2011 Review of CCH Small Firm Services — ATX Payroll & TaxWise Payroll


CCH Small Firm Services - ATX Payroll & TaxWise Payroll
ATX: 888-455-0183; www.atxinc.com
TaxWise: 888-455-0182; www.taxwise.com

Best Fit: Accounting firms and small companies who need a live and after-the-fact payroll preparation tool designed to work with the TaxWise and ATX tax compliance brands, as well as firms who are using CCH ProSystem fx Practice Management, or need check in/checkout capabilities.

From the Sept. 2011 Review of Professional Payroll Programs

CCH Small Firm Services, a Wolters Kluwer business, has a co-branded payroll solution available through the ATX and TaxWise software divisions. These solutions provide accounting professionals with payroll tools designed for easy data entry and quick output. The core payroll product is designed for performing live payroll, but additional modules are available to provide a complete payroll solution for clients with light volume payroll.

  • Direct deposit files can be generated from within the application and are compatible with most financial institutions.
  • Paychecks can be printed on blank check stock with the application printing the MICR encoding.
  • Check in/checkout for company files permits offline collaboration, and after-the-fact payroll is supported.
  • Data can be imported from QuickBooks, Sage Peachtree, ProSystem fx Practice Management or text files, and can be exported to the ATX and TaxWise write-up applications.
  • Separate modules for live payroll, tax forms/e-filing and payroll compliance allow users to purchase only the tools needed.
Potential Limitations
  • Reports cannot be customized, although reports can be exported to Microsoft Excel for filtering.




The ATX and TaxWise Payroll solutions are available as standalone products or through combined suite offerings. The payroll solutions may also be installed on a local computer or through a network-client environment for no additional charges. Users access the software through choosing the appropriate module icon on the computer desktop and entering a user ID and password combination. Unlimited user accounts may be setup and used, and each user account may have client security access restrictions. Upon signing in, a pop-up window displays the client files to which the user has access. Navigation is performed using traditional drop-down menus and a hyperlinked shortcut list on the opening screen.

Although intended for small businesses, the ATX and TaxWise Payroll systems do not place any limits on the number of companies or employees supported. A client setup wizard is available when setting up a new client and guides users on each step of the setup process. Going through this process helps ensure all data is entered correctly and may prevent future miscalculations.

One unique feature of the systems is the ability to check in/out client files to remote users. This allows files to be transferred to clients or other accounting professionals, and checked out files are locked until checked back in to prevent overriding calculations.

The payroll process starts with importing time through the available import options. Each payroll check displays an immediate calculation on-screen and allows for further editing by users. All paychecks may be processed by individual employees or in batches. All federal and state tax tables are included, and ATX and TaxWise Payroll can also handle a large number or earnings and deduction codes. Local taxes may be calculated but need to be user-defined and -maintained. Departments may be assigned to employees, and paychecks may be allocated across multiple departments based on percentage. Direct deposit files may be generated within the system, and support is offered for up to four bank and investment accounts.

ATX and TaxWise can support both after-the-fact payroll and live payroll with an included gross-up calculator. Each check must be manually entered, but the system will automatically adjust tax calculations for users. Basic human resource (HR) functions are also present and include basic employee demographic information and quick summary information of month, quarter and year-to-date payroll information.


The ATX and TaxWise Payroll systems currently do not offer any due date monitoring or tracking for tax compliance. The core payroll function automatically generates a paper version of all federal forms and many state forms, while a more comprehensive offering of state and local tax forms is available through the Payroll Compliance Module. Electronic submission of federal tax compliance forms is available through the W-2/1099 module and the aforementioned Payroll Compliance Module. At this time, no options exist for using the system to make tax payments or to file state and local forms electronically. MICR encoding is included within each system for creating payments on blank check stock.

ATX and TaxWise Payroll each have limited built-in reporting options. Each report format is fixed and only offers basic filter options. The ability to generate custom reports is currently not available. Reports may be exported to text, PDF or Excel 2003 and prior formats or may be emailed as PDF files directly through email.


The ATX and TaxWise Payroll systems directly integrate with a number of products offered through the CCH Small Firm Services product lineup. Each CCH Small Firm Services product shares the same database and allows seamless data integration between products. The payroll solutions included in the Client Accounting Suite program directly interface with the respective ATX and TaxWise tax compliance offerings. Direct conversion from Sage Peachtree is natively provided, and import from QuickBooks and other accounting general ledger solutions is available through the W-2/1099 and Payroll Compliance Modules. Time data may be directly imported from ProSystem fx Practice Management and from text file exports from other timekeeping programs.


The ATX and TaxWise Payroll systems each provide traditional searchable indexed Help. Also available is access to a content and indexed-driven FAQs section. The drop-down Help menu also provides a number of user guides in PDF format for various client setup and year-end issues. Each license purchase is provided with unlimited telephone, email and online-based support. The online resources include a searchable knowledgebase and access to peer-to-peer assistance through forums. All product tax table updates and product enhancements are available through the respective ATX and TaxWise websites. Formal training options are available and may be arranged online or on-site for separate fee arrangements.


Currently, no web-based client or employee solutions are being offered or considered. Therefore, no ratings were assigned to this section. N/A


With the ability to bundle payroll and accounting software together, as well as the availability of multiple modules, the ATX and TaxWise Payroll systems provide cost-effective payroll solutions for accounting professionals serving small business clients. Pricing for the core live payroll module is $395 and allows for unlimited client files and employees. Electronic filing capabilities through the W-2/1099 module are $199, and the Payroll Compliance Module is $349. The core live payroll solution and W-2/1099 module may also be bundled with the available accounting software solution for $995.

2011 Overall Rating: