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PayCycle — PayCycle 2007 for Accounting Professionals

From the Sept. 2007 Review of Payroll

PayCycle’s online payroll system provides a completely automated payroll
processing and compliance system that can be used in a variety of ways, either
by the client or the professional. This allows professionals to manage the entire
payroll process from time data entry through paychecks and monthly/yearly compliance
issues, or to provide sliding levels of responsibility to the client that can
reduce the professional’s tasking to as little as review and compliance
assurance functions.

The accountants’ version of the PayCycle system allows firms to manage
multiple clients, with the program automatically applying appropriate taxes
and withholding funds, then preparing compliance forms, and enabling electronic
payment of federal and state liabilities. PayCycle is designed as a paperless
system, with free e-filing included, but it also allows the printing of checks
to either plain paper or preformatted stock. Pricing for the online system is
based upon the number of clients being managed and includes direct deposit and
unlimited payroll runs. The first 10 clients cost $14.99 per month each for
up to five employees, and $0.25 per additional employees, with a maximum of
50 employees. Additional client companies can bring the pricing down to as low
as $9.99 per month per client. The accounting firm’s in-house payroll
processing is free for one year.

Authorized users can log into their PayCycle account from any location, with
the browser displaying a client list that is displayed alphabetically along
with a link to the accounting firm’s payroll. From this main screen, users
can jump to client payroll activities, review Client To Do items, add clients
or manage their own payroll. When setting up a new client, the user selects
the state, business type and number of employees, and whether the client will
be using the system directly and be billed directly by PayCycle (at $42.99 per
month), or whether the accountant will be billed by PayCycle (at $14.99 or less)
and will then bill the client for services at their rate.

The system then guides users through the process of entering business information,
transferring data from previous periods, and setting up of employees and contractors.
PayCycle includes employee data collection forms for getting personal and direct
deposit information. The system also provides forms for filing for federal and
state EINs and registering for EFTPS and other documents. After the first employee,
settings can be used as a template for subsequent employees. The user also selects
the pay frequency (employees can be paid at different intervals), pay type and
rates, accruals for sick leave, and vacation time. In addition to the guidance
features during setup, PayCycle offers content-specific onscreen help and instructions
related to the task the user is performing.

When setup is complete, the user’s primary interface for a company’s
payroll is a tabbed screen that opens to the To Do list for that company. The
list is automatically populated with tax due-date reminders for all jurisdictional
compliance responsibilities, and items can also be manually entered onto the
To Do list. Other tabs include Pay Day, Taxes & Forms, Setup, Reports and
Help. For routine payroll processing, the Pay Day tab is the central focus and
brings up a list of all employees in the current pay period, allowing direct
entry of hours to apply to various pay rates and accruals, entry of bonuses,
and the ability to add a customizable memo to individual paychecks and stubs.
Data for salaried employees is automatically populated. The screen then provides
a summary of employee pay with the ability to drilldown to withholding and deduction

The system is very easy to use, and, if a client is handling the time and
employee data entry personally, the webpage they use is branded with the accounting
firm’s name, not the PayCycle logo, which keeps the process part of the
firm’s services.

FEATURES – 4 Stars
Since it is a web-based system, PayCycle can be used from anywhere, and the
vendor has developed a specific program for use by accounting firms that lets
a practice keep as little or as much of the processing work, or lets the client
log in and use the system. And since the program automatically performs much
of the work, like tracking due dates and preparing returns for print or electronic
submission, it is easy to use either way.

PayCycle includes direct deposit at no additional charge for all employees,
and users can process an unlimited number of payroll runs, whether it’s
one check or 50. Only two direct deposit accounts per employee can be processed,
but the system also gives the option of depositing less than 100 percent between
one or two accounts and disbursing the balance as a check. Paychecks can be
printed to blank or formatted stock.

The system can manage single- or multi-state taxed employees who are salaried,
hourly, commission or tipped workers, but PayCycle only supports two hourly
pay rates per individual employee. However, the system also includes a wide
selection of special pay types including OT, DT, sick pay, holiday pay, bonus,
commission and vacation pay, which can be used to track paid time off. The system
can also be used to track allowances, reimbursements, cash tips, paycheck tips,
clergy housing (cash and in-kind), group term life insurance, S-Corp owners
health insurance, company HSA contributions, personal use of company car, bereavement
pay and two customizable “other earnings” options. The system automatically
calculates all federal, state and local taxes for all 50 states and Washington
D.C., and the vendor guarantees their accuracy.

In addition to direct deposit, PayCycle includes free e-filing of compliance
forms and payments for federal entities (W-2s, 940s and 941s), as well as most
state jurisdictions in the country. Along with the To Do lists, PayCycle offers
an e-mail-based Alerts system that can notify users of important tasks and deadlines.
The system offers an online web access point for employees where they can log
in to view and print archived pay stubs and W-2s.

PayCycle offers 17 pre-built reports with drilldown capability, including payroll
summaries, deductions, detail reports, liabilities, taxes, wages and others,
allowing users to quickly see underlying calculations, taxes, deductions and
withholding. The system can print payroll-related compliance forms for all federal
and state entities, but it’s easier to use the free e-filing capability
in the system to submit these items. PayCycle can also produce forms W-2, W-4,
1099 and I-9. All reports can be easily exported to Excel format.

PayCycle can export data to QuickBooks, QuickBooks Online Edition, QuickBooks
for MAC, Quicken, CCH ProSystem fx Write-Up, Microsoft Money and the ATX accounting
suite. This data sharing allows the export of transactions to the appropriate
GL accounts. As previously noted, the system can also output payroll data and
all reports into Excel format.

PayCycle is simple enough to be used by accountants or clients. It automates
everything except for the entry of hourly employee time, leaving mostly just
review tasks for the professional. The system is flexible and supports all states
with the ability to manage multiple pay types and deductions. PayCycle is best
suited to professional practices with small clients (one to 20 staff), and can
only support up to 50 employees per reporting period per company. The system
offers an inexpensive and nearly hands-free method of adding payroll services
to a practice, while also relieving much of the headaches of compliance issues.
Phone-based and online technical support is included in the cost of the program.

2007 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars