Top 5 payroll services for your Vancouver small business

Top 5 payroll services for your Vancouver small business

If you are starting a new business in Vancouver, or looking to hire employees, you are likely wondering if you should set up payroll. To make life simpler, you are possibly looking into software that can take care of your payroll for you, even with the assistance of a bookkeeper.

Not only does payroll software streamline and automate the process for you, it will save you time and will reduce the chances of manual payroll errors. Payroll can be a time- consuming process, and it needs to be done not only consistently, but with accuracy. Not only that, but once you have paid your employees, then you are faced with sending in remittances. This can all be simplified by using payroll software.

If you are looking to set up payroll services for your small business based out of Vancouver, you may not be sure what is best for you. There are also a lot of options. Some programs offer payroll only, and for a few employees. Other payroll programs offer that as well as human resources and year-end statements, and others offer that and everything in between with tier programs.

We would like to offer a few suggestions, starting with some key services that a payroll program should provide to you.

A payroll system can put processes in place to keep track of the hours that your employees have worked. This can then calculate their wage, and then it will also deduct what is necessary from your employee’s pay-cheque. This may include taxes, as well as CPP and EI. As well, it can generate pay stubs that are accurate for you employees to view. Some will even allow them to do this through an app.

A payroll program may even be able to calculate various employee expenses, holiday pay and even bonuses. Software programs can do this with far less effort and likely more accuracy than it would take for someone to do this by hand.

Even more, you likely would also want this payroll service to remit any payments directly to the federal and provincial governments. This last step is equally important, because if payments aren’t remitted in time, you will pay interest.

Sticking with the topic of tax, you may also want your payroll service to not only create your year-end T4s, but also to generate records and financial statements, which would include your year-end tax documents. This will simplify processes for your business at year-end.

Of course, you likely also want this payroll service to not only pay your employees through direct deposit, but if it isn’t part of your accounting software you definitely want it to be able to sync with your accounting software.

One of the benefits that you may not think about includes the morale of your employees. When you staff know that the payroll is done consistently on time, and they can access their own information can add to their confidence in the company. It will also keep track of their time, or attendance for the business.

There are many different payroll solutions that are available to you, and you may want to check in with your bookkeeper to see which ones they work with, as well as what works best for your business.

Here we want to expand on some of the more popular payroll software programs.

Ceridan Dayforce

This platform is one of the larger payroll providers. Dayforce offers not only payroll, but it includes human resources (HR), benefits, workforce management and even talent management on one platform.

This means that if you’re just starting your business, or are looking to transition and centralize your software for your Vancouver business—this could be the best option.

This software offers its users a mobile app. As a business owner, you may find that you don’t always have time to sit in your office. This software program allows you to access your payroll from wherever you are at.

It also allows your employees access to the self-service features. Meaning they can view their pay-cheque breakdown, pay stubs and even print out their own tax forms.

This software also allows you to scale and modify what it does for you, as your business grows.

On the downside, because it offers so many features, it may be challenging to navigate if you aren’t tech savvy.

But, if you’re able to hire a local bookkeeper in Vancouver, or if you’re a tech savvy businessperson that doesn’t mind a bit of a learning curve, then this is the program for you.


This is another cloud-based software program for Vancouver’s small businesses to access. They have a straightforward pricing system, which is based upon how many employees you are paying and how often.

Some of its features include direct deposit, online paystubs, tax filings, and year-end reporting. It can also take care of the stat holiday calculations for you.

It has a user-friendly design, which is great since as a small business owner, you may not have a lot of experience dealing with payroll.

With the focus on payroll, it automates not only CRA remittances, but WCB as well.

One of its weaknesses is, if your business runs additional payrolls, this may end up not being the most cost-effective program for you. They also don’t offer a lot of phone support if this is important. However, once again, if you’re looking for a more autonomous software for your business, then this shouldn’t be a problem.

As well, it doesn’t offer a lot of human resource solutions such as performance reviews. It also lacks in some benefits features, and you would need to purchase additional HR software if you are looking for that.

In short – this is a very straightforward account that is great for Vancouver businesses that like to run the show a bit more.

Wave Payroll

This company offers you a user-friendly, modern interface. While they do offer some of their services for free, payroll services are a paid service.

Its dashboard provides a comprehensive overview of everything that you will need to review, edit and approve before you run your payroll.

Wave also allows for integration between your payroll, invoicing as well as your businesses accounting. This means that you can sync your employee information and keep all of your financial information in one place.

Its pricing structure makes it ideal for your small Vancouver business.

Though this may be great for your small business, it may not scale well as it now stands. It does not allow you to have multiple users, and if you need to add commission to your employee’s salary, is not a smooth process.

As well, it also lacks HR and benefit, meaning if you want to deal with HR, you will need to purchase HR software as well. It also isn’t very comprehensive when it comes to features, and reporting is limited.

Thus, this is the option for those businesses looking for a more cost-effective and simple platform.


