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Despite the profits it can generate and the benefits it may offer in client relationship management, these are difficult times for payroll vendors and their accounting partners. Competition continues to increase from banks and other financial institutions, driving a wave of consolidations and undercutting prices.

At the same time, rising use of cloud computing has enabled a new group of small and agile online suites that include payroll services. Nor it is just start-ups that pose a threat – established small business accounting vendors such as Intuit are restructuring and expanding their payroll capabilities.

Nevertheless, the greatest challenge this year may be a recent report sent to the IRS by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. TIGTA noted that several payroll service providers received tax payments from their clients but failed to remit them in a timely manner, if at all. The report also indicated that new processes are needed to link third-party payers to employers, to reduce the risk of employment tax fraud.

The TIGTA made five recommendations for improvement:

• The IRS can partner with the Bureau of the Fiscal Service to develop a plan to use the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System to link the PSP with an employer. The IRS agrees with this recommendation.
• The IRS can establish a program whereby employers can inform the IRS of their Professional Employer Organization's relationship and establish a certified PEO system. The IRS partially agrees with this recommendation, but does not have a budget to enforce this program.
• PEOs can attach a Schedule R (details of the individual clients) to the 941 filed each quarter. The IRS stated it does not have the authority to require this with non-certified PEOs.
• The commissioner of the IRS's Wage and Investment Division can develop a process to ensure 8655s are captured in the IRS system accurately. The IRS agrees with this recommendation.
• The IRS can develop a process to ensure Section 3504 agents' indicators are accurate. The IRS also agrees with this recommendation.

For 2015, we consider some of the top Payroll Service Providers that are most likely to be in compliance and thus avoid government entanglements.

 

Accounting CS Payroll
Thomson Reuters
Dexter, Mich.
(800) 968-8900
http://cs.thomsonreuters.com
Price: Standard checks, 18 cents each; employee self-service checks, 28 cents each ($1,000-monthly minimum, $4,500 one-time setup fee). Licensing, $1,800 (includes 20 clients). Annual software fees, $6,000 to $8,000. Additional five-client bundles, $250 each; network licenses start at $1,400.

 

Accounting CS Payroll
Part of the CS Professional Suite, Accounting CS Payroll is designed to standardize new client and employee setup across the accounting firm, automatically determining applicable tax jurisdictions and payroll tax forms with a ZIP code-based lookup feature.

It streamlines data entry, enhances collaboration with staff and clients, provides advanced features such as time-clock and employee-data input, implements both traditional and paperless payment systems and offers expanded reporting and billing features.

With its March 26 release, Accounting CS Payroll now utilizes the Modernized e-File (MeF) format for Forms 940, 941, 943, 945 and 944 e-filing. New forms are provided in support of the Affordable Care Act, including Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns and Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage. New ACA reports include an Average Hours Worksheet and an Average Full-Time Employees Worksheet that will incorporate variables that track employees with pay rates in categories such as Variable Hour, Full-Time and Exempt.

True service bureau software with the ability to process tasks across multiple clients at one time (i.e. checks/reports/payroll tax returns), Accounting CS Payroll provides online, remote, and mobile device integration to collect time and employee data and an ability to enter employee check data in batch mode.

 

Paychex Flex
Paychex
Rochester, N.Y.
800) 322-7292
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
http://www.paychex.com/payroll-taxes/paychex-online-payroll.aspx
Price: Starts around $100 per month.

 

Paychex Flex
The cloud-based Paychex Flex platform offers powerful capabilities for payroll and HR stakeholders, benefits administrators, recruiters and recruits, employees, contractors, accounting partners and financial advisors.

It  provides a single sign-on for accessing Paychex services, including payroll, retirement, health insurance, human resource services, reporting. It also features an intuitive app for smartphones for employees and their employers to easily access relevant information.

The Flex app gives employers access to a complete set of employee data available on-the-go, in addition to plan-level views of retirement, health, and benefit accounts. Likewise, employees can access a wide set of personal and benefits data and functionality, can benefit from retirement self-service features. In addition to viewing 401(k) balances and returns, client employees can now edit retirement information from their mobile devices, and have the ability to edit contribution amounts and investment allocations.

The software also has e than 140 standard, customizable and exportable reports. The Paychex Report Center provides easy access to insightful information to help administrators operate more effectively and make informed business decisions.

Data Exports enable users to export data in a variety of spreadsheet formats to create own graphs or import data into third-party software. The Report Writer can by used by those who need to create own ad-hoc reports from scratch to meet individual needs.

Paychex Flex scales to meet the needs of small and medium-sized businesses and offers users a variety of service options for how they prefer to work. For medium-sized businesses with more complex needs, Paychex Flex Enterprise delivers additional services. Options include access to a dedicated service person, a team of product specialists, a 24/7 service center and e-mail support.

Paychex is the preferred payroll and retirement plan services provider of the AICPA Trusted Business Advisor Program, as well as the chosen provider of the AICPA Firm-Based Member Retirement Program.

