2011 Review of AccountantsWorld — After-the-Fact Payroll

AccountantsWorld — After-the-Fact Payroll


From the Oct. 2011 Review of W-2 & 1099 Compliance Systems.

Best Fit: Firms managing year-end compliance and ATF payroll for multiple entities.


  • Strong multi-client views, dashboards.
  • Web-based system provides remote access.
  • Integration with larger web-based suite.
  • Comprehensive forms support.
  • Electronic filing of federal and state quarterly forms, W-2 and 1099

Potential Limitations:

  • No built-in invoicing functionality, but offers integration with other systems.


AccountantsWorld is most noted as the developer of Accounting Relief, a completely web-based professional accounting and write-up system that includes an integrated online client bookkeeping system. AccountantsWorld also offers various other web-based (software-as-a-service; SaaS) programs, including live and after-the-fact payroll, document management, website building, practice management and utilities for financial planners. The core W-2 and 1099 preparation and year-end compliance offerings are found in the vendor’s payroll systems. This review is of After-the-Fact (ATF) Payroll, which supports all states and includes quarterly reporting and e-filing capabilities.

Basic System Functions (4.75 Stars)

The ATF Payroll system is designed specifically for and marketed only to accounting practices. As a web-based system, hosted on AccountantsWorld’s secure servers, firm staff log in to a customizable home screen that gives them access to their firm information center. This center can be used to communicate in-firm information, and also provides links to the AccountantsWorld programs to which they subscribe. The system includes specific user access options that can be tailored to tasks, modules and clients, restricting other information as necessary. System pricing includes use by any number of concurrent firm users. Because it is web-based, the program can be accessed securely from virtually any location, including home offices or on web-enabled devices.

Once within the ATF Payroll module, the main screen offers a dashboard view with a spreadsheet-based client selection screen, which also displays basic payroll-focused data. Users can sort, filter and search lists by various methods, and navigation menus offer access to key program areas, including client setup, banking, employee information, reporting, Help and system functions. Payee selection screens include similar usability functions.

When working inside client files, additional menus allow users to jump directly to data-entry functions, with screens that include “smart” features such as auto-population of basic company and employee information, as well as selection lists for entities. The system automatically computes FICA withholding based on payroll entries, but these can be overridden by authorized users, with overrides highlighted on applicable forms. In addition to the core functions of quarterly and annual state and federal (and most localities) reporting and unemployment reporting, ATF Payroll includes payroll-specific functions that can manage live processing. This includes management of pre- and post-tax standard and custom deductions, accruals, benefits, third-party payments, and payroll registers. Its payroll functions support allowances, cash and paycheck tips, and reimbursements.

Reporting (4.5 Stars)

Electronic filing is included at no cost for filing of federal and state W-2s, 1099s, and state and federal quarterly filings. Specific form support includes 940, 941, 943, 944, 945, W-2 and W-3, the MISC, DIV, 1099 (I, R, S and B versions), plus 1096 and 1098. ATF Payroll also supports reporting to multiple states for individual employees.

Payroll and managerial reporting options include payroll reports, registers, summaries, employee listings, earnings and taxes. Extended practice management and client invoicing functions are available in the separate, but integratable, Practice Relief system, which also offers time and billing utilities.

All reports and client communication can be output to plain paper stock, and can be saved as PDFs for electronic delivery or document management using the optional CyberCabinet system or other utilities. Many reports can also be saved in Word or Excel formats. The larger Accounting Relief system includes client portal and collaboration functions through which the firm can also make W-2s, 1099s and reports available to clients. AccountantsWorld offers a complete compliance service option, through which the vendor manages all reporting, as well as the printing and mailing of recipient and employer copies of forms.

Import/Export Capabilities (4.5 Stars)

ATF Payroll offers complete integration with the accountant-centric Accounting Relief system and the vendor’s other programs for full live payroll, document management and practice management. It can import data in Excel, CSV and XML formats, which provides for import from most accounting and business management systems. It can save data to Excel, Word, PDF and plain text formats.

Help/Support (4.75 Stars)

Since the system is web-based, and program updates are automatically maintained by the vendor. ATF Payroll offers a fairly traditional, index-based Help system that includes contents and tips, along with content-sensitive guidance and quick access to instructions for all state and federal forms. The program includes links to a PDF version of the user manual, while the support website includes a broad selection of tutorials, webinars and training tools, along with FAQs, reference guides and the online user community. Active subscribers receive free live and web-based technical assistance.

Summary & Pricing

After-the-Fact Payroll is the most fully featured web-based year-end compliance system covered here, providing excellent multi-user functionality and integration with client collaboration tools and document management systems. After-the-Fact Payroll costs $395 per year, inclusive of all features and e-filing. It is also available as a component of the Power Practice System, and functions best with this broader web-based suite of eight integrated professional accounting and practice management solutions.

2011 Overall Rating 4.75


Product Delivery Methods

___ On-Premises

_X_ SaaS

___ Hosted by Vendor