ADP — RUN Powered by ADP Payroll for Accountants

From the September 2009 Review of Professional Payroll Programs

ADP enables organizations of all sizes to manage their payroll function. For today’s accountants, ADP offers RUN Powered by ADP Payroll for Accountants, a web-based program that offers live payroll and compliance across all states and includes electronic payment and forms filing, client and employee web portals, and multiple payment options: direct deposit, payroll debit card and checks. With RUN, professional firms can also opt to either manage the entire process in-house or outsource some or all of the processing and reporting to ADP, but with all billing and communications directed through the firm, helping to maintain the client relationship. Pricing for the accountant’s version of ADP’s RUN is now a flat monthly fee based on the number of clients plus a per-check charge. Because of the number of features and options that are associated with RUN Powered by ADP Payroll for Accountants, prices can start as low as $22.

The online payroll system opens into a well-designed browser interface that immediately displays the firm’s client list, with options to search or sort by various methods. A menu on the left of this initial screen provides firm-level management tasks, including setup, billing, adding clients and security preferences, which can be configured for user-level access rights. The client selection list provides a useful spreadsheet overview of key information, including contact information and the next payroll run date. After selecting a client, RUN’s interface changes to a tabbed screen with options for returning to the Firm View or managing tasks for that client, such as payroll functions, employees, company information, reporting and taxes. Additionally, the menu on the left changes to provide tasks specific to the tab selected.

The system’s employee selection list provides similar functionality to the client list, with several information columns providing an overview and the option to filter the list by status. Payroll data functions are accessed from the Payroll Home tab, with the screen providing a graphical workflow design that boils payroll processes into four main tasks: running payroll, printing checks, printing reports and filing taxes. The screen also offers two fields for Messages and Tasks, which can be set to automatically remind users of actions they need to perform or notes from other colleagues.

RUN can be used to process payrolls occurring at any frequency, with a single-screen data-entry spreadsheet and review form providing quick entry and overview of all employees in a payroll run. The system automatically enters and calculates data for salaried employees, and can be set to automatically enter anticipated hours for hourly workers, subject to review and editing by the person running the payroll. The program allows virtually any type of pay category, including salary, hourly, OT, bonus, tipped, commission, advances and reimbursements, and offers workers’ compensation tracking, as well as the ability to assign employees to multiple departments with up to five pay rates each. Deductions are set up as company-level items, but can be customized to each employee, or users can create any number of new deduction types, either pre- or post-tax. RUN also offers benefits management, including 401K management, insurance and loans, as well as accrued paid time off.

The system’s client-side interface allows firms to enable their clients to enter their own payroll data into the program and even print checks at their office location, while employee portals let workers look up pay stubs, W-2s and make time off requests. Firms can determine which clients they want to offer these capabilities to. In addition to direct deposit, payroll debit cards can be used for unbanked client employees.

RUN’s reports tab provides quick access to categorized output options for payroll reports, benefits, taxes and miscellaneous options, with options for summary and detailed payroll, earnings, liabilities, check register, withholdings and employee summaries. The program includes electronic compliance to those entities that offer it, as well as the ability to print forms 940, 941, 944, W-2, W-3 and 1099. Reports can also be saved to Excel format or emailed from within the program.

A built-in GL export function provides file formats compatible with QuickBooks, Peachtree and other accounting systems. The system also offers integration with some of ADP’s other business services.

RUN Powered by ADP Payroll for Accountants offers a comprehensive, yet intuitive payroll processing system for accounting firms managing multiple payroll clients. ADP provides a consolidated billing statement and communicates only with the professional, leaving the relationship with the client alone. The web-based program offers secure client and client employee portals, and offers payroll debit cards and direct deposit options.

2009 Overall Rating: