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ADP Small Business Services — EasyPayNet

From the August 2005 Review of Service Bureau-Style Payroll

ADP Small Business Services offers its EasyPayNet as a wholesale service to accountants, allowing professionals to sell their payroll service as a part of their overall client service, but with ADP performing the actual payroll processing, deposits and compliance. Employee pay data can be reported to ADP through a secure online portal, by phone or by fax. Pricing is based upon the number of client companies and employees. To meet the needs of the prototype payroll practice we defined in the introduction to this review section (page 20), ADP’s EasyPayNet wholesale service for accountants would cost an average of $15 for a five-employee biweekly payroll. Direct Deposit is available at an additional fee. ADP also offers W-2 and 1099 processing for an annual fee, and overnight delivery of payroll checks, vouchers and reports is available. In the Wholesale model, ADP bills the accountant, and the accountant bills their clients for the total service fee.

As an outsourced payroll service that accounting firms can use to provide the backbone of payroll processing for their clients, the primary interface for users is an online portal through which they can enter and manage client and employee payroll data, manually print checks, access reporting functions, or access human resources and benefits options. The web interface is simple to use, with an initial screen that houses large icons for managing Staff, Retention and Payroll functions. Under the Payroll section, the option for EasyPayNet takes the user to a screen that utilizes numbered menus for the five primary functions of the system: Modifying Employee Information, Confirming Pay Period, Entering Payroll, Reviewing the Current Payroll, and Submitting the Payroll.

When working with employee data, the system provides a scrollable menu of all active payroll recipients in a panel on the left side of the screen, along with buttons for customizing the list and terminating or adding new employees. The remainder of the screen contains tabbed data-entry sheets for employee information, including basic data, tax information, deductions, Direct Deposit management, benefits administration and a YTD summary information screen. Payrolls data can be entered per employee (for hourly or fluctuating employees) or all at once (for salaried, or payrolls with no change from the previous period). While the system is fairly easy to comprehend, navigation is not always intuitive and would be assisted by workflow diagrams or more consistently placed menus or navigation buttons.

After entering employee data into EasyPayNet and submitting the payroll for processing, reports and forms are available within an hour, allowing access to a wide range of reports and query tools. Through the employee information management screens, as many as 14 payroll deductions can be applied per staff member, and the system tracks balances on repayment deductions for loans or other items. After submitting payroll, ADP makes all calculations for the payroll, including the deductions and withholdings for all relevant tax jurisdictions.
The system allows a preview of paycheck data that enables reviewing deductions and gross pay prior to processing. The Direct Deposit system can handle deposits to up to three accounts per employee. Data can be entered directly by the client or by a member of the accounting firm either online, by phone or by fax.

In addition to reports that are automatically generated and delivered along with payroll, such as summary and detail, direct deposit reports, pay runs and expense distributions, ADP’s EasyPayNet provides nearly 20 standard payroll and quarterly reports, with an additional 50 available on a per payroll, quarterly or annual basis. All reports that are available online can be saved to the professional’s computer or directly printed and can be exported into Excel or Office documents. The delivered payroll reports can also be printed directly from the online system. The system does not directly aid in account reconciliation activities. Users can opt to have the checks printed and delivered by ADP or can print them in-house with MICR encoding, which can save delivery and some processing expenses.

ADP has recently added an InfoLink GL interface, which transforms gross-to-net payroll and employer tax information into preformatted journal entries that can then be imported into QuickBooks. The system also has a data export function, allowing users to access and download payroll data. Additionally, EasyPayNet reports can be saved and edited in Word and Excel.

EasyPayNet offers a context-specific help utility within the online system that identifies the tab or function where the user is and provides assistance pertinent to that topic. The general help screen also provides how-to tips for primary functions. Online user training tutorials also provide assistance. Technical support is included in the cost of the service. ADP also offers webinar training for new clients for their Internet product.

EasyPayNet is an outsourced service that is also available directly to small businesses. In the wholesale model, the accountant has the option of playing a role in the process or letting the client interact more directly with ADP. ADP does not offer the option to brand the service in the accounting firm’s name (such as offering payroll data entry on the firm’s own web site), so if clients interact with the payroll data entry, they will know it is ADP and not their accounting firm, which could diminish the value they see coming from the firm and affect the pricing structure. The system is very sound and provides excellent tracking and decent reporting features, making it a good selection for accountants who wish to offer payroll services to their clients without having to do the actual grunt work. But because the ADP service is so visible, professionals who opt for this service should probably handle data entry and other interaction with ADP.

2005 Overall Rating – 4.5 Stars