Sage — Sage Abra Payroll

From the September 2009 Review of Professional Payroll Programs

Sage Abra Payroll is a high-end live payroll and human resources management system fully compliant with all employment, safety and privacy oversight agencies, EEO, FMLA, OSHA, COBRA and HIPAA regulations. The payroll system is a module to the broader Abra HRMS suite, and can be used to support the payroll needs of complex business entities with multiple divisions, departments, subsidiaries and any number of employees, including those in all U.S. states. This enables its use as either an in-house program for mid-sized and larger enterprises or as a client service tool for professional practices managing multiple payroll clients. A Canadian version is also available. Direct deposit is standard, and electronic filing is an available option. Licensing of the Abra Payroll system starts at about $2,000 per year.

Users access the payroll program via the Sage Abra HRMS system, which provides a centralized home interface called the Activity Center that offers extensive customization options and access to other modules in the program via navigation menus and screen-top toolbars. Company and employee information is entered into the main Sage Abra suite and is guided by wizards that help with setting up company departments and projects, employee groups, payroll frequencies, pay rates, deductions, benefits, accruals policies and other options. Employees can be assigned an unlimited number of pay rates and their payrolls can, if necessary, be assigned across multiple departments.

Abra Payroll categorizes payroll processes into a menu of tasks that include Actions, Analysis, Processes, Reports and Rules. Most payroll run functions are located in the Actions and Processes sections, which include further menus for specific tasking, including multiple methods for entering employee hours, running payrolls, printing and checks, and initiating tax compliance functions. All calculations are automatically performed by the system as data is entered, allowing users to perform gross-up calculations and quickly see the effects of different withholding and deduction treatments.

Any number of deductions can be created, customized and assigned to employees, including tax deferred savings, taxable and non-taxable insurance, HSAs, cafeteria plans, union dues, and garnishments. Employee time data can be entered on spreadsheet views of multiple employees, or timesheets that also enable time management and productivity analysis through the Sage Abra system. The program’s tabbed data-entry screens generally ease navigation through the comprehensive system and include selection lists and other tools that speed entry tasks. Direct deposit functions allow an unlimited number of direct deposit accounts for employees, along with the ability to pay partially by paper check.

With the addition of Sage Abra Workforce Connections, client employees can benefit from portals that allow them to access their pay histories, make HR requests and manage benefits elections and annual enrollments. Sage has recently introduced a SQL Server-based version of Abra Payroll.

Abra Payroll includes customizable payroll reporting options that include traditional payroll detail and summary output, histories, departmental and project costing, check registers, reconciliation functions, and an audit trail. Reports can be customized and output into Excel, Word, PDF and plain text formats, or further managed in Crystal Reports. For compliance, an optional tax filing option is available, which supports all state, local and federal tax requirements. Abra Payroll also includes 1099, W-2, W-3, 1096, 940, 941 and 943 generation.

Abra Payroll provides total integration with the Abra HRMS Suite, and offers data output into formats usable by most accounting systems. The program can import employee time data from time clock programs. Report output into various Microsoft Office programs is also available.

As a part of the Sage Abra HRMS Suite, Abra Payroll provides extensive payroll capabilities, along with powerful human resources and benefits management capabilities. The system is best-suited to professionals with multiple clients needing benefits management support, or to mid-sized and larger businesses as an in-house application.

2009 Overall Rating: