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Date Posted: 2/19/2014

The Problem with Doing Payroll Yourself

By Stefan Schumacher, editor of The Payroll Blog

Despite the complications that come with running payroll for a company, many business owners do it themselves. Rather than enlist the help of a payroll service or an accountant, they crunch the numbers themselves, believing they can save on costs.

It seems like a reasonable enough choice. Do you really need a payroll service for one or two employees? Why not just write them a check?

The answer is there’s a lot more to payroll than that. As the bookkeeper for your company, you’re responsible for not just issuing checks but: 

• Complying with federal, state and local laws

• Withholding the proper amount of taxes from employees

• Issuing accurate W-2s at the end of the year

• Completing the required paperwork when an employee is hired or leaves the company 

You may be capable of figuring all that out, but you should consider the risks of making a payroll mistake that will cost you much more than you would have saved. There’s also something to be said for avoiding the headache and giving yourself peace of mind that everything is being done accurately and correctly. 

Outsourcing payroll gives you the following advantages over doing it yourself: 

1. Helps you avoid penalties: According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one in three small business owners pay a penalty every year for a payroll mistake. A service will can help a business owner meet their payroll tax responsibilities. 

2. Saves you on costs: It may seem cheaper to do payroll yourself, but your time is valuable. And every hour you spend on payroll, when it could be done in minutes with a service, is costing you. Don’t forget about these hidden costs. 

3. Gives you accurate reporting: Don’t rely on saving everything in some massive, confusing spreadsheet, when an online payroll service should have payroll reports ready for you 24/7 that you can pull from the website. It’s a more accurate and easy to use system for reporting.

Consider these advantages before you move forward doing your own payroll.


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