 

Payroll Relief
AccountantsWorld
Hauppauge, N.Y.
(888) 999-1366
http://www.accountantsworld.com
Price: $1,495 (unlimited payrolls, first year). Succeeding years, lowest price 45 cents per check. Per-paycheck option for high-volume users.

 

Payroll Relief
A cloud-based, accountant-centric model for payroll processing, Payroll Relief is part of the AccountantsWorld Power Practice suite, but is also available as a stand-alone product.

Key features include a client portal and data-entry access, support for any number of clients and employees, direct deposit, electronic payment and extensive reporting/management tools. The product offers fully automated tax payments and compliance support, including coverage of all states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

It is compatible with all browsers, and reconfigures itself to display well on all form factors, including tablets and smartphones. Payroll Relief features a streamlined user interface; unlimited, fully customizable pay types and allowances; reminders; new management tools and integration with Write-Up CS. Through agreements with third parties, it also offers "pay as you go" workers compensation from 26 insurance companies; 401(k) administration, payroll debit cards and time and attendance support.

Each client company is provided with permissions for functions they may access anytime and anywhere. Payroll Relief is aimed at accounts that companies with up to 1,000 employees.

 

 

Run Powered by ADP Payroll for Partners
ADP
Roseland, N.J .
(973) 974-5000
(855) 408-3751
http://www.ADP.com
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Price: DIY solutions distributed through ADP's bank partners start at $39.95 per month. Full-service solutions generally range from $100 to $200 per month. Wholesale pricing schedule available.

 

Run
Run Powered by ADP is a cloud-based small-business solution that combines a complete online payroll platform for managing small business payroll, as well as human resource and tax compliance challenges.

Run Powered by ADP Payroll for Partners enables accountants to offer small business payroll services. The system features signature-ready forms; e-filing and e-deposit options; research from the CCH Resource Library & Learning Center and the Accountants Confidence Index; mobile payroll processing; end-to-end payroll tax filing with integrated HR features; automated time and attendance solutions; general ledger interfaces; integration with other ADP services; and custom reporting.

Enhancements introduced this month include a redesigned user experience with intuitive icons displayed in an organized and easy-to-use layout with the most-used functions placed front and center; Employee Access enhancements enable employees of Run clients to view and print pay statements and modify direct deposit information without the need to involve the employer; new mobile apps with payroll reminders sent right to an Apple Watch; and payroll data entry error alerts that identify and alert users to potential errors, helping them avoid common mistakes before they are submitted.

 

QuickBooks Online Payroll and QuickBooks Online Full Service Payroll
Intuit
Mountain View, Calif.
(866) 4-INTUIT
http://accountants.intuit.com
Price: Full Service Payroll starts at $59.49 plus $2 per employee per month; QuickBooks Online Payroll, starts at $29.49 plus $2 per employee per month; wholesale and client billing options available.

 

QuickBooks
Intuit markets two payroll services within QuickBooks Online: QuickBooks Online Payroll and the newer QuickBooks Online Full Service Payroll.

Full Service Payroll gives clients the ability to pay employees while Intuit manages client payroll tax payments and filings. With QuickBooks Online Payroll, clients and accounting professionals divide payroll tasks. Clients pay employees and accounting professionals can manage client payroll tax payments and filings.

With QuickBooks Online Payroll, clients and accounting professionals can divide payroll tasks. Clients pay employees and accounting professionals can manage payroll tax payments and filings for their clients.

With the new QuickBooks Online Full Service Payroll, clients pay employees and Intuit manages their clients' payroll tax payments and filings, enabling the accountant the opportunity to focus on other services. If clients are coming from another payroll provider, Intuit will transfer any existing payroll information.

QuickBooks Online Payroll and QuickBooks Online Full Service Payroll handle federal and state tax payments and filings and offer unlimited payroll runs; free direct deposit; additionally, with QuickBooks Online Full Service Payroll, Intuit guarantees accurate and timely submissions and Payroll data from both offerings seamlessly integrate with QuickBooks Online, eliminating double – data entry and the need to import and reconfigure external payroll reports.

Both Intuit payroll solutions can be accessed by a client's accountant or bookkeeper through QuickBooks Online Accountant, Intuit's free online product for accounting professionals.

Intuit payroll solutions can be accessed by a client's accountant or bookkeeper through QuickBooks Online Accountant, Intuit's free online product for accounting professionals.

 

SurePayroll for Accountants
SurePayroll
Glenview, Ill.
(877) 954-7873
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.surepayroll.com
Price: Average cost for 10-person accounting firm, $69.99 per month.

 

SurePayroll for Accountants
SurePayroll, a subsidiary of Paychex, provides online payroll services for small businesses. These include automatic tax pay and filing, direct deposit, mobile apps and award-winning customer service available six days a week by phone, email or live chat.

