Nora Denzel leads one of Intuit’s fastest-growing businesses, focusing on delivering easy-to-use, on-demand payroll services for small businesses. Intuit’s flagship products include Quicken, QuickBooks and TurboTax. Interviewed by AICPA Editor-At-Large Rick Telberg.
Q: Why did Intuit acquire PayCycle and how does this help accounting professionals?
A: Intuit recognized PayCycle as one of the most innovative, easy-to-use and cost-effective online payroll solutions for accountants. The acquisition of PayCycle supports our growth in Software as a Service (SaaS) and is a key component to our connected services strategy. Current PayCycle customers can expect to continue getting a firstrate online payroll offering, and the innovation, service and support that they currently enjoy. Second, the acquisition will enable Intuit to develop and quickly deploy the next generation of online payroll tools for the profession.
Q: Can payroll be profitable for accounting firms?
A: Traditional outsourced payroll providers have built huge, profitable corporations from payroll and related services. Based on that model, accountants can see that payroll can be profitable. With advances in payroll applications that make in-sourcing inexpensive, easy and hassle-free, the decision to offer payroll is pretty obvious.
Q: How do Intuit’s solutions help?
A: In-house payroll, using Intuit’s PayCycle as an example, has nearly automated the entire payroll process. Federal payroll tax liabilities can be remitted automatically with just a few clicks. There is no need to print and mail checks. Federal forms including forms 940, 941 and 944 can be sent electronically as well. For many states, your clients’ state tax liabilities and state forms can also be submitted electronically.
Q: Payroll is fraught with tax and regulatory issues. What can go wrong if the function is performed poorly, and how do your solutions help prevent errors and protect employers?
A: We ensure that regulatory changes arereflected in the payroll service and that users are informed of these changes. Since the PayCycle service is online, the tax tables are updated real time. In addition, the PayCycle service sends automated email reminders to help accountants keep track of important deadlines including payroll, tax payments and form filings.
Q: How much money can an accounting firm earn in handling payroll?
A: With the low cost of Intuit’s PayCycle service, an accountant should be able to charge less than the traditional outsourced payroll services, while still earning a desirable profit. Many accountants earn a profit from payroll work that is year-round.
Q: What else should CPAs know about the trends in the industry?
A: The trend is toward Software as a Service and connected services that include mobile applications. The idea is that the accountant need not be tied to the desk or even a laptop computer to handle payroll for a client.