ensure your clients’ payroll process is as efficient as possible, keep a few hacks up your sleeve.

Payroll hacks to put into action

Helping your clients pay their employees is an important task to handle as an advisor. If you want to ensure your clients’ payroll is fast, efficient, and most importantly, accurate every time, put these five payroll hacks into action.

1. Use payroll software

Making your clients’ payroll process more efficient starts by having a solid payroll method. And for most accountants offering payroll services, this generally boils down to payroll software.

If you’re not already using software to streamline your clients’ payroll or are on the fence about getting it, take a step back and think about a few perks of payroll software:

  • Fast
  • Automatic calculations
  • Time-saving
  • Accurate

And if you opt for an upgraded version, like full-service payroll, you don’t have to stress about withholding, remitting, and filing payroll taxes for your clients. Instead, the software handles all of the calculations and deposits for your and your clients.

If you’re searching for payroll software, look for software that offers affordable pricing, integrations (e.g., accounting software), easy-to-read and shareable reports, top-notch security, and expert support. Some providers also offer special pricing and offerings just for accountants, like special partner program pricing, free co-branding, and free accounting and payroll options for your firm.

Finding a program that helps make life easier for you and your clients when it comes to payroll is a game-changer. Not to mention, it can make other tasks for your clients more efficient, like distributing pay stubs and W-2s and gathering payroll reports.

2. Set a schedule

As you know, payroll is generally on a tight schedule. This means you also need to be on a strict schedule when it comes to handling payroll for your clients. Otherwise, it could wind up leading to employees not being paid on time or laws being broken (e.g., pay frequency requirements).

Your schedule for each client will vary depending on pay frequency, how many employees they pay, and which payment method they use (e.g., direct deposit).

Depending on whether you handle running payroll for the client or if they run it themselves, you may need to set a schedule to receive information like timesheets, reports, and year-end information. Distribute schedules to clients to let them know when they need to provide certain information to you to ensure their payroll is accurate and run on time.

3. Send reminders to clients

Your payroll clients have a lot on their plate. Heck, they are business owners, after all. And when clients are juggling many tasks at once, it can be easy for things to slip their minds, like running payroll or providing you with the necessary info to run payroll for their business. To steer clear of any common payroll problems and make things easier for your clients, send reminders.

To prevent any missteps in the payroll process for your clients, send reminders about:

  • Providing information before payday (e.g., timesheets) if you run payroll for your client
  • Running payroll each pay period (if your client does it themselves)
  • Upcoming bank or legal holidays, which can impact things like running payroll and direct deposit
  • Year-end requirements (e.g., distributing W-2s)

You can send reminders via email, text, or phone call. Talk to your clients about their preferences for reminders. And, consider setting up automatic reminders to send to your clients, if possible (e.g., email software).

The more of a heads up you give your clients, the smoother their payroll process will be. So, send those reminders to your client’s inbox or phone to give them a gentle nudge.

4. Keep clients up-to-date on laws

As your clients’ trusted advisor, you should be keeping up with laws to ensure your clients’ payroll is accurate. And, you should also pass along the information you learn to your clients and keep them up-to-date with payroll laws.

Keep your clients in the loop about laws by sending out emails, meeting up with them, calling clients, or shooting them a text. Depending on how in-depth the new law is, you may need to have a longer conversation with them (e.g., face-to-face meeting).

Letting your clients know about new or changing payroll laws allows them to know how their payroll is being impacted moving forward. Even if you’re the one running payroll for your client, it’s still a good idea to give them a rundown of the new laws so they know what’s going on with their payroll and why it’s changing.

5. Provide clients a checklist

Last, but certainly not least, to help keep your clients’ payroll on track and make sure they don’t skip a beat, provide checklists to them.

Create a checklist to give to new payroll clients that includes:

  • Information you need to set up payroll for them (e.g., EIN)
  • The employee info you need (e.g., name, address, pay frequency, etc.)
  • Payment information for employees

You can also distribute a year-end payroll checklist to clients to ensure you can wrap up year-end tasks for them with ease. Not sure what to include on yours? Use Patriot’s Year-end Payroll Checklist guide.

The more information you provide and prepare your payroll clients with, the better off they will be. And, the more prepared you are as an advisor, so it’s a win-win for everyone.


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