Automation For The People

Protection From Your Uncle

No matter where your payroll service falls on the data integration scale, it will save you from wasting time trying to keep up with ever-changing government regulations. Assuming you don't make a data reporting mistake, almost any payroll service will indemnify you against government penalties that result from an error or a missed deadline.

"That's a very big deal," notes Tina H. Anderson, owner of Burlingame, California-based Tina H. Anderson Consulting, who ticks off a dozen subtle variations that a single small company may have to account for when filing tax payments. Regulations vary by state, the size of your company, its incorporation status, the frequency of your paydays, whether you have workers in the office or in the field and whether any are unionized. And, adds Anderson, the government keeps squeezing reporting deadlines with the objective of having all tax payments filed electronically on the same day that paychecks are cut--or sooner.

The process is so onerous that nearly 40 percent of small-business owners polled by the ICR survey report having been penalized by the IRS for late or inaccurate payroll tax filings, with the average penalty being $845. The IRS admits to almost $9.7 million in discreet assessments against businesses for tax year 1997--and you know it isn't corporate comptrollers making the most of those mistakes.

According to Thor Muller, 28, CEO of San Francisco-based cooperative e-commerce company Trapezo, whatever comfort he gets from cutting payroll checks himself is overwhelmed by the specter of this liability. Muller has done payroll in-house and used bank services, but he is now a customer.

Add up the savings in productivity, cost and general hassle, and payroll service prices look like a great deal. "The Web allows us to outsource all that administrative stuff to people who can do it better," Muller says. "People should focus on what they do best--building a business and servicing their clients."


(800) 322-7292


(800) 225-5237, ext. 5091

Intuit Inc.

(800) 332-4844 or (415) 944-6000

OneCore Financial Network Inc.

(888) ONE-CORE or (781) 938-1001

Contact Sources

ADP Payroll Services, (800) 340-6590,

Alpha Tool Co., (847) 678-5275

Intuit, (888) 2-INTUIT,

Paychex, (800) 322-7292,

Tina H. Anderson Consulting, (650) 343-8345,

Trapezo, (415) 431-2038,

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This article was originally published in the January 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Automation For The People.

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