ST. THOMAS — Every business has to deal with the often confusing and time-consuming issue of payroll for its employees. Sometimes it’s easier and more secure to turn to a professional like Payroll Vault, the new online payroll company serving the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Payroll Vault is owned and operated by Rosa Thomas. A graduate of Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic School, Thomas was born and raised in the Virgin Islands. After graduating from Vassar College in New York, she became a banker by trade, and started her career as a commercial lending officer and then branch manager for J.P. Morgan Chase.

She went on to work in business operations at a number of EDC companies, most recently Real Impact Corp. in the Virgin Islands.

She spent a few years in Maryland at a commercial real estate company, but came home because of her mother’s illness.

“I like living here. It’s a good living and I love to see the water. It grounds me and keeps me inspired,” she said. “There’s a lot of business opportunities here in the Virgin Islands. Yes, we do have our challenges like any other small place, and we’re isolated, sitting in the middle of the ocean. Those challenges will always be there, but I couldn’t think of living anywhere else. I’m not sitting in a cubicle in the frozen tundra of North America and thinking ‘Is this it? Is this all?’ People spend their life savings to come here just to experience what we see every day, and I’m grateful for that.”

The concept of living in a small community and being able to network is invaluable, especially in business, Thomas says. Virgin Islanders have the benefit of living very close together and depend upon each other, with a sense of community and congeniality, she adds.

For Thomas, opportunity came while realizing that there was a niche in the business market to make payroll more efficient and more secure. She opened Payroll Vault in September. Its focus is the Virgin Islands, though U.S. clients can easily be serviced, and she hopes to eventually expand into Puerto Rico. Payroll Vault is a franchise of a company developed 10 years ago by a certified public accountant in Denver, Colo. As a franchisee, Thomas has access to networking and support from other franchises partners across the country.

In this day and age of cyber-attacks, businesses must be extremely cautious in how they transmit anything electronically, and what distinguishes Payroll Vault is its online system, using cutting-edge technology solutions to make payroll processing simple and secure.

The company offers full payroll services such as weekly, bi-weekly and monthly payment processing by direct deposit, payroll check or Visa debit, and makes sure deductions are included, such as 401K, health insurance and child support. There is no limit to the number of employees for enrolled businesses.

Thomas and her team will help identify the most efficient and innovative workforce management system with numerous timekeeping and electronic payroll reporting options to boost a company’s productivity, reduce time theft and automate time and attendance processes. Cloud-based timekeeping solution provides additional flexibility.

Payroll Vault takes an innovative approach by actively engaging employees. Payroll stubs and accrual information specific to each employee are available through personal access portals, and changes can be made instantly.

It’s also an efficient way of getting W2 tax forms. Portals can be accessed online or with a phone app. Business owners have their own portal, allowing them to see payroll reports and staff paychecks, all at their fingertips.

Along with payroll come other compliance issues. Payroll Vault can help with quarterly tax filings as well gathering reports necessary for audits such as Workers’ Compensation. They help clients stay informed about updates to tax deductions, year-end documentation and compliance standards.

On the human resources side of business, Payroll Vault also provides a certified human resource expert for human resources-related questions or concerns, talent staffing, creating an internal employee handbook, application process forms, new hire forms and more. They offer on-demand employment screenings and portals contain various HR products, including sample job descriptions, interview questions, and discipline templates, as well as a labor law poster subscription service.

Payroll Vault is designed to accommodate small businesses, the backbone of any community, including the Virgin Islands’. For small businesses to continue thriving, Thomas feels future generations must be taught to take the lead. For her, she says, it’s all about educating our children and teaching them entrepreneurial skills.

“Instead of just waiting to go work for someone else, we need to teach our children that it’s OK to go work for yourself and look forward to being independent and bringing in your own check. It can be scary and it’s hard, but you have to stand on faith and go forward. We need to tell them, ‘We value you and we need you to take the Virgin Islands to the next level.’ We have a responsibility to propel the Virgin Islands forward.”

Payroll Vault will be hosting a Business After Hours with the Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 20 at their offices in Yacht Haven Grande on St. Thomas. Call 340-244-3123 for more information.