According to insurance experts, failure to pay payroll taxes is one of the most common reasons individual board members are sued. Dimitri and I have therefore always hired outside payroll expertise, and when we were still consulting, we advised our clients to do the same. Adding another party to that liability chain – someone for whom payroll is their specialty – avoids the temptation to defer making appropriate payments when money is tight…
Unfortunately, as we are building Creating the Future, the firm with whom we have worked for almost 20 years – and with whom we have been so pleased we have repeatedly recommended them – well, they are massively disappointing us. And so, by January 1, we are intending to make a switch.
In that process, we’re seeking your wisdom – NOT about which firm you recommend, but about what to look for in such a firm. Here’s what we’ve come up with so far:
- The capacity to indemnify us from whatever mistakes they make (whether through their own insurance or bonding or whatever)
- Responsiveness and consistency. (In the past year, we have had 3 separate payroll specialists with our old firm. Problems have not only gone unaddressed, but the new person knows nothing about them….)
- A track record
- Flexibility – we are a tiny start-up, with fluctuating cash flow, which means some months we have funds for payroll on the 1st, some months it’s not till the 15th, and other months not at all. Will a firm charge us each time we make a change in our routine? (Can you tell we’ve been experiencing this?)
Now here’s where you come in: From your own experience, what else should we be considering?
- When it comes to choosing a payroll firm, what should we be asking? What should we be looking for / paying attention to?
- Are there danger signals to watch out for?
- What should we expect to pay per employee?
- Are there opportunities to collaborate – and if so, what have you seen?
If you have a firm you LOVE working with, please tell us why. What do you love about them?
And if you are pitching your own firm, please refrain from using this space to pitch your business. Instead, please help us AND others by answering the questions I’ve posed. (And then feel free to contact us directly via this link.)