From the Sept.
2008 Review of Professional Payroll Systems
Sage Abra Payroll, version 7.6, is Sage Software’s payroll component
for the vendor’s mid-enterprise level Sage Abra HRMS Suite. The program,
designed to be used in-house by a business’ payroll and HR staff, is capable
of supporting any number of companies, subsidiary units and employees and, therefore,
with special licensing, it can also be used by a professional payroll service
provider. The system is completely integrated into the HR suite, and also offers
direct integration with the GL components in many of Sage Software’s accounting
applications, as well as data sharing capabilities with other programs.
In addition to extensive human resources functions, benefits management and
workflow process tools, direct deposit and electronic filing options are available.
The program also supports employment and payroll tax reporting to federal and
all states (as well as Canada through a separate program version). Pricing for
the Sage Abra Payroll module is based upon employees and the number of users,
but generally starts around $2,000 and requires use of the Sage Abra HRMS system.
Sage Software is once again a sponsor of the annual National Payroll Week, to
be held September 1-5, 2008 (www.NationalPayrollWeek.com).
Also worth noting is that Sage Software recently released a new Sage Abra Payroll
module for the v8.x Sage Abra HRMS platform, which supports the SQL Server platform.
That new payroll module (version 8.4) includes expanded capabilities, like support
for step rates and variable pay plans, to further support the payroll processing
needs of union shops, manufacturers, government organizations, etc.
DATA ENTRY & KEY FEATURES – 5 Stars
The primary interface is Sage Abra’s Activity Center, which acts as the
hub for the entire HR and payroll system, providing access to various components,
including HR, attendance, training, system, employee management functions and
payroll processing. Through the Payroll module, users have additional menu options
divided into Actions, Processes, Analysis, Reports and Rules. These are likewise
expanded into additional task-specific links to items such as a gross-up calculator,
time sheet entry, running trial and final payrolls, printing on-demand individual
checks, voiding payments, creating electronic payment files, editing payroll
histories (tracked by an audit trail), running direct deposits, reconciliation,
and period end processes. Users can process unlimited trial payroll runs as
During initial setup of the payroll program, guided interview functions lead
users through basic company and employee data sheets, as well as more advanced
entry of federal, state and local tax information, unlimited pay types and rates,
any number of standard or customizable deductions, departments, projects and
groups, benefits functions, classification codes, and other features. Information
entry sheets are customizable and provide tabbed access to categories, along
with pull-down selection lists for many fields, including earnings, deduction
types, account numbers, groups, and other rules. Advanced benefits management
functions also provide quick access to general information, as well as employer
matching, earnings basis and general data.
A mass update tool is also available for making changes across all employees,
departments or other groups. Sage’s employee self-service option gives
company staff the ability to access prior paycheck stubs, enter new personal
information and communicate with HR staff for issues such as leave requests.
Sage Abra’s HR functionality integrates with the payroll functions to
provide extensive benefits and workforce management functions, including recruiting
and tracking of employee education and performance reviews. It also helps ensure
compliance with EEO, FMLA, OSHA, COBRA and HIPAA regulations.
REPORTING CAPABILITIES – 5 Stars
Sage Abra offers a comprehensive report management center that includes more
than 100 customizable options and templates, including wages, deductions, benefits,
departmental and human resources output, along with the Secure Query Report
Writer. Output formats include PDF, Word, Excel and plain text. In addition
to forms 1099, W-2, W-3, 1096, 940, 941 and 943, the built-in forms library
houses more than 2,000 federal, state and local forms. Electronic filing options
are also offered. Checks can be printed to blank or custom stock.
INTEGRATION/IMPORT & EXPORT – 4 Stars
Sage Abra interfaces with most time clock systems for import of employee time
data and can export GL data into all major accounting programs.
RELATIVE VALUE – 4.5 Stars
Sage Abra Payroll is an integral component of the vendor’s HRMS Suite,
providing excellent core capabilities that enable it to manage businesses of
any size and reporting requirements. The system sports some of the best customization
options available and offers comprehensive reporting and compliance. The employee
self-service option is also a great tool. Sage Abra is best suited to mid-market
and larger organizations with 75 or more employees, sensitive compliance requirements
and multiple geographic locations.
2008 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars