CPA Payroll Services

What are corporate payroll services for CPAs? 

If you want to provide your clients with payroll services but don’t want to handle it in-house, you can outsource to a specialist outsourced payroll service. 

Payroll services (sometimes called outsourced or managed payroll services) are third-party specialists – or payroll providers – who handle the bulk of your client’s payroll functions on your behalf.  

CPAs typically white label the payroll service, meaning they can expand their service offering without sacrifice significant internal resource. 


Payroll services for small businesses: The ideal solution 

A CPA who also handles payroll can be an attractive prospect for a small business – especially if they’re looking to grow in the future.  

When CPAs outsource their payroll, they can: 

  • Cross-sell payroll services to existing small business clients  
  • Onboard more smaller businesses  
  • Cross-sell additional CPA services  
  • Help smaller businesses to grow (and benefit from increased demand!) 

What are the benefits of outsourcing to a payroll service? 

Outsourcing payroll to a managed payroll provider can open CPAs and CPA firms to a whole new world of possibility.  

But what are the benefits of relying on a payroll service to run your clients’ payroll for you? 

  • Set it and forget it

    A fully managed payroll service is just that – it’s fully managed, which means it’s taken care of by experts. With the right payroll service partner, you can set up a system and let the experts handle the day-to-day processes.  

    You’ll still have ultimate oversight on the payroll sign-off process and interfacing with your client. However, by outsourcing, you can significantly expand the scope of your firm without adding to your staff’s existing workload or hiring and training new employees.  

  • Reliable expertise and up-to-the-minute compliance

    Global or corporate payroll services (AKA payroll service providers) live and breathe payroll, which means they can confidently calculate accurate payroll wherever your client’s employees happen to be based.  

    By relying on external expertise, you can ensure compliance with the latest tax laws and regulations. Automated tax filing and payment services are taken care of, minimizing the risk of penalties or reputational damage.  

    And this is all achieved without putting pressure on your internal team to keep up with every new and upcoming piece of payroll legislation. 

  • No need to compromise your time

    CPA firms are, understandably, eager to focus their time on the kind of services that only they can provide. After all, this is typically where the big-ticket projects and client work can be found.  

    By outsourcing to a payroll service, you can establish a lucrative new revenue stream while continuing to focus on core activities and advisory roles. Essentially, you can build your firm in the foreground while steadily growing your income in the background.  

    If you’re a CPA firm already providing payroll services in-house, a fully or part managed outsourced service can free up your staff’s precious time. This allows them to focus on billable work and support long-term growth (which can help off-set the upfront financial investment in outsourcing). 

  • Enhanced security (and dedicated support if things go wrong)

    Payroll means sensitive employee information and as any good accountant will tell you, you need to be careful with confidential data.  

    By entrusting payroll processes to the right outsource partner, your client’s data is safer than you might think. For example, managed payroll solutions from IRIS use enhanced security measures, protecting data from cyber-threats with 24/7 monitoring.  

    Beyond the security measures, a great payroll provider will also offer support – both with initial set-up and throughout your partnership. IRIS provides you with a dedicated, named payroll specialist who can offer ongoing support. 

  • Build your reputation and attract top talent

    Using a reliable, high-quality payroll service not only helps you to establish new revenue streams, it can also help boost your firm’s image and reputation. 

    Payroll services may not be glamorous, but they’re in high demand – and this kind of forward-thinking is what can get you noticed by top new talent.  

    Not only will ambitious new CPAs be drawn in by your growth mindset, as they can see you’re going places, and they want in, but they can rest assured they are not going to be buried in payroll admin! 

  • A solution that fits and can grow with you

    Partnering with an external service provider doesn’t have to mean having to deal with a whole new system (and trying to make it work with your existing one).  

    Many payroll service providers can integrate with your existing tax and accounting software, eliminating the need for data entry duplication.  

    Plus, once you’ve partnered with a provider, CPAs can easily scale up payroll services without the need for additional internal resources. If you identify a gap in the market or want to zero in on a particular sector, you’ve always got the payroll expertise to back it up. 

  • Global payroll services support international growth

    If you’re a CPA firm supporting clients out of state or internationally, an outsourced payroll service can be a great choice. 

    Whether your clients are based further away or they employ people out of state or globally, you don’t need to think twice about offering payroll support. 

    As payroll experts, outsourced payroll services can help CPAs provide reliable, compliant support – which firms can position as an added-value service. 


Featured Guide

Turning Payroll into Profit: A Practical Guide for CPAs 

This free guide offers a roadmap for CPAs looking to establish or enhance their payroll services and get the edge on competitors. 

Download today for insights like: 

  • Barriers to offering payroll services 
  • Strategies to providing payroll to clients 
  • A deep-dive into payroll services 
  • Software and managed payroll recommendations. 

Are there drawbacks to using a payroll service as a CPA? 

While an outsourced payroll service can solve a wide array of challenges for CPAs, there are balancing factors to consider. 

  • You may face limitations when customizing the service to meet your clients’ unique needs 
  • While you don’t need to cover in-house payroll software, training and management, costs for outsourcing can be comparatively higher 
  • Relying on a third-party provider increases the risk of disruptions outside of your control. 

However, it’s worth noting that the right provider may be able to offer effective work-arounds to these challenges. 

Choosing between payroll services or payroll software 

As part of your decision to provide payroll services, you will need to choose between going with an outsourced payroll service or running client payroll in-house with the help of software. 

To make this decision, you may wish to assess your: 

  • Internal capabilities 
  • Client needs 
  • Strategic priorities

The good news is, if you deduce that outsourced payroll services aren’t the right call for your firm right now, you can explore another alternative – payroll software. 


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