Need help tracking employees' performance? Confused about how to comply with government regulations? Wondering whether it's appropriate to ask an applicant how she spends her spare time? Human resources software can fill in for well-trained HR professionals, helping small companies troubleshoot legally tricky HR issues.

William Floyd, executive vice president of Investors Financial Group, a $70 million financial services provider in Atlanta, reviewed HR Task Counselor (Jam.LOGIC Designs, 800-750-8113). "A few years ago, I would have paid dearly for this software," he says. "Since then, I've hired a full-time HR person. She's looked at several packages that cost two to five times more than this one and don't provide as much information."

If you employ from 15 to 200 people, and human resources issues are overseen by the controller, the office manager, or even you, HR software might be a real boon. It enumerates questions that you may and may not legitimately ask job applicants, helps managers prepare employees for evaluations, and offers a model exit interview, release agreement, and description of COBRA benefits.

"Not only do employers benefit from the computer's comprehensive reach, but the software lets employees check out new-job and other postings, benefits, and a company handbook we can update at will." Floyd says the software makes life easier for his HR person and enhances the employees' attitudes about the company.