As an accountant offering Payroll Services, having a good system or software is the backbone of my payroll operation. But, I have to admit, the scope of work of this “payroll service” tends to be all over the map as the amount of attention required from be greatly varies client by client.
I have asked many of my colleagues, and they seem to agree with me that Payroll is one of the most unpredictable services they offer. Other colleagues admit to preparing any and every tax form out there, with the exception of payroll.
Payroll services can add a significant and steady (monthly/quarterly) income stream to the firm while also strengthening the relationship with the client, making the accountant even more indispensable to his or her clients. The downside is the unpredictability that may arise from issues and changes within a company’s internal payroll, potentially creating non-billable service time.
Today, I find myself working with the 3 Payroll options Intuit offers:
Being QuickBooks driven, I naturally chose QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll for Accountants (EP4A) as my system of choice to provide this service. The main features that attracted me to this choice were these:
As my practice (and clients) grew, certain situations created some constraints on working with an After-The-Fact system:
Luckily, I did not have to look too far to find an alternative that will allow me to service these clients. The whole outlook of payroll services, as I knew it, changed when I implemented Intuit Online Payroll for Accountants (IOP4A). Some of the differences are very obvious. For example, IOP4A is completely web-based, so I did not have to be in my computer with QuickBooks and the client’s company open in order to process payroll. This gave me a new dynamic to be able to service my payroll clients from home or on the road much faster.
Clients get access, too, which allows the client and me to collaborate in payroll efforts:
With some clients, I have completely delegated all the payroll tasks, such as creating paychecks, adding new employees and making tax payments. I simply just e-file the tax forms. This has allowed me to maintain my “needy” clients without increasing my prices or dedicating much non-billable service time.
There are some other distinct advantages to this payroll system in comparison with EP4A:
It’s also important to identify that IOP4A will not be suitable for every client. For example, here are the reasons I may choose to keep a client on EP4A:
There are also some situations where neither solution was available, such as a client wanting to process their own payroll in its entirety. If this occurs, then I just recommend QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll and get involved with the client in support and training their staff to process it correctly.
My default service of choice is actually IOP4A, primarily because I prefer to give my clients more “control” which means less “work” for me in the long run.
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