2011 Review of RUN Powered by ADP Payroll for Accountants


RUN Powered by ADP Payroll for Accountants
800-Call ADP (225-5237) 

Best Fit: Firms who manage payroll and compliance needs for multiple client businesses, but who prefer most compliance work to be outsourced. It’s also a good fit for professionals who want to provide human resource tools and workers’ compensation premium payment solutions.

From the Sept. 2011 Review of Professional Payroll Programs

As one of the largest providers of payroll services for businesses of pretty much all sizes, ADP is well-known in the accounting space. In addition to its direct-to-business service model, the company also offers a system designed for professionals managing the payroll and compliance needs for multiple client businesses. ADP also offers a variety of additional small business services, including HR, workers’


  • Available in full-service or do-it-yourself versions.
  • Mobile app allows nearly full access to all program features, including processing payroll and viewing reports (currently not available in Accountants version).
  • Offers add-on human resource and associated services.
  • With full-service model, payment of all federal, state and local payroll tax liabilities and reporting are performed by ADP®. If ADP makes an error, it will pay the resulting fines and penalties in accordance with its contract terms.
  • GL export function puts data into formats that can be imported by QuickBooks, Sage Peachtree and other accounting packages.
  • Allows firms to provide client self-service portals with access to program features and functions, such as data and time entry, reporting, etc.
  • Client side of system can be co-branded with the firm’s logo.

Potential Limitations

  • Federal & State e-filing not available in Accountants version.
  • Limited report customization.
  • Employee self-service limited to accessing pay stubs, with no access to W-2s or HR information.

compensation premium payment plans, and a time and attendance system. A mobile app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices as well as for Android smartphone users is also available for RUN Payroll Powered by ADP Payroll (not currently in the Accountants version, though).


The professional system, RUN Powered by ADP Payroll for Accountants, is a web-based system that includes multiple options for processing and reporting, from a method that allows the professional full control and responsibility over payroll runs and payroll tax filing compliance, to a mostly hands-free approach that still allows management and review of all functions. With either method, the accounting firm can allow clients access to the online system to perform specific tasks based on user permissions, such as entering time data, adding and editing employee information, or running reports. Additional security options include firm-side user permissions for tasks and group management of clients, while limited customization can also be performed by individual users. The program supports any number of users at the firm managing payroll functions for any number of clients, including those with groups of employees paid on varying frequencies. It is primarily designed to manage businesses with up to 50 employees, but can accommodate more, and includes withholding tables and reporting capabilities for all federal, state and local requirements. It can also handle companies with employees in multiple states.

The system works through the IE browser, opening into a firm view that defaults to a searchable and sortable client list that includes basic contact information and status, along with the date of the next check run. A menu offers access to firm-specific tasks, such as billing reports, logos, adding clients, security settings and groups. Most features of the program are available within client files, which open into a tabbed screen with multiple panels. Options include online payroll information, messages, tasks and the Payroll Cycle, a graphical workflow design that serves as a menu for running payroll, printing checks, printing reports and compliance functions. A vertical menu also offers simple access to tasks related to the tab the user is viewing. Tabs include areas for managing employees, business information, reporting, tax compliance and the home screen.

After initial setup of company, banking and employee information, running payrolls can be accomplished quickly, with users simply verifying employee data, rates, departments and hours worked, all of which can be set to pre-populate. The program supports tipped, commissioned and various other employee types, and will also track accruals and any number of deductions, including garnishments, third-party payments and benefits. ADP offers a garnishment management service for electronically submitting employees’ liabilities. Individual employees can have up to four accounts for direct deposit or prepaid debit cards, as well as partial check/direct deposit options. Checks can be printed on an individual basis or at the same time for multiple groups and frequencies in a business, but batch processing is not available across multiple clients.

