CheckMark Software - CheckMark Payroll

From the September 2009 Review of Professional Payroll Programs

CheckMark Payroll is a live payroll processing system that will run on both Windows and Macs. It can handle any number of employer companies and employees, making it suitable for use by professional accountants managing client payrolls or for use in-house by small and mid-sized businesses.

The system includes all federal and state tax tables and provides electronic filing to SSA and states that accept it, while also providing printable forms 940, 941, W-2 and W-3. CheckMark includes direct deposit, as well as HR-related functions for paid time off tracking and management of third-party payables, including 401Ks and flexible spending accounts. The program costs $249, with annual payroll updates priced at $125. Starting with the 2009/2010 version, the MICR check printing module is included free. (Current users can simply purchase the 2010 Payroll Update for $125, and they receive the MICR printing feature at no additional cost.)

The main interface for Check-Mark Payroll is similar to the company’s MultiLedger professional accounting program, providing a grid of buttons for key function areas, such as setup tasks, payroll processing functions and reporting. The screen also offers pull-down menus across the top for the same function areas. While this interface is unique and may appear a bit antiquated, it actually provides good functionality, making it easy to access tasks such as entering employee hours, calculating payrolls, creating checks, printing and reprinting checks, creating payments, and running specific reports.

The program is easy to set up, with users guided through most tasks and the ability to copy one client’s setup information to another. During setup, screens provide intuitive selection lists and other features that speed entry and ensure accuracy. Tabbed entry screens provide quick access to employee information, including personal data, wages (up to four pay rates per employee), taxes, income deductions, accruals and year-to-date summaries. The program allows any number of deductions, including insurance, benefits plans, union dues, planned charitable giving, health savings accounts and garnishments, with simple functions for preparing payments to third parties and taxing authorities. Employees can be assigned to groups or departments, which allows for departmental labor costing and management.

CheckMark Payroll includes pay types for salaried and hourly workers, as well as additional income categories that can be customized as needed. These include overtime, double overtime, vacations, bonuses, commissions, reported and allocated tips, piece work, jury duty, profit sharing, shift differentials, benefits, mileage reimbursements, other reimbursements, and advances. Users can also create their own income types. When running a payroll, time data is entered on a multi-employee view screen, with the ability to automatically populate hours and then make necessary changes. The system automatically applies and calculates all taxes, deductions and other treatments, after which users can print checks or initiate the direct deposit.

In addition to financial and managerial detail and summary reports for wages, deductions, third-party payments, departmental costing, taxes and check registers, CheckMark Payroll produces all state and federal re-porting, including forms 940, 941, W-2 and W-3, onto blank paper and offers electronic employment reporting to the SSA and most states. The system also offers the ability to view, print or save most reports in tab-delimited text format.

CheckMark Payroll can import data from spreadsheets and plain text formatted documents, making it capable of importing time data from most time clock systems. It offers direct integration with CheckMark’s MultiLedger accounting program, and can export data into formats importable by QuickBooks, Peachtree and other small business accounting systems. Reporting and PDF versions of check stubs can be emailed from within the program.

CheckMark Payroll is very inexpensive and offers a simple program interface that can handle most small client payroll needs.

2009 Overall Rating: