Accurate, consistent and secure payroll services are important for a business of any size, from a mom-and-pop start-up to huge multi-national corporations. Errors or delays in check processing can have effects including everything from damaging employee morale to risking problems with the IRS.
Business owners have the option of printing checks in-house or seeking a third-party check printing service. There are drawbacks and benefits to both that should be considered before the careful business owner makes a decision. With improvements in small-scale MICR printing, in-house check printing has become more and more feasible in recent years and a partnership with a reliable MICR manufacturer can provide all the equipment, materials, and technical support you need to print your own checks. Third-party printing services may help reduce stress and streamline the payroll process by taking care of the process for you.
Advantages of Printing Your Own Checks
Printing your own checks can have several benefits. First, you as the business owner have complete control over the payroll system — no need to depend on an outside service that may not be as invested in your business as you are.
Second, printing your own checks may be more secure. Hiring an outside company to print your payroll checks requires that you share sensitive employee and financial information with a third party.
Lastly, after some initial start-up costs, printing your own checks can be a less-expensive option. Buying the paper materials and MICR printer cartridges directly from a manufacturer can be less expensive than paying through a middle-man.
Advantages of Using a Third-Party Service
The main advantage of using a third-party company to print your payroll checks is that it takes one more thing off the already-full plate of a business owner. Simply submit the necessary information to the third-party company, and they take care of the rest.
Additionally, a trustworthy, third-party payroll company may have more check-printing experience, increasing accuracy and timeliness. While it is true that a third-party service requires you to share more information with an outside company, it is possible to find well-established, reputable companies with a little research and asking around.
Choosing Between Self-Printing and Third-Party Services
While each choice has its advantages and disadvantages, a business owner will ultimately have to make the decision based on his or her current circumstances. While third-party services were the obvious choice in the past, MICR printing has made in-house check printing easier and more cost effective in many small-business applications.
MICR toner, short of Magnetic Ink Character Recognition, prints the MICR lines on checks, the easily-recognizable string of characters that include the account and routing number that are the standard of the banking industry.
Many standard home and office printers can be equipped to print MICR toner. A reliable MICR toner manufacturer will provide a list of printers that can be equipped with MICR toner cartridges. Once a printer and cartridge are chosen, the small business owner must obtain blank check stock, which many MICR manufacturers also provide. Check to make sure that the blank check paper includes all the latest security features, including watermarks, micro printing, and more.
Some business owners will find the ease of a third-party service to be more advantageous, but a quality MICR manufacturer can streamline and simplify the in-house check printing process.