Top Features to Look for in a Modern Payroll Software Program

Written by barua

Payroll can be a complex, time-consuming process. Selecting the right payroll software can help you streamline operations, increase accuracy, and reduce compliance risk. Look for a solution that offers direct deposit, expense management, and employee self-service. It should also accommodate non-traditional compensation like worker’s compensation and bonus payments.

Automated Payroll Processing

A primary function of a payroll software program is automating the various calculations that make up a paycheck. These are often complex, involving time-tracking, scheduling, and salary adjustments. By relying on automated processing, you can save yourself and your employees from the stress of error-prone manual calculations and ensure that paychecks are distributed accurately.

RPA systems can also help you improve employee satisfaction by cutting out tedious, manual tasks like filing taxes and calculating wage deductions. Additionally, these systems store information digitally and provide easy access to records when necessary, making the process much more streamlined and efficient for HR professionals.

Other essential features in a modern payroll solution include direct deposit, which provides instant access to salaries and reduces the burden of printing and distributing paper checks. Software with expense management functionality can also automate the processes involved in reimbursing employees for expenses, which saves time and helps ensure that reports are submitted and refunded on time. In addition, most of these tools offer reporting capability to give you a more holistic view of your budget and employees’ compensation. 

Direct Deposit

Many payroll software programs offer the option for employees to have their paychecks deposited into multiple accounts, which makes it easier for them to access and manage their money. It also saves the business money by eliminating the need to print and distribute checks.

If your company employs hourly workers, you may need a payroll system with built-in time-tracking and scheduling features. You may also want a system integrating financial wellness tools to empower employees’ financial management skills.

Payroll systems typically can file business taxes and T4s based on the information inputted into the system. Some solutions provide compensation administration features that handle deductions and non-traditional payment methods like workers’ compensation, bonuses, and overtime pay.

Nearly all payroll software systems have reporting functionality, which allows managers to verify spend versus budget and gain insights into the payroll process. Some systems offer additional, specialized reports like a payment summary, employee tax information, and a general breakdown of costs and revenue. Some even include a compliance management feature that assesses the payroll process alongside regulations and recommends staying compliant.

Expense Management

Most payroll systems also offer direct deposit, employee self-service, compensation management, and reporting features. Some solutions allow you to create custom payroll reports to help with budgeting and financial forecasting. Others offer tax compliance forms for employees, such as W2’s and T4’s.

In addition, some payroll solutions support time-tracking software integration to track hours worked for hourly employees, while others can include compensation management to manage pay increases. These tools can help streamline and automate processes previously done manually by HR and payroll staff.

Finally, many payroll solutions also provide online portals that allow staff to proactively update their information, access paycheck statements, and submit time off requests. It can reduce demands on HR and payroll teams and improve employee experience. Some solutions can help you avoid costly errors by catching mistakes before submitting them to your accounting system. Ask the vendors you’re considering if their software includes pre-submit audits. Ideally, these will be set up to alert you of potential problems like an employee receiving double the typical pay or a terminated employee still being paid.


Having the right reporting capabilities can help you gain insight into payroll data. Look for a solution that allows you to verify spend versus budget and provides other information like tax summaries, worker’s compensation calculations, and paid time off totals.

Payroll taxes are a big deal, and you should look for a solution that can create and file them for you, making it easier to keep track of and manage tax obligations. Some full-service payroll providers stay current with regulatory changes and provide automatic tax filings for W-2s, 1099s, and more.

You should also ensure that the software you select has robust security features. After all, you’re dealing with sensitive information here, including addresses, bank account numbers, and Social Insurance Numbers. Look for cloud systems with two-factor authentication and other protections to ensure your team doesn’t have to worry about data breaches. Also, consider if the system allows collaboration with an accountant or bookkeeper to give them easy access to payroll processing and report data for review and auditing purposes.

Employee Self-Service

Employee self-service portals enable staff to proactively access their data, access paycheck statements, and submit time off requests or expense reports. It reduces demands on HR teams and empowers staff to manage their information, fostering trust and transparency.

In addition, the best payroll software programs can file taxes automatically, eliminating the need to calculate and submit forms manually. It helps to avoid errors and ensures your employees are paid correctly. For businesses that work with contractors or freelancers, looking for a provider that can handle different payment methods and multiple currencies for international staff is essential. 

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