CRYSTAL LAKE – The gap is closing in payroll services.
As time-tracking technology becomes more readily available and easy to use, local accounting firms are putting up more of a fight against the traditional payroll powerhouses.
"You're seeing them come through now with a lot more software and also the interfaces, the hardware, to make that possible for even the small provider," said Kurt Schneider, a certified public accountant with Exemplar Accounting & Tax Advisors Inc. in Crystal Lake. "So now it can come back into the local CPA's office and have it handled from there, because their capabilities have grown so much."
While there are advantages and disadvantages to both, Schneider said, technological advancements have tended to favor local payroll providers.
One such provider has even branched out from its accounting company to make the payroll side of things its own business. Steve Trojan, owner of SMT & Associates Inc., had been offering payroll services as a part of his accounting practice since 2002. In 2008, he decided to make payroll its own entity, creating Complete Payroll Inc.
Trojan made the move "to help us focus on the payroll side and to be able to market it more efficiently. We have a separate website and all that type of stuff."
Since the decision, Complete Payroll has grown each year.
Trojan said much of that business comes from their accounting clients. Other companies seek out the company because it's a local provider.
And they've also taken advantage of the more accessible technology, offering to place time clocks at their clients' locations.
"Probably the biggest thing is there's a closer relationship," Trojan said. "They're going to talk to one person. If they want to talk to the owner, they can stop by the office. ... We tend to be a little more attentive to the clients' needs."
Complete Payroll will cater their services around a specific company's wants, something Schneider said is a big advantage when choosing to go with a local payroll provider.
"The issues that you run into with some of the bigger providers is that they can't always make their systems work for a local business," Schneider said. "The local business kind of has to fit into whatever system they're already providing. Whereas for a local provider, they can be more customized with what they're doing on the payroll for that particular business."
The advantage to larger payroll services, Schneider added, is that they tend to take more of the liability off their clients, covering for them if unforeseen charges come up.
"The fines for late payments on payroll taxes – they increase very quickly," he said.
Complete Payroll Inc.:What: A local payroll service offering time clock technology.Where: 380 N. Terra Cotta Rd., Suite H, Crystal LakeMore info: Call 815-788-5114 or visit www.completepayrollinc.com