Let’s talk payroll. Arguably, the most important function an accounting firm provides (at least to your clients’ employees), payroll is also one of the functions regularly outsourced. Many business owners, and accounting firms alike, have neither the staff nor the desire to deal with the attention to detail that is required for processing payroll, taxes, and maintaining reporting with the IRS, SSA and states. So why would a firm consider offering payroll services to their clients?
Profitability is a key factor. Adding payroll and human resource functions to your practice can significantly increase your profit margin year over year. On top of that, the ability to offer payroll to your clients will add more perceived value to your services from your client’s perspective, while also adding actual value to your firm.
The only question is if you’re in a position to add the service. If you’re already farming out your own firm payroll, adding payroll services may not be the best idea. But for those firms that effectively process payroll for employees in-house, it would be an easy step forward to add payroll and HR services to your firm menu. It’s likely that many of your clients are currently struggling with processing their payroll right now, or are using an outside service that may be competent, but does not offer the same level of integration with other tax services that your firm is capable of offering.
Of course, gauging your level of interest is only the first step. You’ll also want to determine if the product would be best utilized as an on-premise product, or offer SaaS/Cloud capability. You’ll also want to determine what level of service you wish to offer; such as complete payroll and tax processing, including time entry. Other areas to examine include:
- Will client employees have access to a portal where they can view payroll related documents such as pay stubs and vacation accruals?
- Will clients be responsible for any part of the payroll process, or will your firm handle everything?
- Do have adequate staff that can be trained to handle payroll processing and other related duties, while also serving as a point of contact for clients with questions or concerns?
- Have you worked out the costs involved and what would charge your clients?
If you don’t have the answers to these questions, that’s fine. The reviews in this issue will go a long way towards pointing you in the right direction.
The products reviewed in this issue offer a variety of features and functionality, from complete onsite payroll processing, to cloud and SaaS products that offers easy product accessibility. The products reviewed include the following.
Click the links below to read the full reviews:
- AccountantsWorld – Payroll Relief
- ADP – Run, Powered by ADP for Accountants
- AMS Software – AMS Payroll
- Cougar Mountain – Denali Payroll
- CYMA Payroll
- Gusto Payroll
- Intuit – Intuit Online Payroll for Accountants
- Paramount Software – Crest Payroll
- Paychex – Paychex Flex
- Real Business Solutions – Payroll Mate
- Red Wing Software – CenterPoint Payroll
- SurePayroll – SurePayroll
- Thomson Reuters – Accounting CS Payroll
For each of these products, we looked at a variety of categories that can play a large role in determining the software product that will work best for a particular firm. These areas include:
- Basic System Functions – which includes ease of use, whether the product is designed for accounting professionals, and product scalability.
- Reporting and Monitoring – which looks at options such as the availability of due-date tracking or system reminders, tax filing options available, as well as the ability to customize system reports.
- Integration/Import/Export – takes a look at how well the product integrates with modules from the same vendor, as well as third-party applications. This area also addresses the availability of Time Clock import, as well as what data import/export formats are available.
- Help/Support – one of the most important areas, and frequently overlooked by those in the market for software, we look at the availability of telephone and email support, user tools such as wizards, interactive help functionality, and whether an account rep is assigned to your firm.
- Client Self Service Features – important for those looking to outsource payroll completely, as well as those contemplating offering this level of access to client employees, this area looks at the availability of client and employee portals, and whether the option to brand the resultant product with a firm logo is available.
- Advanced Features – this area looks at features such as the ability to handle union or certified payrolls and the availability of HR tools.
So whether you’re looking to bring payroll back in-house for your own firm, or are looking to add payroll services to your firm’s menu offerings, spend some time looking at the products included in this review, download a software trial or view a demo, and then make an informed decision that could provide additional firm revenue for years to come.
See inside October 2016
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