Before joining Paychex in October 2004, Jonathan J. Judge served as president and CEO of Crystal Decisions Inc., a leading provider of business intelligence software, and as general manager of IBM’s Personal Computing Division. He was interviewed by AICPA Editor-At-Large Rick Telberg.
Q: There’s quite a debate within accounting firms and finance departments about whether payroll should be outsourced or in-sourced. Why outsource?
A: Paychex knows firsthand that small businesses never have enough resources to do the things they need to grow and succeed, so they will turn to a trusted adviser to outsource those things that are necessary but not directly tied to products or services their business provides. As valued advisers to their clients, accounting professionals must identify and recommend the solution that best meets each client’s needs, while ensuring that the client receives the highest quality service. Business owners today are interested in more than just payroll processing; they want and need a comprehensive HR offering for their employees. Often, CPA firms find it challenging to provide all of the functionality clients expect – including retirement services, pre-tax benefits, health insurance and workers’ compensation administration.
Q: How does Paychex help?
A: Current economic conditions really require CPAs to be more consultative than ever, so those who partner with Paychex are able to provide clients with a comprehensive suite of payroll and HR services from an industry leader – including benefits administration, retirement plans, workers’ compensation administration, health insurance and more. The offerings can be tailored to meet the client’s needs – not delivered as a “one size fits all” solution. Additionally, Paychex provides state-of-the-art online tools and resources to allow CPAs to access their client information when they need it, and truly maximize their advisory role.
Q: How does Paychex prevent errors and protect firms?
A: We spend thousands of staff hours following changes in regulations and making sure our clients are in compliance. CPAs who process payroll for clients can potentially jeopardize their bigger, more valuable – and, often, lucrative – relationship with the client when issues arise. On the other hand, when a client who uses an outsourced payroll provider encounters an issue and then advises their CPA about it, the CPA can reinforce his or her role as trusted adviser by working with the payroll provider to resolve the matter. From our perspective, the benefits of partnering with a payroll provider significantly outweigh any value gained in taking on the potential risks CPAs may face when they choose to process client payrolls. We’ve seen those risks magnified when business owners learn about potential tax savings opportunities that new legislation provides for them, yet their accountant payroll processor isn’t leveraging the opportunities for them.
Editor’s note: Paychex is the preferred payroll and retirement plan services provider for the AICPA Business Solutions Program and the provider for the firm-based AICPA Member Retirement Program.