Outsourcing Your Payroll Systems, with Rob Basso
Presented by Rob Basso,
President of Advantage Payroll Services
Contact Rob at Rob_basso@advantagepayroll.com 
January 25, 2001
Visit the AccountingWEB Workshop Calendar  for upcoming sessions.
Thursday's workshop session was filled with useful information and answers to questions about outsourcing payroll.
- Time saving – Business owners do not have to do the payroll tax filings or sign all the checks themselves. They do what they do best manage the company and increase profits.
- Time saving - Staff can spend time doing other income producing activities.
- Cash savings – When staff is assigned to regular business operations, funds will not be lost with non-income generating operations.
- Insulation from taxing authorities – Payroll services companies take the responsibly to submit proper and timely reports and taxes. If mistakes are made they are liable, not the business owner.
- Cost savings & time savings – Payroll tax laws are complex and change frequently. Business owners both small and large cannot track these changes or have to pay significant fees to consultants, staff or compliance officer.
- Ease of use – Payroll services companies provide businesses with clear and easily to read reports. These reports are presented in a regular and timely manor. This reduces confusion.
- Internet payroll services - (InstantPayroll.com) - This is an on-line service allowing business owners to change information, monitor reports status, submit information and generate reports. This improves communications with clients and speeds up the process. Business owners have access to this information 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Information can be accessed from remote locations via computers.
- Electronic Filing – All tax reports and W-2s are filed electronically, reducing errors and decreasing the time necessary to file and complete reports.
- Knowledge – Working with payroll services providers give companies access to experts in payroll tax and other issues. Most businesses cannot afford a full time compliance officer
- Cost effective – Payroll services tend to be inexpensive. Frequently cost for a small or medium size business is much less that one full time employee’s salary.
- Additional services – Payroll service providers can offer business owners a number of services including workers compensation programs, health care benefits payments, health insurance programs, retirement planning programs and much more.
- Flexibility – Payroll Services companies can sign check for payroll and other needs. This reduces administrative time and decreases the burden placed on the business owner or responsible party
Session Moderator: Hello everyone and welcome to AccountingWEB's workshop! Today we are pleased to introduce Rob Basso, President of Advantage Payroll Services.
Rob began his career in the payroll services industry in 1994 after receiving his Bachelor of Arts from Hofstra University. He spent two years with a well-known national payroll company and left as one of their top producing salespeople in the country. In 1996 he opened Advantage Payroll Services’ Long Island regional office and in four years has taken the company to the status of being one of the premier payroll and tax-filing firms not only on Long Island but also in the New York metropolitan region.
An accomplished lecturer, he has made numerous presentations to various CPA organizations regarding payroll related topics. Handling over 1,600 business payrolls from his office in Syosset, Advantage Payroll Services has insights into trends that are visible from viewing their payroll record.
Today Rob is going to present information on outsourcing payroll systems. Welcome Rob - the floor is yours!
Rob Basso: Welcome all! Thank you for having me! I would like to keep this format as open ended as possible.
I will begin with the cost savings. Please ask questions as necessary.
William Corbett: How do you save money with payroll services?
Rob Basso: Payroll helped free up business owners time...time is money. If you could pay a fraction of the cost to an outsource company it is in your best interest to do so.
Bookkeepers can be costly, and unfortunately, some of the best bookkeepers do not have the extensive knowledge needed. One penalty you receive from non-compliance could be more than our services would cost for an entire year.
William Corbett: Is this most helpful to small or large companies?
Rob Basso: Small or large companies can benefit equally small companies may benefit more because they do not have an HR department. Large companies may have key personnel that can help them with payroll needs, it is not to say that they cannot benefit, but rather the effect my not be as great.
If there are no questions regarding this I will move on.
Laws change all the time and compliance is key. Advantage has tax experts and CPA's on staff to keep abreast of all the necessary laws. Filing procedures and documentation are very time consuming; we help to organize this info. The service is easy to use and a threat to the CPA's core business. No threat, sorry typo…we only act as an ancillary service, we enhance not detract. We are treated as a back office help to the accounting community, they refer us to a client, and we perform a vital role in their operation.
Alioune Badara: How come bookkeepers get scared about electronic filing (w2)?
Rob Basso: Answer: bookkeepers get scared because it takes away some of their authority. This used to be their domain, and they fear that they may lose their jobs. This is not the case at all. In fact, they become more valuable. Now they can work on revenue generating portions of the business.
William Corbett: How does this whole process work?
Rob Basso: First: clients contact us once per pay period via internet, fax or phone. Then they relay hours or dollar amounts. We then process the payroll, pay all taxes, and initiate direct deposits. All of this is seamless.
Session Moderator: Do you transfer any information over the Internet?
Rob Basso: Yes, via our new product Instantpayroll.com . It is a completely web based product.
Session Moderator: Are clients concerned about security of data?
Rob Basso: Yes, but we use the best encryption available. 128-bit encryption, all info is secure and confidential, very important in today's web economy. We deal with wiring funds to and from banks all day every day; the internet is not a problem for us. On any given day, we have $150 million in our account moving from on place to the next. Of course, we are bonded and insured.
We act as an insulator from the government. We are the authorized tax payer- the client is off the hook.
William Corbett: The IRS?
