From the September 2005 Review of Boutique
Work-Style Payroll Software
Sage CPA Accounting’s Payroll from Sage Software’s CPASoftware
division, is a comprehensive payroll processing system that was intentionally
developed for practitioners who manage payroll for multiple clients. The system
can be used as either a stand-alone application or as an integrated component
of the CPASoftware suite, which includes tax compliance, write-up, client accounting
products, practice management and document management programs. Sage CPA Accounting
Payroll costs $795 for a site license, with subscription-based support and tax
table updates available at an additional cost.
EASE-OF-USE/DATA ENTRY — 4.5 Stars
The system assists in the initial setup of client company and employee files,
and the general layout of the system’s interface aids in its functionality.
After logging on, the primary entrance screen of the program provides a list
of payroll clients, enabling the user to open or create a new client. Upon opening
a client, the master menu screen offers text-based links to primary tasks, such
as entering employee time, calculation of payroll, selection of checks to print,
posting of payroll and account reconciliation. Additional functions, such as
reporting, employee setup and more detailed payroll activities are accessible
via several pull-down menus at the top of the screen.
Data-entry screens are also well-designed, streamlining much of the entry
process, although, since the program offers strong payroll capabilities, the
employee time data-entry process can require a little getting used to. During
this process, users can select the client account on which the payroll is to
be drawn, as well as the period, check and post dates, the frequency of payroll
calculations, and the calculations to be made. For simple payrolls with static
employee time or all salaried employees, the user can select a checkbox that
automatically populates employee time with defaults from that employee’s
file, leaving only a review of the data and the printing of the checks. The
system automatically makes all calculations for deductions, withholding and
FEATURES — 4 Stars
In addition to traditional payroll, Sage CPA Accounting Payroll supports restaurant
payroll with full tip reporting and automatic calculation of tip reimbursement,
allocations by hours worked or gross receipts, and negative check stub capability.
Employees can be set up as salary, hourly, overtime, double overtime, piece
rate or commissioned, or a combination, with allowances for shift differentials.
Up to 20 user-defined fields can be created for employee files, in addition
to the ability to store photos and I-9s with the file. The program handles SUTA
expenses, EIC calculations, commissions, vacation and sick leave accruals, multi-department
employees, third-party sick pay and unemployment reporting.
It also supports multiple departments and multi-state and locality compliance
reporting for both employee and company liabilities, and has the capability
to manage cafeteria plans, 401(k)s and other retirement and tax-deferred savings
plans. Sage CPA Accounting Payroll allows an unlimited number of “other
pay” and “other deductions” such as garnishments, fixed amounts
and percent of gross or net. Direct deposit is included in the cost of the program
and can handle multiple disbursements per employee, as well as partial electronic
and check payments. The system does not include e-file and payment capabilities
for liabilities, nor does it provide an automated method of producing invoices,
but the latter is available through Sage CPA Practice Manager.
REPORTING CAPABILITIES — 4.5 Stars
Sage CPA Accounting Payroll produces forms W-2, W-3, 1096, 1099, 940, 941, 940-EZ
and 943, as well as federal magnetic media, and has an optional state reporting
program that includes quarterly unemployment and state magnetic media. The system
can print checks on blank check stock or on pre-printed forms, with support
for MICR printing. Reports can be printed prior to period close, if needed.
An add-on report writer is also available that allows greater customization
and report creation functions.
INTEGRATION/IMPORT & EXPORT — 4 Stars
Sage CPA Accounting Payroll can integrate with CPAClient Write-Up or data can
be exported for use by outside accounting programs. Integration with the vendor’s
document management application facilitates streamlined office practices. Employee
time data can be imported from ProTym and RealWorld, in addition to other programs
that can produce ASCII or *.CSV files.
TRAINING, SUPPORT & UPDATES — 4.5 Stars
Support is included in the cost of the program for the first six months, with
support plans starting at $425 thereafter, which include tax rate table updates.
Support options also include a 24-hour support web site, toll-free assistance,
newsletters and new program releases. Web-based, classroom and on-site training
options are available, in addition to the built-in Quick Start guide and an
Sage CPA Accounting Payroll is geared toward use by public accountants, with
productivity features and workflow designed for professional firms that manage
the payroll of multiple clients. At the same time, however, the program is fairly
easy to use, and boasts a moderate price point. Although the system can share
data with outside accounting programs, firms already using CPASoftware’s
accounting and practice management applications would realize the greatest benefits
from Sage CPA Accounting Payroll.
2005 Overall Rating — 4.5 Stars