Small Business Payroll – The Pros and Cons of an in-House Payroll Systems

In-House Payroll System Hardware Options

This week begins the first of a three part series on in-house payroll systems. During this series, the hardware components that comprise this type of system, pros and cons of this type of system, and software options will be examined.

An in-house computerized payroll system is located on company property, and equipment may be owned or leased from a vendor. Businesses have more control over this type of system, and can tailor the security system design to meet individual needs. System operation is performed onsite by company employees including programmers, systems analysts, data entry personnel operators, system administrators, etc., providing more control to the business.

Hardware options are determined by the size of a company, requirements, budget constraints, and the need for dedicated computer systems in certain departments.

Hardware Options:

  • Mainframe Computers – largest and most powerful computers, used for the entire company. Each department links to the mainframe, sharing the resources (storage and processing) with other departments. In large companies, a separate mainframe may be dedicated to payroll processing, benefits and human resources functions
  • Minicomputers – smaller and less costly option than mainframe computers. This can be a good option for small to medium sized businesses. Again, departments share the available resources.
  • Microcomputers or personal computers (PCs) – flexible options from many vendors.

Microcomputer Networks Networks connect computers and applications. PCs are able to communicate with each other in a network, and employees can access applications from their computers. PCs share software programs, and have access to printers, modems, etc.

  • Local Area Networks (LANs) – In a LAN, computers are physically connected to each other, data is transmitted at high speed short distances, and managed by a main computer or minicomputer.
  • Wide Area Network (WANs) – In a WAN, data is transmitted over long distances using telephone lines and Internet.

Client/Server Technology Application programs are distributed by running on a personal computer. The data is on a server (mainframe, minicomputer or PC). Payroll, benefits and human resource applications are installed on PCs in the payroll and human resources departments.

Client/server applications may be comprised of a combination of these components: hardware, graphical user interface, file management system, network operating system, and communications protocol.

Data Processing Payroll and human resources data can be processed using two different methods, real-time processing and batch processing. Real-time processing allows the user to have immediate access to the data as updates are made. During batch processing, data is collected, coded in groups for processing, and returned when updates are complete. The user usually does not have access to the data while updates are made.

Computer Components for Idiots

There are many fancy add-ons for computers, but the basic components of the computer are simple and universal. If 1 of these main components is missing, it’s not a computer.

The 4 essentials of every computer system are: a motherboard, a Central Processing Unit (CPU), memory, and a hard drive. These components are installed in a case to which are attached a monitor, a keyboard and a mouse. That’s your basic computer.

Mother WHAT?

The motherboard (“mobo” for short) is the foundation. Everything attaches to the mobo — the CPU, memory, hard drive, monitor, mouse, keyboard, add-on cards, even additional peripherals like printers, scanners, and speakers. The motherboard is like the nervous system and skeleton of the human body — it provides support for the internal components and also passes information between the computer parts.


If the motherboard is the nervous system, then the CPU is the brain. Most of the mathematical manipulations that make computers operate are done by the CPU. Other components may also have their own processors, but their results still have to be passed through the CPU.

The speed of the computer is usually measured by the speed of the CPU. Even though other factors also affect overall speed, the CPU rating is generally seen as the single most important measure of performance.

Modern CPUs are usually rated between 2.0 GHz and 3.0 GHz, although each passing month will see increasing performance. This measurement refer to the number of calculations the processor can make in 1 second. The higher the number, the faster (better) the computer.

CPUs generate a lot of heat doing this work, so they need a heat sink and fan to keep them from overheating. Heat is a major enemy of the computer and directly affects its life span.

Computer Memory

RAM (Random Access Memory) is the part of the computer that stores information the computer needs while it is operating. It is Random Access because the computer can get the data in any order, not necessarily the order in which it is stored. Generally speaking, the more RAM the better. 512 to 1024 megabytes is common for memory.

The most common type of RAM these days is DDR-SDRAM, which stands for double-data-rate synchronous dynamic random access memory. We already know what the RAM part means. DDR means that the data is accessed twice as fast as ordinary RAM.

The latest type of RAM is DDR2. It offers even faster access rates and is quickly becoming the standard for computer memory.

Hard Drive

All the data contained in RAM is lost when the computer is turned off, so there has to be a place to store it permanently. This is what the hard disk is for.

It holds the computer’s operating system. An operating system like Windows uses around 4 gigabytes of hard drive space. The extra space is used to install computer programs and to store your personal data.

80 gigabyte hard drives are common, but 400 GB units are available. Furthermore, you can install more than 1 in a computer case for added security and convenience.


All you need to complete the basic computer system is a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Accessories like a printer or scanner are useful for office work, and gamers will probably want to add speakers and joystick controls.

So there you have it. The basic computer needs just 7 major components. For the best performance, these components must integrate well. The motherboard is the most important component for determining the type and specification of the other parts. Choosing an appropriate mobo for your computer needs is the first step and may require a quick call to your local geek.

Soon YOU will be considered the local geek!

Support For Microsoft And its Benefits

Microsoft is the biggest PC manufacturer of the world today, and its list of additional PC hardware components add to its sales and bracket of being the frontrunner among the rest. Price competitiveness and utilization of latest advancements in technology are some other characteristics that add to its popularity and delivery of quality services. Products manufactured by Microsoft are today sold in all the countries around the world that are manufactured for both home and business users.

The company today offers several products and services as a result of a number of acquisitions that it made since it was started in the year 1975. Besides computers and hardware, the company today offers Hotmail email service, Microsoft Office Suite that also includes MS Outlook email client, Mobile OS, Server Software, System Administration tools, Video Games, and more.

Microsoft’s products and services are known to be quality-based in every aspect and these have also been what have helped the company keep the top slot. Just like its products, Support for Microsoft is another unique service that is offered by Microsoft. At times you could experience an issue with any of such products or services delivered by this company, and at that time you could rely on such support services to get your issue resolved.

Microsoft support services can be availed today through a number of channels. For instance, if you have recently purchased a product or service that is being covered by a warranty, you could call up Microsoft’s customer support number to get the issue resolved. If it is not covered by warranty, or has run out of it, you could choose to either purchase one to get live support services, or you could make use of online “Self Help” sections on Microsoft’s website to resolve the issue on your own.

Using such “Self Help” articles is always a recommended medium, since these not only help you with the resolution, but also educate you about how you could solve it in future should you come across any such issue again. You could also consult some technician living around you if you are not able to solve it by yourself. He would charge you with a fee, but having your issue resolved will not let you regret your decision.

If you want someone to help you out over the phone, you could turn to an independent support company that employs several experts who are well-versed with all kinds of technical issues, and after identifying the cause of your issue would start working on fixing it right away by taking remote login access to your computer after seeking your permission to do so. They also charge you a fee, but that is usually low, and would never let you feel the burden of spending much.

You could consult some online reviews to find the most compatible support plan for you, which also lies well within your budget.