Estimated reading time: 9 minutes, 12 seconds

Payroll Software: Another Crop

check imageWith adversity comes opportunity. Who says the Federal government is not doing a good job at helping small businesses grow? Take a look at all the new tax and compliance regulations on small to medium sized-businesses. That is great for most accounting and CPA  firms.

 If you are like me, I would certainly prefer to grow my business without that kind of help. However, when you are presented with this opportunity you might as well use your expertise to help your clients. Providing payroll services for your clients is a great way to use the tax and compliance nightmare as a way to help your clients. If you have good software and good processes, you can hire a more affordable employee part-time to do the work. That will equal very large profits for you.

Think about it. If this sounds like a service you want to add or one that you are doing currently but are looking for better ways to accomplish this service, take a look at some of the products in this review. The companies listed below all will allow you to streamline any current processes you have on payroll. Or if payroll is a new service, they will help you build a successful payroll service. There really is no one product that offers everything you need to offer a service bureau service.

However, companies  like SwipeClock (which makes time and attendance software) and InterceptEFT (a leading provider of direct deposit services) provide very seamless solutions to all payroll software providers. In fact, one of the products in this review bundles it all in so you only have to work with one vendor.

 Here are the products in this review:

Accounting CS Payroll, Thomson Reuter
Evolution Payroll, iSystems
Execupay Payroll Suite
PenSoft Payroll, PenSoft Business Solutions

The first step you need to take is to decide whether you want to provide the payroll service yourself, assist your client in payroll, refer your client to a processing company or a combination of the above. The second step is how comfortable are you with working with a company that may compete with your services. The reality is that as an Accountant you have a different relationship with your clients than a payroll processor. Nevertheless, it is something you might want to consider in making selection.

Each of the programs in this review is excellent choice. Each is easy to use. We will point out the highlights that are strong reasons to use them. We will also point out some weaknesses. It will give you a good starting point to determine what programs you want to review in making your decision. Without any further ado.

Accounting CS Payroll
Thomson Reuters

Dexter, Mich.
(800) 968-8900
http://cs.thomson reuters.com

Accounting CS Payroll
A key to having a successful payroll practice is to have solid processes in place so that you do not have to spend a lot of time on the actual task. That will allow you to increase your capacity to take on more clients in less time and increase your profitability.

 Accounting CS Payroll is designed allow you to handle multiple clients payroll at one time. You don't actually have to go into a client to handle many of the payroll tasks. It comes with standard reports but you can fully customize all the reports to meet the exact needs of your clients.

 So, if you earn a new client that is used to another program with specific reports, you can either deliver the same report or take what they were used to and customize it to make it even better than they were previously receiving. In addition, there are many levels of payroll functionality that allow you to handle payroll for any client that comes your way. You can also allocate different deductions to different departments. 

One important feature I didn't see in most other programs was the ability for you to give your clients’ employees a secure place to see their paychecks, W-4s and W-2s. These can be seen in the employee’s individual payroll portal. The employee can update their own address changes, name changes and W-4 changes that can be pulled into the program if you accept it. It is an excellent program.

The downside to this program is it missing some tools that are needed to manage your payroll, such as a built in scheduler. While Thomson continues to work on the speed of the program, it still has some problem areas. And if you decide you don't want to service one or some of your clients, you can send them to Thomson's Reuters myPay Solutions service.

evoPro Solutions
Sarasota, Fla.
(802) 655-8347
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Price: Wholesale prices, Weekly payroll $22.50 Base plus $1.75 per pay. Includes reports, online access, employee self-service, direct deposit, tax service, new hire reporting, W-2s, and basic HR management.

Evolution is a very good product and it is the product up which the evoPro products are built. The parent company, iSystems, provides software to payroll service bureau organizations that compete with the ADP and PayChex-type corporations. Within the last few years it has created a wholesale solution to make it affordable for accounting practices to use.

The company offers you a way to get into the payroll service without breaking the bank and having a security net as well. EvoPro BOS (Back Office Support) allows you to offer payroll without overhead requirements; your job is to close the deal and evoPro takes it from there. The company is committed to being a partner to its customers. This is shown in the way they work with you when you get started. They walk you through the process until you are ready to be on your own. They also provide you with branded sales and marketing materials.

Depending on you licensing, iSystems will take on the tax liability side until you are comfortable doing it yourself. If for some reason it doesn’t work out for you, they can help you sell the clients you earned while deciding if it is the right service for you. Another unique feature in this program is the ability to reconcile your payroll account to the items you pay for your clients. As an accountant, you would think that would be standard in any program, while it is not so. 

It gets a little hairy, tying out every single payroll client that you have to the payroll account you have set up. This system maintains complete bank registers within the system and stores every transaction by client, to aid in reconciling you import your bank file into the system and it will reconcile the transactions, no need for manual export and reconciliation. Inside the payroll program itself, you have all kinds of features that make your processing quick and easy for you. 

There really wasn’t a downside to this program. The company seemed more than willing to work with you to make sure your needs were met.

Execupay Payroll Suite
ExecuPay Software
San Antonio, Texas
(866) 839-7655
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Price: monthly minimum rate starts at $263

ExecuPay Payroll Suite
Of all the products I reviewed this product has the most extensive capabilities. It has everything from employee portals to a full HR system for your clients.

In the employee portals you can have employee handbooks set up, self-serve documents that employee’s need, such as time off requests, and all kinds of items that allow employees to have access to everything in one place and set up of this is easy. Everything is in a single database. It works with tablets and smartphones.

This is a high-end system with lots of features that makes the ability to grow your payroll practice a very viable option. Not only do they have tons of tools to make processing easy for you, the software is very easy to use. In the purchase of the software, it includes unlimited support and free training for life of the your license. The offer four-day training classes held monthly that cover all aspects of the software from Office set-up to sales and marketing.

The only downside of the Execupay is that they use Citrix as way to access the cloud. I personally am not a fan of Citrix.

PenSoft Payroll
PenSoft Business Solutions
Newport News, Va.
Price: Accounting edition, one to 51 employees, $1,719 (new), $1,389 (renewal); 51 to 100 employees, $1,829 (new), $1,479 (renewal).

PenSoft Payroll
This is the only product in the review that is not also available in the cloud. That is not a downside for those that are not comfortable having their software online. They are able to have the software loaded on each machine and they have data set up so it is shared and available to all in real time.

In addition, they partner with other company’s that provide employee self serve options so you can offer your clients who have employees that enjoy mobile and cloud applications the same options. The program is very easy to use. It has familiar user interface and intuitive options. 

PenSoft has a number of editions – Accounting, Platinum, Enterprise, Professional, Standard and Lite. There are several price tiers for each edition. The Accounting Edition is designed for those who process multiple payroll clients and includes free support and updates.

The downside to this product is that they do not provide the full range of services others in the review provide. However, if you are not ready to go to the cloud but your clients are this is a good product for you to review.

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