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ADP — RUN, Payroll for Accountants

From the Sept.
2008 Review
of Professional Payroll Systems

ADP, which has been a long-time provider of payroll services directly to small
businesses, recently introduced RUN powered by ADP, Payroll for Accountants,
an online payroll management system specifically designed for professionals
providing payroll services to multiple clients. The system supports all states,
provides full direct deposit capabilities and offers GL export to all major
accounting systems. Since it is online, firms also have the ability to offer
the perk of Web access to employers and their employees through a firm-branded
website. ADP also offers an optional tax filing service through which the vendor
automatically prepares and submits forms and liability payments. A 7-pay, biweekly
payroll with tax filing and full service direct deposit would range between
$50 to $75 based on the number of clients the accountant processed with ADP
and if the accountant or client printed the checks on site. All billing is directed
through the accounting practice.

The RUN system is accessed through a web browser, with a single log-in providing
access to the primary console, the Accountant Dashboard, which offers the master
client selection list, a spreadsheet view that includes a variety of search
and filter functions and displays messages, client status, contact data and
other information. This initial interface is firm centric, providing access
to firm-wide functions such as adding clients, billing, security settings and
editing of the client access screens to include firm logo and information.

Selection of a client brings up the Payroll Home for that company, with the
window offering a workflow diagram of payroll processes, along with panels that
display Messages and Tasks, while a menu gives access to processing functions,
printing, creation of direct deposit and GL files, and other payroll tasks.
The system offers alerts and reminders for key tasks and filing deadlines. Tabs
across the top of the screen allow the accountant to quickly move back to the
Accountant Dashboard, or to move between screens for Employees, Company information,
Reports and Taxes. Processes are very intuitive, and the system guides users
through setup of companies and employees with a checklist and information windows.

The Employee Directory offers similar search and filtering as the company
selection list and offers quick access to deductions, direct deposit, accruals,
historical checks and other related information. Data-entry screens provide
selection lists, calendars and other tools. Tax rates are automatically maintained
by ADP, so when entering or editing employee information, appropriate taxes
are applied depending upon worker status and location. Payroll groups can be
scheduled weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly, monthly or quarterly, and can include
hourly, salaried and contract workers, including payroll management of employees
who receive tips, commissions and bonuses. Worker pay can be assigned to multiple
departments, and up to three standard pay rates can be assigned to each worker,
in addition to automatically computed overtime, double overtime, holiday pay
and other factors.

Once employees and company settings for rates, accruals and other information
are set up, a payroll run can be processed in as little as two steps. Salaried
employee base pay is already populated, and users can have the program automatically
assign anticipated hours for full-time hourly workers (subject to review) while
all calculations for deductions and payroll taxes are automatically calculated
and posted. For most routine payroll runs, this would leave incidental data
input, such as manually changing hours, entering vacation time used or overriding
an employee’s pay rate or deductions for the payroll.

Professionals can choose from more than one hundred standard earnings and pre-
and post-tax deductions that can be applied to each employee, including benefit
plans, insurance, union dues, garnishments and other payments. Paychecks can
be printed at the accounting firm, transmitted to the client for printing on-site,
or printed by ADP and delivered. Professionals can preview payrolls prior to
processing and can calculate payroll gross-to-net. If printed at the professional
practice, all client payrolls can be printed together or individually. Direct
deposit supports multiple bank accounts and split deposit/check payments. Also
useful to accountants, ADP provides a consolidated client bill option.

The reporting features in RUN divide standard output options into categories
for Payroll, Benefits, Taxes and Miscellaneous, with one-click access to on-screen
viewing and the ability to save reports into Excel format. Federal and state
tax forms can also be generated through the program, including forms 940, 941,
944, W-2, W-3 and 1099.

RUN includes a GL export function to QuickBooks that simplifies the exporting
of all payroll journal entries into that accounting system or into a format
importable by most accounting systems. The reporting features export to Excel
for formatting, editing or additional analysis.

RUN provides professionals with multiple options for providing payroll services
to clients, from allowing some client access and data entry to full service
by the firm to variable check printing locations. Since it is web-based, it
can be used anywhere and frees the firm from software and tax rate updates,
and also extends online features to the client and their employees. The entire
process remains in the firm’s control, including website branding elements
and billing. Ironically, the system is perhaps best suited to firms trying to
take back payroll from clients using payroll service providers like ADP, as
well as other generally smaller businesses.

2008 Overall Rating: 4 Stars