As an accountant, you’ve got a lot on your plate; from expense management and the growing trend of remote work to interpreting financial data—but you want accounting to be your main priority.
So what do you do when a client asks about tax law changes or other payroll-related questions? I’m sure you would want to help, but your time is better spent elsewhere.
Instead, you could rely on a payroll service that has tax experts on hand, always answers when you call, and focuses solely on payroll.
This article highlights the must-have features you should consider when choosing a payroll partner and which providers can support your needs as a thriving accountant.
Payroll Software for Accountants
The best payroll software for accountants should make running your practice easier. Payroll should be hassle-free and should be the right fit for your business.
It can be nerve-wracking to outsource payroll when your reputation is on the line, but if you want to focus on driving growth in your practice, you’ll need help. Many of your clients will struggle with ever-changing and often confusing tax laws and regulations.
Can you imagine a new small business owner navigating federal, state, and local taxes? Or worker classification? They will more than likely come to you for answers. How much easier would it be if you could rely on a partner who always answers the phone and talks clients through complex scenarios?
It’s possible, and frees up your time to focus on accounting and growing your business. Let’s look in-depth at the features you need from your payroll provider so you can select the best solution for your business.
1. Which Features are Most Important to You?
Many payroll providers offer full-service payroll, but what does that mean? Every provider will offer slightly different features and support. So, what features should you keep your eyes peeled for?
You’ll want a solution that integrates with accounting software. You’ll want features like robust tax penalty protection, payroll processing for employees and independent contractors, and fast direct deposits.
Secondly, consider: are there any areas of payroll that you don’t like dealing with? There lies an opportunity. If you work with a provider that customizes your payroll solution, you’ll pay for the features you need.
There’s no point paying for features you won’t use.
Lastly, you might want to handle some tasks yourself. But you may still need support for more complex payroll tasks, and having a provider that always answers your questions quickly is crucial.
Best for Robust Features: ADP
ADP works primarily with large companies (over 150 employees), so it’s a feature-rich solution. It can handle massive payroll needs. Features include a recruiting system, employee benefits manager, and full HR suite.
Setup can be confusing with so many features to consider. Customer service is not its strength—a frequent theme across big box companies. Pricing isn’t transparent but is available by quote.
2. Employee Management
Accountants need access to vital employee data to service your clients effectively and efficiently. Keeping employee data accurate is tough when it’s spread across spreadsheets and individual documents.
When HR integrates with payroll, all employee data is in one place, and you can access it on a simple dashboard. It’s then easier to track individual employee pay rates (hourly or salaried), withholding information for benefits, and paid time off (PTO).
You can also quickly input hours worked, or pull them from an integrated time and attendance system, to calculate correct wages.
Best for Employee Management: Gusto
Gusto is convenient for employees and intuitive for managers. It integrates with several accounting programs, and all Gusto plans are able to manage employees' health and financial benefits. Employees can also self-enroll in health insurance plans using Gusto.
The Gusto Wallet app lets employees track their paychecks, savings, and banking information.
There are four pricing levels for Gusto, each offering different features:
- Core – $39 per month plus $6 per employee base rate.
- Complete – A base rate of $39 per month plus $12 per employee.
- Concierge – A base rate of $149 per month plus $12 a month per employee.
- Select – The Select plan requires a custom quote.
3. A Clean Interface
You already manage several clients at once. If they all have a different payroll solution, you’re wasting valuable time trying to navigate multiple logins.
Instead, you need a payroll service that offers a single login to access all of your clients in one place. You can manage clients quickly and easily by having them all in one place.
Best for a Clean Interface: QuickBooks
If you already use QuickBooks for your clients, it can be fairly simple to implement QuickBooks Payroll for Accountants. It’s easy to access your clients’ accounts to edit transactions and check their books.
You can set client permissions, guarantee tax accuracy, and support is available 24/7.
The Quickbooks interface is clean, and all its tools are one-click solutions that require no advanced technical skills from its users.
QuickBooks Payroll also offers an inventory tracker for accountants that handle expanded bookkeeping tools for retail shops, restaurants, cafes, and merchandisers.
There are a few drawbacks:
- You must use QuickBooks for accounting.
- There are basic HR features only, meaning you can’t manage the entire employee lifecycle.
- Local tax filings and payments are only available on premium plans, and tax penalty protection is only available in the Elite plan.
Pricing is transparent; the Core package is $45 per month + $4 per employee, the premium package is $75 per month + $8 per employee, and the Elite package is $125 per month + $8 per employee.
4. Payroll Processing
While it’s tempting to look at payroll providers who promise the world, the most critical service you require from them is… payroll processing.
You need payroll software that allows you to use the platform as your own, so you have the specialized service you need and an expert team on hand to deal with any issues.
Many providers promise full-service payroll, but will they be partners or competitors? Your payroll partner needs to be flexible. Can they work with your practice and clients the way you need them to?
Best for Payroll Processing: ConnectPay
At ConnectPay, payroll processing is our bread and butter. Instead of a one-size-fits-all solution that doesn’t meet your company’s needs, we focus on payroll, meaning you’ll get:
- A payroll provider that streamlines payroll and owns any mistakes, fees, or fines from the IRS.
- A dedicated, connected rep will always answer your call and even your most difficult regulatory questions. We don’t let your call go to voicemail during business hours.
- We connect you with local experts to find the best solutions for your needs. No upsells.
- A full tax team is on hand to help calculate correct amounts for local, state, and federal payroll taxes and file them automatically.
Our modern software is our own. When a regulation or law changes, we update our software immediately. We also partner with various time-tracking solutions that seamlessly integrate with our payroll technology.
At ConnectPay, accountants choose how they work with us. Some prefer to refer their clients to us directly; others like to manage payroll. We set them up with a single login where they can manage all of their clients’ accounts.
As an invested partner in your success, we don’t want to compete with you. We won’t offer services you can provide to your clients; our number one priority is to manage payroll so that you can focus on accounting.
Payroll Software for Accountants: Connections Are What Matter
Most payroll software providers offer similar features. The best providers stand out because of excellent customer service and a love of working with small businesses.
As a CPA, you need to be able to reach your payroll provider as quickly as possible. You don’t want to be on hold when you have an issue or a question.
We believe it’s essential for you to build relationships with us so you can speak to the same rep, and it’s easy to get someone on the phone.
Schedule a call with us here if you want to talk to ConnectPay about your payroll needs.
Alternatively, if you want to know how we approach payroll, here’s our free resource, the Connected Guide to Small Business Payroll.