Magazine article HRMagazine

Pay as You Go

Magazine article HRMagazine

Pay as You Go

Article excerpt

New mobile payroll solutions let employers manage payroll from anywhere.

When Jesse Lavender started his video and Internet produc- tion company, he was a sole proprietor assisted by a handful of contractors who were hired as needed. But when his Atlanta-based firm, Lavender Digital Media, grew to a staff of five full-time salaried employees in just one year, he knew he had to find a payroll solution.

He did not have the resources to hire a staff person to handle payroll, but it was difficult for him to do this task him- self because his work required him to be on the road frequently. "I'm in my office half the time, out half the time," Laven- der says. The idea of spending more time in the office to take care of payroll didn't hold much appeal.

Fortunately, his payroll provider had just introduced a mobile app, which he was able to download to his smart- phone. Now, "I can do everything from my phone," Lavender says. "It allows somebody like me, who doesn't have someone on staff, to do [payroll] when I'm out filming."

Mobile Use Grows

Lavender is not alone in his desire to take care of payroll quickly and easily with maximum flexibility. "Business leaders of today are fast-paced," says Jesse Burgess, president and CEO of Smyrna, Ga.-based Payroll Center Inc., which created Onpay, the payroll solu- tion Lavender uses. "A mobile solution fits their needs and their world. They can access it from a laptop, a mobile phone-it meets them where they are," Burgess says. "The primary goal is to allow a business owner to process pay- roll start to finish without having to be in the office."

According to the results of AT&T's 2013 Small Business Technology Poll, use of smartphones for small-business operations has more than doubled in the past five years, with 42 percent of respondents reporting use in 2008 and 85 percent doing so this year. In addi- tion, more than two-thirds of businesses are using tablets to access business- related technology.

Respondents to the poll, which surveyed 1,000 businesses with fewer than 100 employees each, reported that they use mobile apps to save time, increase productivity and reduce costs. Employ- ers using mobile payroll applications say the tools provide all three of these ben- efits and more.

Jeff Phillips, vice president of HP Investments Inc., a mortgage firm based in Rohnert Park, Calif., is respon- sible for payroll for the 10-employee company. Performing the task used to add to his stress level. "It was a whole ordeal," he says. "Before, everyone had to call in their hours, and I had to be at my desk on their schedule." Although Phillips used a sophisticated Web- based payroll system, it didn't offer the flexibility he needed. A reminder would come up on his calendar, but if he couldn't take immediate action, the reminder would go away and he would forget about it.

Since switching to his payroll company's mobile application, Phillips can handle payroll from anywhere using his smartphone. "I've done [payroll] on the golf course," he says. "I've done it sail- ing. It's superconvenient." Phillips, who uses a mobile app available through the Run Powered by ADP small-business solution, says he can now "run payroll in less than 10 minutes. I didn't have to hire someone to do that job."

Small-Business Solutions

As Lavender's and Phillips' experiences suggest, mobile payroll apps are particu- larly appealing to small businesses with- out a lot of staff support.

Michael Plonski, senior vice president of product development for ADP Small Business Services, says Run Powered by ADP can handle at least up to a few hun- dred employees. But he notes that 50 or fewer employees is "the sweet spot."

As companies grow, they become more likely to hire someone to han- dle payroll and related tasks, and the appeal of a mobile payroll application diminishes.

Several types of functionality fall under the umbrella definition of "mobile payroll," so HR professionals in the mar ket for a solution must be clear about their needs. …

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