2011 Review of SurePayroll for Accountants


SurePayroll for Accountants


 Best Fit: Clients or firms who want a robust, web-based payroll solution with strong features such as a mobile application, employee self-service portals and integration with numerous accounting software applications.

From the Sept. 2011 Review of Professional Payroll Programs

SurePayroll is a web-based payroll solution that provides convenient and accurate payroll services. The system is offered as a standalone product for clients or as an accounting professional resale opportunity. The payroll service navigation is intuitive, and data-entry is simple. SurePayroll was purchased by Paychex in early 2011 and will continue normal operations under the SurePayroll brand.


  • Interfaces provided for QuickBooks, Sage Peachtree, AccountEdge & Intacct (data transfer may require users to pay a fee).
  • Included employee self-service portals allow access to historical data, but do not allow changes to address or time entry.
  • Simple reminder function alerts users of upcoming payroll date or tax payments.
  • Accounting firms can private-label SurePayroll with their own logo, or allow clients to pay SurePayroll directly.
  • Basic HR functionality provided; SurePayroll resells third-party tools for tasks like background checks, behavioral assessments & skill testing.

Potential Limitations

  • Does not support companies with more than 100 employees.


SurePayroll is an outsourced web-based service that can be accessed through any modern Internet browser. The service currently employs several security features, including 256-bit SSL encryption for all transactions. In addition to the standard username and password, one security feature is the use of a secret ID number displayed on the screen upon signing in. This number is used as authentication for SurePayroll to discuss any details about clients or employees, and helps prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to confidential information. Whether accessed via web browser or mobile phone (via the vendor’s mobile app), users sign in to the service with the typical username and password combination.

SurePayroll provides access for an unlimited number of users. Accounting professionals may associate multiple client files to one login, making it easy to switch between companies. Role-based access restrictions can be placed on users and each company file, as needed. Once accessed, SurePayroll is easy to navigate. The menu structure is grouped into logical categories, such as reports, employees and company.

Payroll processing is quick and easy, and requires users to enter or import the hours worked for each employee and preview the results. Once the payroll has been previewed and approved, SurePayroll takes care of the remaining necessary processes. Support is provided for all federal, state and many popular local taxing jurisdictions. Unlimited client files may be setup, but the maximum number of employees allowed under each client file is 100. Direct deposit is included and supports up to three different bank and investment accounts. Prepaid debit cards and traditional checks are available for those without direct deposit capabilities.

SurePayroll offers basic human resource (HR) functions, such as employee demographics and employment anniversaries. Several best practice guides are also provided with the service, including guidelines for conducting interviews and hiring and termination of employees, as well as sample employee handbooks. SurePayroll has teamed up with many third-party vendors to provide background checks, behavioral assessments and skills testing. Each of these outsourced services is available for an additional fee.


SurePayroll processes all payrolls, payments and reports on behalf of clients. All quarterly reports are archived online and, for now, no time limit has been placed on how long these will be available. Quarterly reports are stored in PDF format and can be viewed, saved or printed at any time.

Multiple reports are available and can be filtered through date and a few other options, but most reports are fixed. Custom report writing capabilities are not included with the current release. A reminder function is included, although it is fairly simple in functionality. Email reminders can be sent up to two days prior to each payroll run. Reminders can also be set for employee birthdates and employment anniversaries.

All payroll reports can be exported to PDF, Microsoft Excel or rich text file formats. Printer-friendly reports are also available, which removes the SurePayroll logo and navigation and filtering options from printing.

A mobile app for iPhone, iPad, iTouch and iPod users was introduced in 2010, enabling mobile access and on-the-go payroll processing.


SurePayroll offers interfaces with many common accounting packages, including QuickBooks, Sage Peachtree, AccountEdge (formerly MYOB) and Intacct. This integration provides direct data entry into the accounting general ledger and helps reduce additional data entry. Tools for data import are also available for many popular timekeeping programs. SurePayroll offers outsourced retirement plan, benefit administration and workers’ compensation services. Most of these integrated services and interfaces have associated fees in addition to the base charge for payroll preparation.


SurePayroll offers a variety of hHelp and support features. A categorized and searchable online Help database is accessible from every screen. Each screen includes a live chat feature that allows for instant Help from support staff. US-based phone support is available and, as previously mentioned, users contacting SurePayroll support must have access to the secret ID number that appears on-screen upon login. All support options are included with the cost of the payroll service.


Included with each SurePayroll license is an employee portal. Employee access to the portal is fully controlled by management. Upon the first payroll run, each employee granted access will receive an email detailing login instructions. This portal allows employees to view, save and print current and past pay stubs, access detailed pay history, and access annual W-2s. Currently, no functions exist for timekeeping or submitting documents electronically to employers. Access to the employee portal can also be gained through a mobile app for iPhone, iPad, iTouch and iPod users.


SurePayroll is a good fit for businesses that have basic payroll needs and desire a more paperless solution. It is also a good fit for accounting professionals looking for a resale opportunity. Billing for accounting professionals can be sent directly to the accounting professional or to the client with a built-in markup. Pricing for services is based upon the number of payroll runs and employees, and includes all payroll processing, direct deposits and associated reporting requirements. A bi-weekly or semi-monthly payroll starts at a base fee of $30.95 plus $1.85 for each employee. These costs will be incurred for each payroll run. Annual W-2 processing costs are currently $40 per company plus $4.25 per employee.

2011 Overall Rating: