Sage

Sage Payroll and Payment Solutions

Written by Shayna Chapman

A few months ago, I gave an overview of using the Sage 50 payroll feature and promised more to come. Time toSage follow up on that promise, so let’s talk payroll, and we’ll throw in a bit of payment solutions, as well!

With Sage, no matter what sort of payroll service or payment function you’re looking to accomplish, there’s bound to be a solution for you. I like to split these types of services and solutions into two categories: peripheral services and stand-alone programs.

Sage has always provided lots of different peripheral payroll and payment solutions. These services and solutions integrate easily into existing Sage products, including the popular Sage 50 Accounting solutions (formerly known as Peachtree Accounting in the U.S., and Simply Accounting in Canada). It’s also important to note that Sage has made a pretty large commitment to stand-alone payroll solutions, beginning with the acquisition of payroll giant PayChoice in late 2014. Since then, the PayChoice solutions have been integrated into the Sage portfolio, resulting in the Sage Payroll Center solutions.

Let’s start off with some of the interesting and useful peripheral payroll services and solutions as well as payment offerings. Then we’ll get into some of the stand-alone payroll programs that were created as part of the PayChoice acquisition.

eFiling With Sage 50 Accounting

Many of us today take eFiling for granted. Remember those days of preparing paper (yikes!) payroll tax returns? It seems like ages ago, but we really aren’t that far removed from it. It’s hard to remember what it was like to have paper all around – going to the file room to look something up, hoping a piece of paper didn’t get lost in the file. We were so happy with how smooth the transition went to paperless for those work products, and now payroll can be paperless, too.

One of the many services you can integrate into Sage 50 Accounting is eFiling payroll tax deposits. In fact, eFiling federal payroll tax deposits is mandatory, and more than half of the 50 states now require eFiling as well. An easy way to stay in compliance is by eFiling with Sage 50 Accounting.

I use eFiling because it saves time – by far my most valuable commodity! I can eFile both quarterly and year-end payroll tax forms directly from the software. It also helps me and my clients avoid late fees and there’s that added extra bit of accuracy that comes with not having to input anything manually. With Sage 50 Accounting, I can also set up text reminders for my clients and me. These reminders let them know about important deadlines on payroll, payroll forms, and other payments. This helps to avoid missing filing deadlines and the costly penalties associated with them and shows my clients that I’m “in the know” and on top of meeting their government regulatory needs.

Sage partners with eFile services that integrate directly with Sage 50 Accounting software. The fees associated with eFiling vary, but they are well worth it when it comes down to the peace of mind you and your clients are getting.

There’s one thing I have realized about taking so long to become paperless and start efiling payroll tax returns: We drug our feet in this area because our clients were dragging their feet and we didn’t want to push them. But once we started moving payroll taxes to eFiling and emailed notices, clients picked up on it quickly and they love it. We wish we had done it a lot earlier.

Payment Solutions That Help Your Clients

Sage offers lots and lots of payment solutions that your clients can use to help them grow their businesses. There are too many to go over here, so for a full explanation I suggest you check out the Sage Payment Solutions page for more information. For now, I’d like to discuss what appeals most to my clients (and probably yours, too), and that’s getting paid faster – something we can all agree on!

One of the best ways to show your value to clients is anything related to cash flow – it’s the lifeblood of their business and it’s what allows them to keep the lights on and have the capacity to grow. Probably the easiest way to increase cash flow is to offer more convenient ways for customers to pay.

Chances are that most of your clients (especially your brick and mortar ones) already accept credit and debit cards – that’s a no-brainer (and Sage offers this service through its debit and credit card processing services). That’s the easy one. What about that client of yours who is a photographer? Or has a lawn maintenance service? Remember my electrician client from a prior Sage One post? He can bill and take a payment right as he’s leaving the customer.

For these types of clients, the simple answer is mobile payments, and it’s something I try and get them on as soon as they come on as clients. Sage offers this service through Sage Mobile Payments and it’s really simple to get in it:

  1. Get your client to sign up with Sage (you can get info on their website).
  2. Sage will send your client a swiper to attach to your mobile device.
  3. Your client attaches the swiper and downloads the app from iTunes or the Google Play Store.
  4. Your clients logs into the app, enters a few settings (bank information, etc.), and that’s it!

I remember around Girl Scout cookie time (yep, I’m a Girl Scout cookie fan!), I ran across a story right here in Ohio where I live. In this story, several NE Ohio Girl Scout Troops began using Sage Mobile Payments when accepting payments for cookies. Long story short, for the NE Ohio Girl Scouts, there were a total of 150 troops that used Sage to accept payment. These troops showed a 13% increase in sales! The rest of the troops in the area saw the same sales when compared to previous years. Now that’s some seriously positive ROI! This is a great example of mobile payments you can use with clients that might be reluctant to do this – everyone relates to Girl Scout cookies!