Gusto has a payroll system that is set up for small businesses that are starting out as well as growing. In addition to payroll, Gusto offers other HR features such as benefits, hiring and management resources. The Gusto app also allows for your employees to access their paystub details.

As with other payroll programs, Gusto offers different tiers to its customers. Its Core plan offers payroll processing and the supporting records and tools, and they go up to the Complete tier, which adds more HR tools, including hiring and onboarding, as well as time tracking and project management.

It really depends on how much you are wanting to spend, and the features that are important to your business.

A few of the cons for this payroll software is that some screens have been found to load slowly. As well, if you want features such as time tracking, you have to move to a higher package than the Core plan.

With app integrations, this is great for businesses that are looking to get started with a more integrated software for their payroll services.


What would an accounting software blog be without mentioning Quickbooks?

This is a name that many have likely heard of, and QuickBooks Standard payroll integrates with their accounting platform which is great for a small business. It also tends to be popular with many bookkeepers.

Like other cloud-based platforms, it can be accessed from anywhere. QuickBooks Standard doesn’t have a lot of the fancy add-ons, but it does help small businesses manage their payroll and it is popular not only among small business owners, but their bookkeepers as well.

A downside though, is that it doesn’t automatically file or remit your payroll taxes with the CRA. If you were to invest in QuickBooks Online Advanced Payroll, which is more expensive, this feature would be covered.

Though since your bookkeeper may work with QuickBooks, your business may choose to have them handle this for you until they recommend you upgrade.

As well, customer service is not always highly rated with it being a larger company. As with most though, they do roll out changes and new features for its users.

Nevertheless, if you’re just getting started, or just don’t know where to start with your payroll software for your Vancouver business, then Quickbooks is a great (and affordable) place to start.

Payroll software programs are constantly evolving, not only in the various features that they provide, but in their cost. As a business owner, you need to know what features are important to your business, now- and in the future. This can assist you in choosing the program that is best suited to your business.

What about the learning curve? We always suggest that if you’re ever uncertain about payroll, how to use payroll software, or which payroll software to use, it’s best to hire and work with a bookkeeper.

They often have great experience with a wide range of payroll and accounting software, and can get you the answers you need.

Need help from an expert?

We know that the payroll software market can seem overwhelming. Let one of our experts at Valley Business Centre help. For over 30 years, Valley Business Centre has been providing comprehensive bookkeeping, payroll and tax services to our clients in Whistler, Squamish, the Sea to Sky Corridor and metro Vancouver B.C. areas. Valley Business Centre provides reliable and effective services to all clients.


This article is written for informational purposes only. It is current at the date of posting and changes to laws and regulation may result in the information becoming outdated. It is not intended to provide legal, tax, or financial advice. It is recommended that readers get advice from a tax professional before making any final decisions.

What you should know about reimbursing your employee’s mileage

What you should know about reimbursing your employee’s mileage

 For those companies that aren’t working remotely vehicle mileage is something you have to think about.

Vehicle mileage is something that should be kept track of when it is related to your company. Not only can this be a valuable deduction for your business at tax time, but your employees will also appreciate being reimbursed when they are using their own vehicle.

The Canada Revenue Agency does not consider driving from home to your place of work as a business expense, so this cannot be included in the mileage. This is considered a personal expense. What they do consider a business expense, is any mileage that adds up from driving to meet clients, conventions or similar events, as well as any business-related travel.

When looking at vehicle mileage reimbursement, the Canada Revenue Agency has guidelines as to what they deem appropriate.

What the CRA considers reasonable for an allowance per kilometer driven is stated in section 7306 of the Income Tax Regulation.

Currently in 2021, the prescribed rate is $0.59 for the first 5,000 kilometer driven within the year. If there are any km driven above 5,000, the employee can be reimbursed $0.53 per kilometer. This rate applies to British Columbia and most of Canada, with the exception of the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut. They are provided with an additional 4 cents per kilometer travelled.

This rate is not only considered coverage for fuel, but any wear-and-tear on the vehicle.

As a note under the reasonable per-kilometer allowance, the Canada Revenue Agency states, “the amounts prescribed in section 7306 are to be used as a guide. A reasonable per-kilometer allowance can be either reasonably over or reasonably under those amounts”.

The thing to note is that the Canada Revenue Agency is all about making deductions “reasonable”.

Canada Revenue states that an allowance is reasonable if it meets the following three conditions:

  • The allowance is based only on the number of business kilometers driven in a year,
  • The rate per kilometer is reasonable, and
  • You haven’t reimbursed the employee for vehicle expense related to the same use of the vehicle.

These reasonable allowances, which then become reimbursements, are not included in the employee’s income. As well, when the mileage is considered reasonable and is reimbursed, income tax, CPP and EI will not be deducted.

If you choose to reimburse your employee outside of these guidelines, or even at their recommendations, make sure that you have an agreed upon dollar value with your employee.