The offering is built for businesses with between one and 100 employees. Additional products include 401(k), health insurance, workers' compensation and pre-employment screening. The accountant also enable firms to white-label the payroll product, so they can scale their payroll business, or simply refer SurePayroll to earn a $100 gift card for every customer that becomes a client.

Designed for small businesses, microbusinesses and startups, SurePayroll offers a number of advanced features that include mobile phone support for iOS and Android devices; SureAdvisor Federal and State Labor Law Compliance with free HR compliance posters, how-to guides and best practices; one-click payroll processing; and integration with leading small business accounting software solutions that include Sage 50 (formerly Peachtree), QuickBooks, AccountEdge, Xero, LessAccounting and Intacct.

Recent enhancements include the ability for customers to print to blank check stock. If an accountant is processing payroll for multiple clients, they can essentially print on demand rather than maintaining additional inventory for each individual client.

 

Paychex Flex
Paychex
Rochester, N.Y.
(800) 322-7292
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
http://www.paychex.com/payroll-taxes/paychex-online-payroll.aspx
Price: Starts around $100 per month.

 

Paychex Flex
Paychex Flex delivers access to payroll, HR, and benefits information for a streamlined and integrated approach to workforce management. The cloud-based Paychex Flex platform offers powerful capabilities for payroll and HR stakeholders, benefits administrators, recruiters and recruits, employees, contractors, accounting partners, and financial advisors.

It offers a single sign-on to access Paychex services that include payroll, retirement, health insurance, human resource services, reporting, and more from one location, including an intuitive app for smartphones for employees and their employers to easily access relevant information.

The Paychex Flex app gives employers access to a complete set of employee data available on-the-go, in addition to plan-level views of retirement, health, and benefit accounts. Likewise, employees share visibility into a wide set of personal and benefits data and functionality, including a set of retirement self-service features. In addition to viewing 401(k) balances and returns, client employees can now edit all of the most popular retirement information from their mobile device, including the ability to edit contribution amounts and investment allocations.

Paychex Flex also provides business owners and accounting partners with a one-stop shop for more than 140 standard, customizable, and exportable reports. The Paychex Report Center provides easy access to insightful information to help administrators operate more effectively and make informed business decisions. Data Exports allows users to export data in a variety of spreadsheet formats to create their own graphs or import data into third-party software. For businesses with unique requirements, Report Writer allows users to create their own ad-hoc reports from scratch to meet their individual needs.

Paychex Flex scales to meet the needs of small and medium-sized businesses and offers users a variety of service options for how they prefer to work. For those medium-sized businesses with more complex needs, Paychex Flex Enterprise delivers additional service options to ensure ready access to prompt and knowledgeable support any time of day. Options include access to a dedicated service person, a team of product specialists, 24/7 service center, and e-mail support.

Paychex is the preferred payroll and retirement plan services provider of the AICPA Trusted Business Advisor Program, as well as the chosen provider of the AICPA Firm-Based Member Retirement Program.
Paychex is the preferred payroll and retirement plan services provider of the AICPA Trusted Business Advisor Program, as well as the chosen provider of the AICPA Firm-Based Member Retirement Program.

 

ZenPayroll Partner Program
ZenPayroll
San Francisco, Calif.
(800) 936-0383
http://www.zenpayroll.com/accountants
Price: $25 per month and $4 per employee. Accountants get ZenPayroll for free for firms with up to 25 employees.

 

ZenPayroll
Designed for small businesses, ZenPayroll was built for small businesses and the company says it was developed with the mission of making payroll simple.

Zen's Partner Program enables accountants to offer payroll services to their clients and grow their client base. When enrolled in the Partner Program, each firm receives access to its own dashboard where it can easily centrally manage clients from either desktop or mobile devices. The software syncs with existing accounting tools, eliminating the need for manual data entry. Each partner accounting firm is assigned a dedicated payroll advisor who can provide support and information during extended work hours.

It seamlessly integrates with leading accounting tools, automatically syncing data from multiple accounts. Accountants can manage payroll for multiple companies from a centralized dashboard on a computer or mobile device, and is available to manage payroll in all 50 states. State and Federal quarterly and annual filings are automatically performed for each client, ensuring that they will not miss a tax payment of filing period.

 

Dave McClure

David P. McClure is a technologist and business consultant whose career has included eight years with the NASA Space Shuttle Program and assignments in marketing, environmental services, software publishing and broadband.  He founded the US Internet Industry Association, the nation's primary trade association for Internet and broadband companies.  In 2004 he was awarded a Cornerstone Award for leadership in the broadband industry.  In the same year, he was named to the Board of Directors of the Universal Service Administrative Corporation, the non-profit corporation that oversees the nation's $8 billion universal service telecommunications fund.  His areas of expertise include software management, strategic and market planning, global technology policy and technology audits.  He is the author of more than 100 white papers on business management, technology, customer service and strategic planning.

Last modified on Thursday, 04 June 2015
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