Cheque-Mate — Insta-Pay for Windows

From the September 2009 Review of Professional Payroll Programs

The Insta-Pay for Windows system, from Cheque-Mate International, was initially designed by a payroll service bureau for its own in-practice use, and has since evolved into a program used by firms across the country. The live, multi-employer payroll management system offers support for unlimited business entities with any number of employees, and can be used for all state payroll taxing entities and quarterly and annual reporting. It also offers electronic filing and payment options. Insta-Pay includes direct deposit with unlimited employee bank accounts, along with management functions for impounding business payroll and withholding liabilities. Insta-Pay pricing is based on the number of business payrolls managed through the system, with a package supporting up to 50 clients costing $705.

Insta-Pay opens to an intuitive user interface that provides system icons and menus across the top of the screen for key functions such as client management, employees, payroll processing, reports, tax forms, billing and system utilities. The master work area below provides tabbed data-entry forms and reporting tools when working in specific areas. Client and employee selection screens are well designed, providing multiple filter, sort and search options along with summary data.

Wizards guide users through company and employee setup tasks on tabbed forms, while payroll data-entry functions are entered on individual employee screens that use a spreadsheet view for entering data, including the ability to track labor costs by job and department. Unlimited pay types can be used for employees, including salary, hourly, overtime, double OT, triple OT, piecework, tipped employees, shift differentials, bonuses, commission and contract workers.

Any number of voluntary and involuntary deductions can be applied pre- or post-tax, including garnishments, union dues, insurance, 401Ks, flexible spending accounts, HSAs, Workers’ Comp, or custom-defined deductions. Non-monetary benefits (vacation, sick leave, etc.) can also be managed and set to accrue by custom methods. Other HR-related functions enable notation of hire/termination/re-hire dates, last raise and custom notes for tracking training, reviews and other information.

Insta-Pay allows multiple pay rates for employees, which can be set as company defaults or specifically to employees, with information for salaried employees automatically populated when running a payroll. Payroll data for other employees is calculated in real-time as data is entered, including all payroll taxes and deductions, with the ability to override data if needed. Payrolls can be set to any frequency, and direct deposit to unlimited employee accounts is included. The system does not offer remote data entry or employee access options, but does offer support for clients with multiple locations and branches. It also offers a built-in billing system.

Insta-Pay provides all state and federal compliance forms and reports, along with electronic filing and payment options. The system has a good collection of customizable report options, including earnings, deductions, departmental and job costing, overtime, period summaries, and check registers. Reports can be grouped and run in batch mode, and can be output to PDF format or emailed after processing. Check stubs can also be saved electronically or emailed.

Insta-Pay can import employee data from most time clock systems and can export data into QuickBooks or into spreadsheet format, which enables import of the program into other programs. Users can email all reports and even pay stubs from within the program, or output many items into PDF format.

Cheque-Mate’s Insta-Pay is an attractively priced system that provides all of the necessary components for firms offering payroll services to its business clients. The program includes direct deposit, electronic filing and payment, unlimited deductions, employer fund impounding and a few other useful tools that make it a good fit for small and mid-sized practices.

2009 Overall Rating: