Review of Paychex Online Payroll - 2010


PayChex, Inc. - PayChex

From the Sept. 2010 Review of Professional Payroll Systems.

Paychex offers a full suite of payroll, human resource administration, benefits management, and tax filing and employee pay services. For the purposes of this review, Paychex fits our “Outsourced/Referral” payroll model, with the client and vendor having a direct relationship. The client manages all of the day-to-day data-entry functions and the vendor performs compliance tasks, but the professional accountant maintains an advisory and management role through the Accountant Access to online reports and the General Ledger. Paychex is also a preferred provider of payroll and retirement planning services for the AICPA’s Business Solutions Program as well as the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA).

Paychex Online Payroll targets clients with 1 to 49 employees, but can accommodate larger clients, including those in excess of 100 employees. The workflow and user interface of the system is fairly intuitive.

Adding clients was simple, and the system will import information/data from Excel or CSV files. Adding and editing payroll deductions is easy to do as well. Processing payroll can be done from anytime and anywhere and is accomplished with three steps: logging in, verifying entries and totals, and submitting

Since the product is focused on multi-employer configurations, processing multiple payrolls at a time is fairly intuitive. Once the payroll has been submitted, it will be run and generate pay to employees via printed checks or through direct deposit to multiple accounts. When creating payroll checks, Paychex allows clients to calculate gross-to-net pay or net-to-gross pay. All federal and state tax returns are updated quarterly and payroll taxes can be remitted electronically to the proper taxing authority. In addition to electronically submitting taxes, the system also allows users to set up an electronic transfer of funds to benefit providers and retirement/savings accounts. W-2s are automatically generated at the end of the year.

Paychex Online Payroll also remembers your information for the next login and can simplify the payroll run with two steps for payrolls that don’t change from one payroll run to the next. The system handles employees with different pay rates, whether it’s hourly, salaried or contracted employees. And users can view employee records individually or all at once.

Paychex Online Payroll offers numerous customizable reports with real-time data available shortly after payroll submissions. Basic reporting options include earnings statements, gross-to-net, summary overviews on a variety of periods, cash requirements, time sheet, new hires, and employee earnings records. Reports can be exported to PDFs. Email alerts are available for administrators and/or clients who wish to be alerted when payroll and quarterly reports are ready to be reviewed. The administrator of the system can also monitor upcoming and recent transactions.

Paychex’s Online Reporting Service is free to accounting professionals and provides anywhere/anytime access. New enhancements to this service include the ability to toggle between reports, payroll and GL reporting; the ability to build a list of most frequently used reports; and the ability to organize reports by pay period, quarterly, annually and by invoice.

The program can import data from Excel, and now offers the ability to import from time clock systems and other third parties. The General Ledger reporting service also allows payroll personnel to post payroll info directly to popular accounting systems like QuickBooks, Peachtree, Accpac and Simply Accounting. Obviously, the system directly integrates with the other components available from Paychex, such as HR, benefits management and retirement planning services.

The system provides traditional built-in Help functions and an index, along with form instructions and guidance. Live, phone-based technical support is included in pricing, and each client is assigned a payroll specialist. The Paychex website also offers a self-service Help forum. Tax and accounting professionals can take advantage of the accountant knowledge center, which offers links to current news, payroll and HR resources, compliance matters, tax alerts and financial calculators.

Employee self-service features are not currently offered, but the vendor notes that this will be available in the next release of Paychex Online Payroll, which is slated for the fall. Employee self-service will include access to paystubs, W-2s, and employee information (demographics, tax withholding, etc.).

Paychex is a best fit for practices who want to outsource the payroll functions of their clients but maintain a management and advisory role with the ability to monitor reporting, etc. The system is available for small and mid-sized companies. Practitioners can enter the payroll services space with minimal set up and overhead. Paychex prices its services based on the number of payrolls processed and the number of employees paid. The average cost for a weekly payroll with 10 employees is $41.18.