PenSoft - Payroll Plus Accounting Edition

From the September 2009 Review of Professional Payroll Programs

PenSoft Payroll Accounting Edition is a live payroll system designed for professionals providing payroll services to multiple clients. The program is based on the vendor’s comprehensive Platinum Edition, but with additional multi-client management capabilities, built-in invoicing functions and the ability to make global changes across clients. The system supports all states and includes federal and state compliance reporting, with the ability to process payrolls for any number of client businesses and employees.

Other features include depart-mental costing, multi-rate and multi-state employees, benefits management, and integration with common accounting systems. Pricing for Payroll Accounting Edition is based on the overall number of employee payrolls managed through the system, starting at $1,629 for new users and renewing at $1,299, inclusive of all system functions except direct deposit, which is handled through a third party for an additional fee. PenSoft also develops several levels of in-house business payroll software.

Client and employee setup functions are fairly intuitive, with tabbed entry for company data forms allowing movement through various basic and payroll-related areas, including federal and state tax settings, departments, job codes, retirement plans, contact information and notes. Similar forms are used for employee setup, with tabs for entering direct deposit accounts, pay rates, tax data, deductions, benefits, assigning employees to departments or jobs, tracking education and training, and managing EEO-related human resources data. PenSoft Payroll also includes custom fields for tracking miscellaneous information. Users can create default employee settings that copy basic data across to new entries.

The program’s primary interface is a blank, slate grey window that offers menus for system functions, as well as button-style links to specific payroll activity areas, including bringing up client and employee selection screens, running payroll, managing deposits, processing checks, reporting, export functions and the backup utility. Client and employee selection lists allow sorting by various criteria, including name, department, job code and even ZIP.

Employees can be assigned any number of standard or custom deductions, including benefits like cafeteria plans, health savings accounts and 401Ks, and other deferred savings plans. Other deductions, such as garnishments, planned giving, loan repayments and union dues can also be applied to employee pay. The system can handle any type of employee, including hourly, salaried, tipped and commission, with overtime and double overtime, as well as various other pay benefits such as meals and advances. The program automatically makes all calculations during data entry, along with computing state and federal withholding. Accruals for paid time off (vacation, sick, personal) can be set by the user.

When processing payroll runs, users can enter and edit employee hours and other payroll data from detailed single-employee screens, which include YTD and net summaries at the bottom, or data can be entered in batch mode for the client, with the selected workers all appearing in a single spreadsheet data-entry form. Users can also duplicate previous payrolls and make edits, if necessary, or access employee timesheet data from the payroll screen. PenSoft’s TimeOnline utility offers web-based attendance and time entry for employees, giving them access to their payroll information. A Remote Client add-on is also available that allows client businesses to remotely submit payroll data to the firm. Payroll debit cards can also be used as an alternative to checks or direct deposit for unbanked employees.

The reporting utility in PenSoft Payroll opens to another tabbed screen that groups the system’s large collection of reports into more than a dozen categories that include options for payroll summaries and details, taxes, deductions, departmental/job costing, timesheets, leave, combined and managerial reports. Reports can be customized and saved in report groups, and can also be made available for remote access, but they cannot be output into PDF or Microsoft Office formats. The system can generate all federal and most state quarterly and annual reports and forms, and can also e-file forms 940, 941 and 944.

PenSoft Payroll Accounting Edition includes built-in export capabilities that allow users to produce data files for import into QuickBooks, Peachtree, Quicken, Business! and other GL programs. Employee time data can be imported from time clock programs, as well. The addition of PDF output would be valued.

PenSoft Payroll Accounting Edition offers professionals a capable multi-client payroll management system that includes great employee management functions, benefits tracking and reporting options. Payment by debit card is available for unbanked employees, but direct deposit is offered as a third-party add-on. The system includes remote access features for employee and client business data entry.

2009 Overall Rating: