Payroll Software: 7 Essential Features to Run Payroll Without a Hitch

Andrew Moran - Writer for TBR
By Andrew Moran
Michelle Meyer - Editor for TBR
Edited by Michelle Meyer

Published October 4, 2022.

Woman sitting at a desk while working on a laptop with a pile of reports and a calculator next to it and an infographic of different payroll software features

Running a is an essential part of operating a business with employees. Not only does it ensure that your staff is paid correctly and on time, but it also facilitates better compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations. One of the best ways to achieve effective payroll management is the integration and execution of payroll software as it can minimize the stress and help a firm become more organized.

But how can your business run payroll without a hitch?

» How do you choose the right payroll software? Discover whether large and small companies have different payroll requirements

1. Automated Processes

While some businesses will try to manage their payroll infrastructure manually, an automated process is more efficient and effective as it can result in fewer errors and require less time. Plus, based on your preferences and the type of software, your payroll system can be customized, whether it's specific kinds of tax forms ahead of Tax Day or employee classification.

» Still unsure whether you should use automated payroll? Here are 9 benefits automated payroll holds for your business

2. Reports

For a human resources manager or a payroll analyst, producing a wide array of detailed reports is a crucial component of payroll management. Payroll software can generate multiple reports with their own sets of objectives, utility, and value. Remember, these are essential documents to verify tax liabilities, cross-check financial data, and insert important information (wages, hours worked, taxes withheld, employer tax contributions, and overtime accrued).

3. Integration

Chances are that your company has installed several pieces of software, which is understandable in the digital age. At the same time, effective payroll software needs to be integrated with existing software, from accounting to human resources. By doing this, the office can streamline operations and prevent overlap and unnecessary mistakes.

4. Tax Management

No matter what part of the country your business is situated in, companies of all sizes must be in compliance with tax and labor laws in all sorts of capacities. Payroll software ensures that your organization is up to par in this department, from tax deductions to withholding taxes.

» How do you maintain tax compliance? Here are 4 tips for payroll compliance to avoid penalties

5. Employee Interaction

While your payroll software will typically depend on the number of people in your workforce you must also consider your employees' interaction with the application. Today's generation of payroll software is both comprehensive and simple, but it's also tailored to companies' needs on the employee side of the equation. Therefore, extending access to an employee portal is critical, such as submitting leave requests, accessing pay slips, or inserting hours worked.

6. Security

Payroll, whether entered digitally or manually, contains sensitive information. From employees' Social Security Numbers to corporate bank accounts, a company that falls victim to hacking or data breaches would be in significant trouble. With this in mind, businesses must ensure that they select payroll software with impeccable security features that can shield data from infiltrations by unscrupulous individuals.

7. Customizable Settings

Every business possesses a unique set of payroll needs that must be addressed. What makes the plethora of payroll apps terrific is how customizable they can be in your day-to-day operations. The best kind of payroll software is one whereby the settings can be adjusted to suit your processes.

Here are some examples:

  • Customizable templates: If your firm has employees with different classifications (full-time, temp, contractor, etc.), it would be best not to have a uniform, one-size-fits-all payroll.
  • Tax calculations: Automated payroll software can instantly calculate your company's tax situation, but it's imperative to input where you and your employees are situated.
  • Benefits: When businesses hire new employees, they will typically extend benefits to these workers. But not everyone in the company will receive the same perks, so payroll software needs to be customized to address each employee's compensation package.


Payroll is both an important function and mandatory component of owning and operating a business. Because of its complex nature and the amount of work that usually goes into managing payroll, having the right software is vital. At the same time, while having payroll software is paramount, it's also crucial that it's reliable. Should your payroll be done poorly or fails to be in compliance with the government, you could face penalties and legal troubles and even be shut down by the authorities.

Ultimately, payroll is not something you should take lightly. In the end, do your due diligence, invest in a comprehensive payroll system, and ensure it suits your company's needs.

» Unsure which payroll software to use? Read TBR's payroll software reviews

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