Red Wing Software — CenterPoint Payroll

From the September 2009 Review of Professional Payroll Programs

Red Wing’s CenterPoint Payroll is a comprehensive employment and live payroll management system that offers support for multiple business entities with any number of employees each, allowing the program to be used by accountants offering payroll to their clients or by entrepreneurs with multiple employer entities. The system includes compliance support for all states, including electronic filing and payment where available, plus allows direct deposit to multiple employee accounts, unlimited deductions and pay rates. The program was built on the .NET platform, which gives users great flexibility in screen layouts, design, data presentation and other customization options. Pricing for CenterPoint Payroll, with support for any number of employer businesses, starts at $795 for a single user. Direct deposit and e-filing is offered as an add-on, with unlimited use costing $395.

The newness of the .NET design is apparent immediately after logging into the system, where users have the ability to reposition and customize virtually every component, from menus to visual elements, simply by dragging and dropping them in or renaming and adding links. The home screen provides traditional icons and menus across the top, with the Quick List menu providing the primary navigation console, offering access to payroll, setup functions, transactions and reports. CenterPoint has a series of guides and wizards that lead users through many initial setup tasks and simplify creating GL accounts, employee deductions, pay rates, system defaults and other items. Data screens for general company and employee information include several smart features, such as calendars, selection lists and quick entry functions.

Any number of standard or custom pre- and post-tax deductions can be created and applied to employee paychecks, including benefits options and third-party voluntary and involuntary deductions such as 401Ks, insurance, cafeteria plans, HSAs, garnishments, child support, planned giving and union dues.

Selection lists for employers and employees offer spreadsheet views that allow filtering and sorting, while displaying summary information and offering tabbed views of detailed information when a client is selected. Payrolls can be set up for multiple frequencies, with employee groups and departmental options available. During processing, the system offers a multi-employee spreadsheet view, with the program automatically populating time and calculated data fields for salaried staff and allowing quick entry of data for other employees, including simply duplicating prior pay periods if no changes occurred. CenterPoint also offers several benefits management functions, including tracking of paid time off for holidays, vacation and sick pay, which can be set to accrue by various methods. The HR functions include the ability to track applicant information, resumes, training records, reviews and employee photos, or to create custom data fields.

With the direct deposit add-on, any number of runs can be processed at no additional charge and applied to any number of employee bank accounts. For unbanked employees, payroll can be loaded to pay debit cards. Pay stubs and other employee-focused communications can be bilingual. Since the program is not web-based, employee portals are not available. New for 2009, Red Wing has added several new tools, including an Advanced Earnings Matrix, which simplifies paying employees who received different rates for different shifts and functions. Also new is a payroll check stub designer, automated backup, em-ployee training/certification tracking and support for the 64-bit version of Vista.

CenterPoint’s exceptional customization capabilities extend to its reporting options, which include a broad collection of payroll output, including run summaries, period detail and summaries, wages, liabilities, deductions, departmental costing, labor distributions and check registers, as well as all state and federal employment and wage reporting forms. Reports can be customized and saved using the built-in report system, output to Word, Excel, PDF and HTML formats, or emailed from within the program. The program can also electronically file most compliance forms and reports to entities that allow it.

CenterPoint Payroll offers direct integration with Red Wing Software’s business, agribusiness and fund account-ing programs, and also offers the ability to import employee time from most time clock systems or from spreadsheet files. A bridge is available for transferring payroll data to the GLs in most account-ing systems.

CenterPoint continues as one of the most comprehensive payroll systems on the market, providing support for multiple entities with one user license, as well as supporting complex multi-departmental businesses with payroll liabilities in multiple jurisdictions. The system can be used either in-house by a business or by professionals serving multiple clients. The inclusion of debit cards as a payroll method further extends the value of the system to businesses with unbanked employees.

2009 Overall Rating: