Should I Process My Own Payroll or Use a Payroll Service?

The best time to change payroll processing is at the beginning of the year.  Therefore it’s time to look at your payroll processing and determine if it meets your needs.

The first question is, to determine if you want to be responsible for preparing your payroll returns and paying tax payments…

  • I would suggest that only organizations with a full time Payroll or Hunan Resource specialist take on this responsibility since the fines and penalties can be substantial, if errors are made or deadlines missed.

The second question is, if you outsource your payroll, how do you choose a payroll processor or service?

  • If you are a small business and do not use accounting software, check with your Tax Preparer to see who they recommend or if they provide this service.
  • If your accounting software processes payroll ask if the accounting software company also offers full service payroll that will integrate with your software and post the payroll to your records saving you time and increasing efficiently, while handling the regulatory duties of filing payroll returns and making tax deposits.
    • Many large software vendors now provide full service options such as Intuit and Sage.
  • If you need job costing and/or you are billing customers for time it’s important to get a processor who will integrate with your accounting software.  Keep in mind that the best integration will be provided by the publisher of your accounting software as mentioned above.
  • If you need advanced Human Resources features you will probably be happier with a national payroll processor that has these options.

When making payroll decisions it’s always a good idea to check with your CPA and software consultant for additional information and insight on the issue.



Should I choose an In-House, Hosted, or Cloud based Accounting Software Solution?

Lately I’ve received many calls asking about cloud based accounting software solutions and in particular QuickBooks Online.  My answer to these questions tends to be a lengthy discussion of the needs of the client.  Here are my thoughts…

Find the software that meets your needs first.  Many cloud applications require the use of various add-ons to achieve the total solution while in-house software may have all the functionality needed in one product.  If the in-house product is a better match for the business, it can be hosted by various companies and you still have the option of a 24/7 solution. 

If you have a cloud based or hosted solution, you can access your data and program 24/7 and multiple users have access from any location or device that connects to the internet.  That sounds great but there are the issues to address:

  • Connectivity – Vendor issues that may not allow you to access your data, what is their history?
  • Security – What security is available and does it meet the legal requirements of you industry?
  • Costs – Expect a monthly fee per user or company file.  I am not a fan of free solutions.
  • Backups – Do you have the ability to download your data in a usable format?

If you choose an in-house solution you have more control, however there are also issues to address:

  • Connectivity – Do you have remote users that need to log into the system?
  • Security – How will you provide the proper level of security for your business?
  • Costs –What are the software costs, annual renewals/updates, and cost of maintaining server?
  • Backups – What is your backup strategy?

These are just some of the issues you will need to consider.  

QuickBooks vs Quicken, Which Software is Best for Me?


This week I received a call from a potential client saying that their CPA requested that they move from Quicken to QuickBooks.  They needed help with the conversion but they were also curious if it was a good idea to  make the change.  After talking to many potential clients in this situation,  I find that some are great candidates for QuickBooks and some were much better off in Quicken.  Normally I recommend Quicken for Individuals and Property Management firms and I recommend QuickBooks for businesses.  However, I’ve included a summary below so you can decide for yourself.

Quicken is an excellent option for Individuals or businesses tracking personal finances, investments and rental properties. Quicken is available in multiple versions:

  • Deluxe – Least expensive version designed for individuals to manage their personal finances.
  • Premier – Includes Deluxe features and additional features to manage and track your investments all in one place.
  • Home & Business – Includes Premier features and can be used for very small businesses.  Does not include inventory or many of the features included in QuickBooks.
  • Rental Property Manager – Includes the features of Home and Business but it is designed to meet the needs of individuals or businesses that are managing rental properties. 

QuickBooks is an excellent choice for a Business that wants to invoice customers, manage inventory, or produce financial statements. There are multiple versions of QuickBooks that businesses can choose from to meet their needs:

  • QuickBooks Pro – Least expensive option allows user to manage basic inventory, invoice customers, calculate payroll, and it provides standard reports and the ability to customize reports.  I usually recommend this for very small business with a small number of transactions.
  • QuickBooks Premier – This product has industry specific reports and language to meet the needs of small to medium size businesses.  The industry versions included are General Business, Contractor, Manufacturing & Wholesale, Nonprofit, Professional Services, and Retail.  These versions include all the features of QuickBooks Pro but also have additional features to make the user more productive, industry specific reports and additional inventory features.
  • QuickBooks Accountant – This product has all the features of QuickBooks Premier and additional features designed for bookkeepers and accounting professionals.  It also includes Intuit Statement Writer.
  • QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions – This product  has all the features of QuickBooks Accountant and has additional features to manage inventory, larger files, larger volume of transactions, and more options to create user rights when configuring security.

 I hope this helps in determining which product(s) will meet your needs.  As always please call or e-mail me to get the latest specials on QuickBooks software and add-on services