PayCycle is an online payroll processing system that can be used directly by
small businesses or used by accounting professionals to offer the service to
their clients. Through the Wholesale Program, professionals are given discounted
rates and a firm-branded product so that the service is offered transparently
to the end customer. PayCycle essentially automates all of the processes involved
in managing the payroll process, from applying and calculating all taxes and
deductions, to automatically preparing and offering online remittance of tax
liabilities and compliance forms. The system is geared specifically to take
advantage of electronic filing and payment, providing a paperless system and
supporting direct deposit. For accountants, the cost of the system is based
on the number of clients being managed and the number of employees, starting
at $14.99 per month per client for the first 10 clients, $12.99 per month per
client for the next 10 clients, and $9.99 per month per client thereafter. These
costs are for clients with five or fewer employees; additional employees are
25 cents per month each. Direct deposit and electronic filing/remittance is
included with the above costs.
EASE-OF-USE/DATA ENTRY — 5 Stars
PayCycle opens within the user’s web browser, providing an interface that
allows professional firms to easily work with any of their client’s records,
or the accountant can opt to have the client enter much of their own information,
with the financial professional providing review and compliance assurance services.
The flexibility of being able to have some clients assume more or less of the
time entry work is a great benefit, and the online nature of the system frees
the accountant from having to maintain software and tax table updates. The system
guides users through setup processes and all routine tasks, including preparing
batch processing and reports. It also automatically notifies the administrative
user when liability payments need to be remitted and when state and federal
forms need to be submitted.
The program’s tabbed windows provide simplified navigation between functions,
grouping tasks into categories for Pay Day activities, Taxes & Forms, Employee
Management, Banking/Account information, Reports and Help. It also provides
a to-do list that keeps the payroll administrator on top of administrative tasks.
The program can also send an e-mail to payroll administrators reminding them
of critical tasks and issues. Throughout the payroll and compliance process,
the program maintains an exceptionally easy-to-use interface that guides the
user through every step and offers explanations of tasks, which simplifies the
whole payroll function. According to Martin Kofman, a CPA in Needham, Massachusetts,
PayCycle fits his firm’s needs and the needs of his clients. “PayCycle
is a step above the rest. It’s easier to use, and the automation makes
it better than what we used before.” He also noted that he likes that
the program is web-based since all updates are therefore automatic.
FEATURES — 5 Stars
Since the program is web-based, it can be accessed at any time and from any
location by authorized users, such as while out of town or while visiting the
client’s office. Likewise, it can be offered to clients in a sliding scale
of responsibility, from full-service by the financial professional to client
self-service with the professional providing review. This allows a great deal
of flexibility in the fee structure that the professional charges for his or
her services. PayCycle guides the payroll process, prompting the user for time
data entries as needed, and for confirmation of salaried amounts and benefits.
The system can be used to track multiple pay types including salaried, hourly,
commission and tips, and virtually any number of voluntary and involuntary deductions,
as well as vacation and sick leave accruals, insurance plans, 401(k) contributions,
loans and cafeteria plans.
REPORTING CAPABILITIES — 4 Stars
In keeping with its online nature, PayCycle is designed around electronic payroll.
The system includes direct deposit (up to two accounts per employee) and the
EFTPS electronic payment system for remittances and third-party payments. The
system supports all states and DC, and can electronically file state and federal
forms, including 940 and 941, which are automatically completed. Paychecks can
also be printed to blank or pre-printed paper stock, with the ability to print
pay stubs to plain paper. The program includes a decent selection of standard
reports, all of which include drill-down capability when viewing them on-screen.
Forms W-2, W-4, 1099 and I-9 can all be generated through the program. (The
company noted that form W-3 is not necessary when W-2s are filed electronically,
as they are with PayCycle.)
INTEGRATION/IMPORT & EXPORT — 4.5 Stars
The PayCycle system offers integration with QuickBooks, QuickBooks for Mac,
QuickBooks Online, CCH ProSystem fx Write-Up, ATX’s entire accounting
product suite and Microsoft Money, enabling the user to automatically keep appropriate
GLs updated and offering additional cost tracking options through those systems.
Payroll data is also exportable into Excel format.
TRAINING, SUPPORT & UPDATES — 4.5 Stars
The PayCycle system is extremely simple to use and includes decent in-program
Help and assistance, including FAQs, “How Do I” links, and the to-do
list and e-mail reminders. The vendor also provides free telephone-based and
e-mail support for both technical problems and payroll assistance (the company
employs certified payroll experts). PayCycle’s website support center
provides additional Help. No formal training programs are available, but they
aren’t really needed. Rate tables and program updates are maintained as
needed by the staff at PayCycle and automatically applied to each account when
PayCycle is extremely easy to use. The system really is extremely simple. Essentially,
the user just needs to tell the program what city and state they are in, the
names and deductions and pay types for employees, and the account numbers for
payroll and compliance payments. The system pretty much takes care of the rest,
from processing payroll to filing forms and sending in payment, reminding users
when things need to be done and prompting for more information when it needs
it. The system is geared toward servicing small clients with generally fewer
than 10 to 20 staff, although the program maxes out at 50 employees (for a reporting
period, so high turnover clients would not be suited). Financial professionals
looking for an easy and very affordable way to offer payroll to their small
business clients would be hard-pressed to find a more attractive system. Web-based
means no updates and the ability to access it from anywhere. Plus, flexible
usability allows flexible pricing for the firm, and the automation keeps payroll
time in the minutes instead of hours.
2006 OVERALL RATING: 4.5 Stars