From the Sept. 2010 Review of Payroll Systems
The Intuit Online Payroll offering, formerly known as PayCycle, is one of several payroll products and services offered by Intuit. The completely web-based system includes versions for small businesses and for accounting professionals managing payroll activities and compliance for multiple employers, with automated compliance reporting, payments and due date alerts. The system also supports standard and custom deductions and benefits plans, including insurance, deferred income and flexible spending accounts. For this review, Intuit Online Payroll fits into the “Practitioner/Multiple Employer” model, since the program allows firms to provide full payroll services and compliance to their business clients. Unlike many web-based payroll programs, the vendor doesn’t offer outsourced compliance services, but the system automates many of the tasks and provides numerous reminders of payroll runs, due dates and other pending actions, making the system simple to use. The QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll for Accountants is another professional system from Intuit reviewed in this issue on page XX.
BASIC SYSTEM FUNCTIONS
Intuit Online Payroll opens into the user’s web browser (supports IE, Firefox and Safari); with a minimalistic tabbed interface that presents options for working with client data, managing system settings and users, and accessing resources and Help options. Payroll tasks are grouped under the Client menu, with the ability to view a client list, use marketing tools, and access client tax to-do lists, which provides a due date tracker. Payroll runs are worked on through the Pay Day tab, with a single-screen data overview, edit and entry screen that displays all employees in a pay group to speed data entry. Users can also drilldown to employee data and histories, set up employer tax and form defaults, use Excel Timesheets or generate reports.
Intuit Online Payroll takes the core automated payroll functions the company offers with its in-house small business payroll offering and adds client management functions. This allows firms to easily process payrolls for their clients with a single login and client overview screens, while also keeping up with compliance and other functions. Multiple users can access the program at the same time, but not within the same specific data file, so as to prevent data overwrites. It can handle any number of payroll runs for employers, with pricing based on the number of employees whether the firm selects the wholesale or retail pricing service options. Up to 150 active employees or contractors can be paid per employer, with support for multiple pay rates per employee and for various pay types, including salary, hourly, bonuses, tips, advances and reimbursements, expense reporting, holiday pay and other custom pay types. Voluntary and involuntary deductions, including retirement plans, garnishments and customized options can also be set up on a per-employee basis. Multiple payroll groups can be set up for each company, allowing pay on different frequencies.
Intuit Online Payroll’s primary client list offers only basic name and contact information, but the Client Tax To Do screen, accessible from the client list, provides an overview of all pending client payroll activities. The program includes tax tables and compliance reporting for federal and all states, either electronically or with printable coupons and forms if the state requires. It also supports compliance for employers with multi-state taxed employees, with the program providing basic options for distributing income between the primary resident state and others. The system does not provide tables or direct support for municipal income reporting. Direct deposit is included, with up to two accounts per employee and the ability to also print partial print paychecks. The program does not offer batch processing or reporting across multiple clients, but the To Do screen provides good oversight for managing multiple clients. Benefits management functions include accruals, Sec. 125s, retirement plans and insurance. Intuit supports multiple carriers for pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation, including The Hartford, Travelers and Employers. 4.5