Review of PowerPayroll - 2010


CompuPay - PowerPayroll

From the Sept. 2010 Review of Professional Payroll Systems.

CompuPay offers three online payroll systems for small businesses and accounting professionals, with PowerPayroll providing a mostly outsourced platform that puts all processing, direct deposit, onsite or offsite check printing in the hands of users, with automated payroll tax filings, reporting and other compliance functions. The system is primarily geared toward direct use by a small business client with a direct relationship between them and the vendor. Therefore, it fits our “Outsourced/Referral” model of payroll systems, and since it is a web-based system, a small business’ external accountant can access reporting as necessary. CompuPay also develops XpressPayroll and PayrollOnline, and has an accountant solutions channel that helps professionals manage multi-client payroll services.

The web-based PowerPayroll opens within a web browser to a very user-friendly interface that offers a large menu screen with expandable options for areas including payday activities, employee management, company information, reports, GL exports and managing employee portal access rights. The system offers accountants a partner portal through which accountants can access multiple client accounts through one login. The system can support multiple departments with subsidiary units and pay groups within organizations, and allows any number of employees and wage types. Each group or department can be set up as separate payroll runs. Pricing is based on the total number of employees and frequency.

Multiple-user access functions include the ability to restrict tasks based on user role. Company screens provide a tabbed interface that allows entry of company-wide defaults for deduction categories and accruals management, banking data and payroll frequencies. Employee screens include a selection list with options for sorting and filtering by name, department, unit and other factors, while detailed views use tabs for editing and moving between information categories for employee-specific job information, pay group/frequency, pay rates, taxes, earnings, deductions, direct deposit and accruals. Employee pay can be distributed to up to four accounts. The system also has utilities such as Payroll 101, Power401K and the Payroll Reminder alerts system.

PowerPayroll includes tax tables for all states and localities and automatically manages all compliance and reporting functions as a part of the service. The system handles multi-state employees with an unlimited number of states. Several methods of data entry and approvals are available, including a quick-run format that requires only minor editing of default employee hours, and the ability to import time data from external files, with batch entry-oriented data screens showing all employees in a payroll run with summary data and sorting options.
In addition to the system’s built-in accruals management functions, CompuPay also offers several benefits management services, including pay-as-you-go workers’ comp, 401(k), Section 125 and flexible spending plans, COBRA administration, employee background screening, and additional employer benefits and HR functions.

With PowerPayroll, all compliance reporting and payments are automatically managed by the vendor, with payroll run reports noting the funds available and required in accounts, and alerts notifying users via email as to payroll run dates, compliance dates and actions required for time approvals and other processes. All states and localities are supported for wage and new hire reporting. Employee W-2s and 1099s can be output through the program and either printed locally or managed as a service by the vendor. Managerial reports include payroll summaries, wages, taxes, deductions, registers and other options with all historical years available. All reports can be saved to Microsoft Word, Excel, PDF, HTML and text formats, allowing for excellent customization capabilities. Employee overview screens are simple, with basic data, along with histories and reporting options.

PowerPayroll integrates with the other services and programs available from CompuPay, including the HR and benefits management solutions, and can import data from text and spreadsheet formats, enabling data acquisition from time clock systems. The program includes a GL export function for generating reports into Excel or balanced payroll files that can be imported into QuickBooks and other accounting programs. CompuPay also offers a web-based timekeeping and attendance management program that offers employee time entry via swipe and biometric clocks, telephone, web-entry and mobile devices.

The PowerPayroll system is very simple to use and offers streamlined data entry that shouldn’t require much assistance, although a basic Help utility link is available within the program. Additional resources on the vendor’s resource center website include payroll tools and calculators, form downloads, FAQs, and training options. No user community is available. The web-based program and its tax tables are automatically updated by the vendor. Live, phone-based technical support is included with pricing.

Since the program is designed for secure, web-based entry of employee data by employers, with CompuPay managing the compliance aspects, PowerPayroll provides good access options, including user-level access rights within the system. It also offers employee self-service logins for viewing paystubs and W-2s, but does not offer benefits management integration. PowerPayroll can be cobranded with a firm’s logo and colors.

PowerPayroll is designed for direct use by businesses, but can be used by accountants managing client payrolls, as well. The system is intuitive and gives quick access to employee data, while simplifying payroll processing functions and providing HR and benefits management options. Pricing is based on the number of employees and the frequency of payroll runs, with a biweekly, 10-employee payroll costing about $67 per run (includes tax service, direct deposit, new hire reporting and access to HR & Benefits Essentials, an HR library).