Intuit, Inc. - QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll for Accountants
From the Sept. 2010 Review of Professional Payroll Systems
Intuit offers several payroll processing systems and services, with some designed for direct use by small businesses and others designed with the accountant in mind. With QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll for Accountants, the vendor provides professional firms that use QuickBooks in-house for client write-up and other services, with an integrated and fairly comprehensive multi-client payroll solution capable of handling a broad array of processing, compliance and benefits management functions. Data is shared between the GL and other components of the accounting program. For this review, QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll for Accountants fits into the “Professional Prepared, with Assistance” category of payroll applications, providing a system in which the accounting firm manages all data-entry functions, but has vendor services available for functions such as direct deposit, compliance reporting and electronic payroll tax payments to state and federal agencies.
BASIC SYSTEM FUNCTIONS
QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll for Accountants is an add-in to a firm’s QuickBooks Premier accounting system, offering direct integration between all related components, including GL and AP. It also works with the checkwriting functions available in QuickBooks to provide payroll check printing. The program is based on the Enhanced Payroll program that Intuit markets directly to small businesses, but the professional accounting version includes additional practice-specific tools, such as multi-client management, payroll overviews, after-the-fact payroll, client-deliverable reporting and workflow functions. The system can support the same number of concurrent users for which the QuickBooks version is licensed (generally best at about three to five users).
The program is designed with a specific cap of 50 client EINs for processing payroll, but users can obtain additional licenses of the program for larger client bases. Pricing is flat fee plus the cost of direct deposit ($1.25 per employee check). It uses the client management screens and general interface and command centers of QuickBooks (adding a new center for payroll activities), which adds greatly to the ease-of-use for those with staff already familiar with QuickBooks. Additionally, several wizards aid in initial setup of employer and employee rates, deductions, payroll items, and frequencies and other defaults. Employees can be full or part-time, salaried, commissioned, tipped, piece work or contract labor, and the system can manage advances and reimbursements. QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll for Accountants includes streamlined compliance functions and payroll tax tables for federal and all states, but not local jurisdictions, although it does provide manual forms for some municipal entities. The system can also handle employees with multiple state compliance requirements.
The system allows unlimited standard and custom deductions, unemployment reporting, and offers accruals and benefits management and insurance functions, along with basic employee management and human resources tools. An optional add-in feature for “pay as you go” workers’ comp insurance is available through a partnership between Intuit and The Hartford. Batch payroll functions are not available for processing runs for multiple companies at the same time, but employee time and information data-entry screen options include a multi-employee view that helps speed entry. 4.25
REPORTING & MONITORING
QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll for Accountants and the QuickBooks program in general include a large collection of fully customizable and client-ready management reports, including payroll activity by employee, expense details, period comparisons, expense analysis, tax liabilities, accruals, benefits, third-party pay and other options, with many savable to Excel, Word and PDF for document management and additional customization options.
Through integration with QuickBooks, the payroll system includes limited due date management functions and the ability to view pending dates from the client payroll dashboard, but no automated email alerts are available. Employee overview screens also provide good monitoring of individual time, rate and deduction data. Compliance reports are automatically populated with payroll data when returns are prepared, and e-filing and electronic payment options are available for most taxing entities at no extra charge. Federal, state and local reports can also be output into print version. 4.5
INTEGRATION/IMPORT & EXPORT
In addition to the tight integration with QuickBooks, which includes direct links to GL, AP and other components, QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll for Accountants includes additional integrateable modules for 401(k) management, healthcare plans and workers’ comp. Time data tracking is not geared toward attendance or billing management but can be used for some timesheet monitoring. The system can import and export data in common formats, including Excel and CSV, and with mapping can import data from most time clock systems. 4.5
Working within the QuickBooks program, the system offers numerous Help and assistance features, from right-click menus and content-sensitive assistance, to links to reference materials and web-based support that includes chat-based assistance, an online user community, FAQs, documentation, and program and rate table updates, which the system can be set to search for automatically. Free live phone-based tech support for payroll is offered, along with live web chat that is also free and available during most of the day. 4.5
CLIENT SELF-SERVICE FEATURES
The QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll for Accountants system offers the ViewMyPaycheck website that allows W-2 employees to log in online to view and print their paycheck information. However, since the product does not provide the breadth of self-service functions that are outlined for this review section, the product did not receive a rating here. N/A
SUMMARY & PRICING
With direct integration with QuickBooks, the QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll for Accountants system offers strong capabilities and streamlined workflow, with the added advantage of being based on a familiar interface for many professionals. The system is best suited toward practices with smaller client bases, although it also offers attractive employee benefit options. The program costs $374 and requires a 2008 or newer version of QuickBooks. Direct deposit costs $1.25 per employee check.
2010 Overall Rating 4.5