If you haven’t already contracted your payroll to a payroll company, you should strongly consider doing so – it’s an affordable way to free up in-house employees for more strategic endeavors.

As the pricing between companies is pretty close, work with whichever company you feel comfortable with. But make sure to ask these 5 questions…

1. Are they bonded?

Your smaller, local payroll companies sometimes skip this step upon start-up and never actually get it done.

2. Can you access your information online?

Naturally, you would be inclined to assume all payroll companies offer online access to your information, but not all do. If they do, ask how they secure your information and back up their files.

3. Are direct deposit and paycards available?

Paper payroll checks are about the most unproductive item in a company.

4.  Do they offer online timekeeping with mobile functionality?

Let the payroll company provide time and attendance – some companies offer it at no extra cost. The mobility app might not suit all businesses, but if your staff is performing work at various locations, you can track those hours much easier.

5.  Will you get a single payroll specialist?

If you have ever used a payroll company where you got a different person every time you call, you will understand the importance of this question. All the productivity you gained by contracting your payroll is soon lost when you are constantly having to re-explain everything each time you call.

(Although, having all employees cross-trained on every account is a bonus when your payroll specialist goes on vacation.)