2009 Product Review: Payroll CS by Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters’ Payroll CS (Creative Solutions) is a comprehensive, customizable payroll processing system designed for professional accountants who provide payroll services to their clients. Payroll CS can operate as a stand alone system or be fully integrated with other Thomson Reuters accounting and tax programs. The system is capable of handling multiple clients with up to 1,000 employees.  

Payroll CS offers comprehensive calculation capabilities while supporting multiple departments, unlimited pay, and deduction items, and multi-state employees and locations. It supports data conversions, data exports, and time clock imports. EFTPS is built into the basic system. Current federal and state tax information also comes with the basic package. With add-on modules, Payroll CS can perform direct deposit, federal and state tax form preparation, and electronic filing of Forms 940 and 941.  
 
NetClient CS portal
 
Now with the addition of the web-enabled NetClient CS private portal, clients and employees may enter their time data or other information directly into Payroll CS software by accessing their own site from the accounting firm’s web site. Although entry to NetClient CS is through the firm’s site, NetClient CS is a separate and secure portal. “When clients log in they go directly to the Thomson Reuters server,” says Sean Hanthorn, Technical sales specialist for Payroll CS. Clients may also print their own payroll checks with custom designs, using their own laser printers using NetClient. 
 
Another web-enabled option within the Payroll CS system, Web Employee, permits employees to viewelectronic copies of their payroll information, including paycheck stubs, W-2s, and earnings history. 
 
Add-on modules
 
Payroll CS users customize their payroll product by purchasing the modules they want, in addition to the basic package.  In addition to NetClient CS and Web Employee, these include
 
  • Payroll CS Direct Deposit
  • Payroll CS Reporterbuilds customized reports
  • State Payroll Tax—Prepare quarterly payroll forms without re-keying data.
 
FileCabinet CS
 
FileCabinet CS, a separate product in the Thomson Reuters Professional Suite, provides document storage and archiving capability through easy integration with Payroll CS. Combined with the web-enabled modules, File Cabinet CS offers potential for a truly paperless payroll service. When a client or employee needs copies of pay stubs, W-2s or other payroll tax forms going back further than the two years available on Payroll CS, staff can copy these documents from FileCabinet CS to Web Employee. 
 
Basic features
 
Firms that have multiple payroll clients in the same industry, such as restaurant or construction, can easily build templates with departments for these industries in Payroll CS, which can then be copied for new clients in the same industries. Custom field views allow quick setup for client and employee information and changes to individual records can be made easily – a valuable feature for clients in businesses with large employee turnover. Changes to employee information are shown to the client reviewer and the accountant reviewing the payroll data when they open the client. 
 
Payroll CS opens from the home screen for the Thomson Reuters’ Creative Solutions Professional Suite, which offers access to key system functions, recently performed tasks, update messages and the system modules the user has available. Basic company information and employee information is entered on clear and uncluttered data forms with tabs. Once a client has been opened, an easy-to navigate function bar appears on the left.
 
Payroll CS data may be exported to Excel. 
 
Reports
 
Payroll CS can generate over two dozen reports which can be customized for departments. These reports include earnings, withholdings, deductions, taxes, departmental labor costs, check registers, payroll journal and benefits.  Examples of specific reports are the 8846 Worksheet, 940 Worksheet, 941 Worksheet, 944 Worksheet, 945 Worksheet, Accruable Benefits Report, Alternate Employee Check Record, Cash Requirements and Deposits Report, and Certified Payroll Worksheet. .
 
The system also offers tables and reporting for all states, with period and year-end forms and reports quickly generated for specific clients, or in batch for all clients at period ends. 
 
Pricing
 
The basic Payroll CS product costs $1,500 for the first year for 20 clients, with an annual renewal fee of $281 for 20 clients and $14.05 per client after the first 20. Thomson Reuters is in the process of simplifying their pricing structure for NetClient CS.  They plan to charge a base price of $175 per month for up to 1,000 client portals. Additional add-on pricing options such as Remote Payroll Data Entry and Remote Check Printing come with a per portal, per month fee of $8 each .  Web Employee pricing is tiered, ranging from $4 to 35 per month per client, depending on the number of employees. 
 
File Cabinet CS costs $1,500 with an annual renewal fee of $300.
 
Thomson Reuters introduced the Service Bureau Payroll CS system, an advanced, web-hosted software program that enables professional payroll processors with more than 100 payrolls to streamline their workflow.  Service Bureau Payroll CS performs all of the payroll tasks including direct deposit and e-filing.
 

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