In focus: Payroll

Four key payroll considerations for CPA firms.
Sponsored by Paychex

Providing payroll services that comply with ever-changing regulations and meet evolving employee and employer demands is no easy task. Employers are seeking to turn payroll data into strategic insights, and employees are expecting flexibility and ease of use.

In this Q&A, Tom Hammond, vice president, Corporate Strategy and Product Management for Paychex Inc., discusses common payroll considerations for CPA firms.

1. What should a CPA firm look for from a payroll partner?

As federal, state, and local governments continue to pass and repeal regulations at a dizzying pace, it’s more difficult than ever for business owners of all kinds to keep up with ever-changing HR and compliance demands. Accountants need a trusted payroll and HR provider who’s connected to every legislative agency, a trusted partner who can help them navigate the complexities of doing business today.

For nearly 50 years, Paychex has been that trusted partner, offering a full range of solutions to meet firms wherever they want to be on the payroll spectrum now and in the future. Our all-in-one, scalable HR solution, Paychex Flex, allows accountants and their clients to customize services, ranging from recruiting and onboarding to payroll and benefits, and much more. In addition, Paychex AccountantHQ, our exclusive online dashboard for accounting professionals, drives productivity and offers unmatched service by providing access to authorized client data, robust reporting, and personal service 24/7/365.

2. What is the biggest technological hurdle or challenge in providing outsourced payroll?

New workforce demands are driving HR and payroll technology innovation left and right. People today want mobility and independence in both their personal and professional lives. Nearly three in four current employees, according to a Paychex Small Business Survey, expect their employer to offer a high-level of HR self-service through a mobile and user-friendly application. This means giving employees instant access to their payroll data, empowering them to make changes such as to direct deposit themselves, and supporting those who have questions within the payroll application itself. Client employees are becoming an increasingly important audience for solutions like Paychex Flex, which recently introduced a chatbot to answer commonly asked HR and payroll questions in real time without involving a phone call or email to HR.

Accountants should partner with a provider whose technology and solutions help maximize their role as a trusted adviser. Paychex is uniquely positioned to support accountants with the growth of client advisory services through our integration with leading accounting platforms like QuickBooks Online, Sage Intacct, and Xero.

3. What kinds of value-added insights can firms provide clients based on payroll data?

Today’s accountants are expanding their portfolio, but one thing remains consistent: their position as a trusted adviser. At the center of this role is an accounting ecosystem fueled by data. By coupling accounting and HR data, Paychex provides industry-leading insights to accountants to enable them to provide advice to their clients that competitors cannot. Accountants can streamline putting advice into action for clients on the Paychex Flex platform.

Many businesses struggle with high turnover and the rising cost per hire. Payroll data insights can help reduce the cost per hire and address turnover issues by comparing turnover rates among different organizations, managers, and other key groups to further investigate turnover rate norms and outliers. Data can also be used to determine the revenue per employee and compare between the organizations to identify high and low performers to permeate best practice and advise action.

4. There has been an increasing trend toward tying payroll to other back-office applications such as accounting. How is your company pursuing this? How are employers and accountants responding?

Given the growth of client advisory services, today’s accountants want to increase efficiency, make data-driven decisions, and positively impact the bottom line — all while reinforcing their role as trusted adviser. Paychex is committed to helping them achieve that through its integration with leading accounting systems, which help accountants reach their business goals through smart, seamless, and transparent data integration.

Paychex offers real-time data integration capabilities with leading accounting software packages, including Sage Intacct, QuickBooks Online, and Xero, and is continuously working to enhance these offerings. Our customers and partners are responding enthusiastically to these capabilities, demonstrated through the growing number of accountants seeking to convert their clients to our general ledger platform. These integrations limit the amount of manual intervention required to process payroll, improve accuracy, and create efficiencies in reporting.