AccountantsWorld — Payroll Relief

From the September 2009 Review of Professional Payroll Programs

AccountantsWorld’s Payroll Relief is a web-based live payroll system designed for professional accountants offering payroll services to multiple clients. The system supports any number of clients with unlimited employees and includes direct deposit, e-filing of tax forms and electronic remittance of liabilities. Because it is web-based, the system can be securely accessed from any location, and Payroll Relief includes firm-branded client portals for entry of time and employee data. The system is available in a version that allows unlimited clients and payroll runs with filing and direct deposit included for $997. Two per-use options are also available. For firms with lower payroll volume, the Per Payroll Run option costs $5.95 for weekly payrolls of up to 10 employees and $9.95 for other payroll frequencies. The Per Paycheck option is designed for high-volume firms, with pricing based on total paychecks processed ranging from $0.50 to $1.25 per check based on volume. AccountantsWorld also offers a web-based suite of other accounting products, including write-up, sales tax compliance, practice management, financial planning and document management.

Users access Payroll Relief via a login console on their own website, which allows staff to easily open and work with their AccountantsWorld programs. Once logged into the firm staff section, a customizable screen offers access to the programs, along with features that make it usable as an intranet, providing firm messages and news, as well as access to company email and website management functions (if using Website Relief). The payroll system opens within a new window called the Payroll Management Center, which acts as the hub for payroll tasks. It provides a clean interface that offers a filterable, sortable and searchable client list and client details such as next pay date, processing date, payroll status, and tax and reporting deadlines. This great client selection list provides excellent overview of all clients from a single location. Likewise, employee lists allow filtering by location, department, employee type and other factors.

When working within a client, the program’s Activity Center offers a workflow view of all client payroll management functions, from setup to processing, printing and compliance reporting. Data entry is performed on intuitive screens, with a multi-employee spreadsheet grid greatly speeding the process of entering time, rate, accruals usage and other information. The system includes diagnostic tools that alert users to errors, omissions or other details, such as past due direct deposits or reporting. As well, a new calendar tool displays all the due dates for each client.

Data can also be imported from spreadsheets or, if the firm wishes to allow it, clients can be given the ability to log in through a client-specific web portal and enter their data themselves. Clients can also be given the ability to print paychecks from their own office locations, after the runs have been processed by the firm. All client login screens can be branded with the firm’s information so that the relationship remains between the firm and the client. Payroll Relief also offers an employee portal, which can be set up to allow client employees to view historical paystubs and make requests.

The system allows unlimited pre- and post-tax deductions and can manage third-party payments such as workers’ compensation, 401K and payroll debit cards. It supports workers with multiple state taxation and allows up to six pay rates per employee, with support for all types of compensated workers. Payroll Relief also supports departmental labor tracking.

Payroll Relief automatically tracks compliance due dates and alerts users to pending deadlines, making it easier to stay on top of varying state rules. The system offers quarterly and annual forms for all states, D.C. and Puerto Rico, along with electronic reporting and payment capabilities. AccountantsWorld has also expanded the program’s analytical features, providing firms with better monitoring features, such as the Changes report and Payroll Statistics. The system also offers a good collection of customizable reports, including wages, deductions, payroll summaries, liabilities, benefits, workers’ comp and others, all of which can be emailed directly from the program or saved into PDF, Word or Excel format.

Payroll Relief directly integrates with other web-based AccountantsWorld programs and offers a spreadsheet import option that makes it capable of acquiring data from most time clock systems and many other programs. The system can also export data into common formats for use with other accounting packages.

Payroll Relief provides several pricing methods that make the system affordable to virtually any firm. The web-based system is wonderfully simple to use and provides great automation features that help ensure accuracy and timeliness, while also speeding processing tasks. It makes full use of its online nature by offering direct deposit, e-filing and electronic payment functions. The employer and employee portals further add to client value.

2009 Overall Rating: