UBCC — Payroll Service Bureau

From the Sept. 2007 Review of Payroll Systems

Universal Business Computing Company (UBCC) provides a commercial Payroll Service Bureau program for accountants, along with a collection of professional accounting programs, including client write-up, contractor management and full accounting with GL, AP, AR, bank reconciliation, asset management, job costing, inventory and billing. The company’s professional payroll program is geared toward practices that offer comprehensive live payroll services to large numbers of businesses, and it offers integration capabilities with the above accounting applications with support for any number of client companies and client employees, all federal and state reporting requirements and payroll tax tables. It can also be used for after-the-fact processing of client payroll. Any number of standard and customized pre- or post-tax deductions can be set up, including benefits programs such as 401(k)s, flexible spending accounts, union dues and child support.

The system includes departmental payroll management, unlimited direct deposit per employee, Plain toner MICR check printing, AR, reconciliation and remote client data payroll entry. Pricing for the Payroll Service Bureau starts at $3,600, with multi-user licenses available, and support for Windows, Linux and Unix operating systems. Since the program is platform independent, it is compatible with any version of Windows, including Vista and future releases.

EASE-OF-USE/DATA ENTRY -- 4.5 Stars
UBCC offers multiple interfaces for its payroll system, providing, among others, a graphical entry screen and one for rapid, heads-down entry, both of which provide shortcut keys, tabbed field movement and other traditional navigation features. Many of the program’s interfaces and hot-key’s can be customized on a per-user basis. After following the system’s log-on prompts, the graphical interface opens to a subwindow that serves as the main menu, offering access to drop-down options for Processing, Reports, Maintenance, Utilities, HR, Tax Management, Task & Report Queuing, and Standards, the last of which offers access to various customization and default settings. Additionally, real-time results are displayed instantly on the screen for the operator to review, and the system allows multiple operators to be in the same client at the same time.

UBCC’s employee selection screen offers a simplified “start-from” view with traditional search, sort or filter functions that can be searched by employee number and 25 alternate keys, including last name, first name, etc. The employee and company information setup screens provide excellent access to data using screens that group information into tabs such as Employee Info, Pay and Withholding, Misc, Other Pay/Deductions, Security and Links, with intuitive data fields and the ability to manage detailed employment and EEOC information, along with items such as company department, division, project, task and craft, with easy access to employee deductions and data.

The system provides multiple methods of entering payroll data, including import from time clocks or spreadsheets, as well as per-employee entry and a grid entry format for entering data across multiple workers from one screen. UBCC also includes global change functions that allow settings to be applied to all employees of a company or subsidiary department to be made at one time, or even the ability to change some settings across all client companies at the same time. Overall, the system provides great customization options for its interface but is occasionally awkward in navigation for the novice (or “beginning”) user.

FEATURES -- 4.5 Stars
As previously noted, the system is geared for accountants offering large-scale payroll services, with support for any number of client companies, batch printing functions that allow printing checks and reports for multiple client companies simultaneously, with in-house reporting, analysis and AR functions for service bureau management. UBCC also offers accounting-focused utilities that enable detailed journal entry control, labor distribution and a full-time audit trail, in addition to bank reconciliation capabilities.

Individual client payroll processing functions allow management of departmental and cost-center/job costing options, with virtually unlimited pay types, pay rates and deductions per employee, including the ability to process employees with multiple taxing states. Any pay frequency can be established, including daily, weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, monthly or yearly, with the ability to set up groups of different frequencies. Deductions can be applied to gross or net pay and can be either variable or fixed percents or dollar amounts. Direct deposit functions include multiple accounts per employee as well as the ability to process part-check, part-direct deposit payments. The system can manage payroll for salaried, hourly, piece-work, commissioned, tipped and contract workers, with tracking of third-party deductions for retirement plans, child support, cafeteria plans, HSAs, insurance, union dues, charitable allotments, garnishments and other user-defined items. Bonus pay supports alternate overtime rates. Workers’ Compensation tracking includes full 4-digit classification codes. Accruals tracking for vacation and sick leave provides further support to clients. Recently added features include the ability to e-mail up to eight PDF report attachments to clients, enhanced time clock and employee data import functions, and the ability to directly access spreadsheets from the program’s primary menu.

In addition to running payroll and liabilities, the program’s payment processing capabilities also enable the service bureau to process payments for third-party funds, providing complete support for client businesses and their employees. UBCC also offers an AR function called the Automatic Billing Generator, which can quickly produce client invoices and post to the AR. UBCC includes a remote payroll function that allows the service bureau to give clients access to the system for entering their employee payroll data. UBCC’s Service Bureau Payroll System also offers electronic filing of tax reports and has an online employee self-service feature that allows client workers to view pay stubs and W-2s, along with job management data-entry options.

REPORTING CAPABILITIES -- 5 Stars
UBCC’s Payroll Service Bureau has a strong selection of built-in reports, including a new one-page payroll summary, detailed payroll reports, multi-year comparisons (up to five years), history reports, EFT summaries, workers’ compensation reports with classification codes, and departmental/job distribution reporting. The AR option also gives full invoicing capabilities. The system can print all federal payroll related forms, including W-2, W-3, W-4, 940, 941, 943, 1096, 1099 and 8109, but also has the ability to file reporting forms electronically with the appropriate government entities. Reports can be output to PDF for paperless management. Checks can be printed to either blank or pre-printed check stock.

INTEGRATION/IMPORT & EXPORT  -- 4 Stars
UBCC’s Payroll Service Bureau offers complete integration with the company’s other accounting programs, as well as the ability to import employee time data from either time clocks or spreadsheet documents. Data can be exported into formats useable by most third-party accounting applications, including *.CSV spreadsheet files and QuickBooks *.IIF. Built-in Outlook integration also allows users to e-mail client reports, check stubs and other items from within the system.

RELATIVE VALUE -- 4 Stars
The Payroll Service Bureau program provides support for all states, electronic reporting options, strong direct deposit features, remote time and employee self-service options and good reporting. The system is best-suited to professional practices that provide payroll management to many client businesses with moderate to complex reporting requirements. Users of UBCC’s accounting suite will gain the most value through enhanced integration options. Phone-based technical support and rate updates are included in the cost of the program.

2007 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars

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