Rob Basso: Yes, since we are the authorized payer, we take responsibility. You are obviously responsible for having the $ in the bank, we are only responsible up to the extent of available funds. If your account does not have enough $ it will bounce. You will have to ay any penalties or interest associated with insufficient funds. We are an insurance policy in effect.
Alioune Badara: How do you guys deal with headquarters and agency payroll?
Rob Basso: As in franchises?
Alioune Badara: Yes, franchises.
Rob Basso: We can accommodate multiple offices emanating from a master company. In fact, we have franchises as clients. We can do all the stores or just a few. You as the client set the parameters, we do what you need. Many franchises outsource so they do not have to duplicate job positions. Why have multiple payroll personnel, when you only need one or two?
Alioune Badara: Can you tell us roughly how much for the electronic filing.
Rob Basso: FREE. We do not charge for this service, nor do we charge for direct deposit, nor do we charge for signing or sealing of checks.
Alioune Badara: We go to your website and that's it?
Rob Basso: After you sign up with us. Yes. You can transmit data via Internet. Of course we charge for the overall service, the above portions are included. Example:
10 employees weekly with l major service, price = $30. We are consistently lower than our competition, because we are a small company with a national presence we can react quickly. React to the changing needs of our clients, react to the need of the accounting community, react to the changing laws and programming needed to comply.
Alioune Badara: Do you send us back up after filing electronically.
Rob Basso: We send you printed material or on disk. We also back up all info in 3 hot sites across the country. If one of our centers goes down, another will pick up the slack
William Corbett: If I were a client, could I access my account over the Internet and change information?
Rob Basso: Yes, Instantpayroll.com  will do this for you. If any one would like a demo, please contact me after the program and I will set up a password for you. All of our customer service staff have their CPP certification (certified payroll professional). They are not merely data entry clerks, but rather trained professionals.
Alioune Badara: What is your email?
Rob Basso: firstname.lastname@example.org 
Rob Basso: The roll of the CPA is changing. Outsourcing will help them better service their clients. They can spend more time on helping the business grow rather than spend time on compensatory items more consultative than before. While their core focus is still in tact, they must expand their practices. We can help.
Alioune Badara: Payroll is a heavy load.
Rob Basso: questions?
William Corbett: What is the number one benefit of outsourcing?
Rob Basso: How about two benefits-save time, save money. If you do a simple time/cost analysis every business will find it less expensive.
William Corbett: Payroll Tax issues are frequently changing as you said. Do the changes affect every state or are they a state issue.
Rob Basso: Some changes are state specific while others are federal. Advantage keeps up with both. We have an entire compliance department.
William Corbett: Are their problems for companies filing in different states or jurisdictions?
Rob Basso: Not problems, but it is more difficult. Advantage can process in all states and jurisdictions, not all payroll companies can.
William Corbett: So you can send out paychecks, what else can you do?
Rob Basso: Our ancillary services, workers compensation, we have a national relationship with the Hartford. We have created a pay as you go product; this product ties in with our payroll system. Each time you process, you pay a little bit of your insurance premium, and we then electronically send it to Hartford. The rates are generally better because Hartford gets better cash flow.
The benefits to you: no audit at year-end, do not have to pay lump sum, lump sums always catch you by surprise. We also offer 401k plans, retirement services, health care and other insurance products. We are well respected for our multiple capabilities. Professionals refer us because they can come to us for many of their business needs
What are you looking for in a payroll company?
Are there services you need that have not been detailed?
We are not masters of all. We stick to our core business payroll. We use strategic partners to enhance our services.
Session Moderator: We're almost out of time - are there any other questions for Rob, or comments about outsourcing payroll?
Rob - We really want to thank you for providing all of this great information! And thanks to all of you who attended today. Don't miss our next workshop, "Plant Seeds in Tax Season for a Bountiful Harvest in the Summer," next Tuesday, same time.
Rob Basso: Thank you all for coming and the opportunity.
Robert Basso, President of Advantage Payroll Services, began his career in the payroll services industry in 1994 after receiving his Bachelor of Arts from Hofstra University. He spent two years with a well-known national payroll company and left as one of their top producing salespeople in the country. In 1996 he opened Advantage Payroll Services’ Long Island regional office and in four years has taken the company to the status of being one of the premier payroll and tax-filing firms not only on Long Island but also in the New York metropolitan region.
An accomplished lecturer, he has made numerous presentations to various CPA organizations regarding payroll related topics. He is also an active member of the National Network of Accountant’s Preferred Provider Network, Advancement for Commerce and Industry, Long Island Association, Miramar Group, Listnet and National Conference CPA Practitioners.
Handling over 1,600 business payrolls from his office in Syosset, Advantage Payroll Services has insights into trends that are visible from viewing their payroll record.
Rob is a tenacious marketer seeking out opportunities throughout the New York metropolitan region. He has appeared on WLUX’s Long Island Money and Business program and articles about Rob and Advantage Payroll Services have appeared in accounting trade publications, the Long Island Business News and Newsday.
Rob is an active volunteer with the Arthritis Foundation, and has participated with events for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He, his wife, Mary Beth, and their daughter live in Melville.
Advantage Payroll Services
24 Oak Drive, Suite LL
Syosset, NY 11716
Telephone (516) 496-4150