As well, for other amounts to be considered reasonable, they must be supported by fact.

So, keep your gas receipts or track your mileage on your company or personal vehicles.

It is recommended that you speak with your bookkeeper if you decide to vary from the above noted rates so that they can assist you in determining what is reasonable for your business.

When you reimburse your employee for their mileage, they not only need to provide you with receipts for the fuel purchases, but they also need to provide you with a log of their mileage.

Below is a sample of what is included in a mileage log:

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The information that you are looking to capture with a mileage log includes the date, the start and end locations and the purpose of the trip. As well, your employee needs to include the starting and ending odometer reading (to attain the kilometers driven) as well as the reimbursement amount.

As discussed in our blog, ‘Why going paperless will set your business up for success’, small businesses are going paperless, if they aren’t paperless already.

With that being said, your company may already have a software program that can track your employee’s mileage, such as the QuickBooks mileage tracker. This mobile app can make tracking mileage much easier, and it doesn’t rely on an employee remembering what their mileage was if they forgot to write it down. As well, a mileage app may even be able to communicate directly with your online bookkeeping program.

No matter which way you keep track of mileage, it is very important that you have the employee keep a log, separating personal and business use of their vehicle. If your company is ever audited, you will need to prove the expense, and that it was only for business driving.

Also remember to have your employee submit the log on a consistent basis that you have agreed to, whether that be day, weekly or by pay period.

As a business owner, you can choose to pay your employee a flat-rate allowance rather than a mileage allowance. A flat-rate allowance is the payment that you would provide to your employee for using their own vehicle in connection to work, without having to account for it.

This means that it is not related to the number of kilometers driven and it is paid to your employee in addition to their wage or salary. This is considered to be a taxable benefit though, as it is included in your employee’s income.

In turn, the employee may be able to claim allowable employment expenses on their return.

This allowance would also need to be deemed ‘reasonable’ by the Canada Revenue Agency.

Another option that you may choose, is to pay your employee a vehicle allowance that is a combination of the reasonable per- kilometer allowance and the flat-rate allowance for the same use of the vehicle.

This combined allowance is also considered to be a taxable benefit, meaning that it is included in the employee’s income. Again, they may be able to claim the allowable employment expenses notes above.

When looking at the above options, there are a few other things to consider. When looking at the mileage reimbursement, remember that is a deductible business expense for you company. This may make more sense for you rather than increasing their wages through a flat-rate allowance. If you choose a flat-rate allowance, you will also be dealing with any payroll taxes, CPP and EI on this increase in salary.

On the other hand, it may be more practical for your business to reimburse your employees for using their own vehicle compared to having a fleet of company owned vehicles that you allow your employees use.

Not only will you not have to spend your business’s capital on vehicles, you will not have to deal with the depreciation of a company asset. Even if you choose to lease vehicles, this will still be an added cost for your business. Perhaps you could be using this capital elsewhere.

As well, your business will not be responsible for the time it takes to maintain and repair vehicles. You also will not have the added cost of insuring the vehicles, which will be a blessing if your employees don’t have a stellar driving history.

Your employees may also see this as a preferred method, as they may see this as extra money each month that they can save for vehicle maintenance or upgrades. This may be especially true if they aren’t consistently driving a lot, or if they have an exceptionally fuel-efficient car.

Again, we suggest that you speak with your bookkeeper to determine which option is best for your business.

As a business owner, you may choose to reimburse your employee, or you may decide to provide them with and advance for their travel.

An advance is the amount of money that you provide to your employee in anticipation of expenses that they will incur for your business. If you provide them with an accountable advance, this means that they not only need to produce receipts for any money spent, but they are responsible to return any monies that they did not spend.

For example, if you are sending your employee to Kamloops, BC to attend a business function for the day, you may provide them with an advance in consideration of the fuel it will take them to get there. When your employee returns, they will provide you with a vehicle log of the kilometers driven, as well as any receipts for the fuel.

Based upon the reasonable per kilometer rate, this is then deducted from the advance. If they have exceeded the value of the advance, then you would reimburse your employee for the additional amount. Again, this is not considered a taxable benefit it the above conditions have been met.

Again, make sure that you have discussed all of this with your employees at the beginning, so that they understand what your company policy is and so that they are aware of required mileage logs, frequency and so on.

Need help from an expert?

Understanding which method of mileage reimbursement for your employees can see daunting. Let one of our experts at Valley Business Centre help. For over 30 years, Valley Business Centre has been providing comprehensive bookkeeping, payroll and tax services to our clients in Whistler, Squamish, the Sea to Sky Corridor and metro Vancouver B.C. areas. Valley Business Centre provides reliable and effective services to all clients.


This article is written for informational purposes only. It is current at the date of posting and changes to laws and regulation may result in the information becoming outdated. It is not intended to provide legal, tax, or financial advice. It is recommended that readers get advice from a tax professional before making any final decisions.