From the Sept. 2010 Review of Payroll Systems
The 1099-Etc program and After-the-Fact/Live Payroll module from Advanced Micro Solutions (AMS) is, as its name implies, an after-the-fact payroll processing system designed for either professional accountants or business entities. The system also includes live payroll processing capabilities with direct deposit, but is generally geared toward managing in-house payrolls, multiple-payrolls for smaller entities, or quarterly and annual compliance reporting and payments. For this review, AMS’s A-T-F Payroll module fits the “Practitioner/Multiple Employer” type of payroll program, which means that tax and accounting professionals using the program manage all of the data-entry functions related to payroll and accruals management, including EFT setup, forms processing, forms mailings, checks, unemployment reporting and all other issues. It can also fit as a Direct Client Use system, with business owners able to use the program to manage payroll for multiple entities.
BASIC SYSTEM FUNCTIONS
1099-Etc’s main interface provides simple navigation within a small window that offers links and icon menus for accessing core system areas for managing business entities, employees and reporting functions, along with system security and maintenance utilities. Add-on modules, which include A-T-F Payroll, laser forms generation, e-filing options and a forms package, are also available from the system’s main work screen. Basic system functions, such as adding and working with clients and their data, is intuitive, and copy functions allow the use of existing companies as templates to speed setup tasks. Tabbed screens are used for most employee information functions, grouping information into general, payroll parameters, status, optional information and a Memo section. While the system is not necessarily designed specifically for accounting professionals, it is geared toward managing payroll reporting and, with the payroll module, live processing for multiple business entities. Unlimited payroll processing and support for all pay frequencies is included with the program, although batch processing functions are not available for running multiple payrolls for multiple entities simultaneously.
The 1099-Etc system and payroll add-on can be networked and used by any number of firm staff on a single-user license, with the ability to manage up to 1,999 business entities with up to 9,999 total active and inactive employees/contractors each. While the system is capable of handling larger businesses, its “best fit” for live payroll is a practice serving 20 to 30 small businesses of up to 20 employees. For after-the-fact functions, it can fit the needs of practices managing both small as well as larger entities. The CD-based program is offered through a standard license, with the ability to add extra modules, as needed.
Reporting for employees with multiple states can be managed efficiently, and payroll tax tables and paper-based compliance reporting is included in the base program for federal and all 50 states plus D.C. and Puerto Rico. Electronic filing is offered as an add-on module. It also includes tax tables for New York City and Yonkers, and users can enter tax data for other localities as necessary. 1099-Etc supports salaried and hourly workers and tipped staff, and tracking of information using customizable fields. It also handles basic accruals management and tracks deductions. Direct deposit is available via ACH transactions or a third-party vendor, allowing up to four deposit accounts per employee. 4
REPORTING & MONITORING
1099-Etc and the A-T-F module includes print-based compliance reporting, with all federal and state quarterly and annual forms available. All quarterly State Unemployment forms are included. New hire reports (California specific and generic) are also included. Reports offer limited customization options. Basic monitoring of payroll run dates and reporting due dates can be achieved from the main client information screen, but no automated e-mail or other alerts are offered. E-filing of compliance reports is available either as an add-on module or as an outsourced service. With the self-managed add-on module, filing is available for the IRS and SSA for W-2/1099 reporting, which also enables electronic filing to states that accept the same format. A-T-F supports around 30 states for direct unemployment e-filing, including all states that mandate SUTA e-filing.
The full-service option outsources federal and state filing preparation, including employee forms distribution, to the software publisher. Employee management screens offer detailed data tracking and customizable information, including the ability to track personal performance appraisals, basic HR data and upload an employee photo. 3.75
INTEGRATION/IMPORT & EXPORT
The 1099-Etc system has an assortment of integrated add-on modules, including A-T-F, laser generation, e-filing and a forms library. The program can import from Excel (which allows import from most time clock systems), in addition to import options from QuickBooks, Quicken, Peachtree and text formats. It can also export data to a journal entry report for import into most accounting programs. The system does not offer timesheet management capabilities, but a workaround can be used to accomplish this function if necessary. 4
The system provides traditional built-in Help functions and an index, along with form instructions and some guidance. Program updates can be set to automatically download into the system and are also offered by CD or from the company’s support website, which also includes FAQs, a knowledgebase and contact information. Live, phone-based technical support is included in pricing. 4.5
CLIENT SELF-SERVICE FEATURES
The 1099-Etc program and its A-T-F add-on payroll module do not offer any online components for client or employee self-service and was not rated in this section. N/A
SUMMARY & PRICING
The AMS 1099-Etc system is a best fit for practices managing payroll for smaller entities, generally as an after-the-fact service, with most focus on compliance reporting. However, with the A-T-F /Live Payroll module, the program does have capabilities for processing live runs, with the added benefits of direct deposit and basic employee benefits management, although the system does not provide due date alerts or other automated tools. For firms wishing to get a basic system for live and after-the-fact payroll, processing and compliance, pricing is attractive at $75 for the core system and $105 for the A-T-F/Live Payroll module. At such a low price point, the program may even be useful to some practitioners solely for access to the included state tax tables. Although reviewed here as a product for professionals, the system may also be a reasonable fit for self-use by entrepreneurs managing multiple employer entities.
2010 Overall Rating 4