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Phoenix Phive Software — Industrial Strength Payroll

From the September 2005 Review of Boutique
Work-Style Payroll Software

Industrial Strength Payroll from Phoenix Phive Software Corporation offers
payroll processing live or after-the-fact, geared toward public accountants
with multiple clients or businesses with multiple independent divisions. It
supports up to 998 companies or divisions with up to 5,000 employees each, with
up to three concurrent states per company, with multi-state support for employee
taxes, as well. The program supports all 50 states and multiple pay frequencies,
including daily, weekly, biweekly, semimonthly and monthly. Industrial Strength
Payroll costs $495 for a single user; an unlimited user site license is an additional
$225. The first year of system maintenance and support, which includes tax table
updates, is included in the price and costs $148.50 per subsequent year.

Industrial Strength Payroll uses a web-based interface that is somewhat comfortable
and sports forward and back navigation buttons as well as other icons, a Client
Locator bar (where the web address field would be) and web-like favorite “links”
on the upper toolbar that provide access to the primary components of the program,
including Employees, Clients, Calculations and Reports. I think a graphical
menu in addition to or in place of the available client and employee selection
methods (links and the pull-down menu) would be a little more convenient. However,
users have the option of several Hot Keys, which may ease use for many users.
Additional buttons on the screen, such as print, edit and save are disabled
when not appropriate to particular tasks.

For firm, client (company) and employee data entry, the system uses multi-tabbed
subwindows that ease entry or editing of information. For example, the employee
window provides tabs for Identification, Pay Rates, Federal and State Taxes,
Deductions, Biographical data, Direct Deposit info, and Local and EIC setup.
Many of the data-entry screens also include pull-down selection lists for items
such as pay frequency and department, and the application includes basic verification
features to avoid errors in TIN, ZIP code and other items.

Although the web interface (not web-like), complete with IE-style navigation
features and the URL-like address bar can make a user think and feel as though
they are within a web browser, it does not work as a web browser. Such functionality,
which does exist in some programs, could be helpful for Help utilities, accessing
the company’s web site and other functions.

FEATURES — 3.5 Stars
Industrial Strength Payroll includes direct deposit, which can be directed to
up to two accounts per employee, with two tax states per employee and three
per company. Employees may also have taxes withheld from one state, and SUTA
accrued for another. The system can be set to manage up to 20 departments per
client company, with up to eight types of regular pay per company, eight 1099
pay types and tip reporting, as well as 12 deductions. Common types of each
are automatically included and set up in the program, but these can be overridden
or changed based upon client need, such as for piecework or shift premiums.
The system supports management of cafeteria plans, 401(k), 403(b), S.I.M.P.L.E.
and SARSEP deferred compensation plans, as well as accrual-based fringe benefits,
dependent care benefits and Subchapter ‘S’ medical payments.

Industrial Strength Payroll can process an unlimited number or years of payroll
for a client at the same time, easing year-end processing by not requiring close-out
of the ending year prior to processing of new year payrolls. User-level password-based
access controls allow restricting tasks and client access to particular users.

Industrial Strength Payroll manages and reports federal and state unemployment
tax liabilities via the system’s worksheets, and changes in federal tax
deposit liability are reported on registers for every period. General reports
include all month, all quarter, history, register and summary, along with an
audit report that can track user activity. Annual FUTA reporting requirements
are met via the system’s preparation of forms 940 and 940-EZ. The program
also produces 941 and 943, as well as W-2s and W-3s. Users can create Time Input
Sheets that can be printed or electronically delivered to client companies.
Magnetic media filing capabilities for forms W-2 and 1099-MISC are also included.

Industrial Strength Payroll can directly import time clock program data that
is in ASCII format, and includes a built-in GL account setup function for tracking
and reporting GL postings, in addition to a GL interface report. Data can also
be exported to ASCII, which can then be imported by Excel and many financial

Tax table and program updates are included in the cost of the software. The
built-in help system is adequate, with a traditional Windows-based Help utility
that includes the basics of Contents, Index and Find, and also includes an Employee
Management Overview section for employee-related tasks. But links to support
are not present, nor is there content-specific assistance. The Phoenix Phive
web site offers minimal support, with access to renewing maintenance, buying
forms or ordering additional supplies. At the time of this review, the company’s
online shopping cart system was “under construction.” As well, I
saw no FAQs or training guides/tutorials.

Industrial Strength Payroll offers a basic application for managing payroll,
compliance and benefits for multiple companies, providing a limited but competent
set of features and adequate reporting tools, although navigation might be a
little awkward initially for some users. The system is best suited to payroll
professionals whose clients have less complex payroll needs and compliance issues.

2005 Overall Rating — 3.5 Stars