Thomson Reuters – Accounting CS Payroll
From the October 2012 review of professional payroll systems.
Best Firm Fit: Accounting firms processing a large volume of small client payroll for their clients.
- Batch process multiple company payrolls at one time
- Multiple integration points
- Strong employee self-service offerings
- Must purchase accounting solution to process payroll
- Very little human resource management capabilities
Accounting CS Payroll is a separate product in the CS Suite that can integrate directly with the Accounting CS system offered by Thomson Reuters. Designed for accountants in public practice that process payroll for multiple companies, Accounting CS Payroll has strong batch processing capabilities. When combined with the accounting features of Accounting CS, public accountants are provided with the tools required to provide full service accounting needs.
Basic System Functions: 5 Stars
Accounting CS Payroll can be installed with Accounting CS, sharing the same platform, and is also available as an on-site solution or hosted through Thomson Reuters. For network users, multiple firm staff to concurrently work in the system and even the same client file. This allows payroll to be processed by one member of the firm’s payroll staff, while another user is posting accounting data or running reports.
The interface will be familiar for users of Practice CS, with general categories located on the bottom left portion of the screen and specific tasks located in the section right above these categories.
Navigation through the system is done via a series of dashboard and tabbed views. The opening dashboard screen has an interactive map of the United States. As users select states, the information on the bottom of the screen changes to reflect the appropriate filing forms, addresses, payment, agency website and other information.
New for the current year is the addition of over 120 new agencies and forms. With this update, Accounting CS Payroll houses over 390 total payroll agents across all states, localities and school districts.
Accounting CS Payroll is designed around a batch oriented payroll process. This allows for not only multiple employees to be paid simultaneously, but also payroll for multiple companies to be processed simultaneously.
Each company and its respective employees may be assigned to a payroll frequency or group. Users simply select the frequency or group and select the company and payroll is calculated automatically. Any time entry may be entered manually or imported from Microsoft Excel or the available portal solution.
Batch processing for multiple companies is accomplished without leaving the payroll data entry screen or changing company files. Accounting CS Payroll will still allow individual checks to be processed such as final paychecks or bonus checks, for example. Additionally, all payments are automatically generated based on the most recent payroll processed and payroll compliance forms are populated as appropriate. All payments and forms may be processed in batches as well.
Accounting CS Payroll features firm-wide standardization and allows templates to ease employee setup. Based on these templates and an automated address lookup system, the appropriate tax, income, deduction and benefit codes will be assigned automatically upon adding a new employee.
Direct deposit is provided for each employee, but the default process to generate the direct deposit remains manual as users must still upload the file and process through their bank manually. To automate the direct deposit process within Accounting CS Payroll, a third-party vendor, InterceptEFT must be used.
Reporting & Monitoring: 4.75 Stars
A reporting module is built directly into Accounting CS Payroll and includes a number of preformatted reports. Each report may be customized through a variety of filter and other setup options. Custom reports may also be created and saved for future use. Each report may be grouped together in a report profile to be processed in batch upon completion of each payroll run. These report groups may also be used to process multiple client reports simultaneously.
Users may track due dates and other payroll compliance information through the built in tax calendar. This tax calendar details the due dates, forms and other information specific to the current client being processed. The information is automatically populated based on the client setup and through updates provided throughout the year.
Integration/Import/Export: 4.75 Stars
Accounting CS Payroll integrates directly with a number of products within the Thomson Reuters CS Professional Suite. In addition to the direct integration with Accounting CS for accounting purposes, W-2 and 1099 information is automatically imported into UltraTax CS. All payroll runs and various reports processed with each payroll may also be archived in FileCabinet CS. New for the current release is the ability to generate invoices in Accounting CS and have them sent directly to Practice CS for recording accounts receivable and delivery to clients.
Accounting CS Client Access is available through NetClient CS and allows clients to collaborate with their accountants on a variety of accounting and payroll related issues. All accounting and payroll data entered by the client integrates directly with Accounting CS.
Time information may be imported from a variety of third party timekeeping solutions through text and XML file formats. Additionally time and employee data may be imported from Microsoft Excel and QuickBooks.
A number of strategic partners also integrate with Accounting CS Payroll to provide direct deposit, background checks, payroll debit cards and a number of other functions.
Help/Support: 5 Stars
In addition to traditional desktop help options, Accounting CS Payroll includes access to an online knowledgebase from the home screen dashboard. Phone and email support are available through per incident charges or a variety of support contracts. Product training is recommended for the most efficient use of the solution and is available as web-based, onsite or classroom style training options.
Pricing for each is dependent on need and may be customized to meet customer training requirements. A new user feedback feature added this year is the Accounting CS Ideas Community.
This feature is a collaboration effort between the Thomson Reuters staff and other Accounting CS users that allows sharing notes and suggestions about the product as well as custom designed reports.
Client Self-Service Features: 4.75 Stars
Strong remote access features are offered through the available NetClient CS portals, including remote payroll data entry, remote check printing and employee self service options, which allow time entry, viewing paystub history and W-2 information. Employees can also update personal and W-4 information.
Any data entry or updates made are immediately available for import into the system for payroll processing. NetClient CS is simple to setup and maintain and many features are automatically setup as employees are added.
Additionally, NetClient CS may be branded specifically to the accounting firm, which may generate additional business and may be accessed through any device capable of running a web browser. An iPad/iPhone app is currently in development to allow employees and clients to interact with the Employee Self-Service features and should be available later this year.
Summary & Pricing
Accounting CS Payroll is designed specifically for accountants in public practice to process payroll for multiple companies. Public accountants are provided the necessary tools to perform a variety of accounting functions. As with most products in the Thomson Reuters CS Professional Suite, Accounting CS Payroll may be purchased as a traditional desktop or network solution or as a hosted solution.
Pricing for the Accounting CS Payroll starts at $2,400 and allows for processing payroll for up to 20 companies. Additional payroll processing may be purchased in five-client bundles. Renewal pricing is offered as a minimal percentage of the initial purchase.
2012 Overall Rating: 4.75 Stars
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