The increasing accessibility of cryptocurrency and blockchain, as well as buzz around daily pay, has many people, including your small business clients, asking what’s next for payroll? A recent survey, conducted in recognition of National Payroll Week by Paychex, Inc., polled 500 randomly selected business owners with two to 500 employees to find out what changes they plan to make to their payroll processes in the next 12 months. Though more recent innovations are dominating the payroll conversation, most business owners who are planning payroll adjustments cited direct deposit as the functionality they are most likely to incorporate in the next year (27 percent).
Direct deposit is not a new development in the payroll world, but it’s still a powerful tool for business owners to implement and a helpful one for their accountants too. The efficient payday delivery that direct deposit offers serves as a recruiting asset – especially in today’s tight labor market. Prospective and current employees alike value the convenience of not having to cash or deposit a live check. Direct deposit also has the potential to serve as a financial fitness tool, enabling employees to save automatically. From an employer standpoint, in addition to eliminating the cost of paper checks, direct deposit can reduce overall time spent on payroll, freeing HR and payroll staff to focus on other business functions. As an accountant, direct deposit helps reduce the risk of manual data errors you may encounter as you’re helping business owners work through payroll taxes.
Behind direct deposit at number one, the study revealed the following payroll priorities for business owners in the year ahead.
- Offering direct deposit – 27 percent
- Providing electronic paystubs – 15 percent
- Offering smartphone access to payroll information – 11 percent
- Extending daily pay options – 10 percent
- Outsourcing payroll – 10 percent
Only a small portion of business owners are planning to implement some of the latest buzz-generating innovations, like using blockchain or other cryptocurrency for some payroll (5 percent) or adopting cloud-based payroll (8 percent), in the next year.
No matter where your business owner clients fall on the spectrum of implementing payroll changes, you can act as a strategic advisor in helping them understand the implications of each payroll update from a tax standpoint. You have a deeper understanding of your clients’ business needs than most, so your advice is valuable as they decide which payroll trends will and will not work for their business.