Providing Payroll Services to my Clients Isn’t for me . . . or Is it?

As I mentioned earlier, Sage acquired PayChoice back in late 2014. One of the results of this acquisition was to create a solution that accounting and bookkeeping firms, no matter their size, could use to become a full-service payroll agency to their clients. The result? Sage Payroll Center.

Full disclosure, I haven’t looked into Sage Payroll Center too closely, but I absolutely “get it” and plan on looking at the possibility of integrating it into my practice in the future. It makes total sense.

As an accountant, I provide my clients with expert tax, audit, and other financial advice whenever they need it. Payroll is a pretty seamless extension of these types of services and a definite opportunity to expand any accounting practice. However, offering these types of services has traditionally been reserved for larger accounting firms with the staff to maintain the many day-to-day responsibilities that come with processing payroll. Time is by far my most valuable commodity (I think I might have mentioned this earlier!), so having solutions that, above all, make it simple for me to use in the most timely manner is one of the most important things I’m looking for.

Enter Sage Payroll Center. No matter the size of your firm, you can easily provide payroll services to your clients by automating federal, state, and local payroll processing and tax filings. I looked into it, and there are some true benefits for both you and your clients.

Sage Payroll Center benefit for firms How this really benefits you
Online access to your clients’ payroll data through a single sign-on. This is nice as it keeps me from having to log in and out for each client – a real time-saver!
Sage says that the platform technology Sage Payroll Center is built on is scalable, so it allows you to provide payroll services to companies with up to 500 employees. In other words, there’s a pretty hefty capacity for growth, which means no need to install new software should your clients start to grow and have more payroll needs.
You can earn even more on top of the payroll processing fees you’ll be charging, as there are optional value-added services including Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance and reporting (anything that can help me understand the ACA is something I’m always interested in!), 401(k) plans, pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation, and time and attendance. Lots of opportunities for additional revenue. If I’m going to be taking time to add payroll services, any additional services I can provide that increase my bottom line while also making me more valuable to my clients is a win-win.

Along with benefits for you, I see some pretty good benefits that can help you “sell” the idea of your providing payroll services to clients.

Sage Payroll Center benefit for clients How this really benefits your clients
Employee self-service capabilities that allow employees to access paystubs and W-2s. What client doesn’t like a little control? This feature is a nice one, as the majority of employee inquiries have to do with seeing their paystubs and W-2s.
General ledger interface for Sage 50 Accounting, Sage 100, and Intuit QuickBooks. Again, a little bit of control for your clients. They can check out the GL from not only Sage 50 Accounting or Sage 100, but also if they are using QuickBooks.
Mobile payroll cash requirements and direct deposit alerts for your clients and their employees Making sure there’s enough cash in a payroll account in order to process paychecks is a huge fear amongst employers. This added feature gives a little bit more peace of mind that payroll will process without a hitch.

Again, the Sage Payroll Center looks to be a fascinating way to provide even more value to your clients, so I encourage you to look into it.

Payroll and Payments

Sage is much, much more than accounting software. I remember at Sage Summit last year when Stephen Kelly spoke about the “golden triangle” Sage was focused on . . . the three things that defined what every business needs to be successful:

  1. Accounting
  2. Payments
  3. Payroll

I know within my practice I have bits and pieces of all three of these “pillars” that Sage provides for me and my clients, and I am looking forward to implementing many more in the near future. There’s probably something you can use, too, to help you and your clients, so I hope you get the chance to take a look at them!


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About the author

Shayna Chapman

Shayna Chapman, CPA, CITP (Certified Information Technology Professional), and CGMA (Certified Global Management Accountant), is Member and Owner of Shaynaco LLC (http://www.shaynaco.com). Based in Gallipolis, Ohio, Shaynaco LLC provides not only tax management and accounting type services to clients, but also provides advisory services, accounting technology, and consulting services. Small business tax, accounting, accounting technology, and helping the individuals who own and run these businesses with their tax issues is the main focus of Shayna’s team. Shayna is a 2012 and 2014 CPA Practice Advisor Magazine Top 40 Under 40, as well as recognized by CPA Practice Advisor in 2014 as one of the twenty-seven Most Powerful Women in Accounting. She contributes to articles regarding tax, accounting, technology, and small business issues regularly and also blogs regarding these issues.

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