Once payrolls are run, if clients are on the full tax reporting service, ADP manages all payments of payroll tax liabilities and reporting, with funds collected impounded on a per-payroll basis. If not using that service, the professional accountant can generate the necessary federal, state and local forms for reporting. ADP offers add-on human resource (HR) options, including the ability to create employee handbooks and job descriptions using online wizards, as well as other HR resources such as State and Federal resources, HR Tip of the Week and HR Checkups. ADP also offers a mobile app for the system that allows users nearly full access to all program features, including processing payroll and viewing reports, but this is only for RUN Payroll Powered by ADP Payroll and not currently in RUN Payroll Powered by ADP Payroll for Accountants.


The RUN Powered by ADP Payroll for Accountants client management system includes sections for tasks and messages, which can alert users to pending or past-due payrolls and compliance functions, although it does not offer an approvals process or calendar-based view. If used under the full-service model, all payroll tax compliance reporting and payment of all federal, state and local liabilities are performed by ADP, which collects the required funds on a payroll-by-payroll basis. When used in the do-it-yourself mode, all reporting and payment obligations are managed by the professional firm or the business itself, although users still use the same automated payroll calculation system and have access to all of same features. Under the full-service model all W-2s and 1099s are processed and printed by ADP. It also produces federal forms 940, 941, 943, 944 and those for all state and local agencies. If compliance is not managed by ADP, the forms must be paper filed.

The RUN Powered by ADP Payroll for Accountants reporting features include dozens of options such as payroll summaries, details, earnings, liabilities and departmental reports that are grouped into categories for payroll, taxes, benefits and miscellaneous. Reports can be generated and viewed by the professional at any time, and a payroll run report is generated automatically during processing and presented for view or output prior to the run being finalized. This allows the user to see full totals and liabilities that will be withdrawn from client accounts upon processing. Likewise, users can view a live-data 941 or 8027 at any time.

Reports offer good drilldown capabilities, but very limited in-program customization options. However, they can be output to Microsoft Excel for additional management and tailoring. They can also be generated to PDF format. Export is also available to several general ledger (GL) systems and 401(k) providers.


The RUN Powered by ADP Payroll for Accountants solution offers direct integration with other ADP programs, including HR. The program includes a GL export function that puts data into formats that can be imported by QuickBooks, Sage, Peachtree and other accounting packages.


RUN Powered by ADP Payroll for Accountants includes a built-in support system that, while web-based like the program, is separate from the broader ADP online Help portal. The built-in support section includes topics on getting started with the program to payroll-specific functions and guidance on quarter-end and year-end tasks. Since the program is web-based, all federal and state taxation rules are automatically maintained by the vendor. The full online support center in RUN Powered by ADP Payroll for Accountants offers tutorials and instructional guides. ADP’s accountant website (www.accountant.adp.com) includes tools and resources such as calculators, compliance resources, and detailed information on legislative updates, e-filing, and payroll topics specific to certain industries and vertical markets. This service includes a live technical support help desk just for accountants, which is staffed with representatives trained to support accountants processing payroll for clients, and is free and included with system pricing. The help desk is available during regular business hours, and extended hours are offered during the busy tax season.


The accountant version of RUN, RUN Powered by ADP Payroll for Accountants, is designed to be used by professional firms, but gives firms the ability to allow their clients access to program features and functions, such as data and time entry, reporting or other areas. This can be on a client-by-client basis, and with security restricting individual client users. The client side of the system can be co-branded with the firm’s logo. The program is limited in its employee self-service, however, with client employees only able to access pay stubs for a moving 13-month timeframe, and no access to W-2s or HR information.


RUN Powered by ADP Payroll for Accountants offers comprehensive federal, state and local payroll management capabilities, with a simplified interface that streamlines and automates most functions. It also gives firms the ability to grant client access to input their own employee data. Different service levels allow firms to decide whether to manage payroll compliance and payment processes or have ADP handle those areas on a client-by-client basis. The system is offered to accountants at a discounted rate and billing is directed to the firm, allowing for markup for the firm’s services. Pricing is based on the number of businesses, how many employees they have, the frequency of payroll runs, and whether or not the payroll tax filing is managed by ADP or the firm. Standard pricing ranges from $22 a month for “do-it-yourself” solutions up to $60 a month, plus a per-employee processing charge, for full-service tax filing solutions. Additional volume pricing discounts are available for full-service tax clients.

2011 Overall Rating: